If you’re looking for a bite to eat, a caffeine hit or a nice joint for a drink during your trip to Saransk, then you need our guide to best the city has to offer.
If you want to try the traditional cuisine of the Republic of Mordovia, then this place, which sits along a small embankment next to Pushkin Park, is a must. The rustic interior is made almost entirely of wood, and waiters in traditional costume will serve you Mordovian pancakes, borscht and “bear paws” (pork and potato patties).
Address: 21 Saranskaya Street
Samovar’s main draw, aside from the national cuisine it serves, is its views of the city. The restaurant terrace opens out over Millenium Square, the cathedral and the Sports Palace, so be sure to book a table in advance. Live music will serenade you as you wait for your meal, and the split-level hall means that you’ll be able to chat freely without having to shout over the neighbouring table.
Address: 50 Kosareva Street
Alex Cafe is a convenient starting point for your first amble around Saransk. The windows of this small, quiet cafe on the main Soviet Square look out onto the Second World War Memorial Museum. Office workers rush here for their morning coffee hit, and towards evening the cafe becomes a haven for the city’s youth in search of new scenes for their Instagram accounts.
Address: 47 Sovetskaya Street
Forget coffee and cigarettes: coffee and flowers is the healthier way to start your day. Visitors to MyatnoLavka will be served excellent coffee and advised on alternative Mordovian souvenirs. You can purchase badges with foxes — the symbol of Saransk — among other handicrafts. You can also buy pressed flowers, or take part in a workshop to learn how to press them yourself. The cafe has a small shelf that serves as a book exchange, on which a Bible holds pride of place, a reminder to all guests that no one is alone in this little home from home.
Address: 1 Prospekt Lenina
Take the road less travelled: that’s the motto of this restaurant’s owner. This pelmeni (traditional Russian dumpling) house stands out from the crowd of kebabs, sushi and pizza. In Russian culture, preparing pelmeni is a special family rite, and this place retains a sense of that atmosphere, the polar opposite of the kind of snack bar normally associated with the mass catering of this traditional dish. This is probably why it has become so popular. Interestingly, the Russian word pelmeni is borrowed from the native Mordvinic language family and means “ear of bread”.
Address: 31 Sovetskaya Street