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Azerbaijani Tonight?

Moscow has plenty of restaurants, most with the exact same menu: beef cutlets (for Soviet nostalgia), sushi rolls (Muscovites are mad—and frighteningly indiscriminate—about sushi), Caesar salad. Luckily, it’s also home to tucked-away kitchens serving some of the world’s most obscure cuisines.— Alexei Munipov, deputy editor, Bolshoi Gorod

The Interesting

ALROSA

4 1st Kazachii Sidestreet

Possibly the only restaurant to feature the food of Yakutia, a region in Siberia. Things to try include fish soup made with milk and vodka.

CHITO-RA

10 Kazakova

Moscow’s gourmands worship khinkali—large Georgian dumplings filled with meat, cilantro, and scalding broth. The cult’s epicenter is this shabby shack behind the Kursky railway station.

JERUSALEM

6 Bolshaya Bronnaya, Building 3

An unmarked restaurant atop a synagogue. The food is, remarkably, Azerbaijani, albeit kosher. In the summer, when it puts tables on the rooftop, Jerusalem quietly acquires one of Moscow’s best city views.


The Weird

EKSPEDITSIYA

6 Pevcheskii Sidestreet

Putin and Medvedev celebrated their 2008 election victory at this hunting-themed fantasia: A glassed-in “mountain river” flows under the diners’ feet, and you can take your meal inside a real Mi-6 helicopter.

NAIL ROOM BEAUTY LOUNGE

22 Bolshaya Yakimanka, second floor

A spectacularly ill-advised marriage of restaurant and nail salon, serving lots of smoothies. The target audience appears to be concubines.

TURANDOT

26/5 Tverskoy Boulevard

A triple fake—a 2005 construction pretending to be a czarist-era palace pretending to be eighteenth-century French pretending to be Chinese. When it opened, this restaurant bested even jaded Muscovites’ notions of garish folly.


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