Beyond the Abandoned Tea Plantations

Delving into the Southern Russia

Pizza by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism


Takhir Kholikberdiyev, Krasnodar-based restaurateur, has been popularizing his signature approach for several years now. It was he who exported the coypu recipe to Moscow. Local ingredients are not the only ones used for experiments, international hits get twists from him as well.

Burger by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Now Takhir continues to push his take on barbecue that fuses southern Russian specials with American and Asian classics. 

Foo Fari Pastry/PastaLIFE Photo Collection

Arisha Zadunaiskaya, another local, incorporates a dozen European, Italian and Panasiatic diners. Arisha’s versatility with various cuisines is complemented by her unparalleled ability to bring people together and energize them to promote cooking through a cooking school.

Red Fox restaurant (21st Century) by Red Fox restaurantFederal Agency for Tourism


The city can offer a selection of diners for any taste and wallet. Chefs are more of a problem. Close ties with Moscow and St. Petersburg mean that any chef to make a name for himself or herself in this resort town heads for any of these Russian capitals.

Original takes with local ingredients continue regardless and can be savoured in Sochi’s Baran Rapan or Red Fox, the latter owned by Moscow-based White Rabbit Family and boasting Yuri Kostyryov, the region’s best chef according to the WheretToEat/South 2020 ranking.

Vysota 5642 restaurant (21st Century) by Vysota 5642 restaurantFederal Agency for Tourism


Adygea cuisine is excellent at Ader’s Vysota 5642, a branch of the eponymous Moscow diner operated by Novikov Group of Russia’s foremost restaurateur Arkady Novikov. The things making Krasnaya Polyana a good traveling destination are a Samovar tea party, sorrel cakes, cornel jam and slow cooked duck at the "Yabloki Pechem" (We Cook Apples) farm restaurant.

Leo Wine&Kitchen restaurant by Leo Wine&Kitchen restaurantFederal Agency for Tourism

Rostov-on-Don. Leo Wine&Kitchen

Most Moscow critics concur that this is the best dining place in both Rostov-on-Don and the entire south. Leo is more of a wine bar than a restaurant. Still, its wine list and original cuisine puts it on par with Europe’s best bistronomies. 

Leo Wine&Kitchen

Chef Maxim Lyubimov, a key subject of gastronomic conversations for a couple years involving connoisseurs and other chefs alike, uses local products without going too popular. It is no surprise that his neat, light and suave take on restaurant food is considered reason enough to go to Rostov-on-Don.

Cheese (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Regional cuisine fun facts

Unlike Europe, Russia lacks a process whereby a product may be designated a locality brand if certain location and production criteria are met. Still there are foods in Russia that use them. One of them is Adygea cheese. To be called that, it should be manufactured by a Republic of Adygea producer with local cow milk and in strict accordance with a certain recipe.

Adygea cheese

Since the 1980s, this type of cheese has been produced in Belarus and Ukraine that fall outside of Russian laws. Still, Adygea’s capital of Maikop holds annual cheese festivals with a fair, competitions, workshops and production (and consumption) displays for the region’s most famous food.

Tea plantation (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Krasnodar Tea

The central point of Russia’s tea history is the fact that the country’s southernmost region is at the same time the world’s northernmost tea growing region. “Krasnodarsky" doesn’t stand for a variety, it’s more an indication where tea is grown, fermented, blended and packaged. The main tea outlets around Sochi are Dagomys, Khosta and Adler.

Porcelain by cottonbro at PexelsFederal Agency for Tourism

At some places life and business are in full swing, at others all has come to a standstill, and a walk through abandoned tea plantations on the picturesque hills of Dagomys can be particularly romantic.

Don crayfish (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Left bank of the Don

Rostov-on-Don straddles the Don River with the main part of the city located on the right bank and the left bank housing the industrial quarter built there during the Soviet period. 

Shashlik (barbecue) (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

In the 90s it adopted more of an underworld status whose flair, best summarised in the three words “shashlik, fish, chanson”, has stuck to this day.

Ukha from Don (21st Century) by RustourismFederal Agency for Tourism

Best openings are reserved to the city centre, but the left bank is still the destination for shashlik barbecues and Don cuisine.

Credits: Story

Сhief Сonsultant — Ekaterina Drozdova, restaurateur, gastronomic entrepreneur, food and social activist, Contributors — Natalia Savinskaya, Proximity Russia, Denis Yershov, Arisha Zadunayskaya, Andrey Kolodiazhnyi, Anton Kochura, Ivan Glushkov 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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