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NYC’s 9 Best Russian Restaurants

Russian restaurants have a knack for combining sexy with fun, liveliness with intimacy. Now this could be the effects of vodka, but consider too the appetizing cuisine: one unusual, mouthwatering, taste delight after the other. NYC boasts a wide range of ways and means to get your Russian fix: from simple takeout creperies, to lairs of enchantment, to glitz-on-steroids, smorgasbord dining halls. Below are nine of the best of them. By Anna Van Lenten.

Anyway Cafe

anyway cafe1 NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: Anyway Cafe)

32 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-3412

The East Village is the perfect place for this cave of vodka infusions—an ambiance arrived at in part by dint of the red cushion booths, and pine fronds and ornaments floating above you as you eat. Such Russian delectables as chicken and herb blinis, pelmenis, trout roulade, and herring with new potatoes are notable. Anyway’s intimacy and live music beget love.


gambrinus NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: Gambrinus NY)

3100 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 265-1009

Gambrinus is a seafood restaurant bedecked with nets, prows, nautical décor—and an actual deck—just a wee jaunt from Coney Island. No live entertainment, but you do get staff dressed up as sailors, choice dishes, and light Russian beer. Must haves from the very long menu include the mushroom blini, the Alaskan crab legs, the garlic butter shrimp, garlickly, dill fries, skirt steak, and beef Stroganoff.

Mari Vanna

marivanna russian NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(Credit: Mari Vanna)

41 E 20th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 777-1955

A generous parlor of a dining room gently adorned in an upscale, French, countrified look: Fabric lampshades and a glass chandelier, mismatched china, lace mats, wood tables. Food is on par with the décor—divine lamb chops, a pepper-garlic borscht, out of this world salads (Sunflower, Olivier), and any of the fish or meat cuts on a board. Bread with salt, green onion, and bacon fat seems downright civilized.


pravda new york NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: Pravda)

281 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 226-4696

It’s a self-proclaimed Russian speak-easy, so expect to be underground, melting into the wee hours with the help of a menu that offers over 70 vodkas. Drink must be attended with food, however, and Pravda is no slouch in that department. Pickled herring, smoked fish—straight up or in blinis, roasted eggplant dip, spinach and cheese pirozhkis, fried oysters—the seduction begins here.

Russian Samovar

russian samovar1 NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: Russian Samovar)

256 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-0168

With live music every night and ingeniously flavored vodkas—horseradish, ginger, pomegranate—Samovar leaves nothing to chance, including its wonderful menu. Worthy choices include but are not limited to: smoked salmon tartar with caviar, blinis with cream cheese and capers, lamb dolmas, foie gras pelmini in white truffle sauce, and the duck. Sensation all around.

Russian Vodka Room

russian vodka room1 NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: Russian Vodka Room/Facebook)

265 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 307-5835

More Eastern Bloc than western schlock, the buzz of the RVR is how it makes its dim den of a back room feel like a secret retreat for comrades in the know. Get yourself a sampling of house-made vodka infusions, order the fish platter, any of the apps, and the chicken schnitzel, and let the singer lure you towards the sultry shoals of happiness.

Tatiana Restaurant

tatiana restaurant NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: Tatiana)

3152 Brighton 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 891-5151

Tatiana’s dance acts, kitsch aside, are on the ball and riveting. And its 20-page menu, a veritable document of Russian cuisine, offers excellent food: borscht and spinach soups, phenomenal apps, any fish main, short ribs, and the new potato, Rockefeller, or Kani salads are great tries. Cherry varenyky (dumpling) with sour cream is priceless.


national restaurant NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

(credit: National Restaurant)

273 Brighton Beach Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 646-1225

Blessed by Anthony Bourdain on the Travel channel, National serves distinctively good food—pickled tomatoes, grilled meats, caviar, tongue. The dining room is like a stage set with vermillion carpet and gold chandeliers as far as the eye can see. Sample some tasty appetizers, and get up to swing with the outrageous song and dance show. An all-out, full-tilt experience.

Russian Homemade Cuisine

crepes NYCs 9 Best Russian Restaurants

Crepes (credit: File Photo/Clipart)

505 Church Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(718) 484-0156

An unassuming mini factory, this little store is a humble refute to the aesthetic of high class riche employed in so many Russian restaurants. Here, one long grill and several men outlay one thing: the most gorgeously light, golden crepes. It’s takeout only, but so fine it’s worth a go. Four dollars buys a huge stack—adorn as you please.

Anna Van Lenten is from Brooklyn, N.Y. 

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