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. Dukhan Chito-Ra

    $ | Eastern Outskirts | Russian

    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...Read More

  • 2. Kamchatka

    $ | Kremlin/Red Square | Russian

    This upstairs cafeteria-style café is a throwback to the Soviet era, packed with students drinking cheap beer, pensioners reminiscing over meat...Read More

  • 3. Bavarius

    $ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | German

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

  • 4. Beloye Solntse Pustyni

    $$ | Kitai Gorod | Asian

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

  • 5. Chaikhona No. 1

    $$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    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...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Genatsvale VIP

    $$ | Kropotkinskaya | Russian

    After entering through a tunnel of vine leaves, you're seated at oak tables in a somewhat Disneyfied version of an old country house in Georgia...Read More

  • 8. Lyudi kak lyudi

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Café

    Some of the new Russian elite undoubtedly have closets bigger than this hole-in-the-wall student hangout. But what this jammed little place...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Uryuk

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Asian

    The tangy and savory Uzbek food here is served in a palatial dining room that appears to have been decorated by a particularly extravagant sultan...Read More

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