I’ve been wanting to write this piece ever since I first got there, and not being a huge fan of Russian cuisine made me want this even doubly so, as this place from now on defines genuine Russian dining for me. And also, when I have a restaurant crush, everyone should know it 😉
First of all, the location! This place sits just steps away from one of famous Stalin’s skyscrapers – hotel Ukraine and is overlooking the Moscow River. Some pictures with fantastic views are guaranteed as much as a fantastic dining experience.
Matryoshka is not just culinary excellent, it also lets you time travel to the enchanted ambiance of an estate life of mid 19th century. Or at least in my literary imagination powered by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, picturing large families travelling to their summer residences, sitting at their long dining tables and having these very dishes.
There is nothing opulent about this place’s décor, compared to Pushkin, another Moscow staple, though it is a stunner: intelligently sophisticated, warm and inviting, it literally wraps you up in that bubble of coziness and love so that when that business meeting of yours ends you think of a reason to take your mom there. Immediately.
The menu will make you drool even before you try their delicious small pies pirozhki as a starter – cabbage and eggs, or veal liver and heart are a must (~ $1,7\ ~$2,5 each). The next thing I can swear by is the fish kulebyaka (another version of the pie) that is a true masterpiece and one of the most instagrammable foods ever, with smoked sour cream and clear broth. Jesus, that sour cream…
Make sure you pay attention to the matryoshka sign near some of the menu entries- these are signature dishes and are recommended if you are a first comer.
The incredible array of pelmeni, Russian dumplings (~$10 a portion) is another thing worth a try. Even though all are delicious, the pork and goose with goose cracklins do it for me every time.
The main dishes are something I honestly rarely get to, because I love all Matryoshka’s hors-d’oeuvre too much, but if you can endure more than me- I’d say dear and boar cabbage rolls (~$13 a portion) and stewed rabbit (~$10) are gloriously good. There also are larger portions for a party of two or even three such as lamb shoulder with buckwheat.
On a separate note- Matryoshka’s chef Vlad Piskunov, a person of a great passion and great talent, hosts historic themed dinners, pleasure and purpose as I call it, where you can try delicious foods and learn unknown facts. It should be booked in advance and is usually charged as a set.
Address: 2/1 Kutuzovsky av. (facing Taras Shevchenko embankment)
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 AM–2 PM
By Natasha Bezrukova aka The Super Mom