10 Popular Russian Restaurants in New York

It never gets dull on the New York gastronomic scene, and Russian food makes a respectable part of it. Borsch, caviar, and pelmeni may seem routine to the certain national community, but served in a special restaurant, they become an unforgettable gourmet experience for the New Yorkers and tourists. Moreover, a number of Russian restaurants keep preserving other kinds of cultural heritage, besides cookery, such as music, dances, literature, and more. Some of them are designed in traditional style, others lean to the nostalgia for the Soviet times or represent the organic mixture with Ukrainian culinary. These are the places, where numerous types of excellent vodka are always on the menu, nobody spares mayonnaise, and fish is cooked in an intricate "fur coat" way. Let us introduce the list of the most beloved ones in NYC.


#1. Russian Samovar

Russian Samovar is a cradle of a classic Russian culture in the heart of New York — not just the nostalgic gastronomy, but a club, preserving Russian traditions. The restaurant’s fame developed due to the big names of its co-owners — Mikhail Baryshnikov and Joseph Brodsky. In a partnership with Roman Kaplan, the founder of Russian Samovar, they created a special community, which involved many famous intellectuals of the epoch. The restaurant still holds this friendly homelike atmosphere of the years past. Of course, the menu is the one to be discussed after all. You get the unpretentious charm of genuine Russian cuisine with its chicken Kiev, beef Stroganoff, pelmeni, and vinegret. By the way, Kaplan is responsible for inventing flavored vodka as the type of beverage. So, don’t leave without tasting some.

 256 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

#2. Mari Vanna

Mari Vanna represents an international set of the high quality restaurants: first opened in Moscow and St. Petersburg, it spread to other big cities worldwide, including New York. The loyal clientele follows them everywhere, as they like the special touch of exclusivity: frequent guests are given not cards, but keys to visit the place. Mari Vanna has a completely homelike interior and warm, friendly atmosphere, and it’s known that you have to make reservation in advance. The menu presents classic Russian dishes — Olivier Salad, Borsch, Herring, Kotletki (Russian meatballs) — with some nice “styling” from chef. Sunday brunch is a true hit among the fans of Russian food: it’s delicious, reasonably priced and has great portions. The most favorite part of it: you get unlimited mimosas to your meal.

 41 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

#3. Russian Tea Room

Once you step into this authentic place next to Carnegie Hall, you understand the large scope of Russian taste. The décor of the restaurant, with the golden doors, plenty of red and green, with Faberge eggs and shiny chandeliers, makes you feel like you’re visiting the imperial residence or something like that, and well, may seem a little odd. Russian Tea Room, despite of its name, offers a lot more than just the most popular Russian hot beverage. Yet, there are dozens of tea flavors in the menu. The highly rated food has a continental core, with a large portion of Russian flair, and is stylishly served. Vodka collection is impressive, how it’s supposed to be in a place with a national character. Like the previous two spots, this is also quite expensive for a common New Yorker. So, it’s mostly for those who got thirst for a unique gastronomic and aesthetic experience.

 150 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

#4. Pravda

Pravda is more a Cocktail Lounge than a restaurant, resembling a classic speakeasy, and mostly visited to have shots of vodka and other drinks. One can hardly imagine how many tastes of infused vodka they got. Cocktails like Gogol Martini and Russian Mary sound very intriguing, don’t they? As for the food range in Pravda, you won’t notice any authentic Russian dishes there, except, maybe, caviar: it looks like the mix of European and contemporary Russian style cuisine. It contains delicious snacks, appetizers, and starters, well enough for a small dinner on a Friday night.

