Food is one of the most important components in getting to know a new culture – or discovering new sides of your own. When I was growing up, there were not many restaurants in Russia, and dining out was definitely not something you did casually. Discovering the restaurant scene in Moscow was on top of my to-do list during my 5-day stay there.
I received a lot of recommendations both from my friends living in Moscow and those who visited Moscow recently. I did not have a chance to check out all of them in the 5 days I’ve been there, so I need to go back soon.
I just want to mention that I am very bad at planning restaurant visits – anything that requires a reservation months in advance is probably not going to happen because I will be to lazy, forget, etc. I love restaurants that offer an online booking system which makes it easier for lazy people like me to get on board.
Voted one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, this restaurant can boast a prime location on the 16th floor of Smolenski Passage. The views from the paneled glass dome are magnificent, the interior is lovely and the food – modern Russian cuisine – is creative and delicious. The evening here is an experience: watching the city fade away as the sun goes down and come back to life with thousands of lights after dark.
The restaurant is a bit tricky to find: first, you might get distracted by the shopping center in the entrance and then you have to go through the business center and change the elevator twice. The quest is worth it, in my opinion. The prices are still quite reasonable (at least compared to prices in Luxembourg), expect to pay around €60 for a dinner for 2, although wine is very expensive (like almost everywhere else).
An alternative to White Rabbit in terms of views is located on the top floor of Ukraina hotel. This restaurant is part of the Ginza project that emerged in St. Petersburg in 2003 and became an international holding with restaurants in St. Petersburg, Moscow, London, New York and other international locations.
I didn’t manage to go there, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, so it’s definitely on my list for the next Moscow visit.
Another restaurant by the Ginza project is located on the Yakimanskaya embankment. The lush green setting of the restaurant gives you a feeling of taking a meal in the garden (сад/sad in Russian) no matter the weather conditions outside.
The chef Adrian Quetglas, one of the few Michelin-star chefs in Moscow, is responsible for a diversified menu with Spanish, Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisines. The food is – I am repeating myself – delicious, healthy and beautifully presented.
Grand Café Dr. Zhivago
A perfect place for a breakfast on day one of discovering Moscow with a view on the Red Square and an extensive breakfast menu with everything your heart desires from porridge over eggs to syrniki (Russian cottage cheese balls). Since we came here specifically for brekky, I honestly cannot even say what else is on the main menu, but Dr. Zhivago has been my aesthetic hightlight in Moscow’s gastronomic world. This place has such an immaculate design it’s worth visiting just for that: white walls contrast with red seats, red bar table and red wineglasses. The waitresses look absolutely perfect in their stylish uniforms accentuated with dark red lipstick. I could never look that perfectly put together.
There’s no fish (Рыбы нет)
A (relatively) new steak house just a stone’s throw away from the Red Square, this restaurant is a paradise for meat-lovers. Don’t even cross the door if you are vegetarian or vegan, the motto here is meat only! The restaurant offers an impressive choice of best cuts, including dry-aged beef. My friend was actually attracted by the hams displayed in the windows of the restaurant.
What I found difficult is the fact that most of the steaks are served by weight (which is nothing unusual), however, the smallest potential dry-aged ribeye steak is in the roundabouts of 800 gramm. Of course, you can share, but even then the portion is tremendous. The steaks are accompanied by a bunch of greens, all sides are extra. Wine (surprise, surprise!) is expensive – I found one of my favorites on the list and paid about as much for a (not exactly big) glass as I usually do for a bottle in the supermarket at home. Be prepared for a bill of EUR 70 if you opt for a less fancy piece of meat or over EUR 100 if you opt for the humongous dry-aged steak.
Another drawback of the restaurant was the noise level. I could hardly hear my friend who was sitting just next to me. If you are after a quiet evening with a glass or two of wine, this would not be my first choice.
Do you have any recommendations for my next visit as well?