In the second part of our Moscow vs St. Petersburg series, Kollektiv takes a look at the two cities’ food options and gives some recommendations on where to eat if you ever decide to visit.
A definite advantage of Russia’s vast size is that it brings in a variety of different cultures and people. This in turn has given way to a huge variety of culinary options in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Although both cities are filled with “stolovayas” (resembling a school canteen of sorts), sushi restaurants (seriously, there is sushi EVERYWHERE in Russia), and of course everyone’s three favourite fast-food branches, Moscow and St. Petersburg have some true gems, serving up dishes from all around the world.
Our first entry from the capital is a bit of a cheat sheet. Moscow’s DEPO only opened at the beginning of 2019, but has become a huge hit amongst Muscovites. The food court, built on the old ground of a tram depot (hence the name) boasts 75 different restaurants and 140 different market stalls, selling the freshest fruit and vegetables, spices, and other worldly goods.
Of course the best thing about DEPO is a sheer choice of food options, offering Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek, Uzbek, Japanese, and a host of other national dishes, as well as barbequed and grilled meats, fresh seafood, dessert bars, a mac and cheese joint, and even an English pie shop! DEPO truly is the place to go if you’re in that “I’m not sure what I want to eat” mood – there’s definitely something for you there!
Kollektiv recommends: ‘Gokos’ Greek Restaurant and ‘Bo’ Vietnamese Restaurant.
Sorry to the vegetarians reading this article – the name of this restaurant is completely misleading. Meatless offers a beautiful selection of steaks, grilled meats, fish, enormous burgers and pizzas.
However, to make up for the deception, the restaurant does offer some ‘meatless’ dishes, including chilli ‘non’ carne, and falafel. Meatless belongs to the Ch1ef group, home to a variety of different bars and restaurants in Moscow.
Kollektiv recommends: The Machete Steak and the Roast Beef Pizza.
Moscow’s 24-hour breakfast restaurant has a truly unique system, creating some of the world’s greatest breakfast dishes. The restaurant’s menu displays a map with the world’s time-zones, and, with each respective time-zone, breakfast dishes from that part of the globe.
What’s more, Kukare’ku offers a discount on breakfast that coincides with the time you’re eating, and that time-zone’s ‘breakfast’ time (6am-8am). So for example, if you arrived at the restaurant between the times of 9am-11am, you would get a discount on the English (GMT) breakfast.
As well as this one of a kind system, there are a number of other choices of breakfast dishes to eat, such as pancakes, cereals, and coffee! You’ll never miss breakfast again!
Kollektiv recommends: The English Breakfast, and pancakes with berries.
If you’re looking for something on the healthy side, one of Kollektiv’s favourite clothing stores ‘KM20’ is also home to unique and equally fashionable café, with a number of vegetarian and vegan options.
Inspired by her own dietary requirements, KM20 founder Olga Karput, aimed to open a café that broke the mould on how people thought about such establishments, allowing people with all types of dietary requirements to come together in a light and modern space, to enjoy a variety of organic and healthy meals that support an active lifestyle.
Kollektiv recommends: The Green Vegetable Curry with Quinoa and the Spaghetti in Pesto.
Tucked away at the back of a kosher supermarket in the north of Moscow sits Pardes, a small grill-bar that serves up a number of delicious kosher burgers and grilled meats. The burgers are cooked to perfection and served with fresh salad and home-style fries. There are also a number of pastries on offer, as well as falafel and other hot dishes.
Although not the easiest to find (thank you to our friend Andy for the tip!), the food here is absolutely amazing, with possibly the best burgers we at Kollektiv have ever tasted.
Kollektiv recommends: The Shlomburger (Beef burger).
Mickey and Monkeys
Our first choice from the Northern Capital is Mickey and Monkeys, a stylish and city-renowned restaurant, famous for its “Overshakes” and other tasty dishes. Mickey and Monkeys belongs to the St. Petersburg group “Coffee Room”, a city favourite that uses the best ingredients and creates some really tasty combinations.
