Authentic Russian cuisine makes for great comfort food during the cold winter months.

There are three great Russian restaurants in Washington, D.C., and each one has a distinct feel. Check them out below!

Mari Vanna

1141 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington, D.C., 20036 [caption id="attachment_6451" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Russian Courtesy of http://www.marivanna.ru/washington/[/caption] Mari Vanna looks like a Russian grandmother’s house. And what is cozier than the homey décor of grandma’s house and more delicious than her homemade food? This restaurant really takes both Russian cuisine and hospitality to the next level. Mari Vanna describes itself this way:
“Laden with extraordinary attention to detail, transporting each guest into an archetypal Russian home adorned with trinkets and tchotchkes, including the iconic Russian Bear, stacking dolls and Cheburashka, bookshelves filled with Russian literature, elaborate chandeliers hung far and wide and crystal bowls of Sushki, a traditional Russian tea bread, placed on each table.”
The menu is authentic to traditional Russian food, with such dishes on the menu as Borsht, Vinegret, Pirozhki, Olivier Salad, in addition to many hearty entrées. You can view the full menu here. And, of course because you’re at a Russian restaurant, there’s an extensive vodka collection. Mari Vanna infuses its own vodka, and you can try any flavor from horseradish to raspberry to everything in between.

Russia House: Restaurant and Lounge

1800 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington, D.C., 20009 [caption id="attachment_6452" align="aligncenter" width="648"]Russian Courtesy of americancuisine.com[/caption] Russia House has a more localized vibe than Mari Vanna. While Mari Vanna is popular among tourists, locals, and Russians alike, you’ll find a lot more of the Russian community at Russia House. But that should be a testament to how beloved it is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood (it’s been open for almost 30 years!). The restaurant serves food and drinks during normal lunch and dinner hours, but also acts as a lounge on late nights and weekends. Located in a historic converted row house, with its mood lighting décor, this is both a charming and sensual spot -- a perfect place to take a date. If you love caviar, you will love what Russia House has to offer on their menu. The restaurant specializes in this luxurious treat, and the menu has several different types available, all served with an assortment of spreads and sides. If you're looking to get into caviar, this is the spot! And if caviar is slightly out of your budget, there’s plenty of other yummy food to choose from. Try the Moscow Borsht, Pierogis, or Pelmenis (veal and pork “tortellini” stuffed dumplings). Pair your food with one of Russia House’s signature cocktails like the Moscow Mule or Sputnik. You can view the full list of food offerings here, and drinks here.

Rus Uz

1000 North Randolph Street Arlington, VA 22201 [caption id="attachment_6453" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Russian Courtesy of yelp.com[/caption] Rus Uz is out in Arlington, Virginia, and has more of laid-back feel. The cuisine is actually a blend of Uzbek and Russian, and the menu features both unique dishes from each country, but also some fusion. The restaurant is family-owned, and it definitely has that homey, comfortable vibe through its décor and service. But don’t let that fool you. The food is absolutely excellent, and Rus Uz has been rated one of the best restaurants in Washington, D.C., several years in a row by The Washingtonian. If you just want a pinch of caviar, they’ve got you covered with red and black caviar tarts. Other appetizers to munch on are the Pirozhkis and the Smoked Fish Tray. Don’t miss out on the Fish Under Coat salad, a traditional Russian dish of herring fillets with layers of potatoes, carrots, beets, eggs, and mixed mayonnaise. And if you're craving soup on a cold winter day, try the hearty Mastava (beef, rice, potatoes, and vegetables, served with greens and yogurt op top) or Kifta shurpa (beef and rice meat balls, potatoes, carrots, and chickpeas). Of course, there are plenty of entrees to choose from as well, from kabobs to Russian-style ravioli to various Uzbek and Russian dumplings. The restaurant features a full bar and has authentic regional beer and wine to choose from. You can view the full menu here. Have you been to any of these Russian restaurants? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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