Eat Like a Local | Moscow Russia

Wondering how to get the best taste of Moscow, Russia? Why not try these dishes and ingredients beloved of locals.

Smelts Jennifer Eremeeva
Fried Smelts. /Courtesy Jennifer Eremeeva.

Wondering how to get the best taste of Moscow, Russia? Why not try these dishes and ingredients beloved of locals.

There has never been a better time to explore the culinary side of life in the world’s largest country. The restaurant scene in Moscow and St. Petersburg is an exciting world where young chefs are resurrecting traditional Russian recipes, fusing them with innovative ingredients and cooking methods. The result is original and very tasty! (Eremeeva has even compiled a guide to Moscow’s restaurants.)

What to order?

Borscht is a traditional Russian soup made from beets, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. It can include meat or be vegetarian and in Russia is almost always served hot and garnished with sour cream.

Pelemeni are Russian ravioli! Possibly the world’s first flash frozen food, nomadic tribes in Siberia have been making pelemeni and freezing them in the permafrost for centuries. They are made with pork and beef and served either in broth or topped with sour cream.

Schi is Russian cabbage soup, often enhanced with tomatoes, potatoes, and other spices. It’s particularly satisfying in the winter after a long day of sight seeing!

Kvass is a mildly-alcoholic fizzy drink made from fermented black bread and spiced with ginger and honey.

Caviar are the delectable eggs of a sturgeon (black) or salmon (red). Russians pair salty caviar with bliniy, or Russian pancakes and the ubiquitous sour cream.

Cheburiki are spicy meat pies from southern Russian. It’s best to order them in a restaurant and not from a food truck.

Beef Stroganoff is a Russian dish, which was invented by a French chef in the eighteenth century. Beef and mushrooms are paired in a hearty sour-cream, tomato and mustard sauce.

Salmon Coulibac is a fish pie taken to its most extreme. Gently poached salmon is combined with mushrooms and rice in layers, encased in a light pastry.


Jennifer Eremeeva is an American food and humor writer who has called Moscow home for two decades. She is the author of Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow and Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia: A Concise History of Russia.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2014/15 issue of City Style and Living Magazine