Russian Food

Russian Food

Russian Food is very much a product of the Russian climate and environment. With short bountiful growing seasons and long harsh winters, Russian diet traditionally consisted of milled grains, storable produce (like potatoes, beets, carrots and cabbage), plus fish, poultry, beef, pork and game.


These traditional staples (meat, potatoes, bread, eggs and fish) still comprise the key ingredients in Russian food today.

Below you will find a typical Russian menu, including…

  • Menu items written in Russian, so you know what to look for on the menu while ordering.
  • Links to popular Russian recipes.

We also provide a printable Russian-English culinary dictionary (pdf file) to use while frequenting Russian cafes and restaurants. In order to download and print for later use, simply right click on the link above and select “Save link as…”

Russian Menu – Меню

  1. AppetizersЗакуски
  2. SoupsСупы
  3. Main CoursesГорячие блюда
  4. Side DishesГарниры
  5. DessertДесерт
  6. DrinksНапитки

Cheap Eats

Eating a good hot lunch can be quite inexpensive in Russia and Ukraine. The secret is the Stalovaya (Russian canteen). Most schools and universities have a canteen, as do health centers, commercial areas, etc. Lunch consists of your typical Russian food, nothing too fancy, but hot, fresh (most of the time) and at a fraction of the price of restaurants. Walk in clients, even at schools, are welcome.

Typical Russian Menu

1. Appetizers – Закуски

Salads – Салаты

Olivier Salad (Russian Potato Salad) – Оливье

Olivier Salad

  • A flexible salad composed of boiled potatoes, vegetables, Olivier Salad often with meat, mixed in mayonnaise.
  • This salad is the creation of a French chef, M. Olivier, who in the 1860s opened a fashionable restaurant in Moscow called The Hermitage.
  • see recipe for Olivier Salad


Crab Stick Salad – Салат изкрабовых палочек

Russian Crab Stick Salad

  • Salad with rice (or pasta), boiled eggs, sweet corn and diced crab (imitation or otherwise), mixed in mayonnaise.
  • see Crab Stick Salad recipe


Herring Under a Fur Coat – Сельдь под шубой

  • Also known as Fish under a Fur Coat (Рыба под шубой), its a Russian favorite. Ingredients include herring fillets, potatoes, carrots, beets, eggs and mayonnaise.
  • see recipe for Herring Under a Fur Coat


Vinaigrette Salad – Винегрет

Russian Vinaigrette Salad


Cold starters – Холодные закуски

Kholodets (Headcheese) – Холодец


Salo (Salted Pork Fat) – Сало

Ukrainian Salo

  • Salted and often seasoned pork fat, Salo is traditionally a Ukrainian delicatessen widely consumed by Russians.
  • recipe for Ukrainian Salo


Pickles – Соления

  • Pickles, also known as salted cucumbers (соленые огурцы), are a popular Russian food snack with vodka.


Marinated Mushrooms – Грибы маринованные

Marinated Mushrooms

  • Russians not only like to pickle mushrooms and cucumbers, but tomatoes (помидоры), garlic (чеснок), beets (свеклы) and an assortment of other vegetables.


Red Caviar – Красная икра

  • Also called: Salmon Eggs (Икра лососевая).


Black Caviar – Черная икра

Russian Black Caviar

  • Also called: Caviar of Sturgeon (Икра осетра).


Smoked Salmon – Копчёный лосось

  • Also look for Turbot (Палтус), Sea Bass (Капитан), Rybets (Сиг), Osetrina (Осетрина), Trout (Форель), Shad (Шэд) and Eel (Угорь).


Meat Assortment – Мясное ассорти

  • Cold meats in an assortment or on their own.
  • tongue (язык), boiled pork (буженина), fore shank (рулька), chicken roll (рулет куриный), bacon (бекон).


Kubasa (Sausage or Salami) – Колбаса

Ukrainian Kubasa

  • Kubasa (Canadian spelling) is a smoked meat sausage with spices and garlic, common in Russia & Ukraine.


Hot starters – Горячие закуски

Pancakes with Caviar – Блины с икрой

Blini with Caviar

  • with Black Caviar (с черной икрой)
  • with Red Caviar (с красной икрой)


Pancakes with Meat – Блины с мясом

  • Varying types of meat from chicken to sausage and ham, rolled in pancakes (crapes) known as blini (блины).


Mushrooms Baked in Smetana – Грибы запеченные с сметаной

  • A popular hot appetizer. Served in a small metal dish with mushrooms baked into smetana (sour cream).


