Ukraine is Europe’s second largest country, a land of wide, fertile agricultural plains and heavy industry. The Dnieper River runs through western Ukraine, and the Carpathian Mountains rise in the east. Ukraine is rich in natural resources including iron ore, uranium, coal and oil. It’s also a major producer of winter wheat and sugar beets.
Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has struggled between pursuing closer integration with Western Europe and being drawn into Russia’s orbit. In recent years, Russian aggression has galvanized public support for Ukraine’s pro-Western leanings. In the wake of the Euromaidan protests, billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko was elected president, and he has been pushing for Ukrainian membership in the EU and NATO. However, in 2019, he was defeated by comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, whose campaign focused on corruption and an oligarchic economy.
With the support of international organizations and foreign investment, Ukraine is making progress on its long-term economic goals. The GDP has doubled since 2000, and the country now ranks 68th in the world by per capita income. The unemployment rate is low, and the nation is becoming a magnet for migrants looking for opportunities in its thriving industries of agriculture, construction and technology.
As the capital of a former Soviet republic, Kiev is a cosmopolitan city with many museums, palaces and monuments. The National Museum of Ukrainian Art is one of the most popular, and its collections include paintings by prominent artists as well as works from other eras of Ukrainian history.
For a taste of traditional Ukrainian fare, head to Veselka, which has been operating since 1954. Its menu features all the classics, including cabbage rolls (both meat-stuffed and vegetarian), borscht (available in both beef and vegetable versions), and potato pancakes. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a great place for family or group dining.
Veselka offers nationwide shipping for several of its products, so you can enjoy these delicious dishes even if you can’t visit the restaurant. If you’re in a hurry and just need a quick bite, check out their “Quick Bite” window.
The Golden Leo is a funky, open space that’s perfect for family and friend gatherings. The menu includes all the Ukrainian classics like okroshka, Olivye and Chicken Kiev. The open floor plan gives way to live performers on weekends, adding a festive ambiance to your meal. You can enjoy your favorite dishes while saxophonists play classic Ukrainian tunes. This is a true gem for anyone looking to experience authentic Ukrainian cuisine!