The beautiful Zamoskvorechye district in central Moscow, Russia is a combination of ancient traditions and modern re-imagination. After taking a stroll in the streets steeped in history, reward yourself with exceptional food. Here are the best places to go.
Just like Moscow, Muzey is a mix of classics and modernity. The sleek interior, contemporary art pieces on the walls, and speedy service makes this a great spot for business lunches and private celebrations alike. The restaurant’s menu contains Italian, Russian and Pan-Asian dishes. You can order anything from black truffles, beef tartare or wasabi prawns to a variety of pizzas and sushi. An extensive wine menu from both old and new worlds ensures a perfect complement to any culinary choice. Tea in Muzey is also highly recommended – it is prepared by a specially trained tea master.
At night it is impossible to miss Café Maestro – thousands of fairy lights adorning the building from outside draws the eye and lures customers in. Inside, the cafe is more like a restaurant spread over three floors and two terraces with its white linen and large comfortable chairs. A simple dinner could turn into an entertaining evening with regular live singers in a traditional Russian style. Local Muscovites rave about the place, particularly praising meat dishes for their tenderness and presentation.
For jazz lovers and accidental passers-by, Esse Jazz Café is a sophisticated place to spend an evening in. Make sure to book a table in advance as the cafe gets packed in the evenings for regular live music acts, both from Russia and abroad. Understated elegant interiors with brick walls and curtains everywhere you look creates an intimate and enchanting atmosphere. This is fitting for one of Moscow’s leading jazz spots. The no-fuss menu features fish and meat dishes, with an emphasis on desserts. The dessert options include pear in a kataifi coating, baked apple with dried apricots or a strawberry cappuccino.
Named after a fictional character of Astrid Lindgren’s Karlsson-on-the-Roof, Karlson is a fitting name as the restaurant is located on a rooftop. This excellent terrace with glass walls, beautiful ceilings and seating outside, offers magnificent views of Moskva River, the Kremlin, and the Zamoskvorechye area. An open kitchen that is housed in the middle of the modern and cozy Karlson serves not only as a distraction, it also highlights the gastronomic anticipation of Mediterranean classics. These always arrive as beautifully presented as they are delicious.
From the outside, Chugunny Most Bar and Bistro looks like a pretty cafe with flowerbeds and dainty seats. Inside, the interior is as pleasing to the eye as the food. Everything arrives meticulously presented and the color palette on the plate will cheer you up even on a rainy day. The menu choices are unusual, but well thought out. Attention to detail is evident in Chugunny Most. It’s best to order a few starters as finger food to share – popcorn shrimp, corn-fried fries or mini crispy pizzas.
Housed in a restored former merchant’s residence with its genuine mercantile furnishing, the charming Oblomovrestaurant sprawls through three impressive floors. On the first floor, diners are welcome to enjoy excellent coffee made from specialty beans roasted in-house. The second floor serves European and Russian dishes, and the third floor is where customers can relax, read or play cards with friends while smoking a hookah. In warmer months, you can also wander into the garden that serves traditional Russian barbecue from an authentic Russian stove.
For an atmosphere of calm and relaxation, head to Villa Rosa – an elegant Italian villa in a two-storey Moscow mansion from the mid-19th century. This upmarket restaurant near Kremlin oozes comfort and is an excellent example of Russian fine dining experience. Crystal chandeliers, high ceilings, fine china, and soft background music set the scene for a Mediterranean menu. It focuses heavily on seasonal vegetables and diverse fish and shellfish dishes – octopus, mussels, oysters, turbot, sea bass, and sturgeon. Whatever you’re in the mood for, they’ve probably got it.
Located near Serpuhkovskaya Metro Station, Lemoncello is a restaurant with a sophisticated and sleek interior. It’s a perfect place for a quick or not-so-quick rendezvous. Lemoncello pride themselves on delicious homemade soup and pasta dishes and thin-crust pizzas. A bottle of wine to accompany any dish can be chosen from a primarily Italian-oriented wine menu. This place is intimate and cozy with a no-nonsense atmosphere, high-quality food, and relatively inexpensive prices – for Moscow. All this combines to create the perfect excuse for an evening out any day of the week.
Palate Nu Café has an urban feel with differently themed rooms, from sports and nautical, to pop culture and The Beatles. Flat-screen TVs on its arched walls offer sport games and arthouse movies. But Palati is not just about the gimmicks – the Russian menu on offer is unpretentious yet delicious. The bar menu features classic cocktails, a solid selection of draught and bottled beers, and a variety of spirits and liqueurs. This is a great place for a business lunch, if you are seeking something a little bit different from a traditional choice.
Found on the second floor of the Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy, Acapella Restaurant & Lounge are strong believers in promoting locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and organic food. The eco-friendly and seasonal menu offers explanations for lesser-known dishes. They also present bits of information about suppliers and ingredients. Diners can also choose from a variety of local wines and drinks made using organic fruit and vegetables. Customers can experience affordable exquisite meals surrounded by an interior mirroring the menu by focusing on a harmonious combination of colors and sections.