Chicken Wings – Крылышки

Calamari (Squid) – Кальмары

Shrimp – Креветки

2. Russian Soups – Супы

Borscht – Борщ


  • A vegetable soup most commonly made with beets and often with meat.
  • see classic Borscht recipe


Okroshka – Окрошка

Okroshka Soup

  • A cold soup based on kvas, green onion, herbs and spices such as black pepper, mustard or horse radish.
  • see recipe for Okroshka


Shchi – Щи


Ukha – Уха

  • A Russian fish soup cooked with potatoes and other vegetables.
  • see recipe for Ukha


Rassolnyk – Рассольник

Rossolnyk Soup

  • A tart sorrel soup sometimes served with kidneys.
  • see traditional Russian Rassolnyk recipe


Mushroom Soup – Грибной суп

  • Unlike the mushroom soup you find in a Cambell’s can, Russian mushroom soup is usually a simple, wholesome soup with mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes, and a spoonful of sour cream upon serving.
  • see Russian Mushroom Soup recipe


Solyanka with meat – Солянка мясная



Solyanka with fish – Солянка рыбная


3. Main Courses – Горячие Блюда

Goluptsi (Cabbage Rolls) – Голубцы

  • Seasoned ground beef and rice filling stuffed inside boiled cabbage leaves. Sweet pepper shells are also a popular alternative to cabbage.
  • see recipe for Russian Goluptsi


Shashlik (Shish kebab) – Шашлык

Russian Shashlyk

  • Marinated meat cooked on a skewer.
  • Popularity in Russia originated in the late 19th century from Central Asian and Caucasus regions.
  • Choices often include “Shashlik from” (Шашлыки из): beef (говядины), veal (телятины), chicken (курицы), mutton (баранины) and fish (рыбы).
  • see recipe for Russian Shashlik


Blini with Tvorog – Блины с творогом

  • Blini are Russian pancakes or crapes, while Tvorog is cottage cheese curds (the filling of the crape).
  • Some Russians, Ukrainians, Poles and Canadians also use the term Nalesniki (Налесники).


Pelmeni – Пельмени

Russian Pelmeni

  • A traditional Russian dish made with minced meat filling, wrapped in thin dough dumplings.
  • see Russian food recipe for Pelmeni


Vareniki – Вареники


  • Ukrainian dumplings made with different fillings including mashed potatoes, sour cabbage, tvorog or berries.
  • Vareniki are essentially the same as Polish Pierogis, as well as the Ukrainian dumplings found throughout Canadian supermarkets (locally known as Perogies).
  • see recipe for Potato Vareniki


Pirozhki – Пирожки


  • Small dough buns or pies stuffed with different fillings. Traditional fillings include Pirozhki with (Пирожки с)…
    • Fish (рыбой) sautéed with onions and mixed with hard-boiled chopped eggs.
    • Meat (мясом) boiled and chopped, then mixed with sautéed onions and eggs.
    • Potato (картошкой) mashed, then mixed with eggs and smetana (sour cream).
    • Cabbage (капустой) sautéed, plus egg and spices.


Chebureki – Чебуреки


  • A popular Russian food that originated in Georgia.
  • Chebureki consist of a thin layer of dough and seasoned ground meat filling, deep-fried in a pan of oil.


Draniki – Драники

  • A popular dish said to have originated in Belarus. Draniki are basically potato pancakes, usually served with a rich serving of smetana (sour cream).
  • see meat stuffed Draniki recipe.


Kotleti – Котлеты

  • Fried meat cutlets, not dissimilar to Salisbury steak.


Chicken Kiev – Котлета по-киевски

  • A dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around cold unsalted butter, then breaded and fried.
  • Russian food recipe for Chicken Kiev


Beef Stroganoff – Говядина по-строгановски

  • Sautéed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce.


4. Side Dishes & Dressings – Гарниры и заправки

Rice with Vegetables – Рис с овощами

Steamed Vegetables – Овощи паровые

Grilled Vegetables – Овощи гриль

Mashed Potatoes – Картофельное пюре

French Fries – Картофель фри

Spaghetti-pasta – Паста-спагетти

Cooked Buckwheat – Гречневая каша

  • Eaten in Russia as a side dish, just like rice or potatoes in the west.

Smetana (Sour Cream) – Сметана

Mayonnaise – Майонез

Salad Oil – Масло растительное

Tomato Ketchup – Кетчуп

Butter – Масло сливочное

Mustard – Горчица

Horseradish – Хрен

Cocktail Sauce – Соус коктейльный

Olive Oil – Масло оливковое

Soya Sauce – Соевый соус

5. Russian Dessert – Десерт

Tvorog – Творог


  • A type of cottage cheese, tvorog is a tasty Russian treat when eaten with honey (мёд) or jam (варенье).


Syrniki – Сырники


  • Popular for both dessert and breakfast, they consist of tvorog fried on a sauce-pan. The outsides of these “tvorog patties” become crispy, while the center is warm and creamy. Served with a spoonful of sour cream.


Sirok – Сырок

Russian Sirok

  • A treat that tastes similar to cheesecake. Sirok is basically tvorog coated in chocolate or other sweat coatings.


Blini – Блины

Russian Blini

  • A thin Russian pancake (or crape), that is eaten for dessert with honey or jam. Here’s a popular Blini recipe.


