If you’re travelling to Russia to see your favorite team winning the World Cup or just planning to visit the capital of Russia, you might have already asked yourself: where can I pop in to snack something? There is no problem to find a restaurant or a cafe with a cuisine from all over the world in Moscow centre – they are literally on every corner.
But I would love to share with you some of my personal favorites! Many of Moscow restaurants are quick to be gone after opening so I’m talking only about ones I’ve had a chance to visit in the last few years during my trips.
Around the Patriarch Pond
A nice place to stroll along and to grab a coffee, it’s blooming with different restaurants and cafes! Pop into Maritozzo or Saxon&Parole (you might know the NYC restaurant of the same name) for a breakfast or a dinner with a cocktail!
Cream Dream will welcome you with enormous cakes and a good old portion of waffles waits for you at the Scramble Cafe. If you were suddenly stricken by the unbearable desire to eat macarons, the Parisian Ladurée waits for you here as well. But please don’t limit yourself to it: there are many other patisseries as well.
Interesting fact: if you fancy a good read and are interested in Russian literature and culture, don’t miss The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Apart from being a masterpiece, this book talks a lot about the Patriarch Pond.
Lost around Bolshaya Dmitrovka
When in Moscow, it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll find yourself around the streets called Kamergersky Pereulok, Kuznetskiy Most, and Bolshaya Dmitrovka. It might be hard for you to finally order yourself a dinner but not because there are no places to eat. It’s completely the opposite: that’s impossible to choose just one particular restaurant!
Pushkin is a must-visit for every tourist in Moscow. Grab a book and a coffee with citrus or lavender taste at Gramotny Kofe. Moloko is perfect for breakfasts and cocktails. Choose Voronezh if you’re a meat eater. Upside down cake is for all Instagram lovers who love pretty desserts. Brasserie Most will make you fall in love with its elegant interiors.
Dante is an ideal place for all kinds of food tasting – and I’m sure you will love how your food is styled! Choose the table on the second floor for best views.
Don’t forget: Reward yourself with a good portion of culture events, not just food! Bolshoi theatre, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre, Novaya Opera, MKhAT (Moscow Art Theatre), MMOMA (Moscow Museum Of Modern Art) and Helikon-opera (my own favorite) are all here in this district to nourish your desperate soul as well. Whatever you choose – opera, ballet or exhibition – I’m sure you’ll be satisfied!
For a splendid view over Moscow city choose an Italian restaurant called Buono on the 29th and 30th floors of the iconic skyscraper of Stalin period. Now the Radisson hotel, it used to be the Ukraina hotel. All sorts of pasta are highly recommended! Pay special attention to seasonal dishes – it was a paradise for me during the truffle season last year.
If you’re not lucky to get a table, don’t be too sad: Cristian restaurant is here for you almost at the same place but its only flaw is that it isn’t up in the sky. Black pies is definitely something you don’t want to miss!
Interesting fact: there are seven neoclassical skyscrapers of Stalin period other then the Radisson hotel such as the Moscow State University main building, the main building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments, Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel, the Red Gates Administrative Building, the Kudrinskaya Square Building.
Looking for something less well-known than Italian, French or American cuisine? Think about Georgian, Turkish and Scandinavian!
Go for Burning Tulip coffee and Turkish delights at Bardak Cafe. Moscow is very rich with Georgian restaurants – especially compared to London. I would suggest you to pop into Tinatin or Kazbek and admire their interiors just as much as their food!
Btw, Bochka restaurant with meat and blini with caviar is just next door to Kazbek.
Another intriguing set of restaurants is called Syrovarnya – it’s all about cheese from all over the world! My favorite is Syrovarnya Krasny Oktyabr. For 24/7 breakfasts from all over the world come to Cook – kareku. As for the Nordic – styled place – Bjorn is a definite must-visit! I’ve been to Denmark, Sweden, Finland – and still I had to google some of the ingredients!
Tips: there are many dishes that are considered traditional to the Russian/Ukrainian Cuisine, but I would suggest you to try pelmeni (meat dumplings), vareniki (cottage cheese, potato or berries dumplings), Napoleon cake (on the left on the photo, kind of a variation of millefeuilles) and blini (thin pancakes)!
Some general information…
Prices are in general much cheaper than in London, the quality of food is usually really good. But I must confess that I’m a bit cautious when trying seafood like oysters, mussels or crab in Moscow.
Not all the Russians love vodka (I’ve never tried it for instance) so please don’t joke with them about this drink all the time, it might become annoying.
Talking about the gratuity: in my experience, it’s more likely that tips are not included to the bills. Anything from 10 to 15% for restaurants in cash will do, for coffee and cake there is no strict rule so feel free to just leave some of your spare cash.
English is not a strong side of Russian waiters but they would be delighted to hear a few of Russian words from you! Try to learn something simple such as spasibo (thank you) or privet (hello, inf.) and you’ll be rewarded.
As for me, I mainly choose syrniki (fried thick blini made out of cottage cheese) for breakfasts when in Moscow. Only in Moscow (and sometimes Kiev), not anywhere else.
Although you can find them in London as well, I keep my tradition live. If you missed them in the city, you can still get your portion in the aeroport right before you flight – look for the cafe called Shokoladnitsa!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog!