Canadian Bagel/Ku Ku Ru
This two-in-one transplant from the convenience-oriented West is good for a quick bite. The bagel half offers bagel sandwiches from 30 rubles for cheese to 60 rubles for tuna as well as tasty soup and a good lunch combo deal. You can choose bagels with sesame seeds, cheese and tomatoes, multi-toppings and more. The chicken fast food half has combo meals for 48 rubles, pizza at about 50 rubles and good fries. Two floors with big windows make for great people watching and ¦ if you-re into schadenfreude ¦ you-ll have a ball with some of the characters who hobble past.
A pleasing find in my search for places I might frequent at home; has a sort of Seattle feel to it. Tasty milkshakes and fruit smoothies a real plus for the Californian in me. As are the wraps ¦ "torpedoes", as they call them. The grilled pizza is good, too, and there are some tasty apps. Plenty of vegetarian options. The bar is laid back and there seems to be potential for meeting people. Sometimes the music is a bit too loud, but you can always hide out downstairs.
The Place is placed in the giant Luzhkovian fortress-like Riverside Towers, which had us expecting banker-level prices. But we were pleasantly surprised at the Lunch Special for $6 that includes soup, salad or appetizer OR one entree, plus a drink (non-alcoholic). Although we weren-t that hungry, we played it safe and over-ordered, going for the $9 Business Lunch that includes either soup, salad or appetizer AND entree, plus a drink. The food ¦ as well as the decor and service ¦ are excellent and resemble that found in the great culinary state of California.
BREAKFAST all day on weekends.
This classy restaurant takes pride in its American meat: half a page of the menu is devoted to New York steak, ribs, veal, smoked duck, porterhouse steak, chateaubriand, the works ¦ robust food for carnivorous people. As presentation is part of the fun here, shots of vodka come frozen in blocks of ice and many of the dishes are prepared tableside. One of the most attractive is the Norwegian smoked salmon, laid out beautifully on a wide cutting board, which is wheeled Dim-Sum style from table to table.
It is also the only restaurant in the CIS currently serving cappuccino lobster bisque or fillet of lamb in phyllo paste with eggplant caviar.
The wine list is excellent, with a strong selection of Italian and Bordeaux wines; the service attentive; and the ambiance ambient. Accordingly, it is priced at the high end.
It once reigned supreme in a city that had mostly cheap, crappy restaurants or wildy expensive fancy ones. But the diner is now getting a run for its money by Western restaurants that have popped up in the past few years, many of them after the crisis.
Starlite remains an expat institution, regardless, and many still reflexively order taxis to the Diner when they burst out of Propaganda or Bells at 3 a.m. Sunday brunch finds the place packed, and the eggs benedict ($6) with a pitcher of coffee is hard to beat ¦ although you will have to repeatedly ask for more of the miniscule packets of jam.Call ahead to see if the magician will be performing.
Where do Thai expats go to eat their native cuisine? The staff of the Thai Embassy goes to the Emerald Buddha, a beautifully decorated new restaurant just off Lubyanka Street.
Although pricey, the food is very good. We began with some Thai Singha beers ($3.50) and a platter of six assorted dishes. They were all good, the standouts being spicy grilled pork salad ($12), sweet-and-sour fried beef with vegetables ($24) and fried rolls with pork and vegetables ($12). These came with no less than four sauces in various degrees of spiciness.
According to the restaurant-s director, the Buddha is expensive because it imports everything it can. The nagging fact that there are cheap cafes on East Hollywood in L.A. that serve food as good or better doesn-t have much to do with Moscow, where there are few choices for Thai food.
This is no ordinary Yolki Palki, but harkens back to the difficult period of Russian history under the Tartar-Mongolian yoke. Apparently not much remains of that time in the collective consciousness, because the grill is always packed. Fill up your bowl (130r.) as high as you can at the long bar, which offers an assortment of meats (horse and heart included), vegetables and spices; then watch it sizzle on the giant wok. You can add a Coke for 15 rubles or a beer for up to 80 rubles ¦ for a big mug of import. The crowd can get thick at night, but the second wok has the line moving faster.
Look for a doorway with a quaint thatched roof. This place is big on setting, so staff are forced to wear costumes and dance around poles, and there is live music that sounds like what Bulgarian music should sound like. The cheese ¦ feta and Hungarian ¦ appetizers and lamb (ask for the one that arrives on friggin fire) dishes are a must. Dinner will set you back about $20. Have the waiter recommend a Bulgarian red wine T but don-t let him get carried away with the price. The preponderance of red in the interior design can encourage fighting among drunks.Good business lunch: 200 rubles; plus dessert, add 40 rubles.
