Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
Shchit i Mech (Shield & Sword)
“Resembles a museum to local security forces, with tons of memorabilia; unbelievably inexpensive.”—Nathan Toohey, restaurant reviewer, The Moscow Times. Located near Lubyanka Square, site of the former prison and KGB headquarters; old fashion, no-frills Russian food in a kitsch-filled setting. Bolshaya Lubyanka Ulitsa 13/16; tel. 7 495 622 4446.
“An old-fashion, unassuming café. Not much to look at but serves fantastic grilled meats and vegetables.”—Sergey Parkhomenko, food columnist, Kommersant Weekend. Popular with Moscow’s Azeri community; be prepared to wait for a table. Krasnoproletarskaya Ulitsa 14; tel. 7 499 978 9450.
“Simple but stylish restaurant opened by the first Uzbek celebrity chef.”—Sergey Parkhomenko. Kitchen run by Stalik Khankishiev, author of a best-selling BBQ book; whitewash walls, dark wood floor, and Uzbek textiles; menu featuring plov (rice pilaf), shashlyk (kebabs), and other slow-cooked eastern fare; located in the basement of Dom Kino. Vasilievskaya Ulitsa 13; tel. 7 495 654 2122.
“The menu’s longer than a Tolstoy novel, but you’re better off sticking to the basics: khachapuri, lobio, and shashlyk.”—Irakli Iosebashvili, editor, Moscow Guide. Excellent, affordable Georgian food; located on a stationary three-story ship anchored on the banks of the Moscow River. Frunzenskaya Naberezhnaya 6; tel. 7 495 201 7743.
“The best homemade Russian-style pies in town.”—Nathan Toohey. A quaint old-fashioned café famous for its sweet and savory pastries; walls adorned with black and white photos; cozy interior encourages lingering. Malaya Pirogovskaya Ulitsa 16; tel. 7 495 246 0632. www.stolle.ru
“Who says they never heard of hamburgers in Moscow?”—Irakli Iosebashvili. Old-fashioned American-style diner with linoleum countertops and plastic booths; popular with expatriate community; extensive breakfast menu; open 24 hours a day. Bolshaya Sadovaya Ulitsa 16; tel. 7 495 290 9638. www.starlite.ru
“Cheap Russian food in a kitschy, rustic, faux-barnyard setting.”—Irakli Iosebashvili. Country cottage decor; a massive buffet stocked with appetizers and fresh salads; additional locations all over the city. Neglinnaya Ulitsa 8/10; tel. 7 495 628 5525. www.elki-palki.ru
Filimonova & Yankel
“Their pickled herring with onions is the perfect companion to a cold shot of vodka.”—Irakli Iosebashvili. Contemporary seafood restaurant serving a dozen kinds of fish and shellfish; extensive wine list including wines by the glass. Two locations: Kievskaya Ploshchad 2; Tverskaya Ulista 23; tel. 7 495 223 0707.
“Designed to resemble a Soviet ministerial club, this place has specialty brewed beers and retro lounge acts.”—Nathan Toohey. Elegant apparatchik atmosphere, with high ceilings and brass-trim bar; engraved Soviet slogans provide ironic backdrop; simple Soviet-style fare. Bolshaya Lubyanka Ulitsa 5; tel. 7 495 628 2591.
“Tourists love the Ukrainian countryside setting and the old-fashioned cooking.”—Sergey Parkhomenko. Country-cottage interior set around a glass-enclosed farmyard; wait staff in colorfully embroidered folk costumes; Ukrainian specialties include vareniki (dumplings), borscht (beet soup) and other peasant fare. Ulitsa 1905 Goda 2; tel. 7 495 255 0204. www.shinok.ru
“Go for the khachapuri po adzharsky, oblong cheese breads with a fried egg in the middle. Delicious!”—Irakli Iosebashvili. Interior evokes the Caucasian countryside, with grapevines hanging from the ceiling and a huge stone fireplace; often cited as the city’s best Georgian restaurant. Ulitsa Bolshaya Polyanka 42/2; tel. 7 495 238 2888. www.suliko.ru/
“Divans, hookah pipes, cushions, bellydancers, and some very good Uzbek food, including expertly fried kebabs.”—Irakli Iosebashvili. One of the city’s oldest restaurants, dating to 1951; serves Central Asian fare in exotic environs, reminiscent of an Oriental palace. Neglinnaya Ulitsa 29; tel. 7 495 623 0585. www.uzbek-rest.ru
“One of the only Russian chefs to receive a Michelin star. Bring a wheelbarrow full of money.”—Irakli Iosebashvili. Unique in Moscow for its menu of molecular cuisine; formal service; exclusive atmosphere. Kutuzovsky Prospekt 12; tel. 7 495 725 5575. www.anatolykomm.ru
The original haute russe restaurant, serving bliny (crêpes) stuffed with caviar; thick, hearty soups; sturgeon, salmon, and steaks drenched in rich sauces. The formal dining room and the wood-panel library both evoke a lavish 19th-century mansion; popular with tourists. Tverskoy Bulvar 26A; tel. 7 495 739 0033.
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