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RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS AND BARS IN MOSCOW




Although eating out was a rare privilege during the Soviet era, and, in the years immediately after perestroika (restructuring), an unaffordable luxury, Russia has been experiencing something of a restaurant boom in recent years. New places open and close every week and include anything from cheap student cafés to excl u sive s u shi restaurants. All the major cuisines are represented including Russian and modern European, Indian and Chinese, as well as restaurants serving dishes from former Soviet Republics, such as Georgia, Armenia and Uzbek. The hungry visitor should have little trouble finding a place that matches his or her appetite and budget. The following pages will help to locate some of the best-quality food and most exciting cuisine on offer in all price categories. A detailed review of selected restaurants is provided on pages 184–9, and ideas for light meals on pages 190–91.

WHERE TO EAT



Most of Moscow’s better known restaurants are to be found in central Moscow; most, therefore, are relatively easy to reach by metro. Tverskaya ulitsa  has the highest concentration and variety of restaurants, from Russian and Georgian to Italian and Japanese, as well as a now ubiquitous branch of McDonald’s . There is also plenty of choice along Ulitsa Arbat  and, on Triumfalnaya ploshchad, Russkoe Bistrois one of many popular new chains offering fast food Russian style.

READING THE MENU

In restaurants specializing in international cuisine, the menu is usually in Russian and English, or available separately in English. Waiting staff speak English in most restaurants geared towards foreigners. In smaller, local eateries, a knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet will help with deciphering the menu, as many ingredients are phonetic transcriptions of their English equivalents.

TYPES OF CUISINE



There are surprisingly few good, exclusively Russian restaurants in Moscow. Russians have never made a habit of dining out, nor has Russian cuisine ever enjoyed the reputation of, say, French or Italian. Much of the best Russian food is either wholesome dishes and soups from recipes passed down from generation to generation, or cured and salted fish, as well as caviar, for which preparation is more important at its source, as opposed to in restaurants. Georgian or Armenian cooking, both of which are delicious and relatively inexpensive, are a better option. Mediterranean and other Western European restaurants, especially Italian ones, are now increasingly popular in Moscow. Chinese and Indian food is generally overpriced, bland and of variable quality. There are a few excellent Asian restaurants, however, particularly Japanese, with sushi being the most fashionable cuisine of the past decade in Moscow. Prices are high as the city is utterly landlocked and fresh fish has to be flown in daily.

WHAT TO DRINK

Vodka is the alcoholic drink most often associated with Russia. However, in the years since perestroika beer has become more widely available as an accompaniment to meals. Most restaurants now offer imported and local beer on tap, along with a variety of bottled beers. Russian beer is light and generally very good. Imported beer is often overpriced. The better European restaurants have commendable wine lists, to book ahead whenever possible. However, some of the most popular Georgian and Caucasian restaurants do not take reservations and these can be busy, especially at weekends.



RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS AND BARS IN MOSCOW RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS AND BARS IN MOSCOW Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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