As I work in a hotel in the city center, tourists always ask me where they can eat Russian cuisine, but I’m always confused. The problem is that traditional food is not so popular in Russia like, for example, in Europe. Of course we have some cafes where you can eat something more authentic. The most famous are Mu-Mu, which one of the guest of our hotel called “Russian McDonalds with fresh and tasty homemade food'”, and Stolovaya №57 in GUM on Red Squire, which is actually in classical Soviet style. In both of them you will spend about 400 rubles and be full up. But if you ask any local where they have spent their last Friday evening, nobody will mention these places. So what is actually popular to eat in Moscow?
Moscow is the huge international city where you can find cuisine of any place in the world. Let’s go little by little from East to West. Here are the best restaurants in Moscow:
Russians just adore eating it, however I don’t understand what is so special in it. The best place to eat suchi in Moscow is restaurant Planeta Suchi. One set costs from 600 rubles.
Wokker is the most adorable Chinese cafe where you can eat a wok (noodles fried on a special pan). The price for one wok with meat (pork, chicken, turkey) is about 300 rubles.
If in one of the hottest and stuffiest day you are searching for a splendid cuisine without meat you should go to Jagannath. On lunch time from 12:00 to 16:00 you can get a set of soup, salad and main dish just for 200 rubles. Believe me, it’s the cheapest way to eat when you have a break at work or in university. Also sometimes they have small life concerts in the evenings.
One of my favorite cafes in Moscow Bardak. As I was in Istanbul a year ago I just fell in love with Turkish cuisine, everything what I ate was so splendid, so when I saw a Turkish cafe in Moscow, I thought that it will be something miserable. But (oh my god) it’s one of the most perfect places in Moscow. The atmosphere is so authentic: interior, music, food and even waiters. Sometimes I just thought that I’m sitting near Bosporus and looking at the Blue Mosque. The average bill for one person will be about 1000 rubles what isn’t expensive for such place. (Anyway, they also have good water pipes.)
Le Pain Quotidian is the place I always visit on my lunch time. Tasty soups, different main dishes and special lemonade are the things which help you to cope with all the problems in workweek. The price for this set is from 400 rubles. Also if you want to have a romantic supper, you can drink some splendid wine there and eat amazing Honey Cake with a cute bee on it.
Pizza is something special for Russians. I consider we eat more pizza than Italians actually. Tratoria Venezia, Pizza Express and Pane&Olio are three main restaurants where you can try really wonderful Italian cuisine. You can visit alone, with friends or with your beloved. The cozy atmosphere will make your evening for sure. The prices are quite equal – about 500 rubles for big pizza or a main dish. Anyway, if you would like to eat real Italian ice-cream, visit Plombir Cafe. It’s actually not cheap (400 rubles for 3 rolls), but this is the only place in Moscow where you can try amazing ice-cream.
T.G.I.F. Friday’s is a classical choice to eat burgers. Another popular place of American cuisine is Beverly Hill Dinner. One really huge burger costs about 700 rubles. (Actually, I’m not the big fan of this type of food, but milkshakes in Beverly are amazing!)
However, Moscow is not only about international cuisine but also about some unusual and cozy places, which I really adore. For instance, a brand new cafe Babetta opened just a few months, but it seems to be the most popular cafe in Moscow now. Nothing special in menu (salads, soups, pasta, pizza, main dishes), but everything is sooooooooo tasty. Also they suggest a lot of smoothies, lassies, coffee, tea, cocktails for any tastes. But the best for me is their huge Honey Cake. The dinner for one will cost about 1000 rubles.
Just on the other side of the same street is located an interesting bar Didu. The main idea of this place is that all walls are in plasticine. On each table you will find a box of plasticine and you can feel free to create anything from it and put it on the wall on any place you like. I don’t know whether I feel more like a happy child or like a great designer there.
The most amazing thing which you can find in Russian restaurant business are time cafes. You pay only for time you spend in the cafe. Usually it’s 2 rubles per 1 minute. Any cafe of this type actually has a coffee machine, tea, sweets and cookies, board games and sometimes X-Box or PlayStation. Regularly you can find different work shops and life concerts there. I suppose there are time cafes on every corner now, but the best for me are Ziferblat (the first time cafe in Russia) and Local Time (because of its’ amazingly huge collection of board games).
To sum up, if you read in a city guide that Russian cuisine is only about pancakes with caviar and borsch, of course, try it, but also don’t forget to make a gastro tour through different places which suggest just good food and perfect atmosphere.
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