We have picked out five metropolitan cafes and restaurants that you can visit with your grandmother (or grandfather) and spend a long weekend like a family: a little nostalgia, and lots of beauty, comfort and delicious dishes.
A place with nostalgic notes in one of the most beautiful buildings of VDNKh, the pavilion dedicated to sericulture in Soviet times. Now, the colonnades of the central hall, huge panoramic windows and exposed brickwork are reminiscent of the old days. The interior also has many objects of the times we are used to seeing in films, old family photographs, and elderly relatives’ apartments. Nevertheless, the place is stylish, up-to-date and calm: it is perfect for a family dinner or lunch, a birthday party, or a quiet evening of memories in the circle of the closest ones. Chef Andrey Mamontov is responsible for the kitchen here. In his signature menu, dumplings harmoniously coexist with burgers, udon with duck leg, and gnocchi with sprats. In general, unobtrusively, and without any preponderance in a particular direction. Just like the guests of different generations at the same table.
Alexander Rappoport’s restaurant is named after one of the main novels, which our parents and grandparents are bound to have read. However, in his concept, the restaurateur turned not to pre-revolutionary, but on the contrary, to post-revolutionary Russian cuisine of the 1930s. Here, they serve crucian carp in sour cream, solyanka, baked beef ribs, millet porridge with crayfish tails, chicken Kyiv and a dozen or two other dishes that are neatly divided into chapters on the menu: “Salads and appetizers”, “Soups” and “Hot dishes”, “Cutlets”, “Julienne”, “Herring” and “Dumplings”. It is important that for the place – the first floor of the National Hotel and the view of the Kremlin – the prices are quite affordable, so you won’t have to ashamedly hide the check from your elders’ eyes at the end of dinner. And it’s also beautiful here: ruby stars burn under the ceiling (just like from the towers in the neighborhood), red cavalrymen rush into battle from the walls, and porcelain figurines silently and delicately watch the change of dishes on the table.
And again a little nostalgia – but this time, not for a bygone era, and instead for some common things like the routine of the past decades, when it was customary to meet at a party, and not in a restaurant, to have unhurried conversations under a lamp with a round shade, to take soup to the table in a special heavy tureen, and to have a festive tea service. Guests are welcomed here by the charming hostess Anna and her pets: Venya the cat, Petya the fish, and Pavlik the canary. The halls are styled like an old apartment: parquet laid in a herringbone pattern on the floor, colorful wallpaper and framed photographs on the walls, lace napkins and tablecloths on the tables, and lamps with obligatory fringe from the ceiling. Cheesecakes and scrambled eggs are cooked for breakfast, rich borscht in an old tureen and potatoes sizzling in a frying pan are brought to out, and in the evenings, homemade liqueurs flow like water, which pair with herring, Russian salad, aspic, and toast from Borodinsky bread with salmon.
Tchaikovsky is a very refined restaurant by Arkady Novikov on the first basement floor of the Moscow State Philharmonic. There are two rooms here. The larger one is around the rotunda, with a dozen private areas behind historical columns, for a hundred guests. The smaller one is a city cafe with a large number of cakes and windows on Triumfalnaya Square. If you don’t plan a long dinner (it would be customary to order a Wiener Schnitzel of veal with potato salad or a cauliflower steak with chimichurri), then settle in at the pastry shop. An ideal evening after a classical music concert is like this: slight excitement, strong coffee in a light porcelain cup, an éclair on a saucer, and the lights of Moscow in the window.
And it is memory about a vacation in the Caucasus, which many relatives definitely visited. The interior of an old artistic apartment, jugs of wine, a real barbecue and no less real cheeses, juicy vegetables, generous greens and an abundance of spices. Everything is simple, very friendly and tasty. It is important that traditions are also honored here: many dishes are prepared according to recipes of the former chef’s mother, and she also taught the entire cooking team how to make the right dough for khinkali, khachapuri and pies.
Cover photo: Dr. Zhivago
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