One of my absolute favorite places in Moscow is Dr.Zhivago located in Hotel “National”. I come very regularly to this place at least once a week. To get a table is quite hard there so if you have a particular day and time you are planning to visit, book a week in advance especially for dinner time. Once I came with a friend without a reservation, they told us that we are second in the queue and the waiting time will be around 20 min. We waited 2 hours, then we gave up and ate in the hotel lobby. However, the other day I came for a lunch on my birthday and I was lucky to have a lovely meal on such memorable day. So to be sure you will get a table, better to call and make a reservation.
The food and prices in Dr.Zhivago are amazing. They have a great choice of Russian cuisine, and dishes prepared in an excellent way with a beautiful presentation. In fact, I think it is the best place to be introduced to our cuisine. I tried almost everything from the menu and all dishes were excellent. I don’t even have a favorite dish there as in most of restaurants because I really like everything they cook. Regarding the prices, you will be surprised that in such luxury restaurant you can have a meal and a drink for $20 or a starter, main, dessert and wine just for $50. So it is up to you to stay within a budget or to go crazy and try everything. Last but not least, the interior is just lovely, done in the SSSR style but with luxury modern touch. If you are planning to travel to Moscow, Dr.Zhivago is a must visit place.
Novikov Group owns one of the best restaurants in Moscow as well as grows internationally in other cosmopolitan cities. Each restaurant by this group has a unique concept, beautiful design, and excellent food. Therefore, when the new one opened, I run to try it. Valenok quickly became a very trendy place between different generations and incomes. The concept of this place is contemporary Russian cuisine with good prices and nice ambiance. Here you can get a set menu for business lunch as well as a la carte menu with a big variety of Russian dishes.
If you are traveling to Moscow on a budget then come during work days between 12 pm and 4 pm, you will be pleasantly surprised that you can get a starter, main course and a drink just for 380 rub ($6.5). I honestly never seen lower prices in fancy restaurants for excellent quality food. Plus, everyday set are changing and it is always a surprise for guests. For those with a bigger budget and specific food preferences, you will definitely find lots of nice dishes in the main menu. I went there a couple of times and everything I tried was fresh and delicious. For example, last time I had sald with calmares, red caviar and glass of wine. I believe for all of these, I paid around 2,000 rub ($34) .
So if you want to take a grasp of traditional Russian cousine, Valenok would be a soft start. To have a real caltural exchange soon I will share with you other wonderfull places to visit. Last but not least, the name of the restaurant, valenok came from traditional Russian boot made of wool. Nowadays, people don’t wear them much but you still can see valenki in some villages or in souvenir stores.