Russian cuisine

Our guide to Russian cuisine by our Moscow local expert - Through Russian food you can get a taste for the difference between Tsarist and Soviet Russia. Cooked well with quality ingredients Russian cuisine can be delicious! It is not spicy, features a lot of meat, fish, vegetables, baked pies and pastries, as well as a variety of alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks, such as ‘kvas’ (a drink made from fermented bread) and, of course, the vodka, which everyone should try whilst visiting Moscow! It has perhaps one of the most diverse cuisines in the world due to its incredibly varied ingredients that can be locally grown, caught and hunted.

Through Russian food you can get a taste for the difference between Tsarist and Soviet Russia. Cooked well with quality ingredients Russian cuisine can be delicious! It is not spicy, features a lot of meat, fish, vegetables, baked pies and pastries, as well as a variety of alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks, such as ‘kvas’ (a drink made from fermented bread) and, of course, the vodka, which everyone should try whilst visiting Moscow! It has perhaps one of the most diverse cuisines in the world due to its incredibly varied ingredients that can be locally grown, caught and hunted.

Here are 7 of the most famous traditional Russian dishes and drinks:

Russian bliny (pancakes) are bigger than their European equivalents and go well with mushrooms, Russian caviar, salmon, sour cream or jam. Russian bliny are most known in their Royal variation – with caviar but telling you the truth Russians are hardly ever eat blini pancakes with caviar, just in case to impress somebody!

Russian Caviar is delicious and may be found in many national restaurants and shops. It simply melts in your mouth giving the unforgettable taste of the sea! There are two types of caviar - black and red. Black caviar is generally indicative of a romantic dinner or a luxurious celebrity party as it is very expensive, red caviar is more popular and affordable. But caviar is always associated with fine dining. 

It’s hard to know where to begin with vodka! There are hundreds of brands of varying quality; the best quality brands are Russian Standard Gold and Pure Crystal. Vodka is the subject of many jokes and sayings in Russia. They say 'vodka is our enemy but who said that we were afraid of it?' Have vodka as a real russian - neat and never mix it with anything. The best appetizers for vodka are pickled cucumbers and dark bread.


Shchi  (Russian cabbage soup) is a delicious Russian soup made with cabbage, potato, carrots, meat, onions and tomato. Russian people are fond of soups and have soup every day for lunch. Shchi is usually served with sour cream or plain yogurt and fresh parsley. Russian cabbage soup is rich, satisfying and naturally healthy. 

Borshch is similar to shchi, with addition of beetroot. It's extremely tasty, smells great and is eaten with a big dollop of sour cream. Also it is very popular to serve borshch with "pampushka" - a small roll with garlic. Borsch can be served hot in the winter and cold in the summer, may contain meat or only variety of vegetables. Borshch is very delicious and generally quite healthy.

Pelmeni are similar to Chinese dumplings and are made with meat, mushrooms or potato. But pelmeni with meat are the most popular among Russian people. Many Russians make it at home and eat it boiled or fried. It is usually served with sour cream and butter. It's a great comfort food because the pelmeni are small, tasty and easy to eat. Before you know it you’ll have finished that huge plateful!

 Kholodets is a mixture of meat and vegetables which is eaten cold and jellied. It may not look all that appetizing but tastes surprisingly good!

 

Fish salad'seld pod shuboy' or 'herring in a fur coat' is a popular Russian salad that is popular on New Year’s Eve and at parties. It is made with herring, beetroot, peas, potato, carrots and mayonnaise. These dishes are extremely filling so don’t bite off more than you can chew! 

 

Pirozhki are miniature puffy pies made from yeasty dough, usually with a potato, cabbage or meat filling and are the favorite home-made snack of a many a Russian. If you are lucky enough to visit a Russian home, the ‘babushka’ will undoubtedly try to feed you as many pirozhki as possible! Enjoy!

There are many top restaurants such as Tsarkaya Okhota and Pushkin Cafe offering high quality Russian cuisine and specialties. There are also friendly and homely mid-range cafes and restaurants, such as literature cafe PIROgi, buffet-style restaurant Yolki-Palki and Soviet-style bar Kamchatka. You can also find a lot of popular fast food outlets. The best known are 'Kroshka Kartoshka' which serves baked potatoes with tasty salad toppings and 'Teremok' which offers wide range of bliny. You can find fast food restaurants in every main shopping center. The average meal costs about 300 rub.

Feeling hungry now?! Come to Moscow and try something new!

Priyatnogo appetita! Enjoy your meal!