What is a typical Russian lunch

What do you eat in Russia? Typical dishes and restaurant recommendations

In this article I will give you an overview of the traditional and typical dishes of Russia, as well as the most popular drinks in the country. Of course, I'll not only make Russian cuisine tasty for you, I'll also give you lots of recommendations for restaurants where you can try these specialties - from local fast food chains to the most internationally recognized Russian haute cuisine restaurants.


1. Russian gastronomy - a cuisine with many influences

Everyone knows the Italian cuisine, the Greek cuisine and many more and a "Let's go to the Italian"Is overheard again and again, whereby a"Let's go to the Russian”Rarely occurs. However, the truth is that Russia is one long and rich culinary history has, with many influences from the cuisine of other Russian regions, former Soviet republics and even French cuisine.

But nowadays Moscow and St. Petersburg are experiencing a gourmet modernization of their gastronomy. More and more fine dining restaurants are gaining international recognition, which in turn attracts travelers who want to try special dishes and dine in fancy restaurants. And according to the reviews, many are very pleasantly surprised by the new Russian gourmet cuisine.

Because let's be honest, when visiting a foreign country, one of the things that is high on most travelers' to-do lists is to try the local food. I care which ones typical dishes and drinks there are and i want to know what those Customs of each country with regard to meals are whether there are certain customs, which local products used how much Tip one usually gives and so on and so forth. In addition, I always find out which ones are in advance Kind of restaurants there are - from fast food chains to middle and upper class restaurants.

In this article, I'll cover all of these aspects of Russian gastronomy so that you are well prepared for your stay in Russia.

2. Eating and drinking habits of the Russians

2.1. What meals are there?

The Russians start the day with breakfast that they provide Zavtrak (also called Zawtrak), which consists of kascha (a kind of porridge made from rice or wheat semolina with milk) or bread and butter. However, some prefer a hearty breakfast with sausages, eggs, bread, etc.

The second meal is Obedwhich corresponds to lunch (around 1:00 p.m. or later). Obed is the largest meal of the day and consists of a starter, main course and dessert.

The Russian dinner, called Uzhin (also Ushin), usually starts at 7:00 p.m. and usually does not contain soup or dessert.

Most dishes come with Rye bread served. Russians also often add sour cream to a variety of dishes, the Smetana is called. The starter almost always consists of a soup and the dessert is often black tea with lemon (which is drunk at any time of the day), along with a few sweets.

Also Tvorog (also Tworog), a type of cottage cheese with a creamy texture, also made from cow's milk, is often used in Russian cuisine.

And what about the famous Russian caviar? There is red (salmon) and black (beluga, sturgeon or sevruga) caviar. The best and most expensive is that of the beluga whale, which can only be found in luxury restaurants and a few shops.

In a normal Russian household, people tend to eat red caviar because it is the cheapest. It is often eaten with a slice of white bread and butter, but it is also found in many Russian dishes, such as: B. in Bliniswhich are very similar to pancakes, but much smaller. The black caviar is reserved for special occasions (Christmas, special celebrations, etc.).

2.2. Culinary tours of Russian cuisine

If you want to delve deep into the gastronomic world of Russia, then I recommend that you take a culinary tour to learn more about Russian cuisine and local products.

There are various providers of such tours on the GetYourGuide platform, such as a gastronomic tour through Moscow, during which you can try typical Russian dishes in three different restaurants. There is also another gastronomic tour that will take you to the city's local markets, such as Danilovsky Market, where you can taste typical Russian products. And if you feel like trying Russian vodka, craft beer or nastoika, you can do so as part of a tour for typical Russian drinks.

Another way to get to know the city from its culinary side is to enjoy a traditional Russian meal in a central Moscow monastery or take a cooking class with a local family.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to learn about food and drink in Russia. But what exactly can you expect? Below is a little introduction to Russian cuisine.

3. Typical dishes of Russian cuisine

3.1. Starters: from borsch to herring in a fur coat


A simply unmistakable element of Russian cuisine is that Soup. It is eaten at any time of the year and is almost always the preferred starter before every meal.

The soups in Russia are strong and quite high in calories to fight the cold in winter. One of the most famous soups is Shchiwhich consists of potatoes, cabbage and meat.

