Restaurants in Russia

At this raucous, democratically priced Cossack-themed chain, the food may lack finesse, but the garlic-studded cold pork, sour-creamed braised rabbit, and porcini caps pickled with black-currant leaf are just right with the horseradish-infused vodka.

Simple Things, a year-old café owned by Moscow food maven Katya Drozdova, is the capital's first venue to combine peasant cooking with a gourmet sensibility—inspired by Alice Waters, whom Drozdova met at a Slow Food festival in Italy.

In an era of bombastic interiors and overpriced sushi, locals are grateful for this hidden spot, which faithfully re-creates a 19th-century Russian estate. While Chopin is played on a white piano, waitresses in period dresses deliver exquisite dacha (country house) dishes.

Have a delicious arugula salad while gazing out at Lenin’s mausoleum and St. Basil’s candy-colored domes—as we do one lunchtime.

Echoes of pre-Soviet Petersburg pervade the 1870 café, with its bamboo-accented décor and vintage chinoiserie. Locals sip Viennese coffee at outdoor tables.