Is there anybody in the entire world who has never heard about borsh, pelmeni, olivye? We think no. So, what country do you associate with these words? Of course Russia.
And is there anyone who wouldn’t like to try Russian traditional food? We suppose no. That’s why we decided to make a top-list of 13 must-eat Russian dishes.


Read our article and we promise you will definitely find something interesting and may be even terrific for yourself! Let’s start!

Pelmeni (пельмени)

And first of all, we want to tell you about the dish Pelmeni. This saves us in any situation. If we don’t have time to cook, we usually look in the freezer and take pelmeni. So, what’s it?

Pelmeni is  a kind of meat dumplings-balls made of dough with various meat types: beef, chicken, pork and so on. Most people boil pelmeni, but also there are  some of them who prefer to fry this dish. And it’s delicious too!
Talking about making pelmeni, we want to notice that it’s a real pain. The process of cooking is quite easy, but making dough is definitely complicated. Unfortunately, (or may be hopefully) it is the dough that really makes pelmeni what it is . That’s why not in most families only women (rarely men) know how to cook it. Hopefully, our grannies know a secret and they always make pelmeni with a great pleasure, putting love in every piece.

However, if you go to the market and want to buy a pack of them, they are not expensive. Moreover, while eating them, you’ll recall your childhood.

Short-list where you can try them:

  • Cheburechnaya USSR @ Bolshaya Bronnaya St. 27/4, building 1
  • Lepim i Varim @ per. Stoleshnikov, 9
  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • LavkaLavka @ Petrovka St.,21, building 2
  • Shinok @ 1905 goda St., 2

Vareniki (вареники)

The next dish is closely related to the previous one, but at the same time there is a huge difference between them. You can add any filler, beginning from potato to cherry, while filler of pelmeni is always meat.

Vareniki is made of dough as pelmeni, but it has another shape. Traditional vareniki are with cottage cheese or cherry, but it’s also popular to add potato or mushrooms. As you understood, they can be with both sweet-stuff and vegetables. When you come to one of the following cafes, you will have a huge choice of vareniki.

Short-list where you can try them:

  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • Korchma Taras Bulba @ each address
  •  Lepim i varim @ Stoleshnikov per., 9
  •  Cafe Pushkin @ Tverskoy Blvd., 26a
  •  Mari Vanna @ Spiridonyevskiy per., 10


Borsh (борщ)

We are sure you all know this soup, that’s why we can not skip it. Borsh is a traditional russian soup which is loved by almost all people. Ingredients are simple, but their mix is more than tasty. So, borsh consists of beet, tomato, cabbage, meat, carrot, potato, onion. The main feature which gives borsh its zest is meat bouillon and bay leaf.

It’s a fact that people used to believe that if a girl can cook delicious borsh, she is an enviable bride. Nowadays, it lost it popularity, but still young men are a bit surprised when girls say they are good at cooking borsh.

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Cafe Pushkin @ Tverskoy Blvd., 26a
  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • Shinok @ 1905 goda St., 2
  • Korchma Taras Bulba @ each address
  • Mari Vanna @ Spiridonyevskiy per., 10a


  Seledka pod shuboy (селёдка под шубой)

Now we are turning to popular Russian salads. ‘Seledka pod shuboy’ is something that is hard to understand due to its’ mix of products. We make it by putting all ingredients as layers. Usually ‘seledka pod shuboy’ is made of herring, eggs, beet, carrot, potato and some onion. Each layer needs to be smeared with mayonnaise.

The lowest layer is potato, then goes onion, herring, beet, eggs, carrot and  beet consistently. Some people also double layers or add apples, but it’s kind of exotic .

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Lavka bratyev Karavaevyh @ each address
  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • Stolovaya 57 @ GUM, Red Square, 3 floor, 3 line
  • Café Stolle @ Bolshaya Sadovaya, 3, building 1
  • Restaurant Saratov @ Ilinka St., 4


Olivye (оливье)

One more salad which mix is hard to understand - olivye. It’s a traditional dish for New Year’s holiday. Typical ingredients for olivye are chicken, potato, peas, carrot, salty cucumbers, fresh cucumbers, eggs. But some people also add apples or make it with wurst. One of the tastiest salad in Russia!

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • Lavka bratyev Karavaevyh @ each address
  • Grand Café: Dr. Zhivago @ Mohovaya St. 15/1
  • Café Pushkin @ Tverskoy Blvd., 26a
  • Stolovaya 57 @ GUM, Red Square, 3 floor, 3 line


Holodets (холодец)

May be not all of you are aware of this dish, but now we will tell you about holodets. Holodets is

. It sounds weird, but it’s really tasty and is included in many Russian holidays.

First step to make holodets is to boil meat with bones for 5-6 hours. You can put in there a bulb of onion and one carrot for piquancy. After it’s needed to cool the meat in order to separate meat from bones and filter bullion. Then, put meat into container, add some garlic and fill with bullion. Put into fridge and eat when it’s frozen. There is a special sauce for holodets made of horseradish with green apple.