Is also highly recommended Borsch (also borscht), a beetroot soup that is also very typical in Ukraine, but incredibly popular in Russia. The deep red soup contains vegetables and beetroot, which give it its intense color.

There are also lighter soups like Soljanka or Uja (Fish soup) and even cold soups like too Okroshka, with vegetables, potatoes and kvass.


Salads are also sometimes eaten as a starter and, especially for festivities, there are often a whole range of different types, such as olivier salad, egg salad and a combination of vegetables and mayonnaise.

Another very popular salad is the "Herring in a fur coat“Which consists of herring with potatoes, beetroot, carrots, eggs and mayonnaise.

3.2. Main courses: from stroganoff to blinis


Stroganoff is one of the most typical dishes of Russian cuisine and is on the menu of almost all restaurants. It is a goulash with veal cut into cubes, served with mushrooms, onions and sour cream sauce, with rice or pasta as a side dish.

shashlik is a roast meat skewer very popular in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The name varies from country to country: Mtsvadi in Georgia, Khorovats in Armenia and Khebab in Azerbaijan.

Russians really like to grill these skewers outdoors in parks when the weather is good.

Russia also has a wide variety of dishes with fillets and different types of stuffed meat.


As for the fish, the Russians mainly opt for Salmon, trout, herring and cod.

These dishes are usually accompanied by potatoes (boiled, fried or pureed) and often the popular sour cream or smetana is added.

They are also a real delicacy Koryushka, which is a small fish typical of the northern European seas and the mouths of rivers such as the Neva. Koryushka are fried, lightly breaded, and then eaten with various sauces. Absolutely typical and not to be missed when visiting St. Petersburg!

Pasta and dumplings

As a rule, this type of food is loved by both children and adults. In the first place I want that Pelmeni which are very similar to ravioli and filled with meat (either veal, pork or lamb). They are served with smetana or butter. In the English menus of Russian restaurants you can find them as "Dumplings”.

Another version of the pelmeni are the Varenikithat are slightly larger and have different fillings: vegetables, cabbage, potatoes or mushrooms. Just about any sauce goes well with them, and you can even make a sweet version with a cherry filling.

The Golubtsy, also known as cabbage rolls, are available with a variety of fillings and can be found on almost every menu in Russia.

Dumplings like Pirozhki, Pirogi or Kulebiaka are also very popular. They are often filled with cabbage, meat, fish or potatoes, but there are also sweet versions, with jam, apple or plums. They are often eaten as an aperitif and can be of different sizes. If you want to order dumplings, I advise you to ask about the filling beforehand.

Are very popular too Blinis, a type of crepes or pancakes served with butter, smetana, jam, honey, red or black caviar. Sometimes they are also filled with meat, ham, cheese, potatoes, mushrooms, apples, strawberries, etc. or a mixture.

And to vary a bit, I recommend you Khachapuri, a Georgian national dish. This is a pizza-like bread dough that is filled with cheese, egg and various other ingredients.

3.3. dessert

Russians love dessert, so it's no wonder that the selection of cakes and sweets is huge.

Pryaniki are gingerbread, mostly with honey, but sometimes also with chocolate and some are also filled with jam in different flavors.

The above-mentioned blinis can also be served as dessert, depending on what they are topped with or filled with.

There are also other goodies like baked apples and various cakes like Ptichie moloko (also called bird milk).

Other desserts to try when visiting Russia are Pastila (dried fruit puree), Kasha Guriev (Porridge), Tulaer Prjaniki (Russian variant of gingerbread), Medavik (Honey-cream cake) and Napoleon, a kind of millefeuille cake.

4. Drinks in Russia: from kvass to vodka

As for Russian drinks, I recommend you go first Kvass To taste. It is a very mild alcoholic drink (with about 1.2 per mille) that is very popular in Russia. It is also available without alcohol and is often a little fruity.

Kvass is a fermented drink based on black bread made from wheat, barley and rye. Sometimes wild berries are also added to give it more flavor. At that time kvass was known as "soviet coca-cola“, Because of its taste, color and foam that results from fermentation.

tea is drunk at any time of the day in Russia, with black tea being the most widely consumed. It is mainly drunk with sugar and lemon, without milk and very warm, and is accompanied by pastries or sweets.

