Budget

Where Cheaper is Better

by Colleen Clark

Restaurants in Moscow

The price of a meal in Moscow has ballooned faster than an oligarch's bank account since non-state-run restaurants started opening up in the late 1990s. And disconcertingly, the city's conspicuous consumers seem happy to pony up for food that's big in price tag yet small in flavor. You didn't come all the way to Russia to pay $350 a head for subpar sushi and insipid French fare. Especially not when there's a range of affordable Russian nostalgia food that tastes better and exposes you to cuisines from throughout the former Soviet republics. Squeeze in among the young Muscovites at jewel box Cafe Khachapuri for a delicious lesson on the foods of Georgia, from the piping-hot cheese-filled bread after which the restaurant is named ($9) to tangy eggplant rolls dipped in an earthy garlic-walnut sauce ($9). Or indulge in budget-friendly Soviet dishes like rib-sticking pelmeni dumplings drenched in sour cream ($3) or chilled beet-and-herring salad ($2) at the canteen-style Stolovaya No. 57. You're expected to clear your tray just like the rest of your comrades, who might include government officials, babushkas, and young professionals on their lunch break. That little post-Soviet cultural experience comes free of charge.

Cafe Khachapuri
10 Bolshoi Gnezdnikovsky side street
Moscow, Russia
Tel: 7 495 629 6656

Stolovaya No. 57
GUM department store
3 Red Square
Moscow, Russia
Tel: 7 495 620 3129

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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