Moscow: Restaurants and Dining
Here are some of the best accommodations and restaurants we’ve found in Russia, listed by city/region.
Eating out in Moscow can get expensive very easily, but the options are almost endless. Some of the best meals in town (and best value) are the not well advertised restaurants, but the small cafes and kiosks that offer you a truly unique Russian culinary experience. The best options for those traveling on a budget are the many fast-food and kiosks. In addition Moscow has many eastern European and uniquely Russian chains like Moo-Moo, Yolky Palky, and Grabli that may be just the thing to tickle your Russian taste buds.
We’ll start with fast food. Street food, usually sold at sideway kiosks is a great low cost option. Hot dogs, sausages, meat pastries and kebab abound. Unfortunately, recent political moves to “clean up the city” and shut down illegal immigration from former Soviet republics has squashed some of these small businesses but many continue to thrive.
From Kentucky Fried Chicken (it goes by the name “Rostik’s” in Russia) to TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut and Baskin Robbins , American food is plentiful in Moscow. Sure you can have McDonalds, but frankly why eat here what you get normally at home.
Okay, we understand that it’s cool to go and home and say that you’ve eaten at McDonalds in Moscow. Plus, you want to see if things taste the same. Most of the menu items are the same but there are some differences.
We’ll let you discover those for yourself as we also tell you about some of the authentic Russian fast food you can try for a quick lunch.
Russian fast food is often sold from sidewalk kiosks and much of it is very tasty! Eating at Moscow kiosks opens a new culinary world, allowing you to taste the traditional dishes from Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazahkstan as well as Russian favourites.
We like the Kroshka-Kartoshka or “little potatoe” which is Крошка Картошка in Russian Cyrillic. Bear in mind that there is nothing “little” about this little potatoe as it’s a meal in itself.
The baked potatoe is taken from a hot and smoking oven, cut, added butter and cheese and mashed into appetizing soft puree.
The filling is of the customer’s choice: herring, pickled or fried mushrooms, crab meat, ham salad, salmon, vegetables, etc. Its a Mendeleyev traditional favourite after church on Sundays. They also serve soups, toasted sandwiches and selected soft drinks and hot tea.
Another Russian favourite is Teremok which features brown kiosks that sell large blinchiki (thin Russian crepe pancakes) that come with a variety of fillings.
The name translates roughly as “Fairy-Tale Cottage,” and the company’s rise has been something of a Cinderella story.
Teremok has plans and investor interest for expansion into the USA and Western Europe.
Teremok regularly introduces new fillings. (The latest is salmon, herring, cucumber and a special sauce). Teremok gives away toys with kids meals, based on a popular Russian children’s cartoon. You can find Teremok’s at outdoor kiosks and in malls and shopping centers.
Yolky Palky – This chain restaurant offers Russian style food. You can order all-you-can-eat for 300RUB. Each restaurant is designed to look like a traditional Russian hut in a village, complete with horse saddles and woodworking equipment. I recommend the pelmeni (Russian dumplings) and the borscht.
My-My: A favourite of the Mendeleyev staff is Moscow’s “Moo-Moo” a small Moscow chain of cafeteria style restaurants. The food quality is good and now there are English menus and you can enjoy a very satisfying meal for around $10 per person.
The entire menu is self-service, and includes a wide variety of meats (including shashlik), vegetables, soups, breads, and deserts. Moo-Moo operates as a cafeteria-style restaurant and as such can be considered a fast food restaurant.
Grabli: If you read Russian worse than you speak, and you’ve just mastered the phrase “one, please,” cafeteria-style restaurants provide relief from the arduous task of menu reading. Fortunately, these cafeterias are scattered throughout the city and provide good, no-frills eats, often in an elaborate setting.
The food is more or less the same in all these eateries, prompting the question: what separates one cafeteria from the next? The decor, of course.
Grabli (Russian for “rake”) is the successful chain owned by restaurateur Roman Rozhnikovsky. This spacious cafeteria concept is already heaving with hungry Moscovites, who are lured in by the tried and tested Grabli formula: hearty Russian grub at extremely affordable prices. The average meal works out at around 250-300 rubles.
Kruzhka is a chain of “sports bars” complete with big screen TVs, beer, fast food, beer, and beer. There are 29 locations with a map on the clickable link. When you need to hang out and watch a soccer game or hockey match, Kruzhka is the place to be.
This is certainly one of the most popular restaurants in all of Moscow. While it is styled after a self-service eatery, the atmosphere and the large choice of Russian cuisine at low prices are what really makes this a popular stop. Even with drinks you can usually dine for about $10 per person. If you want to try some Russian specialties, but you are on a budget, this is definitely a great place to try. Very popular with families.
Korchma is a Ukranian restaurant that is extremely popular. The style of food is quite similar to Russian cuisine, but the atmosphere is quite authentic. A great place to stop during the summer and dine on the terraces. Known for offering big hearty meals.
When it opened a Moscow location in the late 1990s, this chain of Ukrainian restaurants quickly became a citywide hit among busy, middle-class Russians looking for a taste of the countryside. The decorators went a bit overboard on the Ukrainian country kitsch, but the food is hearty and reliable and free of pretension, and the atmosphere is cheery.
Bochka is affiliated with the My-My (Moo-Moo) family of family, casual restaurants. Good food at good prices.
Stardogs is a unique taste of the West in Russia, done Russian style. Better than Coney Island or even at a baseball game, Stardogs is where Russia goes for hotdogs. Trust us, they’re a real treat!
Not only can you see how “StarDogs” is spelled in Cyrillic (photo left) but we have this handy video too so you can view up close and in person just how StarDogs is done in Moscow.
One of the newer American chains to enter the Moscow fast food scene is Wendy’s. As there is no letter representing ‘W’ in Russian Cyrillic, often a “veh” sound is substituted. The Cyrillic letter ‘B’ is sounded as “veh.”