What beer concerns so is Baltika the most famous brand, based in St. Petersburg and currently part of the Carlsberg Group. It is the largest company in Eastern Europe and the second largest manufacturer in Europe. In the restaurants of Russia there is of course not only Baltika, but also beers from all over the world.

Also kefir, a fermented viscous sour milk product (drinkable yogurt), is very popular with the Russians.

And of course we can't miss the vodka here! Vodka is not mixed, neither with soft drinks, nor with ice and drunk directly ice cold. It is often accompanied by cucumbers, herring, etc. and served in small glasses.

And Wine? The good wines that you will find in the menus of the restaurants come from the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, etc.), many of which are sweet wines. However, good restaurants also have wines from all over the world.

5. Restaurants in Russia: Russian and Georgian cuisine as well as the former USSR republics

It is not easy to recommend restaurants, as the choice always depends on several factors, such as, for example price. But in Russia there are also local fast food chains and buffets where you can eat well and at an excellent price. If you don't have to pay so much attention to your money or if you want to treat yourself to something, then of course you can also find restaurants with fine cuisine and correspondingly much higher prices. If you travel with small children, then I advise you to try the Russian fast food chains, because many children love the food there.

Some important factors to consider:

  • In Russia, especially in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Meal times Quite a wide range, so that the kitchen of many restaurants is open all day. Lunch usually takes place from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Dinner starts around 7:00 p.m., although many restaurants may be full by 8:00 p.m. Often, dinner doesn't even end until 11 p.m.
  • The service is generally good. However, menus are only available in Russian in many restaurants and many employees only have a basic knowledge of English.
  • Regarding that Tip it is customary to give between 5 and 10% of the total and if the service was particularly good or if the restaurant is upscale, then more. Generally, payment is made in rubles, either by card or in cash.
  • In addition to Russian restaurants, however, I also recommend that you definitely try the textures and flavors of the cuisine of the former Soviet republics, such as: B. the Uzbek and the Georgianto name just a few examples.
  • If you want to visit a luxurious restaurant, then I advise you to go to one Reserve a table in advance. Many of these restaurants offer you the option of making your reservation directly on their website (in English) or by phone in English. Alternatively, you can ask your hotel receptionist to call the restaurant to make the reservation.

I almost forgot: Pectopah (read "restoran") means "restaurant".

5.1. Russian fast food restaurants

You will see a variety of American fast food chains (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc.) in Russia, but I recommend you try the Russian fast food chains. Their restaurants are often located in downtown and the shopping malls. There are many, but I think the following are the best:

  • Teremok. The menu is based on the world of blinis, which are filled in a variety of ways, including caviar. You can also try pelmeni, Russian salad, soups or traditional drinks like kvas there. This chain is especially widespread in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

  • Kroshka Kartoshka. The name means something like "small potato" and all the dishes on the menu revolve around the ... potato, the second most important product in Russia (after bread). In Kroshka Kartoshka, large potatoes are prepared in every possible way - baked in aluminum foil, with butter or with cheese, herbs, meat or mushrooms. But other Russian dishes such as pelmeni, vareniki (rolls filled with cheese) or Russian salad are offered. Widely used in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

  • Russian appetite. The menu of this fast food chain mainly contains soups, sandwiches, hamburgers, noodles, etc. I advise you to visit their website so that you can get an idea of ​​which dishes are offered there in particular.
  • Cheburechnaya URSS. For those who feel a little nostalgia for the USSR in their hearts, this is the right choice. However, there are currently only 5 branches in Moscow.

5.2. Self-service and buffets of Russian cuisine

Russians love buffets. The best known is Mu Mu (My-My), which can be easily identified by the cow at the entrance of each of their restaurants. You will find a variety of different dishes from Russian cuisine there.

Other chains of buffet restaurants are Grabli, very common in Moscow, and Marketplace, with many restaurants in St. Petersburg.

Taras Bulba, which combines Russian and Ukrainian cuisine and has around 20 restaurants in Moscow, is also highly recommended.

5.3. Haute cuisine restaurants: the Michelin Guide and the Gault et Millau Guide

Unfortunately, the French Michelin Guide hasn't arrived in Russia yet, so you won't find any Russian restaurants in this guide. The French guide Gault et Millauhin contrast, has already listed restaurants in Moscow and rates the best restaurants in the world on a scale from 0 to 20. In this guide, restaurants receive “chef hats” instead of stars, with 5 hats corresponding to the best rating.

