With many of the top restaurants also doubling as bars and clubs, the atmosphere is nearly always one step away from a party, and many of the city’s elite come dressed to impress. Of course, there are still many elegant and family friendly restaurants for those who prefer a quieter evening. With such a large selection available, we have compiled a suitable list for diners of all persuasions.
1. Cafe Pushkin
Designed to recreate the feel of a 19th century aristocrat’s house, the restaurant has become one of the most popular in Moscow, thanks to the quality of its food, the impeccable service and excellent vodka selection. The atmosphere of pre-Revolution Russia is delightfully charming, from the flowery script of the menu to aristocratic country house décor. Pushkin is the ideal destination if you want to be treated like Russian nobility and dine like a Tsar – but book ahead, the restaurant’s popularity requires reservation well in advance.
Serving typical Italian food, the family friendly establishment is laid back, but this doesn’t compromise the quality of the food: good, hearty portions that are exceptionally tasty. The interior of Piccolino has been designed to replicate that of a large country house, and the décor is entirely fitting with the atmosphere of the restaurant. In a city where many of the establishments value the names of their guests over the quality of their dishes, Piccolino is the place to come if your preference is quality of food rather than famous faces.
Varvary offers a nine-course tasting menu combining traditional dishes and contemporary techniques with spectacular results. The interior of the restaurant is suitably impressive: a dark red and black palette mixed with extravagant silver cutlery. For a dining experience that delights as much as it baffles, head to Varvary; if you’re a little worried, you shouldn’t be, the restaurant is been listed as one of San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2011.
The creation of renowned designer Philippe Starck, Bon’s interior is an eclectic mix of black walls, dripping candles and Kalashnikov rifles posing as lampshades. Food critics have labeled the décor anything from Gothic to gangster, and despite several ownership changes the social cream of Moscow have continued to flock to the place. The food is of a high standard and a broad mix of European cuisine, while the atmosphere has a definite restaurant-club vibe.
The interior has been gorgeously designed to recreate the splendor of the Silver Age of Russian culture, with antique balustrades and bas-reliefs throughout the Oak Hall main room. The staircase in the Oak Hall is a particular masterpiece; it was built without a single nail or screw. A menu of authentic Russian cuisine has been created by top Moscow chef Alexander Popov, with organic dishes bursting with flavor and a splendor to match the opulent surroundings. Situated in the center of the city between Bolshaya Nikitskaya 53 and Povarskaya Ulitsa 50, it’s worth booking ahead to avoid disappointment.
6. O2 Lounge
The food on offer is delicious Japanese fare, with sumptuous sushi prepared in front of diners by the team of talented chefs led by Nicholas Courtois. Located on the 12th floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, the restaurant has spectacular panoramic views over Red Square and The Kremlin. After dark the restaurant becomes one of the coolest bars in town, where the city’s finest head to mingle with celebrities.