When touring the vast and varied regions of European Russia for the 2018 World Cup, the best way to immerse oneself in the culture and heritage of the country is via its food – whether that’s through grand classics with a twist, the freshest local produce or comforting traditional dishes.
GRAND CAFÉ DR ZHIVAGO, MOSCOW
Just around the corner from Red Square sits Grand Café Dr Zhivago, a contemporary restaurant which draws upon Russia’s dramatic heritage for its ambience and the country’s classic fare for its cuisine. Time-honoured dishes are given a playful twist and served alongside a selection of pickles, crepes, cold cuts and caviar; the extensive cocktail menu and sizable wine list never fails to delight.
TWINS GARDEN, MOSCOW
Twins Garden is the go-to destination for adventurous diners seeking the freshest, most flavoursome ingredients in handcrafted dishes – after all, the restaurant has its own 50-acre farm and aims to be completely self-sufficient one day. Run by twin brothers (hence the name), the restaurant boasts the largest wine cellar in Russia – with over 1000 labels.
Sitting on the 85th floor of Moscow’s stunning OKO tower, Ruski is the highest-situated restaurant in Europe – perfect for watching the sun set over the capital with a cocktail made with traditional Russian flavours. The dishes might be simple in construction, but are prepared with staggering attention to detail – afterwards, diners head to the (actual) Ice Bar for a shot of vodka in authentically chilly surroundings.
COCOCO, ST PETERSBURG
St Petersburg diners choose Cococo for its whimsical, plate-based works of art that draw upon seasonal ingredients, local culinary traditions and Russian folklore for their inspiration. The menu is constantly updated and improved upon – up to 20 times a year – so repeat visits are always worthwhile.
MANSARDA, ST PETERSBURG
For the best views in town, Mansarda looks out from the roof of the Auattro Corti business centre onto the historic centre of St Petersburg, with jaw-dropping views of the Isaakiyevskiy Cathedral. Diners are treated to a truly global menu in a restrained, yet luxurious setting where as much attention to detail has been applied to the cutlery as the internal architecture.