Marco Polo Restaurant
The Marco Polo Restaurant serves Russian and European T with an emphasis on French T cuisine. Their new weekday business dinner for $20 includes a glass of red or white french wine. The selections from their fixed menu change regularly and are significantly cheaper than the regular menu.
For an entire pick out the fried pork steaks with mandarin sauce (the other two options were salmon with mustard sauce and rice basmati and spaghetti with red wine sauce and mushrooms). And for dessert, the delicious "cakes Rafaello" in Melba sauce over raspberry mousse with vanilla cream was a pleasant surprise.
There is also a business lunch from 12:00 to 5:00 ($10) with good-looking entrees like "pike-perch" and beef Stroganoff, and a buffet breakfast from 7:00 to 10:30 ($15).
Some of the best Georgian food in town.
The Khachapuri (120r.) ¦ bread baked with cheese inside ¦ is practically a meal in itself. Other excellent starters include eggplant wraps (80r.) and lobio po-Gruzinsky (70r.). All the shashlyks are good, but the sturgeon (180r.) with pomegranate sauce takes the art of shashlyking to a new level. Refusing the hostesses advice on what to order could put you in the dog house, so let her mother you.
Try a glass of Georgian wine (60r.), although
if you don-t like sweet reds, you may be disappointed. Those in the know insist that good Georgian wine died with the Soviet Union.
Officially closes at midnight, but certain items run out the later it gets, and the doorman will almost definitely berate you if you show up after 10:30. It wouldn-t be a real Georgian restaurant without the deafening Three Amigos band.
Noev Kovcheg T Noah-s Ark
There are 9 kinds of cognac to choose from.
The best of the cold appetizers is the cold lobio pate with beans and greek nuts, which comes with the assorted lobio plate (110 rubles). The scrumptious cheese plate (120 rubles) consists
of suluguni, chanakh and chechil, a homemade tangle of thread-thin milky cheese. Our other favorite was basturma and sujuk (180 rubles), sun-cured beef sprinkled with peppers along the edges.
There is a wide variety of shashlyk, from 330 rubles for pork to 430 rubles for large seafood, grilled in the center of the main hall, and each is good. Make sure to ask for the bitter-milk sauce with garlic and peppers.
There is a three-pronged system of discounts:
25 percent off before 6 p.m. every day; 30 percent off take out or delivery orders (delivery costs 100 rubles); and 15 percent for Americans with passports.
Brasserie du Soleil
Delicious French cuisine. Lovely interior ¦ light and modern. There are big, comfy chairs in the bar area. Business Lunch for $7.99, French wine included. Once, we were allowed to bring our own birthday cake.
There is something resassuring about restaurants that never change and remain reliable and dependable for years. The Canadian Moosehead bar, now under Russian management, is one of those. The same young happening professional Russian crowd, the same easy California food, the same 80-s music, and casual environment that has always been there. No face control, but none is needed in this relaxed, typical Canadian bar and restaurant. Live music Thursday through Saturday. The Mooshead chips (potato wedges) ($4) are hearty, but the salsa was too full of black pepper to taste remotely authentic. The chicken Caeser ($7) was practically devoid of lettuce, but the mushroom pasta ($7) was filling. Baltica and other beers for $3. Large portions.
A real European cafe. Delicious cakes, milkshakes, coffee. Laid back ¦ great place to sit and read on a rainy day, or relax after dinner with a glass of wine. Big windows, friendly staff.
The prices are reasonable and the attentive Hispanic manager makes sure that you leave satisfied. If you live near Profsoyuznaya or the end of Leninsky, it is worth a visit on a lazy evening.
Latin American Tuesdays with live music at midnight makes Papa John-s one of the most happening places on this day of the week in Moscow, even if young, 20-something women outnumber men four to one in the downstairs, spacious bar and club. Located under Johnny the Fat Boy-s pizza restaurant, the face control is non existant, but just in case they wake up, a bit of English will go a long way. A good place for pizza and dancing when the urge to boogie sets in. Lively atmosphere.
