Finding Vladimir may be a bit tricky for the directionally challenged. The main thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need come out of the Tagnaskaya on the brown line, and not the Taganskaya on the purple line. There are many instances on the metro where two completely different (though usually adjoining) stations will bear the same name, so always make sure you know which line you need to get off and just which station. If you come out of Taganskaya brown line, just swing around between the station and basically use its orbit to slingshot you to 5-й Kотельнический пер. Go down the street and you’ll see Vladimir on your left.
The exterior of Vladimir seems nice and casual with an ivy-covered fence and a small chalkboard sign prefacing an outdoor eating area. However, once you enter the building, you see that the place is actually pretty fancy. The windows are covered, the lights low, and the tables covered with fine linen table cloths, napkins, and crystal glasses lead right up to the intricately crafted bar. I walked in with a t-shirt and jeans while everyone else was in suits. The two waiters immediately came up to me, got uncomfortably close, and gave me that universal inquisitive/intimidating upwards head nod that says “are you sure you’re in the right place?” I asked them if this was the restaurant, they said yes, so I asked for a table for one. They didn’t offer me one word the entire time: just pointed to where I should sit, handed me a menu, took my order, and gave me the check. They were really, really fast though.
This was quite possibly the best meal I’ve had thus far in Moscow. I ordered the business lunch advertised on the sign outside for 180 rubles. It’s certainly their best deal and their only deal really.
The lunch came to me in courses: first, a beef pâté with sour cream drizzled atop it and both white and black bread served with butter. Then came a soup of vegetable broth, potatoes, carrots, risotto, and a healthy dash of dill floating on top. I was also given a plate of pasta (they were out of salad), also delicately garnished with dill, with a light tomato sauce, bits of sausage, diced carrots, and chopped tomatoes. I washed it all down with a really tasty glass of pear juice, something I’ve never experienced outside of my grandmother’s kitchen. It was all absolutely delicious – and a welcome departure from the regimen of grease and meat to which I’ve accustomed myself. I left both satiated and replenished, again, having spent less than 200 rubles.
While the food was amazing, the atmosphere didn’t really fit my style. It was just too fancy and obviously sought a more buttoned-down clientele. But if you’re looking for a good, cheap lunch, you should definitely consider this place. Be warned, however, if you go after two o’clock, you won’t find a salad for under 200 rubles, nor a single entree for under 300.
For groups and faculty-led tours, this can be a great option, especially if you have a smaller group (say up to about 10) and arrive during the business lunch hours. The Taganskaya bunker, a frequent stop for groups and faculty-led tours, is also just down the street, about a block away, making this an even more appealing possible option. However, the restaurant is smallish and you might that there is not enough seating if you show up with more than 12-15 people.