Help for a vegan travelling to russia
Posted by ampallang at 05/08/2007
I am going away to russia in July. I wanted to know if any of the restaurants on this site still run, apart from avocado. Or if there is any advice when being vegan in either St.Petersberg or Moscow.
Chia at 05/10/2007 15:53:55
Russia restaurants: www.happycow.net/europe/russia/index.html
JohnnySensible at 05/30/2007 19:37:09
Stevie at 06/17/2007 03:49:21
I'm going back to Moscow in September so I'm interested to hear how you get on. When I was there a couple of years ago I would have been lost without Jagannath. It's open good hours and has a small health food shop as well as a restaurant (I was in there every day for lunch and dinner). It's pretty centrally located as well at a 10 min walk from Red Square and also close to the metro.
Stevie at 06/17/2007 03:52:14
I should have said; in Russia people really struggle to get their head round the concept of vegetarianism. If you eat in a non veggie restaurant you may struggle with what they put in the food. Russians I've met interpret Vegetarianism as being meat free and that's about it. Things like meat juices being excluded from veggie dishes is a notion they wouldn't think of. Hence the recommendation to stick with veggie only restaurants if you can.
ampallang at 07/27/2007 05:07:02
I went to Jagannath, there meal was okay, there was was lovely.. but quite expensive and nothing that i could actually use. Rice milk cost 12 AUD... I was lucky to have people around me that spoke russian at times and that helped. I was told there is a lovelz lebanse resturant in moscow, and there is vegan food there.
Uncle_Pasha at 12/16/2007 04:22:08
JohnnySensible at 12/16/2007 06:23:36
I just found your site!
It is a wonderful resource!
I am sure that Eric will add a link to it on the Russia pages.
Did you spot the new "Botanika" opening in St. Petersburg this week? - I sent this note in to HappyCow only yesterday.
St Petersburg - new listing
7 Ulitsa Pestelya
Area - located a few steps from the beautiful Mukhinskoye Arts Institute.
Open 12p.m. through 11.30p.m.
Menu in Russian and English
Dinner for two: 1,110 rubles ($45)...
Perhaps add the Moscow Botanika also - as "veg-friendly" - http://en.restoran.ru/msk/detailed/restaurants/botanika/?action=print
Issue #1332 (98)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Arts + Features
Meat is murder
By Shura Collinson
Botanika // 7 Ulitsa Pestelya // Tel: 2727091 // Open 12p.m. through 11.30p.m. // Menu in Russian and English // Dinner for two: 1,110 rubles ($45)
If the vast majority of restaurants in western Europe, regardless of the kind of cuisine on offer, now include a vegetarian section in their menus making it easy for everyone other than the strictest vegans to eat out, in Russia it is a different story. Those who don't eat meat, for whatever reasons, can consider themselves blessed if they find just one meat-free main course on the average menu. This makes the existence of specialist vegetarian restaurants rather welcome and indeed necessary. St. Petersburg's meat-free dining scene has a new addition in the form of Café Botanika, located a few steps from the beautiful Mukhinskoye Arts Institute.
But before rejoicing, local and visiting vegetarians should be aware that Botanika falls into the category of vegetarian restaurants which seem to assume that if you don't want any meat in your meal, nor do you want a glass of wine or anything stronger with it, heaven forbid a post-prandial cigarette. If you are Hare Krishna, pregnant, or merely detoxing, Botanika may be an ideal dining spot for you. If you are part of a more typically Russian crowd, take solace in the fact that beer isn't classed as alcohol in Russia (in the same way that chicken isn't classed as something that vegetarians don't eat by your average Russian dinner lady) and enjoy a bottle of Mexican Sol for 100 rubles ($4).
Principles aside, our purpose was to silence our growling stomachs. From the starter menu, the hummus at 100 rubles ($4) complete with batons of red pepper, cucumber and celery, was a little more nutty than usual, while a rucola salad served with pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and parmesan in a balsamic sauce (150 rubles, $6) was divine, though there was not much of it. An even more tiny portion of tabouleh (a Middle Eastern wheat salad) for 50 rubles, $2, was rather disappointing, not only due to the quantity — for twice the price you can have, presumably, two tablespoons of the dish rather than one — but due to its flavoring, which lacked the zest of a good tabouleh, and was overpowered by one unidentifiable herb.
Diners with children may appreciate Botanika, as a curtained-off area leading to the toilets conceals a cheerful two-story play area, complete with painted walls and numerous forms of entertainment for boisterous younger diners. This is in contrast to the rest of the restaurant's interior, which is predominantly green and rather calming. The walls are painted pale green, the chairs and benches are covered in dark green velvet, and numerous plants and flowers adorn the windowsills, bar and chipboard floor. The restaurant's one room is not very large, and the proximity of the tables, relatively bright lighting and relaxing music playing softly in the background are not very conducive to privacy.
Unfortunately, on our visit it was not overly warm inside the café. To warm ourselves up, we ordered soup, which turned out to be the highlight of the meal. Tomato soup with cream and basil (130 rubles, $5.20) was thick and enjoyable, though once again, the portion was on the small side. A bowl of dal (Indian lentil soup) was hearty, spiced to perfection and thoroughly warming, and was at least twice the size of the tomato soup. After such a treat, the falafel we ordered for 200 rubles ($8) was bound to disappoint, and unfortunately it did. It was beautifully served, as indeed were all the dishes we ordered, wrapped in flat bread and accompanied by three dips. It was described as a hot dish on the menu, yet was barely warm, and despite the dips, was too dry to be enjoyable. It also had rather more grated apple inside than entirely necessary, in our opinion. The homemade Greek yogurt we had for dessert at 80 rubles ($3.20) needed all the raspberry coulis and honey served with it to offset its bitter taste, but rounded our meal off well enough.
Café Botanike may not be perfect, but potential diners should not be disheartened. Prices are very modest, the staff are polite, and both constant herbivores and experimenting omnivores alike may bask smugly in the moral approval of such figures as Lev Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi and Franz Kafka, from whom encouraging and amusing quotes on vegetarianism adorn the last page of the menu.
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