Baku's restaurant scene has blossomed in recent years, and today it offers a genuinely global smorgasbord of flavours, styles and settings that will appeal to the most picky of palates. There is, of course, plenty of the local cuisine to indulge in, too, from the wildly flavourful levenghi - walnut-stuffed chicken and fish - to the ritualistic preparation of jiz-biz stew, and Azerbaijan produces some of the finest herbs and ingredients on the planet.
Big in Baku lifts the lid on some of the best places in the Azerbaijani capital in which to indulge the tastebuds.
There is a true taste of France to be found in central Baku, and it goes by the name of Paris Bistro. Competition is fierce for a table under the red awning, from where the terrace looks out across the fountains at the end of Zarifa Aliyeva Street to create one of the most inviting spots for a sun-downer anywhere in the city.
The barbecue spot to beat them all, Mangal is located on the edge of the Old City, so the window seats are the place to settle down and watch the world go by. The meat is, of course, the main draw, and the lamb chops are as succulent as they come, but less familiar dishes like the bozbash meatball soup and dolma stuffed vine leaves are well worth exploring.
One of the newest cafés on the Baku block, Buffetique is also one of the friendliest. Baskets of freshly baked piroshki stuffed with everything from Belgian chocolate and banana to steak and cheese offer a nice twist on the usual snacks and sandwiches, and the omelettes, like the coffee, are terrific. To find Buffetique, just keep an eye out for the bright yellow and green vintage Moskvich cars parked outside.
The place to go for an intimate hang-out with a lively atmosphere and good selection of wines, the Wednesday buffet brings the hungry hoards flocking, with an impressive selection of traditional breads, meats and cheeses. DJs and live music keep the small bar rocking.
Just off the well-trodden paths around Fountain Square, local favourite Sunset Cafe moved to its new home in early 2014 and hasn't looked back. Perennially packed, the tropical twists on traditional 'diner' staples like enchilladas, burgers and barbecue wings have proved a big hit.