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. Bistronomia

    $$ | Kitai Gorod | Eclectic

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

  • 2. Delicatessen

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Eclectic

    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...Read More

  • 3. Filial

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Eclectic

    Students and a sizeable portion of the local office-worker population flock here for the three-course lunch special, and in the evening, the...Read More

  • 4. Propaganda

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Eclectic

    This may be one of Moscow's most popular clubs, but before the dance floor opens up, it lays out the tables for its own hearty, delicious food...Read More

  • 5. Strelka Bar

    $$ | Kropotkinskaya | Eclectic

    A row of windows and the blond-wood patio provide you with a panorama of the Moskva River, the Kremlin, and the white marble monolith of Christ...Read More

  • 6. Turandot

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Eclectic

    Ornate decor and elaborate, modern interpretations of Russian, Continental, and Asian Fusion fare make quite an impression—which is the point...Read More

  • 7. Vogue Café

    $$$ | Kitai Gorod | Eclectic

    One of the most fashionable restaurants in town is distinctly Russian, serving a menu that's a throwback to Soviet times, with items such as...Read More

  • 8. Lunchbox

    $ | Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya | Eclectic

    Perhaps just like it was when you were a kid, this Lunchbox has a sleek design and occasionally zany food that is only sometimes what you were...Read More

  • 9. Tinkoff

    $$$ | Arbat | Eclectic

    A few yards from the glassy British-embassy building is a plain brick building that holds this Russian microbrewery. The series of bars and...Read More

  • 10. Dome

    $ | Kropotkinskaya | Eclectic

    Dome is one of the still-growing contingent of bars and restaurants installed in the buildings of the former Krasny Oktyabr chocolate factory...Read More

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