Insider’s Guide: 24 Hours In Little Russia

It’s safe to say at this point that there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from in San Francisco.

Because this city is such a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, and, by extension, cuisines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice we have here. One of the areas that is often overlooked is Little Russia, which is more commonly known to some as the Inner Richmond. For as large a Russian and Eastern European population we have in this city, the neighborhood is rarely talked about.

If you walk along Geary, Balboa or Clement, you will come across a bevy of Russian and Eastern European bakeries, restaurants, and buffets. Cinderella Bakery (436 Balboa St) on Balboa is the place if you want the best Russian baked goods. The selection includes every rye bread you could ever dream of, some of the best hamantaschen this side of the Pacific, and traditional Russian cakes.

If you’re on the hunt for a traditional Russian dinner, or have never tried the cuisine and want to, look to Red Tavern, located at 2224 Clement Street. They have all the classics such as borscht, herring, beef stroganoff, and pelmeni. The pelmeni, which are small dumplings filled with either chicken or  potatoes, is the best dish to try if you are new to Russian food. Like many other Russian restaurants, Red Tavern has a banquet element to it where you can get a big group together and have a full three course dinner with wine included for a very reasonable $65 per person. While the food is incredible, it’s the ambiance of Red Tavern that really encapsulates what is so special about Little Russia—it’s unassuming, rooted in a strong heritage, and its unabashedly old world.

If you happen to find yourself craving delicious Russian breaded goods, why not indulge Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery Store. Where their Rose Pastry sends the neighborhood into a frenzy when they sell out. 

// But which spots do you love? Who did we miss? Let us know on Instagram.

Insider’s Guide: 24 Hours In Little Russia
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