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. Gusyatnikoff

    $$$$ | Eastern Outskirts | Russian

    Feast on exquisite traditional Russian fare in what was once (and still feels like) a private mansion. On the four floors, there are spaces...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. Shinok

    $$$$ | Western Outskirts | Eastern European

    Meals at Moscow's best Ukrainian restaurant often include a plate of assorted salo— a specialty of cured pork fat. If such traditional country...Read More

  • 4. Buono

    $$$$ | Western Outskirts | Italian

    It's all about the view atop this Stalin-era skyscraper that also houses the Radisson Royal hotel. The cuisine takes few chances, hewing to...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. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. L'Albero

    $$$$ | Northern Outskirts | Italian

    This is one of the few truly excellent Italian restaurants in a city full of pretenders. Brand chef Nicola Canuti is a pupil of French great...Read More

  • 9. Les Menus Par Pierre Gagnaire

    $$$$ | Arbat | European

    French Michelin-star holder Pierre Gagnaire has created dishes, such as lobster with mango sorbet, that can seem almost fanciful, and they're...Read More

  • 10. Metropol

    $$$$ | Kremlin/Red Square | European

    Recalling the splendor of prerevolutionary Russia, the opulent interiors of the Metropol hotel's grand dining hall are a stunning memorial to...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. U Pirosmani

    $$$$ | Southern Outskirts | Russian

    Copies of works by namesake Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani decorate the whitewashed walls that, along with wood-paneled ceilings, create the...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. CDL

    $$$$ | Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya | Russian

    Inside this elegant mansion is one of the city's most beautiful dining rooms—and one of the best places to sample authentic Russian cuisine...Read More

  • 16. Gingko by Seiji

    $$$$ | Kremlin/Red Square | Asian

    The Moscow Ritz-Carlton's flagship restaurant, Gingko, is a cool and collected pan-Asian place with an emphasis on Japanese cuisine. With a...Read More

  • 17. The Most

    $$$$ | Kremlin/Red Square | French

    Set off by red velvet curtains, with lush furniture and intricately gilded walls, The Most feels like a royal drawing room. And indeed, it is...Read More

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