Routines are very easy to fall into. Sure, sometimes, they can be good, like morning showers or weekly trips to the gym. However, in other cases, we often find ourselves trapped within the same few monotonous practices. This notion is particularly true in the case of food; we like our usual order of lo mein at the local Chinese take-out place or a slice of pizza at that mom and pop shop you've been to more times than you can count. Yet, there is so much unexplored deliciousness out there in the world, and Russian food lies in the foreground. 

Understandably, the average person rarely explores cuisines not familiar to them, and Russian food is rather taboo for most restaurant goers. However, Russian restaurants have something to offer for every type of diner. Whether you're looking for a quick dinner to-go or a Friday night out, you'll find it in this list of the best Russian restaurants in the Philly area. 

Golden Gates

Not your average restaurant, Golden Gates is perfect for a night out with friends, a date night, or a big event. Photographers, DJ's, and personalized birthday messages make every experience here unique. Check out this promo video to get a better sense of the amazing atmosphere.

The food is delicious and not overly expensive, and the entertainment is sure to have you dancing all night long; BYOB and dress nicely, because you're not at that local Chinese place anymore. The club-like atmosphere and multi-course menu ensures that no-one goes home hungry... or before 1 am. 


Sarah Goldfarb

Although not as posh as Golden Gates, Samarkand offers a more relaxed atmosphere with a wide menu of delicious options. Upper-entrance seating serves as an ordinary restaurant, and don't worry, take-out is available. Lower entrance seating sports fancy decor, a Belly Dancer, and a small dance floor often playing live music on weekend nights. 

Not overly grandiose, Samarkand is perfect for a family dinner, or a quiet date night. Russian cuisine with a Mediterranean flair, the chicken kebabs are delicious, and the atmosphere is welcoming. Come for a late dinner on a Saturday night and enjoy the entertainment. 

NetCost Market

If you're looking for quick and cheap eats, NetCost is the place to be. A supermarket/take-out hybrid, it has authentic Russian produce, a salad/hot bar, and sweet or savory over-the-counter pastries. Delicious and inexpensive, NetCost is perfect for a quick lunch; grab a to-go box and fill it with olivye and a samsa, guaranteed to be better than any dining hall food.

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, buy a few items of Russian produce. I recommend a vanilla sirok or a box of chak-chak to satisfy your sweet tooth. Russian cuisine isn't limited to prepared foods; it features a plethora of snacks, sweets, and drinks that are sure to shock your palette.

Palace Royal

Offering the perfect balance of class and culture, celebrate a special occasion with Palace Royal's delicious kosher food and pristine entertainment. Home to my own Bat Mitzvah, Palace Royal never fails to provide the perfect night; the venue is ornate and the food extravagantly delectable. Although slightly more expensive than Samarkand and not as club-like as Golden Gates, the atmosphere calls for a date night out rather than a simple, quiet dinner. Palace Royal is the perfect place to enjoy music and some dancing while dining on a gourmet multi-course meal.

If you're tired of eating dining hall food or Chinese take-out, grab a few friends and explore an underrepresented yet delicious cuisine. Dining at a Russian restaurant is more than just a meal, it's an experience. Take full advantage of the music and the dancing, and get yourself a taste of Russian culture.