Russians love to cook out in the summer — particularly the grilled meat kebabs called shashlik. Shashlik can be made with practically any kind of meat, either by itself or with vegetables and mushrooms. The meat is premarinated, threaded on a skewer and grilled.
If you don't have a dacha, the best place to cook shashlik is in a picnic zone in one of Moscow's many parks. Most of them have special picnic zones regulated by the city's Department of Wildlife and Environmental Protection that contain all the necessary equipment for grilling. Shashlik can be cooked only on the grills provided, using coal and not firewood. Cooking on your own grill can result in a 5,000 ruble ($92) fine while cooking over an open fire gets a fine of 4,500 rubles ($83).
This park, with its large swimming area, is a lovely place to spend a day. The picnic zone at Serebryany Bor includes 22 grills in an area dubbed “Picnic Valley.” There are also three picnic zones near Bezdonnoye Lake
The picnic zone at Serebryany Bor faces the Moscow river and also features covered areas with tables, benches and trash cans. After eating, you can enjoy table tennis, volleyball, basketball and soccer, or rent a bike and take a ride through paths lined with pine trees.
A day-long rental of a grill and tent (from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.) costs 8,000 rubles ($150)
Getting there: Trolleybus No. 21 or minibus No. 190 from the Polezhayevskaya metro station; minibus No. 593 from the Polezhayevskaya or Belorusskaya metro stations.
Click here for more information or call 495-789-2570 or 929-999-0415
Sokolniki Park in northeastern Moscow, one of the city's biggest and oldest recreation areas, has two picnic zones with grills and two special “Finnish houses” for barbecuing. Grilling spaces go for 6,00 rubles ($110) for four hours and are booked way in advance. Make sure and call ahead to get the place you want!
Getting there: Exit from the Sokolniki metro station.
Click here for more information or call 985-770-2762
This park in southeastern Moscow is known for its 19th century buildings and petting zoo. There are four picnic zones here with grills, tents, chairs and tables that can accommodate about 60 people and be used free of charge.
One is near the Shibayevsky pond, where visitors can also fish or rent a boat and another is near the petting zoo, where children can roam while their parent cook the meal and relax.
Getting there: Exit from the Kuzminki metro station, head towards the Visota cinema. It's about a 2 km walk.
Click here for more information or call 499-739-2705
Kolomenskoye Museum and Preserve
Kolomenskoye, the musem and nature preserve complex in Moscow's southeast is another pleasant place to spend an afternoon. The park includes many historic buildings, such as the 16th century Church of the Resurrection.
The picnic zone is located by the river and has grills and tents to accommodate about 30 people.
Visitors here can enjoy a beautiful view of the Moscow River and take a tour of the park.
Getting there: Exit from the Kolomenskoye metro and turn right.
Click here for more information or call 499-782-8917
This park in the city's east offers numerous activities for relaxing on a summer afternoon. Visitors can rent bikes, try the ropes course in the “Panda Park,” or go horseback riding.
There are several picnic zones with grills and large tables. They are located at Terletsky park on the corner of Metallurgov street and Terletsky proezd and along the Glavnaya alley on the shore of Oleniy pond. There are also picnic zones by 16 Parkovaya street and alonge Chechulina street.
Getting there: Exit from metro stations Ismailovskaya, Partizanskaya or Shosse Entuziastov
Click here for more information or call 499-166-6119
Kuskovo park is famous as the 18th century estate of the Sheremyetev family. The estate includes a landscaped park with sculptures, ponds and gardens. Classical music concerts are also frequently organized there.
Kuskovo's picnic zone has about 20 tents and grills, and it is safer to reserve them in advance. You can also order marinated meat from a local restaurant that will be delivered ready-to-cook to your grill.
From metro Vikhino, take bus #620 or marshrutka 9M to “Muzey Kuskovo”
From metro Novogireevo, take trolleybus 64 or bus 615 or 247 to “Ulitsa Unosti”
Getting there: From metro Ryazansky Prospekt, take bus #133, #208 to “Muzey Kuskovo”
Click here for more information or call 495-375-3131