Where to try authentic Russian food in Nha Trang
NHA TRANG in Southeast Vietnam has gained a reputation for developing a premium culinary scene over the last few years.
The beach resort-filled city is packed full of fresh seafood restaurants, top quality barbeque joints, and a selection of uber-trendy rooftop bars.
But there’s another foodie scene stamping its mark across Nha Trang – Russian cuisine.
Nha Trang is incredibly popular with Russian tourists and the city has transformed itself to accommodate visitors from the world’s largest country in plenty of ways. Almost every Nha Trang-based restaurant has Russian language menus and many servers have taken the time to learn basic Russian greetings to entice patrons.
Nha Trang began picking up popularity as a Russian tourist destination as far back as the 1970s when Cam Ranh, just south of Nha Trang, was used as a Russian naval base.
Though the base was handed back to the Vietnamese in the early noughties, Russians still travel to Nha Trang in masses, with many of them feeling comfortable enough to settle in the idyllic city.
And with them, they’ve brought the largest selection of Russian restaurants in Vietnam.
While it may seem odd to eat Russian cuisine while you’re in Vietnam, it’s no different to eating a pizza in the US or egg-fried rice in the UK and we urge you do it!
Here’s where you can find Nha Trang’s best Russian restaurants:
Esenin Restaurant and Bar
Deriving its name from the popular 20th-century lyric poet, Sergei Yesenin, the restaurant pays homage to him at every turn. His face is even plastered on to the menus and things only get more Russian from there.
The friendly staff at Esenin Restaurant and Pub’s wear warm smiles and make you feel right at home even if you have no idea what to order. Thankfully, there are plenty of traditional Russian dishes to choose from, certain to satisfy every appetite.
A safe but authentic bet if this is your first time trying Russian cuisine would be the cult USSR snack mikoyan – boiled sausages and mashed potatoes.
There are also several Russian soups including cold okrosha which consist of pork, fresh cucumbers, greens and quails’ eggs.
But we recommend the traditional Russian dumplings, vareniki. These fluffy delights are stuffed with potatoes and sprinkled with pork crackling.
Esenin Restaurant and Bar is very reasonably priced with main dishes starting at just US$3 (VND70,000).
- Address: Nha Trang at 17 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, Vĩnh Hải, Thành phố Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa 650000.
- Number: +84 093 240 76 40.
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 8am – 11pm.
The Moon Restaurant
The light and bright cafe is appealing to every passerby and the smell of sizzling Russian dumplings will make you want to see what The Moon Cafe has to offer.
Besides, it’s almost always full of Russian vacationers, a tell-tale sign that it must be a good eatery.
If you’re Caucasian and have light hair, expect the staff the assume you speak Russian, but a smile and a “Hello” will confirm you don’t.
There’s no English menu available either but the pictures beside each dish and descriptions from your server will ensure you order something to suit your tastes.
Again, it’s the dumplings that take the crown at The Moon restaurant. But a different kind this time, pelmeni.
They’re packed full of seasoned pork, pepper, and garlic and provide the perfect afternoon snack at just US$1.90 (VND45, 000) a plate.
While the servers are Russian at The Moon Restaurant, the chefs are Vietnamese and have stamped their influence on the menu with fresh seafood, pho, and tempura prawns.
So, if you’re intrigued by Russian cuisine but you want to play it safe, head here.
- Address: 3 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, Thành phố Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa, Việt Nam.
- Number: +84 090 612 45 39.
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 9am -11pm.
Alpaca Homestyle Café
Whether you’re in the mood for Russian dishes, Asian classics, Mediterranean delights or Western comfort food, Alpaca Homestyle Cafe has it all.
The café spans across three floors and out into a chess-tiled garden, enclosed in potted plants.
The hygge-style interior makes you feel as though you’re sitting in a cozy living room in a Nordic country. But the sound of the crashing waves on the beach just a stone’s throw away reminds you you’re in sunny Vietnam.
While the contemporary menu doesn’t offer Russian dumplings or okrosha soup, diners in search of a Russian dish can chow on traditional meaty boiled sausages and fluffy mash potato, perhaps the tastiest in town.
However, we suggest trying a few other items off the menu such as the Mediterranean feta salad, creamy carbon pasta, and the garlic grilled prawns.
If you’re thinking “Pasta in Nha Trang? Nah!”, think again, because the café’s owner buys the pasta from Italy.
So, if the effort is made to ship pasta thousands of miles, you can bet your bottom dollar the sausages are Russian through and through.
As for the bountiful of fruit and vegetables on the menu, they’re grown locally and delivered fresh to Alpaca Homestyle Café every day.
- Address: 10/1B Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, Nha Trang, Vietnam.
- Number: +84 098 869 80 68.
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 9am – 9pm.
Embodying a Balinese chilled out vibe with an acoustic playlist, bamboo chairs, graffitied walls and lanterns, Shantaram provides the perfect place to spend an afternoon and sample a pan-European menu which includes a few scrumptious Russian dishes.
Alongside fully-loaded pizzas, stacked sandwiches and fresh fish dishes are Russian snacks including reimagined mikoyan with grilled sausages and creamy mash.
But Shantaram takes their potato game to the next level with the garlic fried crispy potatoes, sprinkled with chopped parsley and served with dill-infused mayonnaise. Okay, so not traditionally Russian flavors, but certainly a must-try.
So, there you have it, Nha Trang’s best Russian restaurants.
While we’ve stuck to comforting Russian dishes such as pelmeni and mikoyan, we encourage you to put on your adventurous hat and try more daring items off some of the menu, such as pork ears fried with onion or ostrich fillet.