The Moscow Wendy’s is located on famous Arbat Street and here is one of the menu boards inside.
‘La Grotta’ is the place for meals or casual meetings. You may come to ‘La Grotta’ being hungry, full, underfed or overfed. It doesn’t matter at all. In a true Italian restaurant everyone eats everything – pasta, pizza, aromatic risotto, seafood, rukkola salad with shrimps and cheese etc. An excellent wine list makes the meal more enjoyable.
Sushi is very popular in Russia and finding a Sushi restaurant is very easy.
Vegetarian and Vegan food
McCafe is the nicest place in many FSU cities to find a good cup of coffee. With rich wood interiors and French pastries to accompany your coffee or hot tea, McCafe is an outstanding choice. Yes, they’re the child of McDonalds and often sit attached to a McDonalds. But the atmosphere is very much more upscale.
Starbucks took a long time to come to Russia. Part of their hesitation was that another eatery had already registered the Starbucks name. Rather than change, Starbucks entered into a legal battle that lasted well over a decade. Finally they arrived in Russia but only after the European version of McDonald’s had introduced ”McCafe” (very upscale coffee shop, unlike anything in the USA) and Starbuck not only was behind in marketing but had to go more “upscale” in order to compete with McCafe.
Russians are tea lovers, coffee is for dessert, if at all. Of course you can buy it in markets or find a Starbucks or McCafe (if meeting someone important choose McCafe–the interior and atmosphere is much more refined) if you need your coffee fix.
If you’re in a Russian home tea is always served to guests.
Cafe Pushkin is located in the Arbat. Upscale. The “right” address. The Cafe Pushkin Restaurant is easy to find in the very centre of Moscow, a few steps from Tverskaya Street and not far from such sights as the Museum of Oriental Art, the Pushkin Square, the Pushkin Theatre, the Monument of great Russian poet Sergej Esenin and etc.
Within a walking distance from the Marriott Courtyard City Centre and the Marriott Grand Hotel, you be delighted with the splendid Russian and French cuisine. A large choice of muffins with different kinds of stuffing: red caviar, slightly frightened tongue and anion, smoked hen, prunes and walnut, with honey, apples and jam. “Filorett” – a kind of meat with egg-plant and tomato baked under the cheese sauce is beyond comparison!
Godunov Restaurant is located at 5,Teatralnaya Square, on the opposite side from the Bolshoi Theatre, near the Metropol hotel and a stones throw away from Red Square. In the middle Ages this building was part of Zaikonospassky Monastery, built in 1600, during the rule of Boris Godunov.
Its four rooms are of different sizes and decor, but the Russian style is prevalent throughout. Every night you can enjoy live folk show and gypsies. Executive Chef Sergey Yeroshenko has created an oasis for connoisseurs of Russian food. Comfortable parking is available near Metropol hotel.
Dom Aktera is an upscale club and restaurant in the centre of Moscow at 35 Arbat street, accessed by Metro stations Arbatskaya and Smolenskaya. A fine dining establishment with a nightclub after dark.
Carre Blanc is an upscale restaurant/club that opened in 2001 in a renovated 19th century mansion. The name Carre Blanc was inspired by the shape of the square white plates, which were chosen for the restaurant by the owner. Carre Blanc provides the atmosphere and food for all occasions. The sleek design of Carre Blanc has provided content for numerous Interiors Magazines.
Janus Restaurant is the sophisticated restaurant at the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya hotel known for its marvelous hand-carved ceilings and elegantly dressed windows. Savor Russian specialties and choose a fine wine from the extensive selection to accompany your dish perfectly. The hotel recently joined the Hilton chain after completing a multi-million dollar restoration and renovation.
Trandot Palace is a sophisticated restaurant affiliated with the Cafe Pushkin group. Trandot serves a stately variety, including some of Moscow’s best Lobster, shrimp and Sushi.
Shinok is a very deliciously deceiving restaurant! It looks and feels like you’re in a Ukrainian farm village. That is the theme, by the way. This place is expensive! The food is good but exprect to pay $150 or more before you get out the door…with the farm village decor. That is what throws you for a loop. But hey, you’ll enjoy the food so go for it. Near Metro 1950.
Club CDL is a very hot hotspot. They serve great food but you probably go more for the music, the dancing and the sightseeinng. Located at the Central Writers House, this restaurant has a reputation for the food and the historic interiors. Most folks enjoy the interior but go for the excitement!
Restaurant-Club Mahon is also at Metro 1950. Another great night time hotspot with equally good food. And music with dancing.
Kasta Diva is an excellent fine dining experience located at Tverskoy Bulvar, 26/5 near the Chekhovskaya, Pushkinskaya and Tverskay Metro stations. Some say its where millionaires go to be around other millionaries.
Next on our list of upscale outings is the restaurant “Sky Lounge” and you’ll find it located on the top floor of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the center of Moscow.
The Sky Lounge towers 100 meters above the city with great views whether you sit inside the restaurant or along the open summer terrace area.
The views from the terrace are stunning, giving you a full panorama of Moscow. Did we mention that the food is exquisite? The menu is short but not limited on taste or presentation. Most likely you’ll need reservations in advance so here is the number:+7 495 781 5775, 930 33 43. The restaurant website is: www.skylounge.ru
Sky Lounge address: 32a, Leninsky Prospect, 22nd floor of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
For more restaurant listings we recommend these publications:
- Moscow’s Passport Magazine Restaurant directory.
- Moscow Times Dining Guide.
Togliatti (Tolyatti) region:
- Oriental Express Restaurant
40-Year Victory Street, 35 (Улица 40 лет Победы, 35)
Тel: (8482) 555-777, 555-101
More coming soon…