Cafe Espresso / Кафе Эспрессо
ул. Красноармянская, 2
Open from 10am to 11pm
Meals from $6
Cafe Espresso is a small cafe located on a side street off Karl Marx Street, one of the main streets downtown. It serves a variety of very tasty Russian dishes, including soups, sandwiches, omelets, pozi, pelmeni, blini, and drinks ranging from simple coffee and tea to hot cocoa with a scoop of ice cream. The cafe is made up of three booths and a number of free-standing tables and chairs. The space is small, but there are nearly always a couple tables or booths free. My friend Emily found Cafe Espresso one day while exploring the city center, and since then we’ve returned numerous times for lunch or a nice place to warm up with tea and borsch after a cold walk.
It’s a sit-down cafe, and being such a small place, the service is quite quick. Some dishes take longer than others, but the server will usually warn you about the time it will take for longer dishes to be prepared. One of our favorite things to order are the potato pancakes (draniki – драники) which are served with sour cream and lots of dill. Their borsch is also particularly flavorful and filling, with a generous helping of meat as well as dill. A filling meal of potato pancakes (120 rub), a cheese and tomato sandwich (69 rub) and a cup of tea (35 rub) ran me just under 230 rubles and left me very satisfied. Their menu is pretty extensive, so although we often order some of the same things when we go back, there are also many new options to try out.
There are no separated smoking or non-smoking sections, so the place can be a bit smoky at times. But with its small size and laid-back feel, Cafe Espresso can be a cozy place to hang out with coffee and tea and a snack or full lunch with friends. The place is rarely filled, which gives it a relaxing and unhurried atmosphere.
For groups and faculty-led tours, Cafe Espresso will probably be too small for groups of more than about five or six students.