Seattle’s thriving Russian community has given rise to a variety of Russian restaurants offering cuisine not only from Russia, but from other areas of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus as well. From small cafes selling fresh-baked piroshki to restaurants serving full-course meals, Seattle’s Russian eateries can satisfy any size appetite.
Pike Place Market
1530 Post Alley #3-A
Tel.: (206) 521-9054
Hidden away on Post Alley, Cafe Yarmarka is considered by many to be one of the best Russian restaurants in Seattle. The predominantly Russian-speaking clientele gives the establishment an even more authentic atmosphere. Grab some piroshki to go or sit and enjoy a lunch of borscht, cabbage rolls or pelmeni, then top off your meal with a few sugared kolachki cookies.
4311 University Way NE
Tel.: (206) 633-1322
This small Russian-owned bakery and cafe is situated across from the University Book Store and draws both students and business commuters for hearty, freshly made fare. Choose a table outside or inside and make a meal of piroshki, stuffed cabbage, or a Bavarian sausage, or just snack on a poppy seed bun and coffee.
Piroshki on Broadway
128 Broadway E.
Tel.: (206) 322-2820
Located in the Capitol Hill district, Piroshki on Broadway’s menu lists a varied selection of piroshki, pelmeni, soups (including borscht that even those who usually shun beets will enjoy), egg dishes and pastries. In addition to the food, the comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff have also helped develop this establishment’s good reputation. Although most of the staff and even the decor-such as the collection of matryoshka nesting dolls lining the walls-are Russian, guests will also find French, Italian, and other types of European cuisine.
1908 Pike Place
Tel.: (206) 441-6068
Dozens of combinations of vegetable-, meat-, and cheese-filled piroshki can be found at this Pike Place storefront. Among the Americanizations of Russian baking here are the dessert piroshki with apples and cinnamon or chocolate. For a more traditional dessert choice, there’s also vatrushka flatcake filled with tvorog (cottage cheese) and either raspberries or blueberries. If you somehow manage to tire of piroshki, you can move on to the vegetable- and meat-filled pelmeni. While the offerings at Piroshky Piroshky are somewhat pricier than competitors’, many customers are drawn to the atmosphere. Instead of the typical matryoshka dolls and samovars, for instance, the restaurant is decorated with the owner’s family mementos from the Soviet Union. The only seating available is a small bar with 4 stools, so you can eat there and watch the women at work baking or take your meal to the park across the street.
From Russia With Love Deli
1424 156th Ave NE (15th Street NE)
Tel.: (425) 603-0701
If you’re searching for that one vital ingredient for your own Russian cooking, the From Russia With Love Deli is where you’ll find it. The meat counter displays smoked salmon and sprat, caviar, sausages, and deli meats. In the grain section, you’ll find rye bread, millet, and kasha (buckwheat groats). Pickled products include cucumber, watermelon, mushrooms, and tomatoes. There’s also a variety of cheeses and even imported butter. Those will a sweet tooth will love the selection of honey cakes, pastries, hard candies, and chocolates. Perhaps surprisingly for imported delicacies, the foods at From Russia With Love are priced quite affordably.
Aside from shopping for cooking ingredients, visitors can lunch on soup, salad, cabbage rolls, blintzes, pelmeni, vareniki, and, of course, piroshki made fresh on site. Although there isn’t much seating inside, in good weather outdoor seating is also available. While you’re there, pick up one of the Russian-language newspapers, CDs or videos on offer.
While Seattle’s beloved Kaleenka’s Restaurant may no longer be with us, there are plenty of other places to get your fill of Russian cuisine. Stop in for a snack at one of the small shops at Pike Place or have a full meal uptown on Broadway and enjoy Seattle’s versions of traditional Eastern European favorites.