Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops open - and close - throughout the year, but there is usually a bit of a flurry of new places opening up after the summer break. Here are our picks for the best of the new fall crop.
Best Brasserie: Masters & Margaritas
The name is, of course, a reference to the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, “The Master and Margarita,” as part of it takes place around the nearby Patriarch’s Ponds. The interior looks like a workshop from a steampunk film with various mysterious contraptions. The owners define “Masters & Margaritas” as a brasserie and a bar. There are plenty of snacks that go well with cocktails, like fried ricotta with cowberry sauce (350 rubles). But if you are looking for a proper meal, there are also main dishes, like the delicious chicken in green marinade (700 rubles). The cocktail menu focuses on inventive margaritas, like a bell pepper, apricot or even a smoked margarita (from 550 rubles).
2 Bolshoi Palashevsky. Metro Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya. http://mmbar.ru/
Best Pan Asian: Go East
Go East is one of the new ventures of Italian chef Uilliam Lamberti, whose name in Moscow is synonymous with good food. The chef at Go East is Mikhail Gerashchenko, who used to work with Lamberti at Ugolek, one of Moscow’s top restaurants. Poke seems to be Moscow’s latest craze, and Go East has a sub-menu of this Hawaiian dish of Japanese origin. Try poke with salmon and edamame (590 rubles) or the vegetarian option with tomatoes and avocado (390 rubles). If you’re into experiments, try an “open” sushi roll with all the ingredients set apart on a plate (with eel - 170 rubles) or udon noodles with Peking duck and purple cabbage (910 rubles). All orders come with excellent (and complimentary!) fried rice chips.
69 Ulitsa Bolshaya Gruzinskaya. Metro Belorusskaya. https://www.facebook.com/goeastmsk/
Best Cocktail Bar: Less Sugar Bar
The concept of Less Sugar Bar, or LSB, is just that: less sugar or, better, no sugar at all. Despite being tucked away in a corner of a courtyard in the Patriarch’s Ponds neighborhood, LSB quickly became a popular hangout among Moscow’s golden youth. The interior is minimalist, with lots of potted plants. The cocktail menu is divided into four sections based on the ingredients to sweeten the taste instead of sugar: honey, topinambur (aka Jerusalem artichoke, sunchoke) and agave syrups, as well as “experimental” ingredients. Try “Banana Stream,” which marries rum, aloe cordial and banana as a sweetener (600 rubles), or “Arnie” with bourbon, Fernet Branca and topinambur syrup (500 rubles).
24 Ulitsa Malaya Bronnaya, Bldg. 4. Metro Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya. facebook.com/Less.Sugar.bar
Best Coffee Spot: ChiP at Triumfalnaya
ChIP stands for Chelovek I Parokhod (The Man and the Steamship), a phrase penned by Russian avant-garde poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. The coffee spot ChIP has been around for some time. It started from a stall at Danilovsky market, then opened a stand at Streat (Avtozavodksaya), but now its excellent coffee drinks have finally come to the heart of the city. Coffee is brewed from beans ChIP roasts themselves. Get an espresso, a flat white or something more inventive, like cold coffee with kombucha (200 rubles). You can also order the famous Moskva cake, recognized as the official cake of the city (from 199 rubles).
Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in the stand across from the metro.
Best "New Russian”: Gorynych
Gorynych, named after a dragon from Russian fairy tales, was one of the most anticipated openings and doesn't disappoint. It is one of the rare collaborations between leading Moscow’s restaurateurs: the White Rabbit Family (Vladimir Mukhin and Boris Zarkov) on one side and Ilya Tutenkov on the other. It’s devoted to so-called “new Russian” cuisine: traditional dishes with a twist, a style of cuisine that is becoming more popular in Moscow. Located on the top floor of the Central market, Gorynych is quite spacious, with pseudo-Russian decorations and an open kitchen where you can see a traditional Russian oven that burns real wood. For starters, try one of the soups - cold beet soup with sorrel (410 rubles) or borscht with pastrami and smoked pear (480 rubles). Or go with a healthy snack, like a salad made of two types of lettuce and Brussels sprouts 410 (rubles). For the main we recommend veal cheek with barley and horseradish sauce (690 rubles) or beef ribs with cabbage and onion mousse (950 rubles).
1 Rozhdestvensky Bulvar. Metro Tsvetnoi Bulvar. http://gorynich.com/
Best Indian: Dalla Masala
Dalla Masala is new Indian restaurant with affordable prices, which is still a rarity in Moscow. The focus is on mixed rice biryani dishes, there are options with chicken (420 rubles), mutton (550 rubles) or vegetables. Other staple Indian dishes are also available, like mutton vindaloo (550 rubles) or chicken curry (420 rubles). There are also traditional tandoori grill dishes (from 550 rubles) and excellent salads (veg masala salad for 270 rubles). Chase it with masala chai tea, but pass on mango lassi; it bears little resemblance to the original.
9 Kalashny Pereulok. Metro Biblioteka imeni Lenina. facebook.com/dallamasala/
Best Middle Eastern: Taksim
Taksim is not just one restaurant - it’s actually a small chain of two Turkish restaurants that have opened in the same neighborhood around near the Arbat. The chain also has shops in Dubai and Baku. Taksim is named after the famous square in historical Istanbul and offers traditional Turkish fare. There are various types of kofta (meatball) and kebab, which come with mashed potatoes and spinach (from around 600 rubles). There are also several types of “Turkish pizza” lahmacun (330 rubles with walnut), as well as traditional pastry with eggplant (330 rubles).
21 Ulitsa Arbat.15 Ulitsa Novy Arbat. Metro Arbatskaya. facebook.com/taksimmeat/