We just spent 5 days in Russia shopping for vintage finds and taking in the sights. Here's our picks for where to shop and eat outside of the usual tourist destinations.
Moscow is a huge metropolitan city and, there is a lot of art and hipster culture and many different neighborhoods to explore. We spent 3 days there and only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer. Here's a few highlights:
The patisserie of famed Cafe Pushkin is like a pastel jewelry box with pale turquoise walls and chandeliers. Their speciality is the hot chocolate which is pure melted chocolate in a cup blended table side, but save room for the desserts too. The black currant macarons were the best I've ever had--the filling was so intense and moist. Ordering a pot of tea is an event, a cart is rolled over and the tea sommelier provides an education in preparing a perfect cup of tea from smelling the leaves, to getting the water to the right temperature and oxidizing it with a high-speed swirl that leaves a pocket to drop the tea into. And, the great thing is that it's open 24 hours so you can get your sugar fix any time the mood strikes.
Address: Tverskoy Boulevard, 26
In the upscale Patriarch's Pond neighborhood, Pinch restaurant prepares fresh California-style cuisine. My favorite was the farm-raised chicken with quinoa and fresh spinach. You can watch your food being prepared in the open kitchen and during the summer the windows open so you can sit on the sidewalk and watch the well-heeled passerby's.
Address: Bol'shoy Palashevskiy Pereulok, 2
Across the street from Pinch restaurant is the Moscow outpost of Russian fashion designer Katya Dobryakova who also has a shop in NYC. Her fun, graphic designs grace everything from t-shirts, and denim jackets to bags and dresses.
Address: Bol'shoy Palashevskiy Pereulok, 1/14 с 1
This boutique is located in the back of a residential complex not far from busy Arbat Street and carries an amazing selection of unique pieces and up and coming designers that is a must visit. I purchased a hand knit sweater from Georgian artist Sofio Gongli, but there were so many tempting pieces. The great news is that they ship internationally so you don't even have to visit Moscow to shop! Follow them on instagram @indexflat.
Address: Starokonyushennyy Pereulok, 41 стр. 3
This weekend flea market takes place on the grounds of a giant replica Tsar's castle which reminded me of Disneyland. At the entrance are vendors selling the typical tourist souvenirs like Matryoshka dolls and faux fur hats,, but continue through those stalls to the back of the market and upstairs on the second floor of the wooden castes where you can find true antiques and locals laying out blankets to sell old clothes and knick knacks. The setting is worth a visit alone just for the fantastical element. We found more interesting vintage wares here than at the Levsha market and it's closer to the city center (about 20 minutes by subway). Stay tuned for some amazing embroidered Ukranian dresses we brought back!
Founded in St. Petersburg in 2015, this modern clothing brand carries beautiful high-quality minimalist clothing at a reasonable price point. You can find branches of GATE31 in both St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Address: Bolshoy Prospekt, 86
This restaurant is a must do for inventive takes on Russian classics. The ingredients are fresh and high-quality. The desserts were amazing, so definitely save room. I had the "piggy bank" which came with chocolate coins to be inserted before breaking open the white chocolate exterior to reveal the strawberry mousse inside.
Address: Voznesensky Ave, 6
This neighborhood restaurant has a nice outdoor patio and serves great classic comfort food. The nicoise salad was fantastic.
Address: Ulitsa Pestelya, 7, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191028
Where to Stay
There are plenty of options close to the city center, but we highly recommend DOM Boutique Hotel that is located on a quiet street along the river. It's a 5 minute walk to Golitsyn Loft from here and about 15-20 minute walk to the main tourist destinations. We love the aesthetics and design of this hotel from the all-black lobby to our room which was a pink jewel box.