Dining out in Moscow, Russia can be a strange experience for foreigners unused to excellent food being accompanied by gangsters, techno music and call girls. Once you get used to this there are some excellent restaurants available offering a real mix of styles and cuisines, but the traditional Russian affection for fish means Japanese sushi places are disproportionately represented.Night Flight has both a strange name and a Swedish chef. The menu here is diverse and comes with an excellent choice of wine and cigars. Unfortunately Night Flight turns into a nightclub at around midnight with a large complement of beautiful ‘single’ women. If you have had enough wine this can seem like a bit of fun, otherwise plan to have finished your meal and be ready to leave when the bass starts vibrating the crockery on your table.
Nobu describes itself as ‘the world’s hippest restaurant chain’. The fusion of Japanese with South American styles is certainly cutting edge and stars such as Robert De Niro have graced the place when they have been in town. While Nobu is a great place to eat but you may have trouble getting a table due to intense popularity and a strict face control policy.
Nooning’s motto is ‘just about quality’, which is mostly true but on certain evenings it’s also about karaoke or other loud distractions. Checking the website for events on the evening you want to visit is, therefore, advisable. However, generally speaking the food is excellent and the decor exciting and glamorous. The wine list here is especially recommended and the sommelier is usually happy to help you choose a wine to complement your meal with only the smallest hint of condescension.
Turandot may, to some, be a tragic opera set in Peking, but in Moscow it is a hugely pretentious and yet enjoyable restaurant. Describing itself as trying to attain ‘beauty that is unheard of for a mere mortal’, Turandot is actually a fantastically dotty evening’s adventure into just how tasteless the Russians can sometimes be. Why would you not give the waitresses Louis XVI’s replica shoes? Unfortunately, the menu is actually rather pedestrian.
Seiji has been mentioned in lists of the best restaurants in the world and goes out of its way to teach Russians and other visitors that Japanese food is more diverse than just sushi rolls. In fact, most of the dishes on the menu here are things that feature prominently in Japan but have failed to capture the imaginations of foreign tastes, with the exception of the US west coast. Deliveries are flown in from Japan twice a week meaning that the ingredients are original, fresh and not at all environmentally friendly. Book ahead for a good table.
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