Mickeys offers a range of different options, including breakfast, pastas, burgers, a range of main courses, smoothies, and of course their ‘Overshakes’ – a mountain of sweet treats on top a thick milkshake. One notable Overshake is the ‘Shakeburger’ – that’s right, a milkshake with a peanut butter-covered beef burger and fries on the top!
Kollektiv recommends: The Smokey Pork, and the Mango and Basil Smoothie.
Located in the historical part of St. Petersburg, this Georgian Restaurant offers all the delights of Georgia, including hachapuri (a type of bread boat filled with melted cheese with an egg on top), khinkali (a huge dumpling filled with a variety of meats and vegetables), and of course, Georgian wine.
Georgian food is incredibly popular across Russia, with Georgian restaurants scattered across every city, ranging from some rather basic traditional restaurants to 5-star, top-of-the-range establishments, top-to-bottom in precious metals and luxurious seating. Adjabsandal is closer to the traditional end of the spectrum; however, their food and atmosphere entirely makes up for it.
Kollektiv recommends: Ojakhuri (grilled pork with potatoes and red peppers), and Hachapuri po Adjarskii (bread boat with cheese and egg).
Something you probably wouldn’t expect from Russia coming next, but nestled deep in the Vasilevsky Island district of St. Petersburg sits Cardamon: an Indian restaurant with some of the best curries we’ve tasted. The restaurant may not be in the most central location, but uses the richest spices and tastes to create some truly wonderful dishes.
Much like the Indian restaurants we all know and love in the UK, you are always greeted with a welcoming smile, and always leave not being able to walk because you’ve eaten too much. If you’re up for something a little spicy, we would fully recommend Cardamon.
Kollektiv recommends: The Chicken Bhuna, Garlic Naan and Sweet Lassi.
This restaurant takes its name from the small ‘European Smelt’ fish, locally known as ‘Koryushka’. The fish is a local delicacy in St. Petersburg known for its ‘cucumber’ smell, and it is believed that one of the reasons Peter the Great chose to found St. Petersburg in its current location was due to the abundance of koryushka nearby.
The restaurant prides itself in its selection of fresh seafood, as well as soups and other dishes. Furthermore, the restaurant sits on the banks of the Neva River on the Peter and Paul Fortress Island, which offers spectacular views of the Hermitage Museum and the rest of the city’s beautiful cityscape.
Kollektiv recommends: Koryushka!
Founded in St. Petersburg, Ketch Up is a chain of burger restaurants that have become so popular they have even started to pop up in Moscow as well. All the restaurants are stylish locations with an industrial feel of brickwork and steel, intertwined with wooden furniture and plants for a really unique interior that compliments the dining experience.
Ketch Up offers a number of delicious burgers, including vegetarian and vegan options. Some of the speciality burgers include the ‘Siberian Burger’ (deer patty with smoked cheese and bacon), the ‘Russian Burger’ (rye bread bun, lamb patty with smoked cheese and bacon), and the ‘Hawaiian Burger’ (Beef burger with shrimp and pineapple).
The chain also boasts a number of other mouth-watering dishes if you are not a burger fan!
Kollektiv recommends: The Crispy Chicken Burger with peanut sauce.
Russia’s globalisation over the past couple of decades has blessed its big cities with hundreds of new and exciting cuisines, and as we have seen living in Moscow and travelling around Russia, new restaurants pop up almost every day. People generally expect that we eat borsch and drink vodka everyday for dinner, but living in such a cosmopolitan city allows us to try new cuisines almost every week.
St. Petersburg’s European influence has certainly crept into its food scene. With our most recent trip to St. Petersburg, we noticed that over the past year so many new restaurants and bars had appeared around the city, all with a unique feel, and of course, delicious food.
If we have missed any of your favourite restaurants in either city, or think we should try out some new places, please let us know in the comments!