Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When else could you justify having champagne, cheese, and pancakes all in one go? If you’re looking for the ideal place for some early morning culinary debauchery, the Russian capital is where it’s at. In recent years, Moscow has earned a shiny new set of gastronomic laurels thanks to restaurants and cafes famed in equal measure for delicious fare and outstanding design. Here’s our pick of the best brunch spots the Russian capital has to offer.
Cook’kareku’s 24-hour schedule is a living tribute to the fact that it’s always breakfast time somewhere in the world. The restaurant serves up an international offering, and if you happen to order food from a country which is waking up at the same time that you’re eating your meal, you’ll bag a 30 percent discount on your order.
If you’re too hungry to decipher their clock-shaped menu, remember that all breakfasts are served at all times for the full price of 420 rubles (approx. £5)— a great deal, considering the exquisite presentation and high quality of the ingredients.
Breakfast served: all day, everyday.
Must-try: Our top picks are the late-night Madagan breakfast from Russia’s Far East, the midday Spanish chorizo-topped potato omelette and the evening teriyaki poached-egg Cali breakfast.
9 Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya Street, Metro Barrikadnaya. Tel. (495) 660-53-39.
If there’s a way to start the day off right, it must be sipping prosecco under the ornate golden ceiling of the Metropol Hotel’s dedicated restaurant. Just a stone’s throw away from the Bolshoi Theatre, Savva offers a 2000 rubles (approx. £25) buffet breakfast in its lavish Great Hall, designed by artist Sergei Chekhonin and flanked by colossal red marble columns. If you believe that there is no brunch without bubbles, then Savva is ready to take your bougie ambitions up a notch with grandiose interiors, exquisite dishes, and bottomless caviar.
Breakfast served: Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 11:30, weekends from 9:00 to 00:30.
Must-try: It’s a buffet, so why choose when you can have it all? All the same, make sure you leave enough space for Savva’s signature decadent blini, Russian-style pancakes, topped with smoked salmon and red caviar.
2 Teatralny Avenue, Metro Teatralnaya. Tel. (499) 501-78-00.
Named after a film depicting life in the party hub of Tel Aviv, Dizengoff99 lets you immerse yourself in the hip vibe of Moscow’s Israeli diaspora. Do not let the minimalistic interiors trick you: the atmosphere feels like the Mediterranean sun on a frosty Moscow morning, while the menu is spicy and colourful, featuring explosive Middle Eastern breakfast dishes that will make your mouth water without breaking your budget.
Breakfast served: all day between 11:00 and 23:00 except for the weekends, when they open at midday.
Must-try: The café’s signature dish is shakshuka, an Israeli breakfast staple consisting of eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce. Opt for their heartwarming classic version, served with a drink for just 345 roubles (approx. £4).
8 Pokrovsky Boulevard, Metro Taganskaya, Tel. (499) 391-14-17.
If you want to experience Russian gastronomy beyond the capital, Severyanye is the place for you. The restaurant centres around a traditional Russian wood-burning stove, both in terms of architecture, and the food on offer. Young chef Georgy Troyan has come up with an innovative menu that draws on both tradition and diversity, making use of the myriad of cultures that make up Russia’s modern population. The result is a proudly Russian menu, featuring a wealth of ingredients and sophisticated farm-to-table dishes — and with most meals priced at around £6, you really get your money’s worth. In keeping with its name – Severyane literally means “northerners” — the restaurant’s interior recalls a winter where the sun never quite makes its presence felt. Instead, diners eat while enveloped in a velvety darkness, guided by the glow of candles and warmed by the heat of the stove.
Breakfast served: everyday from 9:00 until 16:00.
Must-try: Prepare for the day with a creamy cottage cheese casserole, followed by delicate crab pancakes. To drink, try the cold-pressed wheatgrass juice, a signature Russian detox drink.
12 Bol’shaya Nikitskaya Street, Metro Okhotny Ryad / Arbatskaya / Alexandrovsky Sad, Tel. (499) 348-83-32.
When you imagined visiting Russia, you might well have had visions of eating caviar and discussing literary masterpieces in impressive fur-lined hat. If you provide the hat, then Grand Café Dr Zhivago is the breakfast equivalent to your Russian dreams. Sophisticated cuisine, lux red-and-white interiors, beautiful paintings and affordable prices are all on offer, complete with a stunning view of the Kremlin. Forget avocado toast and kale smoothies: the lengthy breakfast menu at Grand Cafe Dr Zhivago offers a wide variety of uniquely Russian breakfast specialties. Choose from a wide range of deliciously buttery pies, egg dishes with toppings that range from veal tail to crab meat, and other delicacies that will disconcert you and delight you in equal doses.
Breakfast served: everyday, round-the-clock.
Must-try: the Gogol Mogol Zhivago with croutons of Borodino bread and red caviar. After all, anything with a name that good has to be worth a try.
Hotel National, 15/1 Mokhovaya Street, Tel. (499) 922-01-00
Embark on a global gastronomic journey in Moscow’s labyrinthine food market, perched beneath a vast, domed flower-like structure designed to mirror Tashkent’s Chorsu bazaar. Danilovsky Market is a Soviet-era rynok (farmer’s market) quite at home in the 21st century, thanks to a wave of well-placed renovation. The market’s transformation is an apt example of the wave of gentrification taking Moscow by storm, and; love it or loathe it, the wafting aromas of freshly baked breads and other treats make Danilovsky hard to resist — especially at breakfast time. Since the market’s relaunch in 2015, vendors selling the best of Russia and Central Asia’s farm-to-table produce – expect organic meats, vibrantly coloured vegetables, golden honey and impressive pyramids of dried fruits and nuts – have stood alongside a plethora of small eateries offering dishes from around the world. Danilovsky market was the very first in Moscow to jump on the trendy street food bandwagon, and has plenty of Russian, Vietnamese, Greek, Moroccan, Dagestani and other options to please all the foodies out there. Your wallet may regret it, but your tastebuds will definitely not.
Breakfast served: everyday from 8:00, depending on the stall.
Must-try: start your market tour at Mokh, a vegan restaurant serving tasty, budget-friendly dishes, then try the oyster omelette at Chowder and Pie, the hearty breakfast options at Cafe Ferma Nikola-Lenivets. Grab a smoothie at Juicy Lab and finish off with Lyubov’ Pirogova’s mouthwatering dark chocolate pear pie.
74 Mytnaya Street, Metro Tulskaya.
A modern Moscow take on Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Uilliam’s offers a chic twist on breakfast classics for Instagram-lovers. This trendy café may not be the cheapest option in town, but its generous flagship breakfast is worth the splurge. Choose from a crispy sesame bagel with creamy hummus or a succulent smoked salmon with a side of yogurt and berries, before following up with perfectly poached eggs drowning in a bed of spinach and Hollandaise sauce. All for 700 roubles (approx. £8.50)? Say no more.
Breakfast served: everyday from 9:30 until 16:00.
Must-try: If you have room, then don’t miss the coconut and blueberry smoothie bowl, the sweet potato cutlets with spinach, avocado, and dried tomatoes, or their pistachio-filled biscuit layered cake with warm raspberry sauce. Decadent.
20A Malaya Bronnaya Street, Metro Mayakovskaya, Tel. (495) 650-64-62.