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. Ragout

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | European

    A short and frequently changing menu features dishes rooted in Continental and Eastern European traditions and often includes a selection of...Read More

  • 2. Brasserie Most

    $$$ | Kremlin/Red Square | French

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

  • 3. Correa's

    $$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Italian

    An expat from the United States, chef Isaac Correa has stood out throughout his long Moscow career. This is his first major independent venture...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Jean-Jacques

    $$$ | Arbat | French

    This cheap and cheerful replica of a classic Parisian bistro, open 24 hours a day, is almost always busy, and little wonder: the selection of...Read More

  • 6. Mandarin Combustible

    $$$ | Kitai Gorod | Asian

    Gilded ceilings and low lighting provide a dark and romantic setting in which to enjoy fresh Pan-Asian cuisine that appears to be irresistible...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Carré Blanc

    $$$ | Northern Outskirts | French

    A much-praised restaurant, Carré Blanc has captured the hearts of Moscow gourmets. A group of expats established the place, which magically...Read More

  • 10. 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

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