At last I have found a restaurant in Togliatti that is good.
35 Victory 40 Street.
Tel: (8482) 555777
Stop Press! The service is polite, efficient and attentive! Yes, you read that right; the service is beyond superb by any standards. By Russian standards, the service is out of this world.
The place is done up in the style of an old time train as you might expect. Not in a tacky way but rather like a gentlemen’s club I would say. You could easily imagine yourself to be in an up market London club with the decor. The waitresses have a funky 50’s style pink shift mini-dress uniform on too. Which is rather fetching shall we say, as are they.
They understand all the simple things that most places in Russia haven’t grasped yet, like white wine should be cold and served with an ice bucket and red wine shouldn’t be from the fridge but nor should it be as warm as Glühwein. You don’t get elbows in your face while they are serving, and the food arrives together. In Russia!
I’ll say it again: In Orient Express, your food arrives together. Gone are the days of your dining companions dessert arriving while you are still waiting on your main course. Gone are the days of watching sullen wait staff chewing their nails while typing an SMS with the other hand while you wave your arms around frantically, gasping for a drink. These folks are slick and on the case!
And because Russia is the last outpost of the free world — you can smoke! There are discreet, silent smoke extractors on the ceiling so non smokers feel no pain. Yes, ashtrays on the tables (the very moment you put one out they replace it). I expect Californians would photograph those ashtrays as a tourist attraction.
The menu is quite international, there is something for everyone. I had a steak, which seems to be a rarity in Togliatti as you never see a cow! I don’t know where they got it from but it was pretty reasonable and cooked to perfection. Wifey had some kind of obscure fish which also got the thumbs up.
There is even a supervised play area where you can dump your kids. And yes, its is clean!
The wine is over-priced as you would expect, but the food is cheap so it evens out. A meal for two with wine came out at around £60 ($90). In England, I would expect to pay twice that for the same thing.
The place is upstairs in a complex of seemingly related businesses, which include a salon, a car valeting station (full of expensive cars). Its a great one stop shop in many ways – and there is parking too. They have live acts on often and the walls are lined with photos of various Russian celebrities who have performed and/or dined there.
Located in the up and coming Avtozavodsky district of Togliatti, it is right off a roundabout and close to a lot of new development. The locals frequenting the place seem like well heeled new money as you might expect. If you are dating a girl in Togliatti, take her here. It is an agreeable piece of the first world slap bang in the middle of the second.
Quite simply: The best restaurant in Togliatti.
Fast forward three years – we went here again tonight.
The service is still impeccable; the food still excellent.
Of all my travels in Europe, America, Russia and the surrounding regions, I never went to a better restaurant. Even in London or New York, I know no place that does it better. I am *really* critical, and even I can’t fault anything here. They get pretty much everything right. I wish we had this place in the UK.
£93 ($150) for two with drinks we paid tonight. Not cheap in Russia, but pretty normal for UK prices.
For this price in Russia they must try very hard – and they do.
I highly recommend this place. If you are dating a girl in Togliatti, it would be a crime not to take her here.
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Photos of the interior: