In terms of food and drinks selection, Moscow meets or exceeds many other European capitals. At times, quality of food could be better.
As a rule, supermarkets sell standard and almost tasteless fruit and vegetables purchased from large agricultural corporations. For seasonal products, visit farmers’ markets or weekend markets. (See below on this page.)
For many years, dairy cattle farming provided beef and veal to Russian households, while beef farming did not exist as such. Now the situation is improving, and it is not a problem to find good chunks for descent steaks or stews. One kilogram of the cheapest veal costs from RUR 500 at supermarkets while a couple of fillet steaks may cost more than RUR 1,000. Pork is much cheaper in Moscow while lamb is usually more expensive than beef or veal.
Meat gastronomy is rather expensive and prices for a kilogram of acceptable locally-made salami or chorizo start from around RUR 1,200 while imported products are much more expensive and their choice is limited.
Broiler chicken hold the lion’s share of the city’s poultry market leaving some space to turkey and duck meat. At times, quails and hazel grouses also land at Moscow’s supermarkets. One kilogram of a whole fresh broiler chicken costs from around RUR 200 while other poultry products are more expensive.
Most of fish and seafood come to Moscow’s stores frozen or, at best, chilled. Supermarkets also offer cured and dried fish products as well as live sturgeons, trouts, carps and crawfish.
On dairy shelves, you may see many familiar international brands. Such products marketed in Moscow are usually made in Russia and may differ from those produced elsewhere. Try kefir (кефир), a kind of Russian drinkable yogurt, and ryazhenka (ряженка), also a kind of yogurt made from baked milk. Chocolate-glazed cottage-cheese bars (глазированный сырок) deserve sweet tooth’s attention too. Provident buyers should know that a seemingly familiar box of milk may contain less than one litre. Sticks of butter in Moscow are usually smaller than elsewhere in Europe but bigger than four-ounce sticks in the United States.
Avoid cheeses that cost less than RUR 1,000 per kilogram because usually these are cheese-like products made with vegetable oils and artificial ingredients.
On the bright side, Moscow offers a wide choice of high-quality locally made confectionery at reasonable prices. Besides various kinds chocolates, try zefir (зефир) or pastila (пастила) made of wiped fruit purée with sugar, egg whites and a gelling agent.
Russian mineral waters, sodas and fruit juices are not bad, although discriminating buyers may easily find products of global brands too.
Most supermarkets in Moscow belong to extensive chains, but several independent stores still exist. The supermarkets are open daily, from 9.00 or 10 a.m. until 10.00 or 11.00 p.m. while some of them do not close round the clock.
GUM (ГУМ) food store is a part of Main Department Store located right on Red Square. This is one of the places to buy authentic caviar or Kamchatka crabmeat, or vintage vine. Prices here reflect the nodal location of the store.
3 Red Square. Metro Okhotny Ryad (line 1, red,) Teatralnaya (line 2, green) or Ploshchad Revolyutsii (line 3, navy blue.)
An Auchan outlet on Tverskaya Street, also a stone’s throw from the Kremlin, is a cheaper option. Unlike other stores of the chain, this one is a small shop with a modest selection of goods.
4 Tverskaya Street. Metro Okhotny Ryad (line 1, red,) Teatralnaya (line 2, green) or Ploshchad Revolyutsii (line 3, navy blue.)
Eliseevsky Supermarket (Елисеевский) on Tverskaya Street is a Moscow gastronomes’ mecca. Even if you do not plan to buy any caviar or premium vodka, have a look at the store’s impressive interior.
14 Tverskaya Street. Tverskaya (line 2, green,) or Pushkinskaya (line 7, purple) or Chekhovskaya (line 9, grey.)
Pyaterochka (Пятерочка) is the most extensive chain of low-end supermarkets in Moscow with most of the stores scattered in residential areas. Do not expect much more than packaged products at these shops, though they are good for everyday needs and keep their prices in check.
Perekrestok (Перекресток) chain, a replica of the global Carrefour, is somewhat more expensive than Pyaterochka. Besides packaged products, these supermarkets also offer a good selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as meat and fish.
Azbuka Vkusa (Азбука вкуса) chain focuses on wealthier buyers and prices for certain products are higher there than at many other Moscow's food stores. Ready-to-eat food and high-quality alcohol are among their strongpoints. Most of the chain's stores are located on buisy streets, including one on Tverskaya, a few steps from Red Square.
VkusVille (ВкусВилл) chain cater for “healthy food” addicts. The chain’s outlets are usually located close to metro stations or at shopping centres. The same company also operates Izbenka (Избёнка) shops hinting at natural origin of their products (izbenka stands for a small hut in Russian.) Prices at VkusVille and Izbenka are somewhat higher than at other Moscow’s chain supermarkets.
Farmers’ and weekend markets
The selection at Moscow’s farmers’ and weekend markets is not much wider than at supermarkets, although they offer a better choice of fresh meat as well as seasonal fruit and vegetables. See addresses of our editors’ picks below.
Central Market. 7 Rozhdestvensky Boulevard , metro Trubnaya (line 10, light green) or Tzvetnoy Boulevard (line 9, grey.)
Usachevsky Market. 26 Usacheva Street, metro Frunzenskaya (line 1, red) or Sportivnaya (line 1, red.)
Yaroslavsky Market. 122 Prospekt Mira, metro VDNkH (line 6, orange.)
Rijsky Market. 88 Prospekt Mira, metro Rijskaya (line 6, orange.)
Danilovsky Market. 74 Mytnaya Street. metro Tulskaya (line 9, grey.)
Cheremushkinsky Market. 64/1 Vavilova Street64/1 Vavilova Street, metro Universitet (line 1, red) or Profsoyuznaya (line 6, orange.)