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Where to eat in Moscow – a food and dining guide

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The metropolis of Moscow ranks highly when it comes to cuisine choices. Contrary to rumor, there are budget options: local chain restaurants serving regional fast food - like Mu-Mu - and popular canteen-style restaurants such as Grabli. The city definitely doesn’t skimp on the classier establishments though – in fact it’s renowned for its exclusive restaurants and bars found in areas such as Tverskoy.

Natalia Orel

My Destination local expert on

Moscow

A huge range of cuisines are on offer here; Russian and the usual culprits French, Italian and American for starters. You’ll also discover a liberal scattering of restaurants serving dishes from the wider expanse of Siberia, surrounding countries such as China and ex-Soviet states like Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Sushi also became incredibly popular in Russia a few years ago.One traditional Russian dish to look out for is ‘shchi’, a hearty cabbage soup served with sour cream or yogurt. ‘Borshch’ is another variation, made with beetroot and accompanied by a small roll and garlic sauce.

 

Fast and budget food

 

Moscow has a reputation for pricey dining, and there’s definitely no shortage of fine restaurants. However, most budgets won’t stretch to a five course extravaganza each and every day, and that’s where Moscow’s cheaper side shines. Aside from the sprawling markets – like Izmailovsky – and street vendors, Arbat Street to the west of the center is an ideal place for tight budgets; try Mu-Mu, a popular fast-food counter offering tasty homemade dishes. Moscow chain Grabli is also a cheaper choice, serving homely Russian and European fare in a surprisingly opulent setting.

 

Mu-Mu, Arbat Street 45/24. Tel: +7 499 241 13 64• Grabli, 27 Pyatnitskaya St. Tel: +7 495 545 08 30

 

Fine dining

 

The area surrounding the length of famous Tverskaya Street is packed with stylish places to eat, drink and soak up the Russian way of life. Café Pushkin - a cult Moscow restaurant and flagship of the culinary god Andrei Dellos – boasts four floors, serving the finest Russian delicacies in an imperial setting. Nearby, high-class Italian cuisine can be found at Casta Diva, a breathtaking palace of fountains, marble columns and glittering chandeliers. For a meal with a view, diners head to Sky Lounge, to the south west of the city center.

 

Café Pushkin, Tverskoi Bulvar 26a. Tel: +7 495 739 0033• Casta Diva, Tverskoi Bulvar 26/5. Tel: +7 495 651 8181• Sky Lounge, 32 Leninsky Prospekt. Tel: +7 495 938 5104

 

Traditional Russian/Siberian

 

The Russian cuisine is one of the most varied in the world, featuring plenty of meat, fish, vegetables, pies and pastries, as well as liberal shots of the famous Russian vodka and ‘kvas’ – a drink made from fermented bread. Local favorite Shaika Leika is an ideal spot to try several former Soviet cuisines including Ukrainian and Siberian; sample their ‘salo’ – wafer thin slices of frozen nelma fish, chased by a shot of iced vodka. Another hugely popular option is Chemodan; dine on a tasty range of Siberian game including bear and venison.

 

Shaika Leika, Varshaskoe Shosse 34. Tel: +7 499 611 4040• Chemodan, Gogolevsky Boulevard 25/1. Tel: +7 495 695 3819

 

Other cuisines

 

Oriental cuisine is very popular in Moscow, with an incredible saturation of Japanese restaurants. For upmarket dining, Turandot is a one-of-a-kind restaurant, serving a diverse menu of fusion cuisine in a glittering Russian/Asian setting. Vegetarians always feel at home in Retseptor, a more affordable and cozy eatery with a range of Japanese and Korean dishes. For fans of authentic Chinese cuisine, Mr. Lee is right in the heart of the city and perfect for a filling meal after a day of sightseeing.

 

Turandot, Tverskoy Bulvar 26/3. Tel: +7 495 739 0011• Retseptor, Bolshaya Nikitskaya 22/2. Tel: +7 495 695 6686• Mr. Lee, 7 Kuznetsky Most. Tel: +7 495 628 7678