On the website of Gault et Millan you will find the menus of these restaurants with the associated prices, so there will be no surprises on site. But do not worry, the prices are not exorbitantly high, but correspond to those of restaurants of high cuisine in other countries.

Restaurants with four chef hats

  • Selfie. The menu of this modern but traditional restaurant is based on local products: Kursk pork, Murmansk halibut, Brjansk veal, Tver asparagus, Crimean truffle, etc. For the menu of the selfie, products from 15 regions of Russia and other countries are used.

  • Savva. This restaurant, with a somewhat antiquated decoration, is located near the Red Square, in the building of the legendary Hotel Metropol. It is currently closed for renovations. The baked crab with asparagus is particularly recommended. The restaurant is named after the hotel's founder, Savva Mamontov, a philanthropist and the originator of many ideas that changed the look of Moscow in the early 20th century.

Restaurants with three chef hats

Restaurants with two chef hats

Restaurants with a chef hat

In addition to these restaurants, you will also find many other restaurants in the guide that are listed under the name "pop" and are also very good. I advise you to visit the guide's website to find the restaurants that best suit your tastes and budget.

Fast-food restaurants, buffets, middle-class and haute cuisine restaurants - in the larger cities of Russia there are endless possibilities to enjoy the local cuisine, but also the cuisine of other countries. Below are a few recommendations.

5.4. Recommendations for restaurants near the most popular tourist attractions

Very often the choice of restaurant depends on the place you are visiting. However, the restaurant next to the monument, museum or sight often does not offer the best value for money. Of course there are exceptions, but normally you have to walk a bit or take a little detour.

Fast food restaurants and buffets can be found all over the city and close to the most popular tourist attractions, although good Russian cuisine restaurants at affordable prices are rarely found there.

Here I advise you to use apps like Google Maps or Tripadvisor, which recommend restaurants based on your location and which, in addition to the reviews and opinions of other customers, also show the average price of the menu.

Here are some suggestions for places to eat near the top Moscow and St. Petersburg attractions:


Restaurants in Red Square

When you visit Red Square or one of its buildings, such as the Kremlin or St. Basil's Cathedral, you have a wide range of different options. The following options await you in the GUM Gallery, the impressive shopping center on Red Square:

  • You can eat fairly cheaply in one of the self-service restaurants such as Stolovaya No. 57 or Café Festivalnoye, which are located on the third floor of the mall.

  • Or if you are looking for a little more refined food, then the popular Beluga Caviar Bar, which specializes in caviar and vodka, but also offers exquisite Russian dishes, is the right choice. Many tourists dream of trying Russian caviar and vodka there. 15 grams of salmon caviar and a shot of vodka cost about 8 euros. The bar is on the ground floor.

  • Another option, which is more in the middle price segment, is Bosco Fresh Bar. The restaurant offers Italian and Russian cuisine, is located on the ground floor of the GUM and also has a terrace directly on Red Square.

Next to the Red Square is the Okhotny Ryad shopping center, which is located below the Alexander Gardens. As an underground shopping mall, it is often overlooked by tourists, but offers a wide range of restaurants at prices that are slightly more affordable than GUM's.

In addition to McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Subway, this zone also has a large number of Russian fast food chains such as Teremok and Kroshka Kartoshka, but also self-service restaurants such as Mu Mu and the Georgian fast food chain Eat Georgian. There are also good Italian restaurants such as Osteria Mario, as well as Asian restaurants.

Restaurants around the Red Square

If you are looking for restaurants with a little more upscale cuisine, a bit away from the touristy area, then I recommend the following:

  • Georgian cuisine. About 15 minutes from the Red Square is the Megobari restaurant with Georgian cuisine and excellent value for money. You can find the menu here. Another restaurant with very good Georgian cuisine is located near Red Square (on Revolution Square), the Tkemali.
  • Moldavian cuisine. The Moldova restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Red Square. It is located in a passage (Rozhdestvenka 7, metro station "Kuznetsky most”) And is highly recommended.

