In this post I would like to share some general highlights about the Moscow restaurants scene. This page will be updated with the latest info on a regular basis so make sure to add it to your bookmarks. There is another post where I will add and review my favorite Moscow restaurants, so make sure to follow it as well. Hopefully this review will help you plan your lunch or dinner in the city and book your table at the right place. Today Moscow has a large selection of restaurants that can fit any budget. The economic crisis has brought some new trends to the Moscow restaurants and made a number of places go out of business. Nevertheless people continue to go out but the average check has declined resulting in the increased competition.
For a long time most of the upscale Moscow restaurants have been owned by several major restaurant groups. I guess most of the smaller owners have been pushed out of the business by the numerous state policies brought out by corrupt officials. Bigger companies with greater financial resources were the main beneficiaries of this situation.
Moscow Restaurants Managed by the Novikov Group
One of the biggest restaurant groups in Russia is called Novikov Group. It was named after its founder and co-owner Arkadiy Novikov. People refer to him as one of the pioneers of the Moscow restaurants scene. Today the group owns 50 restaurants in Moscow and 5 in London. Some of the notable venues in the capital of Russia include Aist, Cantinetta Antinori, Vogue Cafe, Prichal, Nedalniy Vostok, Bolshoi, Farsh, Roni and Semiramis.
Another restaurant group is called Restaurant Syndicate which is a lot younger than the first one but also has a great number of well-known venues. Some of the Moscow restaurants owned and operated by this group include Bistrot, Beefbar, Oblomov and Osteria Montiroli.
The third group called Ginza Project was founded in Saint Petersburg in 2003. Today it’s a very dynamic organization that manages about one hundred restaurants in several major Russian cities. Some of the Moscow restaurants operated by Ginza include Balcon, Elargi, The Sad and Sixty.
Moscow Restaurants Operated by Andrey Dellos
The fourth group of restaurants I would like to highlight is operated by Andrey Dellos that has about 10 venues. This group includes two Moscow restaurants that are known to probably every single foreign business traveler to the city.
These restaurants are Pushkin and Turandot located in the same building on Tverskoy Blvd. Pushkin located in the historic mansion owned by a German aristocrat before Revolution has managed to become a must visit restaurant for all foreigners.
El Gaucho Steaks
The 5th group is actually a small chain of fine steak houses that has three El Gaucho restaurants. The most famous and the oldest one of them located in the Paveletskaya subway area. I guess El Gaucho was one of the first Moscow restaurants to actually introduce top quality steaks to the public. El Gaucho serves some of the most expensive steaks in the city.
Alexander Rappoport: Thriving Through Crisis
Moving to the 6th group is today’s hottest restaurant company owned and operated by the award winning restaurateur and lawyer Alexander Rappoport. Alexander has been able to benefit from the tough economic conditions by opening several very successful Moscow restaurants. Their key differentiator was decent food at very reasonable prices. His restaurants include Dr. Zhivago, Black Thai, Voronezh, Cook’kareku, Chinese Charter, Meat Club and Brasserie Most. In addition to opening new venues he was able breathe new life into a number of dying projects operated by other restaurant groups.
Now this post would not be complete without the seventh group on my list called Semifreddo that owns one of the best high class Italian restaurants in Moscow called Semifreddo-Mulinazzo. This is one of the few Moscow restaurants that has been included in the San Pellegrino Top 100 restaurants list.
Today Semifreddo has 18 restaurants in the city targeted at various segments. Some of the most notable venues owned by the group are La Bottega Siciliana, Academia and Bar Klava.
One of the things that has changed with today’s tough economic conditions is the increased volume of available restaurant retail space for rent all over the city. This made it possible to open more unique restaurants by smaller owners and offer reasonable prices on the menu. Stay tuned to find out more about these new Moscow restaurants in the upcoming updates to this page.