Chaihona 01 / Чайхона №1
Multiple locations across Moscow
Hours vary by location, many are 24 hours
Snacks for 200 rubles
Meals for 1000-1500
You know that feeling you get when you try a new type of food and suddenly become obsessed with it and want to eat it all the time, everyday for the rest of your life? Me too. That type of food for me is Uzbek, and the location from which I derive food to sustain this addiction comes from Чайхона No. 1!
Чайхона No. 1 has a variety of locations across Moscow. The interiors of the restaurants are each uniquely decorated and never fail to achieve a perfect “chill out” atmosphere. Sit back and relax in the pillowed sofas meant to accommodate a large party of friends! At Чайхона No. 1, it is easy to accidentally lose track of time while enjoying the ambiance; but who says that’s a bad thing, especially when one considers the incredible menu.
Let’s start with appetizers. The roots of the restaurant are based in the cultural belief that every part of an animal should be utilized. That being said, horse jerky and cow tongue are actually pretty tasty! I would not suggest that anyone who dislikes squishy textured food order a plateful of cow tongue; however in order to learn about and appreciate Uzbek delicacies, I would highly recommend trying it at least once!
Каурма-лагман (Kaurma Lagman) is to die for. It is noodle dish with explosive flavor from the spices in the thick sauce. The dish is deceptively filling, even after only a few bites! This can be attributed to the thickness of the noodle combined with the large sizes of the cooked vegetables included on the plate. Another dish I would highly recommend is мини-манты (mini-manti). They are similar to dumplings in appearance, but the dough is twisted into a little nub at the top of delicious pocket of meat or vegetable filling. There is also a trick to eating them! Holding the top of a single “Mini Manty,” bite into the bottom part and drink the juice from the inside. You can then proceed to eat the rest of it without spilling all over yourself.
The time has come to discuss my favorite part—dessert. During my time spent in Moscow, I have been lucky enough to try a lot of Чайхона No. 1’s desserts, and I can guarantee that each are as delicious as the next. I’m not proud of this, but once I went to the Чайхона near MGU with some friends solely for the purpose of buying my new favorite type of cake, пахлава домашняя (homemade baklava). Flaky on the outside with a whipped cream center, it’s easily one of the most unforgettable sweets I’ve tasted. Other desserts that I would highly recommend are ли-нон (li-non), which are similar to блини in nature, but with a thicker, crispier outside, and штрудель яблочный (apple strudel), which is essentially a dough pocket filled with apples and sweet syrup—the true ingredients to pure happiness.
After my first trip there, Чайхона No. 1 immediately secured its place in my heart as my favorite restaurant. Experiencing the atmosphere and the traditional foods was a very enlightening experience, and I can’t wait to go again. If I could suggest a calm, more laid-back place to hang out with your friends on the weekends, Чайхона No. 1 is where I would send you first!