  • barbecue. From Red Square, you can walk to Bryanskiy Byk, which offers excellent grilled meat, in 20 minutes (Bldg. 1 Bolshaya Lubyanka St. 24/15).
Restaurants on Arbat Street

The range of restaurants on Arbat Street is huge. You will find all Russian and American fast food chains there, as well as various buffets such as Mu Mu or Grabli, Georgian restaurants, Armenian, Asian and so on.

If you are looking for a luxury restaurant, then I advise you to pay a visit to the White Rabbit. It is a modern Russian restaurant on the 16th floor of a shopping mall in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building. It offers traditional Russian dishes combined with the latest gastronomic trends. The local products will satisfy even the finest palates.

Restaurants in the Tretyakov Gallery

Inside the Tretyakov Gallery there is a cafeteria where you can fortify yourself, which I would not recommend. If you are looking for a good restaurant outside the museum, then I advise you to visit the Abramov restaurant. It is only a 5 minute walk away and offers excellent Russian cuisine. The Ukrainian restaurant Taras Bulba is a little cheaper.

Restaurants in the Novodevichy monastery and cemetery

There are several restaurants with sophisticated cuisine near the Novodevichy Monastery: Givisatsivi (Georgian) and Golubka (Italian and Russian cuisine). You will also find a restaurant belonging to the Russian fast food chain Kroshka Kartoshka there.

Restaurants in the Cosmonaut Museum and the VDNKh

The capital's best restaurants are not in this area, but if you want to try Armenian cuisine, you can find Ararat restaurant in the Armenian Pavilion of the VDNKh. The Mosnebo restaurant, near the Vostok space rocket, offers Russian cuisine.

Restaurants in Moscow City

There is a wide variety of restaurants in Moscow City, with many fast food restaurants and buffets. Many of the skyscrapers in the financial district have a restaurant on one of the higher floors from which one can enjoy breathtaking views over the city. Some recommendations for more elegant restaurants: Ruski (Russian cuisine), Yaffa (Israeli cuisine) and the Sixty Restaurant (Italian and French cuisine).


Restaurants in the city center (Hermitage, Nevsky Avenue and the main cathedrals)

In the center of St. Petersburg, in addition to the fast food chains Teremok and Kroshka Kartoshka, there are also other restaurants at quite affordable prices:

  • Stolovaya nº 1. The cheapest restaurant you can find. It is located near the Hermitage and St. Isaac's Cathedral at 13/19 Nevsky Avenue, but there are several restaurants of this chain in the center. Stolovaya nº 1 offers Russian, Central European and Oriental cuisine in buffet form and is frequented by Russians and tourists alike. You can eat well there for 300 to 800 rubles. Stolovaya means "dining room" in Russian.
  • Marketplace. More modern decoration than Stolovaya nº 1 and varied international cuisine. Highly recommended for lunch.

If you are looking for a little better cuisine, I recommend you to eat in one of the following restaurants:

  • Amo Cucinare. A fantastic alternative if you fancy Italian food. This restaurant is located very close to the Church of the Resurrection. Per person there is around 1,000 to 1,500 rubles, sometimes more.
  • Teplo. Highly recommended if you are traveling with children as there is a special area for the little ones to play. The restaurant offers very varied Russian dishes and a menu at a good price. However, the à la carte dishes are a bit more expensive. Near St. Isaac's Cathedral.
  • Tandoor. Indian cuisine and decoration. Also located near St. Isaac's Cathedral.
  • Erivan. Armenian and Caucasian cuisine. On the Fontanka quay, near the Lomonosov Bridge.
  • Pelmenia. Cozy restaurant with Russian specialties such as pelmeni and vareniky. This is also located near St. Isaac's Cathedral.
  • Yat. Cozy little restaurant with Russian and European home cooking. You can eat excellent á la carte there, but there are also menus for groups for less than 1,500 rubles per person. Live music on weekends. Very centrally located, close to the Hermitage.
  • Mansarda. This Ginza Group restaurant specializes in Italian, Russian and Oriental cuisine. It is located near St. Isaac's Cathedral.
  • Stroganoff Steak House. Russian, European and American cuisine with grill. This is also close to St. Isaac's Cathedral.
  • Fiolet. Asian, European and Japanese cuisine. Near the Fontanka wharf, next to the