 281 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

#5. Russian Vodka Room

Russian “rooms” are huge in New York, huh? This time it’s not the tea — it’s vodka in charge. The Russians always argue about their vodka-bear-balalaika image, but not in this place. It’s a perfect setting to fall in nostalgia for a traditional Russian entertainment style. They even have a happy hour, when all vodkas are sold at one reasonable price. And you can taste not one, but over a hundred different kinds of it here. But be careful: it’s not like they serve that blend type of vodka you mix with juice in common bar and than feel nothing. This one is straight, icy cold, and strong, so, don’t ignore the homemade food, which is great here, by the way. The visitors also come here to enjoy the piano performances, true-like Soviet décor, and friendly atmosphere.

 265 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

#6. National

Ready to have a night out you will never forget? As the Brighton Beach dwellers are familiar with a Russian dining and entertainment experience, National is the restaurant that introduces the genuine style — from the kitchen to the crowd. The restaurant pretends to be fancy and that adds some charm in a nostalgic Soviet way. It’s actually known as a banquet hall, that’s why on weekends it is overbooked with parties and celebrations of the national community. So, it never gets boring in here. Besides, the restaurant has a regular show program and acoustic music performances. Songs are sung in accent, artists wear ridiculous clothes — extremely authentic and fun. Not to mention, guests are killing dance floor after a certain amount of icy vodka.

 273 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

#7. Korchma Taras Bulba

SoHo is pretty rich in a national food scene. In the row with Chinese, French, Italian, and many others, Russian and Ukrainian cuisines are well represented. Korchma Taras Bulba is a kind of place that serves for that purpose. Every guest gets a free shot of infused vodka, and that immediately adds 100+ to the appreciation of the place. Delicious dining, extraordinary service, authentic entertainment, and colorful interior — everything is designed to have the time of your life. The menu presents the perfect compilation of two consanguineous culinary traditions: rich Borsch, inevitable Salo, special chicken, a wide assortment of Vareniki, and anything else that Gogol's characters could devour. If you are a true gourmet, this is a right stop for a festive dinner and homelike party. Nice touch: the staff is dressed in national Ukrainian outfits which amplifies the peculiarity of the spot.

 357 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

#8. Masha & the Bear

Herring in a Fur Coat, Ukha, pelmeni and meat, cooked in a Siberian style — these are the highlights of the extremely delicious Masha & the Bear restaurant menu. The place is owned by Belorussian couple, Vitaly Sherman and his wife Maria (Masha), and they do their job of preserving their national culinary traditions perfectly well. House-made horseradish vodka is a pleasant shocker for everyone who is not familiar with the drink: since the times of Peter the Great it’s believed to have the restorative power. The hearty place earns its unique status in the midst of the hipster Williamsburg environment. There’s a slight Soviet flair in the interior, which is mostly done with wooden panels and dark colors.

 771 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

#9. Onegin

One more fancy dining place with fine Russian food in Manhattan, suitable for nice family soirees, romantic dates, and presentable business dinners. The kitchen is serving really authentic dishes in reasonable portions, which look very photogenic and mouthwatering. Beverage menu is kind of huge, and that is very appreciated by the constant adult clientele. The prices may seem high in general, but they often make smart deals for lunches and group dining. Inside Onegin is truly a vision, made with all the Russian taste for glamour and pomposity: chic furniture, gigantic portraits of Pushkin and his wife on the ceiling, expensive decoration, glitz and velvet everywhere. As night comes, the DJ starts performing and the restaurant turns into a club.

 391 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10014

#10. Uncle Vanya Cafe

Midtown Manhattan hosts another gem of Russian delis, quite renowned among the city dwellers — Uncle Vanya Cafe. Just like the previous item of our list, it's named after a famous literary character (Chekhov's, this time). It's not a restaurant, and ratings sometimes are not sky-high, but still, it has everything a good Hell's Kitchen spot can offer: hip crowd, stylish interior and, of course, authentic food. Come here, if you're looking for not only decent culinary, but for an intimate atmosphere, and Russian people, of course. Pleasant jazz/classic repertoire will make your evening a perfection. Really nice experience, both for those who never tried traditional Russian dishes and for experts.

 315 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019
  Published ID4802

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