Вареничная №1 / Varenichnaya №1
Arbat St, 29 (and other locations)
Prices: 175 rubles+
At first, I wasn’t too keen on going to this cafe. The menu at Varenichnaya seemed similar to any other cafe or food stand in Moscow, yet the food was more expensive. I ordered kotleti po-kievski, or chicken cutlet cooked with butter inside. This was about $6 for a somewhat small portion. My dinner mates ordered chebureki, makaroni po-flotski, vareniki c kartoshkoi, and kholodets. These dishes were somewhat small, and cost from 170 rubles to 340. I tried several dishes, and realized it was definitely worth the extra cost. The quality of the food was impressive, as it was very fresh and delicious.
One dish was new to me, however. It’s less known among students studying abroad – kholodets. This is essentially meat jelly, traditionally made by boiling chicken or cow feet with spices. I know how that sounds. I was definitely reluctant to try it, but it was actually delicious! It’s served cold with a few slices of bread. I found it to be refreshing.
I highly recommend coming to this cafe. Although you’ve probably tried some of these usual Russian dishes at one point or another during your trip, buying food that needs to be re-heated at a stand probably will not do it any justice. Moreover, the cafe is incredibly cute. It’s decorate in a quirky retro Soviet-style, creating a fun and warm atmosphere.
For groups and faculty-led tours, this is a great way to introduce students to typical Russian food. Varenichnaya is also decorate in items reminiscent of the Soviet-period, which can spark conversations about Soviet history. It is spacey, and will likely be able to accommodate large groups.