Eat healthy and sustainably in Russia's capital.Vostock-Photo
Like much of north and east Europe, Russia's cuisine is heavily based on meat. But things are changing, and there are more and more people who agree that consuming only grown food is a better option. Over the past few years, many vegetarian and vegan eateries have begun appearing all over Moscow and this trend doesn't seem to be slowing down.
Here are just a few places where you can grab a fresh, leafy and meat-free meal.
Probably the oldest vegetarian spot in town, Jagganath is both a restaurant and a well-stocked vegetarian food shop. Here you’ll have a wide choice of all sorts of vegetables prepared in creative ways, as well as their tasty soups, salads and even soy shashlik (shish kebabs). As you might expect, the atmosphere is very hippy-esque, which relaxes your body and mind from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Jagganath has locations all over Moscow and has also spread to St. Petersburg.
Moscow has vegan restaurants, bakeries, cafes, food stores and even a beauty salon. With the appearance of Mission, Moscow now has its very own vegan pub with beer, food and heavy tunes! Mission is an ethical space and a bar (near Baumanskaya station) that has 16 taps serving draft beer, cider and kombucha along with some carefully selected vegan cans and bottles. The food is classic pub fare like burgers and steaks but in a vegan interpretation; make sure to leave enough room for their heavenly desserts like the brownie with ice cream and the Snickers cake. Coming here you'd expect the crowd to be decidedly feminine and artsy but Mission is mostly frequented by brutal looking bearded guys who clearly have a soft spot for the animals.
This is a small, unpretentious little spot serving up simple vegan fare such as falafel, hummus, vegan pilaf and various soups. Prices are very reasonable and thanks to its location (Artplay art cluster), there are also events like concerts, book readings, discussions and so on.
“Healthy is the new sexy,” so goes the motto of Fresh, Moscow's first modern gastronomic restaurant of vegetarian cuisine with stylish eco-friendly interior design. The woman behind Fresh, which now boasts a catering service, is Irina Azarova, a vegetarian and an expert on healthy living.
The menu has all the typical items you’d find in European and U.S. vegetarian restaurants: juices, wraps, fresh bowls, salads, soups, special detox menus and fun desserts. There’s also an online shop where you can get all your veggie-related needs.
Irina also opened Choice: Healthy Social Club, a slightly more upscale version of Fresh with a stylish interior, where the menu is all about healthy goodness. Although there is fish and dairy, there’s a very large selection of vegan and even raw items.
Once you’ve finished feeding your soul in the Tretyakov Gallery, simply take a few steps and you’ll find yourself in a pleasant and colorful vegetarian/vegan art space called Sok. The menu consists of Greek, Italian, Russian and Indian cuisines and is especially popular thanks to the fully vegan and raw desserts. Wash it down with homemade lemonades, herbal teas or smoothies/juices of various colors. List through an art album or book while enjoying your meal. There’s nothing even remotely hippy or overly esoteric about it. In summer, Sok has an terrace outside.
With a name like this you can be sure Avocado is a strictly vegetarian eatery. Its menu is diverse, drawing on cuisines from around the world - Mexican, Arabic, Swiss, French, Russian, etc. - as well as special seasonal offerings. Meatless versions of soups and salads, pasta and pelmeni (dumplings) are featured, and there are also special sections on the menu for vegans and raw foodies. Recently the mini-chain with two locations in the city center underwent a rebranding and has a more sleek and modern feel to it.
That is literally the reincarnation - no pun intended - of the tiny cafe that once served vegetarian Indian food. The owners took the open kitchen concept to a whole other level: you can see dishes washed, wood chopped, vegetables cut, the oven fired up, the naan prepared and so on right next to you. If you’re not a fan of spicy food don’t worry - everything is adapted to European tastes. There’s no set menu and no set prices, but visitors normally pay 1,000 rubles ($17) for breakfast or lunch, and about 1,800 rubles ($30) for dinner.
Raw To Go is, as the name suggests, a raw vegan take out spot with locations all across Moscow. You can find their corner in the hip DEPO food market and in the upscale Balchug Hotel, among other places. There’s a wide range of wraps, rolls, sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups and, of course, desserts that even your non raw vegan friends will love!
The menus vary by location so it’s best to check in advance where the full menu is available (in Russian facebook.com/Raw-to-go).
Also a resident of DEPO, Veganutye set out to do the impossible (like make omelettes without eggs or pizzas without dough) and show even the most discerning foodies that vegan food is not only healthy, but can also be extremely creative. The menu is divided into breakfasts, appetizers, soups, mains and desserts. The most expensive main (raw margarita pizza) will set you back just over $10, while the others are in the $5.50-7.20 price range. Needless to say, there’s a good selection of juices and smoothies too.
This is a minimalistic food stall at the uber trendy Central Market on Tsvetnoy Boulevard serves beautifully presented vegan delights such as avocado toast with fennel, tofu sandwiches, smoothies, soups, desserts and signature drinks. All the ingredients are supplied by local farmers and nothing is fried. The guys recently teamed up with the coffee giants Double B and launched Double B Green near Kuznetsky Most metro station. Here, you can be assured that you can have your coffee in the most ecological way possible: no plastic straws, single use cutlery has been cut down to a minimum, everything is cleaned with eco-friendly washing liquids and the baristas are happy to pour the coffee into your reusable mug or fill up your water bottle for free.
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