I was searching through old photos on my external hard drive and realized that I have so many pictures from our second trip to Moscow that I haven't edited. Since, I'm not doing this trip chronologically, like my first trip, I kind of forgot about them.
I am not a foodie. When I travel I just do what everyone else wants to do, and it's normally the cheapest or closest thing we can find. With A, it's usually McDonalds. I also don't like those "Best Places to Eat in..." posts because I doubt you've eaten at every single restaurant in (insert city) to make that judgement. I usually take recommendations from people because I trust other people's opinions, and I'm not super picky. So, here is a post of the places A and I ate at on our second trip to Moscow.
BB & Burgers - Multiple Locations
Another American I worked with at Innopolis recommended BB&Burgers. Since I've been living in Russia for over a year I don't really care if the restaurant has local food or not. I miss good burgers. A likes to eat at the same places, so I did some convincing to try to get him to try it. The result? He LOVED it. He liked it so much we actually ate there twice. It's kind of expensive, though. Two drinks, two burgers, and two fries came to over 1000 rubles ($15). You might not think that's a lot, but if you go anywhere outside of Moscow something like that will cost about 700 rubles, and my salary is in rubles not dollars. It was totally worth the price though, and I mean have you ever dipped fries into barbecue sauce? It's like heaven.
Джелатерия «Пломбир» (Gelateria "Cream") - Multiple Locations
This gelato bar was really good, and they were really nice to me knowing I don't speak Russian. I'm one of those people who will order something without sampling and will still eat it whether I like it or not. The woman insisted we try the flavors before we bought them. That was the first time I ever dealt with something like that in Russia. Usually they don't care if you are happy or not. Maybe they've had too many foreign *coughAmericancough* customers who complained.
This place was connected to a coffee shop as well, so finding the entrance is kind of confusing. Honestly, it was good but nothing stands out to me. I just remember the restaurant did have a really awesome mural on the wall near the bathrooms. I didn't get a chance to take a picture though.
Cantina Mariachi - Afimall 5th Floor
It's no secret that I love Mexican food, and Cantina Mariachi was a good place to get my fix. A and I were deciding where we wanted to eat in the mall, and I said this place because I was craving a quesadilla (and a margarita). Our food was good, but I honestly don't remember much about it. I do remember we were trying to order dessert and they didn't have what we wanted. By the way, it's extremely common for restaurants to not have what's on the menu. Whether it was removed or they just don't have ingredients for it, I think about 75% of the time I eat out something I want, or the person I'm with wants, is not available. I wish America wasn't so concerned about customer service because, guess what, life happens.
Грабли (Grabli) - Multiple Locations
Grabli is a great place to go, and it's always busy so you know it's good. They have locations all over Moscow, but my favorite location is the one inside the Central Children's Store on Lubyanka (в ЦДМ на Лубянке). It's like a dream world. Also, it gets bonus points because the Central Children's store has an amazing city view of the Kremlin that you can visit for free. I think we went to Grabli three times on this trip. The only thing you should be careful about is that it's cafeteria style, so you'll be tempted to take everything, and then you go to pay and realize you made a big mistake because that all adds up to money. Also, not many people speak English, so either get ready to point or know what you want in Russian.
Кружка (Kruzhka) - Multiple Locations
When in Moscow, where prices are sky high, you really have to take advantage of "Business Lunch" specials. (Note: Business lunch is pronounced almost the same in Russian. They like to take English words and write them in Russian). We went to Kruzhka twice on our trip because they had a fantastic business lunch deal. It's a night club, but they have a decent restaurant inside. The first one we went to was near the Kremlin and was actually about 20 rubles cheaper than the second one we went to. I want to say that we got soup, salad, main dish, bread, and drink (tea or kompot) for around 300 rubles. The portions aren't huge, but they are definitely satisfying.
Джон Донн (John-Donne Pub) - Multiple Locations
Don't let the rooftop fool you, this was probably the worst restaurant I've been to in Russia and that's saying a lot. A and I saw the rooftop restaurant earlier and thought it would be a good place to eat because who doesn't like a nice view? However, John Donne definitely hit way below our expectations. In their defense they are are pub, but Kruzhka is a nightclub and their food was a million times better. My first complaint was it took a good 5-10 minutes for someone to help us. I realize there was only one waitress, but there was no one other customers there. Now, I'm usually patient and that wouldn't have been a problem if it wasn't for the million other things that sucked. My salad was horrible. The food was extremely expensive for the quality. My glass was dirty, and, finally, the wifi didn't work. A even asked before we ordered so he could do work there, and the woman insisted it did. He was never able to connect his computer the whole time we were there.
Other Places We Ate:Starbucks - Multiple Locations
I know, I know. Why go to Starbucks when you are in Moscow? Personally, I don't really like Starbucks, but we don't have one in Ufa, and A has never really had it, so he kept asking if we could go. I guess as an expat it's okay to indulge in American culture every once in a while. It also tastes the same as America, so no worries. Also, you are most likely able to find someone there who speaks English, or at least knows your order in English.
Dunkin Donuts - Multiple Locations
Dunkin Donuts is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. Sorry not sorry.
Krispy Kreme - Multiple Locations
A likes Krispy Kreme and, like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, we don't have one in Ufa. Also, he is a freelancer so he works on our trips and he likes to go to places like this so he can work while we are on vacation instead of being stuck in our hotel room.
Subway - Multiple Locations
There was a Subway right outside our hotel, and it made things easy when he was working in the morning and we wanted something quick to eat before we made our journey out into the city. I have to say Subway in Russia is not as good as America. They just don't have all the choices that we have in America and some options are different.
Теремок (Teremok) - Multiple Locations
It's definitely a travesty that there isn't a Teremok in Ufa because it has some of the greatest Russian fast food. If you come to Russia and don't go here you wasted your trip. It might not be a five star restaurant, but the food is cheap and good. Surprisingly, I had to convince A to go here. He had never had it before and refused to go on our last trip. This is coming from a guy who eats at McDonald's once a week, at least! He ended up loving it, and we went there I think one or two more times.
As you can tell I'm probably the wrong person to get advice from when it comes to food, but you have to learn where your priorities lie. Where do you usually eat on vacation? How do you find good restaurants?