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. Hachapuri

    $ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    This modern chain of cafes shares a name with Georgia's most beloved culinary export, a crispy pie filled with a creamy, tangy cheese (six varieties...Read More

  • 2. Pavilion

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    If you've ever wondered how Soviet officials dined, head to this retro eatery in an old mansion with views onto Patriarch's Ponds, immortalized...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Café Pushkin

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    In a mansion meant to recall the days when the writer Pushkin stolled the 19th-century avenues of Moscow, staff members dress like household...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Chekhonte

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    The modern takes on Russian classics served in chic, contemporary surroundings in the InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya are truly inventive...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Donna Klara

    $$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Café

    The menu consists mostly of classic Continental salads, sandwiches, and other light fare, though the real attraction is the pastry case, which...Read More

  • 11. Fresh

    $ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Vegetarian

    The minimalist interior isn't necessarily welcoming, but this a great place for a quick, healthy lunch near the city sights. There are lots...Read More

  • 12. Galereya

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | European

    Most nights of the week, large Mercedes, Hummers, and Bentleys are parked outside this place, one of Moscow's hippest restaurants, owned by...Read More

  • 13. Mari Vanna

    $$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    Find the unmarked entrance, ring the right doorbell, and you will be taken back half a century to an idealized Soviet home. It could be Red...Read More

  • 14. Pizza Express

    $ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Italian

    This British pizza chain has slowly cornered the market for inexpensive Italian fare in Moscow with several branches. The Tverskaya location...Read More

  • 15. Scandinavia

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Scandinavian

    One of the most serene dining rooms in the city, with comfortable wooden chairs and upholstered benches, also has a nice terrace and beer garden...Read More

  • 16. Starlite Diner

    $ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | American

    This chain scattered throughout Moscow serves sandwiches and burgers in brightly lit 1950s settings and is popular with late-night workers,...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Varvary

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Tverskaya | Russian

    Anatoly Komm, the only Russian chef to receive a Michelin star (it was at a restaurant in Geneva), has returned home to present his innovative...Read More

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