The reality of a lot of restaurants in Moscow is they cover off virtually any style of food you can think of. Finding one that specialises in traditional food isn’t particularly easy. We figured, having had Russian food at Nevsky in Melbourne when we made the decision to take this trip, we shouldn’t leave Moscow without a feed of dumplings (aka pelmeni) and pancakes.

The friendly concierge at Mercure Arbat recommended a 10 minute walk down Smolenskaya to Taras Bulba, specialising in Ukrainian cuisine. All the wait staff dress in national costume and the doorman looks like an extra from the movie although he didn’t look anything like Yul Brynner.

We subsequently learned that the restaurant was part of a chain (again, very big here) but that didn’t put us off our initial delight at finding something that, to us, was quite quirky. Gluttonous husband ordered a beer and Greedy Girl contented herself with the bottle of water on the table. Being offered a glass of water in Moscow (and later in St Petersburg) was very rare. Most times it was only presented along with an espresso coffee, but Greedy Girl digresses.

We decided to take three traditional items, in various guises. First up was baked piroshki – one featured meat and the other potato and mushrooms. Both varieties were pleasant and the buns were apparently made in the restaurant’s open bakery.

Where to eat Moscow: Taras Bulba


Next up were our selection of dumplings. We probably ordered one too many dishes of these as they were a bit stodgy. We took the salmon and dill (pictured at the top of this post), meat with bacon, onions and sour cream and, again, potato and mushrooms. All perfectly edible although none had any wow factor. The dumpling wrappers were on the thick side and none of the herbs were pronounced enough to cut through. It was impossible to tell which were which just by looking at the plates. We just had to dive in.

Our final dish was meat pancakes – finely chopped pork and beef apparently were fried with onion and put into a crepe. It was probably the best dish we had in terms of pronounced flavour.

Where to eat Moscow: Taras Bulba

Meat pancakes

It was pretty much as we’d expected and more than we needed. Apart from the piroshki, all the dishes were served together so it was kind of like Ukrainian dim sum. If you’re looking for traditional food in Moscow, you could do a lot worse.

Where to eat Moscow: Taras Bulba

The OTT interior

Taras Bulba

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