The food is the best Indian cuisine in Moscow (aside from the kefir Lassis) ¦ almost like homemade north Indian food, with less color, fewer spices and a strong variety of aromas. We chose the mixed vegetables, a yellow "daal" (lentils) with "tarka," and a chicken "tikka" with rice and an assortment of breads. The chicken tikka came on a sizzling platter like Mexican fajitas, but has a taste to beat any chicken dish in the world. The soft chicken pieces had been treated in a mild mix of Indian secret sauces before being baked in a Tandoor.The service is polite, though the management should feed the girls before they feed the customers, and they do not know chicken tandoori from boiled kangaroo meat. It is best to call in advance and get directions or simply take a cab.
Great Indian food and conveniently located, but more expensive than other Indian places and not necessarily far superior. Also, the portions could be bigger. Relaxing interior. Extremely welcoming staff, ready to help you order the best dishes. Excellent lassis. My favorite dahl makhani in town. TAKE OUT available.
Tucked away on a small side street on a hill (already romantic in this flat city), Il Pomodoro has a cozy atmosphere, but the food-s not as delicious as the setting is desirable, especially given the prices.
Drinks are fairly pricey but not unreasonable: 102 rubles for aperitifs. The appetizers are very good, the vegetables fresh.
We shared the mozzarella and tomato salad (229 rubles), the fresh champignons with parmesan cheese (306 rubles) and the beef carpaccio with parmesan cheese and rucola salad (204 rubles), which is excellent.The penne arrabbiata (204 rubles), a bit spicy, is tasty and the grilled salmon with lettuce sauce (459 rubles) superb.
Quality cappuccino (89.25 rubles).
For many years, we have depended on this place- one of Moscow-s best kept secrets, for cheap, large portions of pizza and soup. But a recent visit to the Ploschad Gagarina location turned out to be disappointing because the pizza crust crumpled into biscuit powder the moment we laid a knife on it.
They also need to serve Coke in long glasses. Short whiskey glasses with three cubes of ice do not contain the mandatory 250ml, thank you very much. We know that they know that. If you hear a good thing about the place, let us know and we will change this review.The Garden Ring location is a little better, although it took some pressure to make the waitress add olives to our martinis. I would stick to the pizza and not risk a foray into the other, rather mediocre dishes.
The clientele are all polite and professional, and the restaurant has quite a following among well-off Russians and Italians.
Keep asking for bruschetta if the waitresses do not provide it ¦ it-s free. Everything else is pricey, but worth every penny.
We ordered baked eggplant ($11) and grilled mushrooms ($6) along with fresh salad ($4). The portions were so hearty that we later regretted not sticking to the starters, which would have made an excellent meal in themselves.
Our beef fillet with radish salad ($25), covered with sliced Parmesan cheese, was tender and tasty. The penne pomodoro ($12) is a treat for vegetarians and lovers of cheese. All the dishes went well with the red wine.
Those who love the taste of slaughtered flesh must go to the second floor of Karmel. The beef carpaccio ($10) is a fantastic appetizer, as is the salad with fried forest mushrooms and vegetables (7$). Veal brains with two sausages ($7) come highly recommended.
The lamb ribs ($24) hit the spot quite nicely. Some other entree highlights are stewed rabbit with mashed potatoes ($16) and baby pig, "whole-baked" ($14).
The wine list offers Spanish, Italian and French red wines.
This restaurant may mark the beginning of a new fad, the swinging of the pendulum away from vegetarian meals, mineral water and no smoking.
The meat-heavy, greasy, hearty food is something Richard III might have sunk his fangs into before liquidating a family. A cauldron of strongly flavoured Scottish bean soup with bacon ($7) is a good antidote to Field Marshal Winter. The sea scallops wrapped in bacon ($8) are out of this world.
On the entree front, the "Famous Yorkshire Pudding" ($23) comes in a bowl made of bread as soft and moist as a pound cake, and the "Missis Biton Pot" ($12) is a tasty, greasy, home-baked cod with cheese, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Cool things down after the meat bloodbath with "From Distant Shores" ($7), a pineapple half filled with pieces of apple, pear, orange, kiwi and more.
The club Cabana also caters to the fifth sin, and portions are huge in its restaurant, decorated with a postmodern, South Pacific flair. The penne with vodka ($13) has an unusual roasted tomato and red pepper sauce. The sesame-crusted rack of lamb ($15) is fantastic. Clear your stomach and call 24 hours in advance for the whole roasted pig (market price). But if the thought of a whole pig makes you feel queasy, a waitress assured us the kitchen would do whatever it could to satisfy a vegetarian.
