2016-02-17 / Front Page

Off the Beaten Track: Moscow Restaurants Where The Russians Eat

By Catherine Tsounis

      Georgian salad with flower buds of Caucasus tree marinated and served with red onion and olive oil.
Georgian salad with flower buds of Caucasus tree marinated and served with red onion and olive oil.      “Tell us about the restaurants of Moscow,” asked my Korean neighbor, David, in Bayside, New York. “What cuisine is offered to the average Russian? Who doesn’t love to eat? I would like to see photos of Russian foods.” This article answers David’s question, my college age neighbor.
            Asian tourists flooded Moscow September through October 2015 when I was present. Greek tourists from Thessaloniki were speaking Greek in Moscow streets while they visited the “Glory of the Byzantine Empire” lost during the Ottoman Turk conquest of the former Byzantine Empire.
            We avoided the five star restaurants and went where the Russians go: MuMu Blintzes with crème, Myasnitskaya ul MuMu.
Blintzes with crème, Myasnitskaya ul MuMu. restaurant chain, Stolovaya 57 in Gum, Jon-Joli and McDonalds. Yes! McDonalds is the hottest eating spot in Moscow. Every Russian adores it, with long lines outside their pick up windows. We got a view of the demographics of the clientele, while drinking coffee. They were young and old Muscovites, families of all ages who wanted Western cuisine. We have McDonalds back home in New York. We were interested in Russian cuisine. I had a cappuccino every day. Strong and aromatic. No Advil for me. I preferred some arthritic pain just to enjoy Russian coffee. American dollars were accepted with enthusiasm.
         Caviar, salmon, Russian soup, rice, yogurt drink and poppy seed sponge cake with walnuts and crème Stolovaya 57 canteen.
Caviar, salmon, Russian soup, rice, yogurt drink and poppy seed sponge cake with walnuts and crème Stolovaya 57 canteen.    “Go and eat where the Russians go,” said our guide, Irina of expresstorussia.com/intourist.com travel agencies. “Russians eat in MuMu.” Our first lunch was in MuMu Russian fast food chain at Myasnitskaya ul. 14/2, стр. The restaurant was like an assembly line. Chefs prepared food in the sight of the client. Everything organized in categories, such as appetizers, salads, main courses, desserts and drinks. The advertisement on tables showed an oversize muffin with a cappuccino café or latte expresso for $1.25. We had a spinach and mushroom casserole in a thick sauce, blintzes with crème, pierogis, a miniature chocolate dessert and Russian rice. Our lunch on the second day was at MuMu Bol’Saja Ordinka, in the Arbat business area. We had cappuccino, grilled chicken, cabbage salad, mushroom creamy casserole, rice and blintzes. It was economical and a great experience.
            The GUM mall in Red Square has an indoor fountain, high fashion and Russian Folk Arts displays in the windows. When we were there on Sept. 27th, 2015, men with ropes around their waist were cleaning a third floor building near Gum. Brave and probably uninsured. Inside Gum, Russian families were taking their children to a prince and princess photo display. Everyone was eating ice cream in the afternoon. Ice cream is very popular. “Have lunch or dinner at a Russian eating place on the third floor called Stolovaya 57 canteen,” said guide Irina.
            Stolovaya 57 canteen’s setup is like MuMu, cafeteria style, where you picked what Irinka tarts, Stolovaya 57 canteen.
Irinka tarts, Stolovaya 57 canteen. you wanted on line. We selected a caviar platter with salmon rolled in crème cheese, a yogurt beverage, rice, meatball stew, Russian soup, cappuccino coffee latte and several desserts.
I was impressed with the dessert area. Desserts included: rum cakes; Irinka tarts; cake with vanilla crème and nuts; poppy seed sponge cake with walnuts and crème; sponge cake with nut crème; Prague cake; coffee sponge cake; chocolate cake and other pastries. A small card on the table said “Comrade, Let us make a deal. Clean your table after meal.” Everyone left their table clean, ready for the next customer.
            “In New York City, Georgian food restaurants are very expensive,” said a group member. In front of our Novotel Moscow hotel on Novoslobodskaya st.was JonJoli. The Georgian restaurant is located on Novoslobodskaya st., 14/19, bldg.1 . “A Georgian feast at the very heart of Moscow! Guests will be met by the aroma of freshly-baked tortillas and Lavish bread, coming from an indoor oven just across the entrance, ” says the website. They only accept rubles and not dollars. The food was fabulous. The surroundings were rustic with Georgian music. Few persons knew English. For $23.00 including tip we had excellent dinners the two days we attended.
        Fountain in GUM.Fountain in GUM.    The cuisine we sampled included: Georgian salad with flower buds of Caucasus tree marinated and served with red onion and olive oil; Khinkali, large Georgian dumplings; Uzbek pilaf with lamb, rice, carrot, garlic, barberry and saffon; Chashushuly, veal stew with vegetables and hot spices; fried potatoes with mushrooms; Kuch-machy, Georgian national meal of chopped, spicy veal entrails with pomegranate grains; Cheburek, suluguni cheese in fried, thin dough bread and Airan, national yogurt drink flavored with fresh herbs. The bread was delicious. In Georgia, bread is called puri (pronounced “poo-ree”) and is traditionally baked in a deep circular clay oven called a tone (pronounced “ton-AY”). Traditional bread, especially the long pointed bread called shotis puri, is very popular and usually served with every meal.1
                We enjoyed great restaurants with multiple food dishes for under $25. The strength of the American dollar contributed to the enjoyment of our time in restaurants. We would never have been able to go to Georgian restaurants in New York City, where entrees can be $25. We enjoyed two days of Georgian food and got it out of our system. Self-service, where chefs prepared food in front of the customers was a unique experience. Moscow’s restaurants made our stay here enjoyable.
1.      http://georgiaabout.com/2012/06/07/about-food-georgian-bread-part-1/
https://picasaweb.google.com/105743188183721570894/JonjoliMoscowRestaura... web album
https://picasaweb.google.com/105743188183721570894/Stolovaya57CanteenGum... album
http://en.ginza.ru/msk/restaurant/jon_joli - Georgian restaurant
http://www.cafemumu.ru/- in Russian
https://www.google.com/#q=MU+MU+IN+MOSCOW-  website
Myasnitskaya ul. 14/2, стр. 1, Moscow, Russia, 101000 – first MuMu restaurant
Bol’Saja Ordinka, Moscow, Russia in Arbat, second MuMu restaurant
https://www.google.com/search?q=Myasnitskaya+ul.,+14/2,+%D1%81%D1%82%D1%... -  MuMu restaurant at  Myasnitskaya ul., 14/2, стр. 1, Moscow, Russia, 101000
http://www.inyourpocket.com/Moscow/Stolovaya-57_40336v  canteen in GUM

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