Samal may be a little way out of town but it’s well worth the journey, with the mountains providing the perfect backdrop to the restaurant’s serene Islamic architecture. The Arabic theme continues inside, with comfortable couches, graceful arches hung with lanterns and a stunning painted ceiling; and in summer Samal opens one of Almaty’s best terraces, featuring secluded booths separated by intricately-carved screens. The cuisine is, unsurprisingly, Middle Eastern (Al Wadi menu), with some Central Asian (Nomad menu) and South East Asian (Wok Station) dishes thrown in for good measure; and it’s all seriously good. The grill churns out incredible shashlik and kebabs – we dream about the chicken shish tawouk – and the Arabic set menu is a steal at 7,900 KZT, with endless delicious mezze and kebabs that will feed four generously. One little quibble is that the wine list doesn’t always seem to represent which wines are actually available. We were amused to see Welsh Ty Nant mineral water on sale here, too.