Moscow is not, generally speaking, a gastronomical delight. Food is generally expensive and without the taste to match it.
Here’s the basic breakdown of cost, per person, if you’re eating at a mid-level restaurant in Moscow:
Starter: 200-600 rubles ($6-20)
Entree: 500+ ($15+)
Dessert: 400+ ($12)
And the drinks, of course, will totally kill your tab:
Beer (0,5 L): 170 – 400 rubles ($6-12)
Cocktails: you’re lucky if you can find a rum and coke under 300 ($10)
I guess it’s not so expensive, but when you’re basically paying for something fried and/or rubbery, as well as watered-down drinks, it’s kind of a downer to get a check that comes up to about 1000 rubles ($30) per person.
A string of terribly mediocre food got me thinking about one of the restaurants I’ve most enjoyed in Moscow: Montalto.
It was opened in 2011 by an American businessman with a passion for pizza – and he really did a great job bringing both great Italian food and excellent American service. Occasionally, the waitresses will actually smile at you! One of the best parts of the restaurant (aside from, you know, the food) is the open floor plan – a lot of space between tables is an absolute rarity in Moscow.
In the two times I’ve been, the food has always been really good. Go for the pizza. It’s the clear winner and you can even watch it being prepared in the wood-burning oven in the restaurant area. As a vegetarian, I can’t comment on everything on the menu, but suffice to say I’ve seen everyone there stuffing food into their mouth like there’s no tomorrow. So that’s a good sign.
Of course it’s pretty pricey, although not anything unexpected. When we went out for the Russky’s birthday, we spent about 2500 rubles ($80)… And as I write that, I realize how absolutely insane it is that I’ve been trained to think that’s a normal price. Ahh! Look what Moscow’s done to me!
All that aside, for two entrees (a giant mushroom pizza and a bafflingly delicious pizza burger) and four drinks, Montalto is a good choice when you want decent Italian food and servers that might crack a smile.
Montalto (5 minute walk from metro Barrikadnaya.)