6 ways to save on food in Moscow

Depo. Moscow is known for a big variety of affordable fast-casual restaurants in the city centre

Food Mall Depo. Moscow, Alexandre Averin
When and where can you get a cheap bite to eat in Moscow? Check out our lunch-hack guide to the Russian capital.

1. Business lunch

Business lunch in cafe Mu-Mu

Most restaurants and cafes offer an inexpensive business lunch menu from 12pm to 4pm. During these hours, you can dine for an average of 300-500 rubles (up to $8). The most expensive business lunch includes a salad, soup, main course, drink, and dessert. A cheaper option is usually a combination of soup or salad and a main course. The servings may be slightly smaller than when ordering the same dishes à la carte, but not massively so. Plus, lunch in a restaurant is a chance to try out dishes that would be too expensive for dinner.

2. Lunch in a canteen

Retro cafe

Lunch in a canteen (similar to a business lunch) can be a little cheaper. Here you're unlikely to be offered the delights of French or Italian cuisine, and the interior will be simpler; instead, get ready for some time-honored Soviet dishes.

The most famous canteens in Moscow are located in the city center: Canteen N57 in the GUM department store on Red Square and Buffet N11 at Arbatskaya metro station. Don’t let the unappetizing names put you off.

3. Full menu discount

Another alternative to a business lunch is when restaurants give a 20-30% discount on all dishes on the menu. Such offers generally run from 12pm to 5pm.

4. Supermarket snack bars

Snack bar in

Large and medium supermarket chains (Okey, Perekrestok, Vkus Vill, Azbuka vkusa) often have snack bars where shoppers can buy a portion of salad, soup, a second course, and a piece of cake by weight. There are usually tables nearby. Ask the staff to heat up the food in the microwave. Prices are much lower than in a cafe.

5. Closing time sales

A few hours before closing, many cafes and bakeries sell pastries and sandwiches left over from the day. At this time, you can pick up bread, desserts, and sometimes whole meals with up to 50% off. Information about the time and size of discount can be checked online or on site. Where to look for offers: Volkonsky, Khleb Nasuschny, Paul Bakery, Bulka, Upside Down Cake, Bratya Karavaev.

6. Happy hours

Before dinner, usually 4–6/8pm, some small restaurants have happy hours when a meal (say, pizza) and a drink can be had for a small sum and a bottle of wine at half price.

Read more: Top 7 food delivery services in Moscow

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