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Korchma Taras Bulba - each address
  • Café Pushkin - Tverskoy Blvd., 26a
  • LavkaLavka - Petrovka St.,21, building 2
  • Your Russian friends’ granny :D


Kvass (квас)

Do you think vodka is the most popular Russian traditional drink? Well, maybe it is, however, there is one more beverage you should try while staying in Russia – kvass. It is classified as a non-alcoholic drink by Russian standards (0.5–1.0%). Slightly alcoholic, mildly sparkling, refreshing summer drink is known in many Eastern European countries.

It is an ancestor of modern cider and kombucha and is a “patriotic” alternative to Coca Cola or Pepsi. Kvass is commonly made from rye bread (crazy? We do not think so). If you still do not clearly understand what kvass is, just go to a grocery shop and buy few bottles of it. But a better idea is to find Russian babushka and ask her to cook it because the best kvass is home-made kvass.

If you are not familiar with any babushkas, we suggest you some places where you can find this drink:

  • Almost all grocery shops
  • Odessa mama - Ukrainian Blvd, 7
  • Teremok - each address
  • LavkaLavka  - Petrovka St.,21, building 2
  • Mari Vanna - Spiridonyevskiy per., 10a


Okroshka (окрошка)

The recipe is incredibly simple: mix olivye (vegetables like cucumbers, potatoes, eggs, onions) with kvass  and get okroshka – the most bizarre Russian soup! It is a classical soup that is mostly served in summer because it combines the refreshing taste of kvass and the lightness of salad. Okroshka is always a cold dish, sometimes even ice cubes are added to the served portions in order to keep it cold in a hot weather, but it’s for an amateur. Do not forget to add sour cream (smetana)!

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Tiflis - Novocheremushkinskaya St., 34, building. 1/ 2
  • Varvari culinary shop - Feoktistova St., 2
  • Make a challenge in cooking okroshka by yourself!


Grechka aka buckwheat (гречка)

“You didn’t eat enough porridge”, Russians would say if you meet a difficult challenge and can’t go through it. So, if you want to be strong and healthy, include grechka in your diet. For some reason this uncommonly nourishing, simple and tasty dish is well known only in several Eastern European countries. You can buy it in every Russian grocery shop. It’s so popular among Russian people that Washington Post once wrote a phrase about it in its Twitter: “Russia without grechka is like the South without grits”

If you are brave enough to try new products combination, add warm milk to a plate with a boiled grechka and enjoy true Russian lunch!

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Grechka Lab @ Pusheshnaua St., 7/5, building 2
  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • Lavka bratyev Karavaevyh @ each address
  • Voronezh @ Prechistenka St., 4


Blini (блины)

You might have heard about blini and that it can be compared with pancakes, but they are thinner, have a golden color and can be made out of wheat, buckwheat, rye or oat flour. Blini were considered by Slavs in the pre-Christian period as a symbol of the sun and were prepared traditionally at the end of the winter to celebrate spring beginning and rebirth of the new sun. This celebration is called Maslenitsa, also known as “butter week”. The most exciting thing about this dish is that you can add anything your imagination desires: from sweet condensed milk, jam (or its Russian version “varenye” – “варенье”) and honey to savory salmon, red caviar and meat. And of course everything is accompanied with sour cream!

Short-list where you can try them:

  • Teremok @ each address
  • Danilovsky market @ Mytnaya St., 74
  • Blinnaya on Taganka @ Vorontsovskaya St.
  • Grand Café Dr. Zhivago @ Mokhovaya St., 15/1


Pirozhki (пирожки)

It is an authentic Russian “mini-pie” that is made in many different shapes and can be filled with tons of different sweets or even sour fillings. You can eat pirozhki cold or hot for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as a snack. They commonly contain meat or vegetables, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, onions and egg, cabbage. Sweet-based fillings can include stewed or fresh fruit (apples, cherries, apricots), jam, cottage cheese.

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Stolle @ each adress
  • Pirogovaya Lavka @ Rozhdestvensky Blvd, 22/23
  • Varenichnaya number 1 @ each address
  • Lavka bratiev Karavaevyh @ each address


Pryaniki (пряники)

Pryanik is often described as “Russian gingerbread”, it is a sweet bread or cookie flavored with spices and filled with jam, condensed milk or caramel. The name of this dessert comes from the word “pryany” (“пряный”) which means “spicy”. Pryaniki are often served as a snack with tea or coffee. They are usually hand-made and are decorated with beautiful patterns. It is produced in numerous Russian regions but especially is popular in Tula where you can even find the museum of Tulsky Pryanik. Russians have some interesting sayings and proverbs with this word. For example, “хлеба не станет, будем пряники есть” (“if there will be no bread, we will eat pryaniki”) or “кнут и пряник,” (“whip and pryanik”), the saying that close to English “stick and carrot.”

Short-list where you can try it:

  • Shop of the confectionary factory “Old Tula” @ Baltiyskaya St.5 (Center for Culture and Business “Moscow-Sokol”)
  • Almost all grocery shops
  • Museum of Tulsky Pryanik in Tula!


Hope you liked this article and now are ready to go and eat everything that we have mentioned above.

We are looking forward to reading your feedback whether a dish was tasty or not and would you suggest it to your friends!

Bon appetite! Or it is better to say: приятного аппетита!


Authors: Ekaterina Didenko and Alexandra Sukhoveeva 
Editors: Anastasia Filatova and Irina Klimova
Proofreader: Shannon Williams