Escape to the Tropics

MTA large photo of palm trees on a sandy beach creates a tropical feel.
The democratic seafood restaurant File may have gone under, but a similarly sea-themed restaurant has opened in its place -- Caribius. If the thought of marked-down seafood so far from the coast failed to attract a crowd, then perhaps this new tropical island theme might prove more popular, especially among sun-starved Muscovites in the middle of winter.

The cafe is small, in fact it is tiny, but this only makes it cozier. It's bright and light, with a warm-hued color scheme. There are large photographs of desert islands mounted around the walls and the tables come with little maritime-themed trinkets. One notable feature is the lavatory, which is encased in one-way mirrors that allow guests an unobstructed view of the dining room while employing its services.

The menu is far from providing an exclusive selection of Caribbean Sea delicacies, and the majority of its offerings can be found elsewhere around town. A light vegetable salad sells for 210 rubles, a Nicoise salad costs 260 rubles and, in a salute to the tropics, the house special Caribius salad comes with grilled prawns, mango, avocado and fresh lime and goes for 510 rubles. Snacks include a cheese plate (280 rubles) a meat plate (390 rubles), spicy chicken wings (270 rubles) and boiled prawns (290 rubles). Among more mundane soups, a couple of exotic choices include a Creole soup with salmon (210 rubles) and a Trinidad soup with avocado and basil (230 rubles).

The fairly typical selection of pastas and risottos includes a pasta arrabbiata for 230 rubles and risotto with porcini for 310 rubles. The main courses include numerous standards found at many a restaurant around town, but a couple of interesting options include Caribbean shark with Creole sauce of ginger and pink pepper (480 rubles) and Bermuda shark with raspberry puree and Grana Padano cheese (480 rubles).

Beers on tap include Stella Artois for 130 rubles, Krusovice dark and light (180 rubles) and Hoegaarden (200 rubles). Wines starts from a reasonable 90 rubles for 100 milliliters of white or red.

4 Strastnoi Bulvar, Bldg. 3, 650-2844, noon-11 p.m., M. Chekhovskaya.