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Stolovaya No. 57

3 Red Sq. , GUM department store
Moscow , Russia http://www.gum.ru
7 495 788-4343

A self-service homegrown hot spot. No gels or foams here at this doting replica of a Communist-era stolovaya (workers’ canteen) within the ritzy GUM department store. Just smoky pea soup, oladyi (small, lacy blini) fried in rich Vologda butter, and cleanly rendered herring under a fur coat (a.k.a. beet salad), that sine qua non of a proletarian repast, served on grayish stolovaya-issue dishware. The golden schnitzels and rosy franks look like their Technicolor photos in the Book of Healthy and Tasty Cuisine, a beloved Stalin-era kitchen bible. Long lines at the cashier add authenticity. Everyone’s here: Kremlin staffers and slinky GUM salesgirls, a millionaire and his bodyguard, all clearing their own dishes, nostalgic for the days of the “classless society.”

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