Su Si Pusi
An intimate, homey restaurant operated by a family. They assure us that "nothing is frozen!" For starters, five cheese balls ($2.50) and pancakes with red caviar ($6.75) caught our eye.
The fillet of pork, chicken or veal with house vegetables in sweet-and-sour sauce ($13.75) was beautiful to behold. According to the menu, the veal ($11.40) "jumps itself in your lips". The number of tables is limited, and we recommend you call and make a reservation.
Ideal for a quiet family meal.
The first restaurant in this complex, Babochka, or Butterfly, is light, full of windows, glass ceilings, wrought iron and stained glass, making this place into a picturesque winter garden big on atmosphere. Menu is filled with steadfast Russian favorites. An average meal will cost you about 1000 rubles. A second, small, homestyle restaurant around the back, U Babushki, looked cute but cramped and not worth the dough. Plus it-s got a refrigerator in the dining room. Menu and prices are the same for both restaurants.
This is a real Russian restaurant, decorated with plastic greenery and guys all in black. Mayonnaise and dill find the way into everything you order, but it-s tasty nonetheless. For a salad, try the "stolichny" (53 rubles) or "herring in a fur coat" (55 r.). Oily bowls of borshch and solyanka (in the 40s) won-t disappoint, and the "Dishes with beer" section rocks ¦ Baltika (36 r.). Entrees hover around 100 r. each, and highlights include the surreal and groundbeaking "Andalusian tongue," and an array of shashlyks.
Cutlet House (Kotleta Khaus)
We have been visiting this place for two years and never told anyone because we don-t want "foreigners" looking for bargains to spoil our fun. The managers of the establishment seem to be from a different, more exciting background, but they have done an excellent job in the catering industry as well.
We asked who actually hunted down the "Wild Boar" on the menu (as in Asterix and Obelix), and the young manager, excited at having "stranie inostrantsy" asking stupid questions, showed a good deal of humor, "Leave that to us. You should focus on food."
By far the best bargain on Leninsky. Dozens of visits here have never left us disappointed.
Dark and cozy interior, lots of wood. Backgammon available and desirable. Nice place to unwind and talk for hours. Check out the breakfasts ¦ cheap and tasty.
BUSINESS LUNCH for 115 rubles.
Hunter-s Memoirs Hall at Central House of Writers
The newly renovated 19th century establishment ¦ once a favorite haunt of literati from Maxim Gorki to Mikhail Bulgakov ¦ wraps its guests in tsarist luxury, magnificent appointments and immaculate service. From smoked beluga and quail julienne to ragout of wild boar and kangaroo shashlik, the menu ranges through an eclectic blend of European and traditional Russian cuisine augmented by distinctive Safari fare. I balked at my reflexive order of veal testicles when informed the entire calf must be sacrificed; it seemed less drastic measures could be taken to separate the animal from the delicacy.
No credit cards
This cozy restaurant decorated with giant wooden spoons and other folk doo-dads serves Russian cuisine with some unusual twists.
Start off with the mulled wine ($5) with lemon and cloves. The "Quasi una fantasia" salad ($8) with crab, cucumbers, apples, and oranges is excellent, and the "On this day God sent" salad ($7.60) with lightly salted salmon is also quite good. "Union of the sword and the plough" ($23), two plump pieces of sturgeon in potato shavings with cream sauce, is maddeningly delicious, with black and red caviar tucked into the fish like Cracker Jack prizes.
There very few tables, so it-s best to call ahead. $10 business lunch includes soup, salad, entree and tea or mors.
1, Red Square
This elegant restaurant recreates menus the Tsars enjoyed. Ancient Russian recipes you-ll find nowhere else! Relive the oppression of the masses!
Sinaya Ptitsa (Blue Bird)
Some 25 years ago, this was the most happening underground, government caf_ in Moscow. And it feels like that. With empty tables, there-s still plenty to do for the night owl who-s tired of sitting and eating. Pool tables, large screen video (you can bring your own) dancing, live music nightly, karaoke, and large screen Cosmos tv. And if all that fails, you can share your woes with the friendly bartenders.
The famous Savva Vukoev has started as manager, and his reputation precedes him. Yassir Arafat praised his culinary skill when he visited the restaurant armed to the hilt. An expert in Italian cuisine has also appeared in the kitchen. His research has produced salted fish on zuchini with mushrooms and herbs, veal in a Vitello Tonato tuna sauce, various types of pasta and many other dishes.
