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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 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. Mu-Mu

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Fast Food

    Join the masses for pancakes and kebabs at this popular cafeteria-style chain. This location is just a block away from the Lubyanka, once the...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Volkonsky

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Bakery

    Moscow has waited years for the arrival of a sophisticated French-style bakery like this. In addition to the mouthwatering choice of pastries...Read More

  • 11. Yolki Palki

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Russian

    With hanging chickens and waitresses dressed in national costume, the decor at one of the first chain restaurants in Russia is more kitsch than...Read More

  • 12. Glamur

    $ | Kitai Gorod | Russian

    Café Glamur is nothing like the name suggests—instead of being posh, it is humble and homey, with a perpetually laughing host, lively keyboard...Read More

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