Inside this elegant mansion is one of the city's most beautiful dining rooms—and one of the best places to sample authentic Russian cuisine. In the 19th century the house served as the headquarters for Moscow's Freemasons; more recently it was a meeting place for members of the Soviet Writers' Union. Crystal chandeliers, rich wood paneling, fireplaces, and antique balustrades provide a lavish setting for such well-prepared dishes as ukha (fish soup) and many versions
of duck. For a truly traditional experience, cleanse your palate between courses with kvas, a mildly alcoholic beer made from bread.