The multi-cultural nature of Russia‘s bustling capital is reflected in the mind-boggling array of food on offer in Moscow’s Tverskaya district, the capital’s geographical, cultural, and culinary heart. The chic main street is a tourist hot-spot; don’t forget to take a break from the elegant boutiques and dazzling architecture to refuel in one of the district’s fine restaurants.
Dessert at the Russian Seasons | Courtesy of The Russian Seasons
The Russian Seasons
The restaurant aims to modernize Russian classics, using only the finest ingredients to add flair to these traditional favorites. Knowledgeable staff are able to explain the menu, as well as where the ingredients have been sourced from. Prices tend towards the higher end of the spectrum, but the restaurant’s set menu offers a good value option for those wishing to gain a taste of this exquisite gastronomic experience. The set menu changes with the seasons to showcase the best and freshest of Russia‘s culinary scene. In autumn, for instance, enjoy Kamchatka crab with scallop ice cream and pike caviar, followed by reindeer tenderloin with cauliflower mash and milk mushrooms, in the elegantly plush setting of the Russian Seasons restaurant.
LavkaLavka, the brainchild of Boris Akimov, is a farming cooperative making its stamp on Russia‘s capital with its organic farmshops, cafe, and restaurant. Akimov’s impeccably high standards ensure only the finest quality, in-season, ingredients form the menu at the LavkaLavka restaurant. The founders strive to reinvigorate Russia’s food scene by using regional Russian produce to rediscover traditional recipes. The constantly changing array of dishes showcase the best of Russia’s seasons. Popular favorites are the pike burger, quail, or the rye pasta with deer and berries. Specific farmers that provided the ingredients in the menu are mentioned by name, which gives a truly personal feel to proceedings. The restaurant’s ethos stresses the importance of eco-farming, and every single product is created in an environmentally-friendly manner. The idyllic setting of the restaurant’s summer veranda also helps to cement LavkaLavka’s position as a culinary and natural paradise.
For those wishing to swap the occasionally heavy quality of Russian cuisine for a fresh taste of the ocean, look no further than Fish Market. The healthy menu hails from all four corners of the globe. Exotic sea delicacies are on offer with approximately 45 types of fresh fish and seafood, including everything from barramundi, to blue cod, to Canadian lobster, to goosefish, to sea urchin. The restaurant’s policy is to let the outstanding quality of the seafood speak for itself, without over-powering it with heavy, superfluous flavors. The serene and elegant atmosphere of this Fish Market makes it the perfect choice for romantic getaways.
Arguably the most famous of all Moscow food haunts is Café Pushkin with its haute-Russe cuisine. The restaurant’s gourmet twists on classic Russian favorites provide an exquisite fusion of French and Russian cookery. For the authentic experience, diners should opt for the Russian pancakes with black caviar, or borscht (beetroot soup) to start, followed by pelmeni (Russian dumplings), or the baked sturgeon in caviar sauce. Those with a sweet tooth are in luck, as Café Pushkin is famed for its divine desserts. Guests are transported back in history by the stunning architecture of the restaurant’s 19th century building, designed to resemble a typical Russian aristocratic home at the time. Live music by string quartets, or harp and flute duos, only serves to enhance the already enchanting feel.
A trip to Russia is incomplete without trying its adopted ‘national’ cuisine. Jon Joli, meaning ‘marinated flower buds’ in Georgian, aims to tantalize the taste buds with the mouth-watering flavors and exotic spices of traditional Georgian dishes. Diners can also enjoy Jon Joli’s impressive range of traditional teas or become connoisseurs in the world famous quality of Georgian wine. The restaurant welcomes guests with the warm aromas of freshly baked pastry and has the homely feel of a grandmother’s kitchen. Jon Joli also boasts of one of the largest summer pavilions in Moscow, covered in lush greenery.
For those wishing to spend a little less lavishly, without having to compromise on taste, Khachapuri is the ideal option. Named after the nation’s famous bread dish, this Georgian restaurant offers fantastic flavors at reasonable prices. All the classic dishes are available and diners can also enjoy one of Khachapuri’s selection of draught beers and bottled ciders. The good value for money and diverse menu make Khachapuri a favorite with the locals and its bustling atmosphere, contemporary decor, and outdoor terrace, lend the restaurant a lively feel.
Named in honor of the famous Russian playwright, this superb restaurant celebrates all things Russian. The menu at Café Chekhov is dominated by traditional favorites, and the restaurant’s commitment to using only the highest quality ingredients ensures that this foray into Russian cuisine will only leave you wanting more. We recommend starting with either the mushroom and cheese Julienne or borscht, followed by salad ‘Olivier’ with salmon and red caviar, then the mouth-watering beef stroganoff. or golubtsi (stuffed cabbage leaves). The restaurant mixes plush interiors and delicate presentation with traditional Russian cooking to create an elegant atmosphere. Café Chekhov is tucked a few streets away from the landmark Bolshoi Theatre.
Restaurants such as Fresh have begun to spring up in Moscow to repair the vegetarian gap in the city’s culinary scene. Fresh’s menu is focused on bringing exciting, bold flavors to their vegetarian dishes. Bland is simply not an option here. The menu offers a whole host of cuisines from around the world including Mexican quesadillas, Japanese rolls, and American burgers. The exotic flavor combinations of Fresh’s excellent range of smoothies and juices, such as grapefruit with beetroot and ginger, are also tempting options. Fresh’s ethos promotes healthy eating, without sacrificing on taste, and the ingredients, as the name suggests, are always of the freshest, highest quality.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the Tverskaya metro station, this restaurant couldn’t be more central. But its location, tucked away in a quiet side-street, sets it apart from the tourist traps of Moscow’s main street. Thanks to the wonderful tree-lined balcony, giving guests the option of al-fresco dining, Scandinavia is a veritable oasis in the midst of this bustling city. The à la carte menu offers a whole host of Scandinavian-inspired delicacies including loin of reindeer with potato crêpe and blackcurrant sauce, succulent elk carpaccio, exquisitely cooked pike perch, and of course, all the forms of herring imaginable. The drinks menu is excellent too, and Scandinavia’s serene atmosphere makes it the perfect spot to sit outside sipping a cold beer or wine during the balmy Moscow summer.