Dining out is one of the great joys of Moscow. There are literally thousands of restaurants to choose from, ranging from fast food in an underpass to world-class haute cuisine and fine dining. A full range of all types of restaurants is available in the city centre and in areas favored by expatriates.
Fast food includes a range of street vendors (be cautious of any meat products!) and both international and Russian chains. You can easily find a McDonalds or a Kroshka-Kartoshka (which serves baked potatoes with a variety of fillings). Cafeteria-style bistros are also popular, although here the Russian chains prevail – Yolki Palki and 123 Café are examples.
There is also an excellent selection of mid-range international and Russian chain restaurants. American staples such as the Hard Rock Café and TGI Fridays can be found even in Moscow. Among popular Russian chains are Mu-Mu, which is a great place to sample a variety of Russian foods at the hot and cold buffets, or SheshBesh, which offers Azerbaidjani and Uzbek specialties.
Of course, there is no shortage of high-end restaurants in Moscow, ranging from classic uptown dining experiences to some of the most exclusive restaurants of the world, where the length of the wait list is matched only by the size of the bill. Every cuisine imaginable is available here. Try Blue Elephant for Thai, Adriatico for Italian, Gandhara for Pakistani, Turandot for Chinese; or, for the finest in czarist-era Russian cuisine, either the aristocratic Pushkin Café or Yar, the legendary restaurant that counts Rasputin, Tolstoy, Stalin and Margaret Thatcher among its diners.
Opening Hours and Reservations
Opening hours are typically quite broad, with even the simplest cafes often open until 1:00, and many fine restaurants converting into nightclubs open until the early hours of the morning – 4:00 or even 6:00. Depending on whether or not a restaurant is open for lunch, it will typically open at 11:00 or 18:00. If a restaurant is open for lunch, it will usually not close again before dinner, although there are exceptions. Muscovites tend to dine out late, and the hottest hours for reservations are 20:00 and 21:00. If you wish to avoid crowds or the gradual transition into a music and dance hotspot, try to make an earlier reservation.
Reservations are strongly recommended for any mid-range and up restaurant. There is often only one sitting as diners will eat dinner then spend the rest of the evening drinking, smoking hookas (large waterpipes with flavored tobacco) and talking. At high-end restaurants, you may not be admitted without a reservation at all.
Note also that dress codes are strictly enforced in Moscow’s top restaurants, and you may not be admitted if you don’t dress for the occasion, regardless of whether or not you have a reservation. Men and women should avoid jeans and sneakers, and it’s best to inquire about specifics, for example, if men are required to wear jackets, when making the reservation.
- Moscow Dining Guide
Choose a restaurant from among the Moscow Times’ staff hand-picked favorites in terms of romantic atmosphere, or use the search feature to find one by cuisine and location. This guide is also published in magazine format.
Hard copy: contact Valeria Pshenisnova (The Moscow Times)
+7 (495) 232 4774 (ext. 4238)
- Moscow in Your Pocket
English-language reviews and recommendations.
- Passport Magazine
An easy search feature (in English) by price point, cuisine, and closest metro can help you find the perfect restaurant for tonight.
- Moscow News
Restaurant news and reviews to help you find the latest hotspots and best places to sample. This free English-language newspaper is published weekly and can be picked up at restaurants, business centers, medical centers, and hotels across Moscow. It’s also available online.
- Online reviews by expats and locals: