Moscow Restaurants

In a city where onion domes and Soviet-era monoliths bespeak a long, varied, and storied past, it's easy to forget that the dining scene is relatively new, having emerged with democratization in 1991. Now, nearly twenty-five years later, the Moscow restaurant scene is still going through growing pains and has yet to find its pace. This is good news for adventurous diners. You might still find yourself being served by pantaloon-and-ruffled bedecked "serfs" beneath glittering chandeliers in one of the showy, re-created settings that arose in the post-Soviet era—and that even a tsar would find to be over the top.

But many restaurants now approach their food sensibly and seriously. A new crop of chefs is serving traditional Russian fare, often giving it some innovative twists. One European cuisine to invade the city anew is Italian, and scores of dark-haired chefs from the Mediterranean are braving the cold to bring Muscovites minestrone and carbonara. Other ethnic restaurants have long since arrived as well, and you can sample Tibetan, Indian, Chinese, Latin American, or Turkish cuisine any night of the week.

One welcome, long-standing Russian tradition that remains in place is a slow-paced approach to a meal. It's common for people to linger at their tables long after finishing dessert, and you're almost never handed the bill until you ask for it. Keep in mind that chef turnover is high in Moscow, which means restaurants can change quickly—and that there's always a new culinary experience to be had in this ever-evolving city.

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  • 1. Chito-Ra

    $ | Eastern Outskirts

    This one-room café has home-style Georgian food so good that you'll feel you've found your way to a tavern deep in the Caucasus hinterlands. The...

    This one-room café has home-style Georgian food so good that you'll feel you've found your way to a tavern deep in the Caucasus hinterlands. The house specialty is succulent hinkali, fist-sized dumplings filled with ground meat that you eat with your hands; the variety with herbs is best, and all the better if you add crisp-crusted hachapuri (cheese bread) to the order. There are many vegetarian-friendly options on the menu, including pkhali, assorted vegetables blended with herbs and walnuts. Ordering might be difficult unless you or someone in your party has at least a moderate knowledge of Russian.

    10 ul. Kazakova, Moscow, Moscow, 105064, Russia
    499-265--7876

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No credit cards
  • 2. Gusyatnikoff

    $$$$ | Eastern Outskirts

    Feast on exquisite traditional Russian fare in what was once (and still feels like) a private mansion. On the four floors, there are spaces to...

    Feast on exquisite traditional Russian fare in what was once (and still feels like) a private mansion. On the four floors, there are spaces to fit every mood: a Middle Eastern room with hookahs; a billiard room; intimate, plush dining rooms; and a chandeliered main hall with lots of natural light. Try the ukha, a fish soup, and a basket of their excellent pirozhki, savory filled pastries; the beef Stroganoff is outstanding. The lightning-quick waitstaff is unassuming and attentive.

    2a ul. Aleksandra Solzhenitsyna, Moscow, Moscow, 109004, Russia
    495-632--7558

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 3. Kamchatka

    $ | Kremlin/Red Square

    This upstairs cafeteria-style café is a throwback to the Soviet era, packed with students drinking cheap beer, pensioners reminiscing over meat-filled pancakes, and business people...

    This upstairs cafeteria-style café is a throwback to the Soviet era, packed with students drinking cheap beer, pensioners reminiscing over meat-filled pancakes, and business people of all ages from the offices nearby. A larger downstairs room gets rowdy on weekends. The no smoking policy is a huge plus and a rarity in Moscow, but you may have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get near the door.

    7 ul. Kuznetsky Most, Moscow, Moscow, 105187, Russia
    495-114--6169

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No credit cards
  • 4. Khachapuri

    $$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    This modern chain of cafes shares a name with Georgia's most beloved culinary export, a crispy pie filled with a creamy, tangy cheese (six varieties...

    This modern chain of cafes shares a name with Georgia's most beloved culinary export, a crispy pie filled with a creamy, tangy cheese (six varieties of this Caucasus pizza are on the menu). The brick walls and track lighting at this popular branch create a bright and airy space, and the cooking displays a refreshing contemporary sensibility, with the always luscious chanakhi (a lamb stew, light with fragrant cilantro) and the hinkali (large dumplings you eat with your hands) available with salmon or pumpkin in addition to the traditional ground beef. Go for lunch to get the best value.

    10 per. Bolshoi Gnezdnikovsky, Moscow, Moscow, 103009, Russia
    985-764--3118

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 5. Ragout

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    A short and frequently changing menu features dishes rooted in Continental and Eastern European traditions and often includes a selection of pâtés, gratins, savory pies,...

    A short and frequently changing menu features dishes rooted in Continental and Eastern European traditions and often includes a selection of pâtés, gratins, savory pies, and confits. A sweet beetroot and black bread ice cream duo is usually on the dessert list. The metal-and-wood surroundings are quiet and relaxing.

    69 ul. Bolshaya Gruzinskaya, Moscow, Moscow, 123056, Russia
    495-662--6458

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
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  • 6. Shinok

    $$$ | Western Outskirts

    Meals at Moscow's best Ukrainian restaurant often include a plate of assorted salo—a specialty of cured pork fat. If such traditional country favorites seem out...

