Best places to eat fast and cheap food in Moscow. Part 1
For many years Moscow has been included in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world. Forbes put Russia’s capital on the 3rd place in the world rating of the cities where billionaires live. According to the magazine 73 richest people of the world lived in Moscow in 2017. But even if you are a backpacker who is more familiar with using BlaBlaCar and Couch Surfing rather than enjoying city’s views from a window of your limousine, Moscow has a lot to offer to you too. A great variety of quick and cheap food places to eat is one of the advantages of Russia’s biggest city. Take a look at the tips and places we are glad to share with you!
Note: all the prices mentioned in the article are for information only and can change since the publication of the article
World’s fast food restaurant chains
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a wave of changes brought not only new ideas but also new food in the country. Today we can enjoy a Big Mac, Subway roll, KFC famous bowl, and have Starbucks Pumpkin spice latte every day. You can find world’s fast-food chain restaurants in every shopping center, near metro stations, and on the big streets. It took big fast food brands just a little less than 30 years to conquer the Russian food market and our hearts.
Nowadays 59% of the Russians buy something in fast food restaurants at least once a month. In fact, it did not take very long for this cheap and fulfilling food to steal Russian hearts. Already on the first day of work, 31 January 1990, the very first McDonald’s in the USSR served 30,000 customers, what was a world record at that time. You may think, ‘No wonder! Everyone wants a bite of an American hamburger’. But actually, there were burgers in the Soviet Union too.
History of burger in the USSR
In the 1930s, mass production of burger meat started in the Soviet Union. As there were no classical round burger buns in the country, burger meat was put between two pieces of bread. Those sandwiches were called Hot Moscow Cutlets and were quite popular among Muscovites. Residents of Leningrad (now known as Saint Petersburg), Kiev, Baku, and Kharkov were lucky to enjoy hot sandwiches too.
The plan was to increase meat production and offer joy of eating hot cutlets to other towns and villages. But the Second World War did not let that happen. Next appearance of burgers on our menus happened only in 1990 with an opening of the first American fast food restaurant in Soviet Russia. That was a McDonald’s on Pushkinskaya square (Tverskaya metro station). McDonald’s restaurants on Tverskaya street (metro Okhotny Ryad) and on Arbat street (metro Smolenskaya) were opened next. They are still among the biggest fast food restaurants in Moscow.
These days there are more than 650 McDonald’s restaurants in Russia that serve more than 1,4 million customers per day.
Big Mac 130 Rub
McDonald’s cherry pie 50 Rub
Burger King whopper 179 Rub
KFC Famous bowl, 25 pieces 519 Rub
Starbucks cappuccino, grande 295 Rub
If you shop for souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family for hours, you can always catch a break in food courts in every shopping center in Moscow. Usually, it is a big space with an endless number of tables with cafe and restaurant stalls around it. In 9 food courts out of 10, you can always find something from the world’s restaurant fast and cheap food chains. But if you want to go for something local, try to search for these stalls in food courts.
Teremok is a Russian fast and cheap food restaurant chain opened in 1998. Their special dish is bliny (Russian pancakes) of enormous sizes and stuffed with everything you can imagine. You may start your lunch with a pancake with ham&cheese or chicken&mushrooms and finish with a pancake with banana&chocolate or Russians’ favorite – a pancake with condensed milk. If you are not much into pancakes, you can also try Russian soups, sausages with buckwheat, dumplings, and many other typical Russian lunch dishes. There are lunch combos in Teremok, too, which are obviously a great deal.
Pancake with sour cream 129 rub
Pancake with double ham&cheese 176 Rub
Borsh (beetroot soup), large 229 rub
Dumplings, large 216 rub
Even though potatoes were brought to Russia only in the XVIII century, we cannot imagine our life without this root. Potato is something that we eat every other day and in every shape and form. We add potatoes in soups, salads, eat it as a side dish, and just by itself fried, boiled, or baked.
Fast food restaurant Kroshka-Kartoshka specializes in baked potatoes staffed with various salads or ingredients. You can choose a potato stuffed with a sausage in a mustard sauce or ham&cheese. It makes you full very quickly, so grabbing a “kartoshka” (potato) is a great choice if you are in a hurry.
Baked potato with butter 165 Rub
Brynza cheese with dill filling 100 Rub
Sausages with mustard filling 100 Rub
Chicken soup 180 Rub
If you are on a budget, but still would like to eat something fancy, stop by renovated markets in Moscow. Few years ago a new food trend appeared in Moscow. It is called Fast Casual, meaning a combination of the best parts of fast and cheap food and smart casual dining. These fast casual restaurants are an integral part of renovated markets like Danilovsky, Usachevsky or Central markets.
There you can find regular market stalls surrounded by small restaurant corners from everywhere in the world. Greek, Italian, Moroccan, Vietnamese are just a few cuisines to mention, which can be found there. Lately, new purely fast casual food markets started to open. Gastroferma, Vokrug Sveta, and Central Market on Maroseyka Street offer a great variety of food stalls but without any typical market trading. The most popular place, for now, is Depo Moscow market where you may find not only the biggest in Europe food mall but also restaurants and bars located on the territory of former trolleybus depot.
- Depo. Moscow market
Lesnaya st., 20 (metro Belorusskaya)
- Danilovsky market
Mutnaya st., 74 (metro Tulskaya)
- Usachevsky market
Usacheva st., 26 (metro Sportivnaya, Frunzenskaya)
- Central market
Rozhdestvensky blvd, 1 (metro Trubnaya
Nizhnaya Krasnoselskaya st., 35/59 (metro Baumanskaya)
- Vokrug sveta
Nikolskaya st., 10 (metro Lubyanka)
- Central Market on Maroseyka Street
Maroseyka st., 4/2 (metro Kitay-Gorod)
If you do not feel like having a proper lunch and would rather have a cup of coffee, you need to know where best Americano and Cappuccino or even Matcha latte are in this city. Check Best Coffee Shops in Moscow article in our blog for making your research easier.