Cook’kareku is a popular 24-hour breakfast place run by prominent Moscow restaurateur Alexander Rappoport. Right on the Garden Ring road, Cook’kareku focuses on breakfast dishes from different regions of the world. Most breakfasts are 480 rubles, or well under $10 U.S., but if it’s “breakfast time” in the dish’s corresponding part of the world, you get a 30 percent discount. The best time to get the “Moscow” breakfast — three-egg omelet, fried-bologna sausage and scallions — is between 8 and 10 a.m.
BTW: Cook’kareku is a perfect stop on the way home after a night of clubbing. Discounts on pad thai are from 4 to 6 a.m. and on tandoori chicken from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m.
9 Ulitsa Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya, Bldg. 4, Moscow 123242, Russia
Chelovek i Parokhod
“Chelovek i Parokhod,” or “The Man and the Steamship,” is a phrase coined by one of the greatest Russian avant-garde poets, Vladimir Mayakovsky. Referred to as ChIP for short, the restaurant began as a stall at Danilovsky market but gradually expanded. Its most central location today is at Triumfalnaya Square, which is coincidentally next to the statue of Mayakovsky and the eponymous Metro station. ChIP serves truly excellent coffee drinks, brewed from beans that ChIP roasts. Although espresso-based drinks are ChiP’s forte (try their flat white), the filtered coffee is worth a try, too.
BTW: ChiP shares space with the famous Moskva cake shop, recognized as the official cake of the city. Get a slice with your coffee for a perfect breakfast combination.
1 Triumfalnaya Square, Moscow 125047, Russia
Named after Boris Pasternak’s Nobel-winning novel, this spot is fittingly on the first floor of the hotel National, just across from the Kremlin. Part of Alexander Rappoport’s restaurant empire, Dr. Zhivago is extremely popular, so book in advance. The menu consists of both reimagined Soviet-time dishes, like the ubiquitous Olivier salad (potatoes, carrots, chicken and pickles), and revived 19th-century recipes. Try one of the classics, like beef stroganoff. If you’re looking for something adventurous, you won’t be disappointed by the millet porridge with crawfish or pelmeni (Russian dumplings) with duck.
BTW: If you can’t get a table at Dr. Zhivago, don’t despair. Just walk upstairs to Beluga, another Rappaport restaurant devoted to Russian cuisine, although pricier.
15/1 Ulitsa Mokhovaya, Moscow 125009, Russia
Out of all the ethnic cuisines of the former Soviet Union, Georgian is probably the most beloved. There are hundreds of Georgian restaurants in Moscow; Vai Me is a rather small chain of fast-casual cafes. Its flagship outpost at the exit of Novokuznetskaya Metro station, Vai Me serves proper Georgian traditional dishes in small portions at bargain prices. You can’t go wrong with khinkali (traditional Georgian dumplings) or khachapuri (pastry with cheese).
BTW: “Vai me” is an exclamation in Georgian, which can be roughly translated as “oh, wow.”
Vai Me!, Pyatnitskiy Pereulok, Moscow, Russia
LavkaLavka was one of the “farm-to-table” pioneers in Moscow. All ingredients used are seasonal and supplied by local farmers, named on the menu. While the menu rotates often, the dishes are based on one concept: creative interpretations of traditional Russian dishes. The mainstays include borscht, the famous Russian cabbage soup with beef and its vegetarian brother, shchi. Buckwheat is also big in Russia. Try it in the restaurant’s mushroom soup or made into a semblance of risotto with duck confit and lingonberry jam. Then wash it all down with polugar — fancy homemade vodka.
BTW: Apart from the restaurant, LavkaLavka also owns a supermarket chain. Opt for the homemade pickles, which taste just like a Russian grandmother’s, or cheddar cheese made at a farm in Siberia.
LavkaLavka, Petrovka Ulitsa, 21, стр. 1, Moscow, 107031, Russia
Lepim i Varim
Lepim i Varim, which translates to "we shape and boil,” is a small fast-casual chain dishing out pelmeni (dumplings). Its biggest branch is at the entrance to Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden), the oldest botanical garden in Russia. Pelmeni come in a dozen varieties, with fillings ranging from a mix of pork and beef, potatoes and onions, and even prawns and Kamchatka crab. Vareniki, the sweet cousin of pelmeni, are also available. At this outpost, there’s a bar with vodka, Georgian chacha and various infusions.
BTW: The original Lepim i Varim, at Stoleshnikov Pereulok 9/1, in the heavily touristed Tverskoy district, is a great spot to save money for a meal, since that’s a notoriously expensive neighborhood.
Lepim I Varim, Prospekt Mira, Moscow, Russia
One of Moscow’s most popular bars, Noor was recently redecorated, expanded and renamed Noor Electro. (The second word references the cutting-edge performance venue Electrotheater in the same building.) Perfect for after-theater drinks or a great party on the weekend, Noor serves some of the best cocktails in the city, and the bartenders here are legendary. Weather permitting, a cute courtyard with a few tables and chairs and some greenery is open.
BTW: Caffe Torino is an Italian eatery inside that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Noor Bar, Tverskaya Street, Moscow, Russia
Burger Heroes arguably serves the best burgers in town. It’s a small chain with a flagship on the first floor of the performing arts center Moscow Musical Theater, a large Soviet modernist building on Pushkinskaya Square. The interior is all exposed brick and piping, decorated with rows of kegs. The most popular burgers include the Black Mamba, served on black buns with smoked bacon and cherry sauce, and the Bad Bro, with spicy pepper sauce and onions. Apart from burgers, there’s rib-eye and chuck roll steaks, along with more than 100 bottled craft beers.
BTW: Beer on tap changes frequently, but make sure to try the Black Mamba porter named after that burger.
Burger Heroes, 2 Pushkinskaya Square, Moscow 127006, Russia