    Meals at Moscow's best Ukrainian restaurant often include a plate of assorted salo—a specialty of cured pork fat. If such traditional country favorites seem out of keeping with the sleek interior, take a look at the far side of the main dining hall for a glimpse of a quaint Ukrainian farm scene, complete with rabbits, a cow, and even a milkmaid and a pair of beautiful peacocks.

    2a ul. 1905 Goda, Moscow, Moscow, 123022, Russia
    495-651--8101

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 7. Vatrushka

    $$ | Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya

    The name comes from a popular Russian pastry, but there's nothing common or traditional about the presentations in this old mansion stripped down to its...

    The name comes from a popular Russian pastry, but there's nothing common or traditional about the presentations in this old mansion stripped down to its bare-brick walls. Head Chef Dmitry Shurshakov lets fresh, locally sourced ingredients shine through in dishes like stewed turkey necks with pearl barley and spiced carrot puree, and cauliflower and cod liver crème brûlée. You can enjoy the namesake vatrushka, a cottage cheese–filled pie, for dessert.

    5 ul. Bolshaya Nikitskaya, Moscow, Moscow, 125009, Russia
    495-530--5511
  • 8. Academiya

    $$ | Kremlin/Red Square | European

    This reliable Italian chain with outlets throughout Moscow may not whisk you away to a Roman piazza or the Tuscan countryside, but you can expect...

    This reliable Italian chain with outlets throughout Moscow may not whisk you away to a Roman piazza or the Tuscan countryside, but you can expect a well-cooked risotto and efficient if unenthusiastic service in slick environs. In the Kremlin branch, a very popular terrace that overlooks ulitsa Tverskaya is great for sipping a beer and watching the crowds in summer. Portions can be a bit small—an entrée may not fill you up if you're famished—but everything is very fresh.

    1 per. Kamergerkiy, Moscow, Moscow, 125009, Russia
    495-692--9649

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 9. Bavarius

    $$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    Oompah music plays in the background, dirndl-clad waitresses carry fistfuls of liter-size mugs, and the smell of sauerkraut lingers in the air. Whether you fancy...

    Oompah music plays in the background, dirndl-clad waitresses carry fistfuls of liter-size mugs, and the smell of sauerkraut lingers in the air. Whether you fancy a snack of knockwurst or just want to sample German and Czech beers, this is the place. Instead of sitting indoors, head through the arch to the left of the main entrance to reach the quiet courtyard that holds the biggest beer garden in Moscow. Food is served in both areas, but credit cards are accepted only in the restaurant.

    2/30 ul. Sadovaya-Triumfalnaya, Moscow, Moscow, 125009, Russia
    495-699--4211

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 10. Beloye Solntse Pustyni

    $$$$ | Kitai Gorod

    The name comes from a legendary Soviet film from 1970, White Sun of the Desert, and the specialty is Uzbek food, which incorporates Russian, Persian,...

    The name comes from a legendary Soviet film from 1970, White Sun of the Desert, and the specialty is Uzbek food, which incorporates Russian, Persian, and Chinese elements. Sun-bleached walls instantly sweep you down to Central Asia and the illusion continues with a diorama with a ship marooned in the desert, waitresses dressed as Uzbek maidens, and intricately carved wooden doors. The Dastarkhan, a set meal, overwhelms you with food—unlimited access to the salad bar, a main course such as mutton kebabs and manty (large mutton ravioli), plov (a Central Asian rice pilaf), and numerous desserts.

    29 ul. Neglinnaya, Moscow, Moscow, 127051, Russia
    495-625--2596

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential
  • 11. Bistronomia

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    Steps away from ploshchad Lubyanka, chef Marc de Passorio serves pared-down takes on his haute- fusion cuisine for reasonable prices. The long menu includes now-familiar...

    Steps away from ploshchad Lubyanka, chef Marc de Passorio serves pared-down takes on his haute- fusion cuisine for reasonable prices. The long menu includes now-familiar international dishes like chicken quesadillas and beef spring rolls, as well as such Russian classics as borsch and beef Stroganoff. Especially noteworthy are some of the more creative options, such as grilled goat cheese and fig salad.

    10 ul. Nikolskaya, Moscow, Moscow, 109102, Russia
    495-787--1101
  • 12. Bosco Café

    $$$ | Kremlin/Red Square | Coffee

    One of the very few places in Moscow with a terrace on Red Square is on the first floor of the GUM department store. You...

    One of the very few places in Moscow with a terrace on Red Square is on the first floor of the GUM department store. You pay for the view, but the Mediterranean fare is tasty, and you can just order a coffee if you're not hungry for a meal. The terrace closes once it gets cold.

    3 Red Sq., Moscow, Moscow, 109012, Russia
    495-660--0550

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 13. Brasserie Most

    $$$$ | Kremlin/Red Square

    While some may complain that this reincarnation of a Moscow institution is only a pale imitation of its former self, the famously massive chandeliers are...