Excellent Russian and European cuisine at reasonable prices. A great place to get drunk po-Russky, i.e. with lots of zakusky, like pickles, garlic, mushrooms, etc. and chilled vodka.
The pirozhky, stuffed with mushrooms, cabbage and fish, are fresh and absorb the vodka well enough to keep you conscious just a little bit longer ¦ which could make all the difference. Beef Stroganoff and borsch always satisfy.
If the band is playing, you-ll have no conversation.
TRAM (Actors club)
Cozy two rooms made to look like film viewing rooms on ship. Charlie Chaplin movies, player piano, and lots of Russian famous actors hanging out from the next door Lencom Theater. Post-crisis menu from the owner of Drava. Funny named foods add a laugh, such as Captain Hook-s Oddesey (Cooked brains) .A free half-liter bottle of wine when two purchase restaurant-s $8 special meal.
This 24-hour all-you-can-eat, ecologically friendly Swedish smorgasborg, or Shvetsy Shtol, (cold buffet) has candles on the table, wooden plats on the ceiling, and bird music in the background. It-s $9, 55-item buffet and post-crisis menu ($4 business lunch, $6 buffet with entree) makes it one of the best deals in town. It-s buffet includes big pots of soup, sushi, a variety of salads, entrees, and deserts. A huge tv for all of Moscow-s insomiacs. A great place for taking clients for a quick meal-quiet music and fast service.
Katerina Hotel Bar and Restaurant
Feels a bit like a country club, very light and airy¦you may wonder where the tennis shop is. There are no courts, but there are tables with umbrellas outside. Business Lunch Monday through Friday, noon till 4:00pm, provides three options: soup and salad buffet for 150 rubles, soup and salad buffet plus one (often of the Swedish variety) entree for 250 rubles, and soup and salad buffet plus a grander option for 350 rubles. Buffet a good deal for good food; fresh veggies, fabulous bread. There is also a limited bar menu that includes a great club sandwich for 250 rubles. Watch the drinks, they make it hard to spend less than 10 dollars. See if you can convince them to give you filtered water for free. Sometimes they offer it; sometimes they play dumb.
Any criticism I have of the place disappears in summer, as it is the best place to go for a drink after work ¦ the summer cafe is always packed. Despite the winter cold, you can still enjoy sitting outside under heatlamps and plaid, wool blankets. Maybe the staff will even lend you a Scandinavian windbreaker.
Generally overpriced, but usually worth it. The hamburger is delicious (though $11), salmon dishes a solid choice, the steaks usually good.
Don-t be fooled by the peanuts: They are not free.
The Coffee Bean
Here is your West Coast coffee shop beamed to Moscow. Despite the city-s abundance of Cafes, there are very few places to lounge around and sip some nice coffee and/or variations thereof.
Instead of cheap vodka and stale pirogi, you can have Viennese coffee (40 rubles), a latte (62 rubles) or the humungous megacappuccino (88 rubles), which in its giant cup, will make you feel like you-re Alice in Wonderland.
We don-t understand the connection between the Last Supper and a giant cup of coffee implied in the large mural on the upper level.
Finally, OK T-shirts, but like everywhere else here, they-re in English.
Zen Coffee, ¦ located across from the MKHAT theater on Kamergersky Pereulok ¦ is where you can step out of the bustle, grime and cold of the metropolis and find sanctuary in warm, pastel-colored ambiance. Reward yourself with a cup of spiritual comfort. Zen coffee offers dark, potent espresso, cappuccino, latte and other coffee drinks. The coffee, arriving in Moscow from three continents, is expertly selected as well as professionally brewed.
The interior offers aquariums, a bridge, waterfall, spiral staircase, ship-s throttle and much more. It-s a McDonald-s Playland for adults with live music and ¦ in keeping with the latest Moscow rage ¦ a sushi bar. The food does not quite live up to the price, and for around $50 a head, you-ve got a right to impose high standards.
The menu weighs as much as a book, representing cuisine from all over the world ¦ from Bouillabaise to "Texas Style" Steak to the Tsar-s Starter, and some of these dishes may be excellent. The staff says that the Spaghetti "Crab House" ($35) is very popular. Seafood is still flown in from America, Canada and France despite the crisis crunch.
Business lunch ($10) from 12 to 4 p.m.; live music nightly.