It's no problem finding good food and drink in Moscow these days. In fact, the problem is choosing where to go, and whether you want Indian, Chinese, traditional American, or just good old Russian. But the wide gap between the top and bottom ends of the market and the relative shortage of places in between means that good, affordable restaurants are usually full in the evenings, so reserving in advance is advised. Most cafés serve food, at much lower prices than full-blown restaurants, and seldom require bookings. Small rock clubs and bars also tend to offer excellent food at amazingly cheap prices.
Although foreign cuisine does dominate, an increasing number of places pride themselves on offering traditional Russian meals. Russian food is rather straightforward, and seems to involve a lot of vinegar, but can be very tasty and filling when well prepared.
Most important of all are zakuski – small hors d’oeuvres eaten as a snack or as a light meal in themselves and essential to the taking of the national drink, vodka. Russians do not, on principle, drink anything without nibbling, not even tea. And whilst tea can be accompanied by just biscuits or chocolates, vodka must have salted herring with onion or pickled cucumbers. For the brave, there is pickled garlic too. Try selyodka pod shuboy, or herring "in a fur coat", and of course caviar (ikra), the red kind being much saltier than the more expensive black.
In the summer, try cold soups such as bortsch or okroshka – both very light and unique to Russia. Vegetarian food is hard to find, but cafés are increasingly offering alternatives to the hearty meat-based offerings that tend to dominate. Caucasian restaurants tend to have more vegetarian dishes, such as lobio (spicy bean stew), or aubergine stuffed with walnuts.
Malaya Bronnaya ul. 21/13., Mayakovskaya metro, Moscow, Russia
Russian/European Cuisine. Open daily from 10.00am to 10.00pm
Novodevichy Proyezd 4, Moscow, Russia
Much-loved and long-established Georgian eatery with real Caucasian food (try the lobio – bean stew) and a nice view. Average.
Opening hours: Daily 1pm–11pm.
Moscow Bolshaya Sodovaya # 16, Moscow, Russia
Russian Cuisine. We at Starlite strive to extend the Diner heritage through our commitment to provide you with a unique and satisfying experience in food, service and fun. So… stop by, sit back, relax and enjoy the experience of Starlite Diner!
12a, Tchistoprudny Parkway, Moscow, Russia
Russian/French cuisine. Daily musical program, lunch specials and happy hour. Opening hours: daily 12:00 – 24:00.
Mira Prospekt Avenue, 48, Moscow, Russia
American and European cuisine (Fast Food). Opening hours: daily 01:00 – 12:00.