    While some may complain that this reincarnation of a Moscow institution is only a pale imitation of its former self, the famously massive chandeliers are still in place and now illuminate bistro-style booths where diners enjoy creative takes on rich stews and other brasserie classics. This is a popular spot for weekend brunch and for meals before and after performances at the Bolshoi Theatre.

    6/3 ul. Kuznetsky Most, Moscow, Moscow, Russia
    495-660--0706

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 14. Buono

    $$$$ | Western Outskirts

    It's all about the view atop this Stalin-era skyscraper that also houses the Radisson Royal hotel. The cuisine takes few chances, hewing to classics, such...

    It's all about the view atop this Stalin-era skyscraper that also houses the Radisson Royal hotel. The cuisine takes few chances, hewing to classics, such as lemony octopus salad and sea bream with tomato and fennel, while the desserts are fanciful and fantastic.

    1 Kutuzovsky pr., Moscow, Moscow, 121248, Russia
    495-229--8308

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 15. Café Pushkin

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    In a mansion meant to recall the days when the writer Pushkin stolled the 19th-century avenues of Moscow, staff members dress like household servants; the...

    In a mansion meant to recall the days when the writer Pushkin stolled the 19th-century avenues of Moscow, staff members dress like household servants; the menu resembles an old newspaper, with letters no longer used in the Russian alphabet; and the food is fit for a tsar. All the favorites can be found here—blini, caviar, pelmeni (meat dumplings)—and there's a fine, if over-priced wine list. Prices rise with each floor (there are three) of the house. If you don't want to splurge on dinner, the three-course business lunch is an excellent way to sample Pushkin's food without breaking the bank. Open daily, 24 hours, Pushkin is popular for breakfast after a night of clubbing. In summer you can dine on the rooftop patio.

    26a Tverskoi bvd., Moscow, Moscow, 125009, Russia
    495-739--0033

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential
  • 16. Chaikhona No. 1

    $$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    This massive Uzbek café and lounge on ploshchad Pushkin is part of a chain with almost 20 locations around the city and offers diners the...

    This massive Uzbek café and lounge on ploshchad Pushkin is part of a chain with almost 20 locations around the city and offers diners the chance to sample traditional dishes like plov, a rice pilaf with lamb, and succulent kebabs. Each pillow, light fixture, painting, and plate is worthy of note. The only downside is that hookahs are a major part of the concept, so don't be surprised if the flavor of your neighbor's aromatic tobacco smoke infuses your meal.

    2 pl. Pushkinskaya, Moscow, Moscow, 127006, Russia
    495-234--0233
  • 17. Chekhonte

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    The modern takes on Russian classics served in chic, contemporary surroundings in the InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya are truly inventive. A trio of Russian salads is...

    The modern takes on Russian classics served in chic, contemporary surroundings in the InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya are truly inventive. A trio of Russian salads is a barely recognizable version of the mayo-heavy Soviet standards and the schi is a rich cabbage soup that's unlike the ubiquitous variety served elsewhere—this one contains suckling pig and is baked under puff pastry. Busy ulitsa Tverskaya provides a nice backdrop.

    22 ul. Tverskaya, Moscow, Moscow, 127006, Russia
    495-787--6211
  • 18. Coffee Bean

    $$$ | Zamoskvorech’ye

    In convivial and laid-back surroundings north of Novokuznetskaya metro station heading toward the river, you can enjoy a large selection of well-prepared tarts and cakes....

    In convivial and laid-back surroundings north of Novokuznetskaya metro station heading toward the river, you can enjoy a large selection of well-prepared tarts and cakes. Some say their coffee is among the best in the city.

    5 ul. Pyatnitskaya, Moscow, Moscow, 115035, Russia
    495-953--6726
  • 19. Coffeemania

    Kitai Gorod

    Good coffee and food make this spot just around the corner from the Bolshoi Theatre a favorite with theatergoers (you'll find other branches...

    Good coffee and food make this spot just around the corner from the Bolshoi Theatre a favorite with theatergoers (you'll find other branches all around Moscow). The coffee is considered by many to be the best in the city, the cakes and pastries are excellent, there's a large menu of well-prepared international dishes, and if you're looking for a big salad, this is the place to go.

    6/9 ul. Rozhdestvenka, Moscow, Moscow, 107031, Russia
    495-624–0075
  • 20. Delicatessen

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya

    As if to reward you for locating the place (it's hidden in a courtyard with a front sign that says "Thanks for finding us"), staff...

    As if to reward you for locating the place (it's hidden in a courtyard with a front sign that says "Thanks for finding us"), staff members seem driven to make you join in their revelry. Greetings come first from the pirate-moustached owner, then from the team of gregarious bartenders, who will soon cajole you into trying one of the house-made liquors. Fresh flowers brighten the windowless space; menus are presented on clipboards; and the drink list is written in chalk across a wall. The casual fare includes well-prepared pizzas and pastas, and a selection of juicy burgers.

    2 ul. Sadovaya-Karetnaya, Moscow, Moscow, 127051, Russia
    495-699–3952

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Closed Mon.

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