Oladi – Оладьи


  • Oladi are also pancakes, but much thicker than Blini. Oladi resemble pancakes in the west (while blini are more like crapes). Eaten with butter, honey and/or jam.


Cake – Торт

  • There are many varieties of cake, from moist to puffy, while most are fairly sweet. Some cakes are made without flour and use ground walnuts or almonds instead.


Ice Cream – Мороженое

  • No matter the season, even in the dead of winter at minus 20 below zero, Russians love their ice cream.
  • Popular varieties of ice cream: Vanilla (Ванильное), Strawberry (Клубничное), Peppermint (Мятное), Chocolate (Шоколадное), Blueberry (Черничное), Pistachio (Фисташковое), Raspberry (Малиновое), Caramel (Карамельное), Plum (Сливовое).


Jelly – Желе

  • Jellied fruit from the likes of cherries, pears and plums is a popular Russian food served for dessert.


Halva – Халва

  • A popular Russian treat with origins from the Middle East. Halva is basically a high calorie spread or paste made from sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or various nuts.


Zefir – Зефир


  • Sweet and fluffy marshmallow treat popular in Russia.


6. Russian Drinks – Напитки

Drinks with alcohol – Алкогольные напитки

Beer – Пиво

  • Beer on tap – Разливное пиво
  • Beer from bottles – Пиво в бутылках
  • Unfiltered Beer – Пиво нефильтрованное
  • Imported Beer – Пиво импортированное
  • While drinking beer, Russians & Ukrainians often snack on dry salted fish (рыбка солено-сушеная) and shrimp (креветка) or smoked calamari (кальмары копчёные).


Wine – Вино

  • Red wine – Красное вино
  • White wine – Белое вино
  • Blush wine – Розовое вино
  • Port – Портвайн
  • Some popular wine in Russia…
    Moldovan (молдовское),
    Bulgarian (болгарское),
    Californian (калифорнское),
    Australian (австралийское),
    Crimean (крымское),
    Georgian (грузинское),
    Argentinean (аргентинское),
    Italian (итальянское),
    French (французское).


Vodka – Водка

  • Russian vodka (“little water”), generally has an alcohol content of 40% (USA 80 proof).
  • Good Russian vodka is derived from grains, potato or sugar beat molasses.


Samogon – Самогон

  • Samogon is homemade Russian vodka. Like moonshine in the west, it usually has a very high alcohol content.
  • Not found on the menu in restaurants, it is nevertheless, quite popular amongst friends when drinking at home.


Cognac – Коньяк

  • After vodka, cognac is the second most popular spirit you will find on Russian tables.


Tequila – Текила

Whisky – Виски

Gin – Джин

Rum – Ром

Liqueurs – Ликёры


Non alcohol drinks – Безалкогольные напитки

Compote – Компот


  • A light refreshing drink made by boiling fresh fruit with sugar, then leaving it to cool and infuse.
  • Unlike juice, the original fruit or berry in Russian compote is preserved in the juice.


Juice – Сок

  • Common varieties of juice…
    Orange (Апельсиновый),
    Grapefruit (Грейпфрутовый),
    Peach (Персиковый),
    Pineapple (Ананасовый),
    Raspberry (Малиновый),
    Apricot (Абрикосовый),
    Cherry (Вишнёвый сок),
    Strawberry (Клубничный),
    Apple (Яблочный).


Kvas – Квас


  • A dark, fizzy, slightly sour-tasting drink made from bread or grain in a similar process to brewing beer. Very refreshing when drank cold on a hot summer day.


Kefir – Кифир

  • Kefir is a fermented milk drink with varying degrees of sour, depending on how long it has fermented.


Milk – Молоко

  • Chocolate milk – Молоко шоколадное
  • White milk – Молоко белое


Milkshake – Молочный Коктейль

  • A few common flavors…
    Chocolate (Шоколадный),
    Strawberry (Клубничный),
    Vanilla (Ванильный).


Mineral Water – Вода минеральная

  • plain water (no carbonation) – вода без газа
  • carbonated water – вода с газом


Pop (Soft Drinks) – Вода газированная

  • Coca Cola (Кока-Кола)
  • Diet Coke (Кока-Кола Лайт)
  • Sprite (Спрайт)
  • Fanta (Фанта)
  • Red Bull (Ред Булл)


Tea / Coffee – Чай / Кофе

  • Russians love to sit around the table, drink tea or coffee and eat chocolate & sweets.
  • Russia, incidentally, is one of the largest tea consumers and importers in the world.
  • Espresso – Эспрессо
  • Decaffeinated coffee – Кофе без кофеина
  • American coffee – Американский кофе
  • Irish coffee – Кофе по-ирландски
  • Cappuccino – Капуччино
  • Jasmine tea – Чай с жасмином
  • Jasmine tea – Чай с шиповником
  • Earl Grey tea – Чай Эрл Грей
  • Green tea – Чай зелёный