Cheburechnaya and Ryumochnaya: 100% Authentic Russia
Would you like to experience the real Russia? Not just slightly off the beaten track but really 100% authentic? If so, there is no better place to do it than in cheburechnaya and ryumochnaya. These are the names of traditional Russian small bars, which serve typical Russian snacks and alcohol at very low prices. They are completely hidden from touristic paths, so it’s better to visit them with locals. And if you do, the experience will be unforgettable!
What is cheburechnaya (Чебуречная)?
Cheburek is a deep-fried turnover (pastry) filled with minced meat. It’s a traditional dish of the Crimean Tatars and people from Caucasus but also gained great popularity in Russia. Although there are now many kinds of chebureki, also vegetarian ones, only the traditional meaty cheburek is perceived as “the real” one. Not difficult to guess that Cheburechnaya is the place where you can eat chebureki (cost around 1 EUR). Additionally, there’s alcohol (beer and vodka), and accompanying cold snacks (the most typical ones are herring with potatoes and onion, and egg with green peas and mayo), also at more than reasonable price. Cheburechnaya is a very simple self-service cafe/ canteen, filled with people who don’t mind standing at the tables to eat their chebureki. There are a few cheburechnayas in Moscow worth visiting:
on Panratevskyi Pereulok 2, metro Sukharevskaya – is one of the oldest and the most famous in Moscow; attracts loyal clients with its delicious chebureki; has a standing room only.
on Bolshaya Bronnaya Street 24/4, metro Pushkinskaya – spacious and clean, with many tables and places to sit; even has its own website.
Cheburechnaya na Kitay Gorode
on Solyanskiy Tupik, 1 – although chebureki are not their main delicacy, there’s a long list of other snacks and a long, separate menu with alcoholic beverages; open till midnight.
What is ryumochnaya (Рюмочная)?
The word ryumochnaya derives from ryumka, which in Russian means a vodka glass. Although ryumochnaya has no equivalents in other countries, we can say it’s a small basement bar, which serves cheap alcohol on tap and simple snacks, sometimes warm food. The golden ages of ryumochnayas were during the Soviet times, and a few of the original ones are open until today. One of them is Ryumochnaya on Nikitskaya street 22/2 (open from 11a.m. to 11 p.m.). Although in the past, this place often attracted homeless and poor people, now it is extremely popular among students of the Conservatory, who come there to talk about their exams and eat cheap lunch.
To go or not to go?
When visiting cheburechnaya or ryumochnaya you will definitely feel like a local. For some foreigners, this experience might be even a bit overwhelmingly local;). Their clientele is a mixture of simple workers, students, and other young and old fans of cheap food and cheap alcohol. Don’t expect to see any tourists there. Menu is only in Russian and no one speaks English. If you decide to visit such a place alone or with a group of your fellow travellers, make sure not to behave like a typical tourist, taking selfies and talking out loud. Nevertheless, we highly recommend going to such places with some Russian friends or a local guide (like us;)). And if you do so, an afternoon spent in cheburechnaya or ryumochnaya will be a truly unforgettable adventure and a genuine blast from the soviet past!