Perhaps it’s because this city is still basking in the glow of a Super Bowl victory—in our collective minds the seemingly greatest athletic achievement—but there’s been little local hype about this year’s Winter Olympics. Maybe it’s just all the sketchy stories about unsavory conditions in Sochi.
But we’re guessing excitement will build as viewers tune in tomorrow, February 7, to the games’ opening ceremonies and watch our poorly outfitted athletes parade around that impressive arena. Should you find yourself wanting to eat like you’re in Sochi, head to one of these local Russian restaurants (hold the bees, please):
To call this place Russian may be a stretch, but the doughy, Hot Pocket-y darlings of Pike Place Market draw lines down the block in the summer. For a more traditional taste, try the handheld pies filled with potato and mushroom, cabbage and onion, or Bavarian sausage.
Piroshki on 3rd
There are two locations of this Russian cafe (the other is on Madison), and both serve vegetable- and meat-filled savory pastries, plus a few fruity dessert options, like the vatrushka, filled with sweetened ricotta and jam. Funnily, their website says we named their predecessor—the original Piroshki on Broadway—a best restaurant in 2001, but Seattle Met didn’t actually launch until 2006. So… minus points for accuracy.
Vostok Dumpling House
Where piroshky have long been Seattle’s predominant foray into Russian cuisine, pelmeni are the city’s most recent adoption. The tiny, stuffed dumplings—similar to Chinese wontons or Japanese gyoza—likely originated in Siberia, but you can find them in Capitol Hill at Vostok, a relatively new eatery serving both pelmeni and their Ukrainian counterpart, vareniki, plus borscht and some cabbage-y Russian salads.
Perhaps the closest you’ll find to an authentic Russian restaurant experience is the dimly lit, oddly Soviet-era dining room attached to this Eastern European grocer far north on Aurora. A few traditional favorites: blintzes with farmer cheese, herring “under vegetable coat,” and cabbage rolls, all washed down with a glass of kvas, a beer-like drink common in Russia. European Foods also stocks all the ingredients—and then some—that you’d need to create these dishes at home.
Pel’Meni Dumpling Tzar
Where Vostok excels at variety, Pel’Meni keeps it simple with just two filling options for their bite-sized dumplings: beef or potato. Get one kind, or both together, in a bowl, topped with a dusting of curry, sprigs of cilantro, sour cream, and hot sauce. It’s not necessarily authentic, but it’s also open until 2:30am daily, when you don’t exactly care about authenticity. Bonus: the tiny spot is a stone’s throw from Fremont’s Lenin statue.