Posh Spot for Fresh Pasta

MTLe Mark boasts a refined atmosphere and a restrained interior design.
No one could describe Le Mark as central, but the southwest Moscow location certainly does have its fans. In fact, many consider the southwest to be quite a prestigious area in which to live, given the proximity of Moscow State University and that the area is generally spacious and relatively pollution-free.

Michurinsky Prospekt is certainly seeing a construction boom, with increasingly posh houses going up along its length. Such upscale housing naturally draws upscale residents with upscale tummies that demand upscale meals. Or at least that seems to be what the newly opened Le Mark is counting on.

Le Mark is housed on the ground floor of a newly constructed, fully gated residential block. Access is via a manned checkpoint, which will let guests through if they ask for the restaurant. An upmarket Italian restaurant with a refined atmosphere and a restrained interior, it has a classical design with starched white tablecloths and chiffon drapes. Only a couple of modern touches decorate the main hall, such as the chocolate brown cylindrical lampshades a la mode.

The menu presents a formal selection of dishes at substantial prices. Soups range from minestrone (210 rubles) to seafood (420 rubles). The ruccola salad option is taken to the extreme with six varieties: plain (180 rubles), Parmesan (240 rubles), salmon (290 rubles), mushroom (280 rubles), tiger prawns (380 rubles) and sea scallops (340 rubles). Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays have lobster on the menu, with lobster thermidor costing 3,500 rubles and a lobster fettuccini going for 1,200 rubles.

The pasta is a good option at Le Mark, as it is made in-house. Diners can choose from different varieties and mix and match the sauces, with pesto being the most inexpensive at 280 rubles, going up to 520 rubles for seafood. Risottos range from 380 for mushroom to 720 for seafood. Pizzas are also an option, averaging around the 300 ruble mark, with the most expensive being 420 rubles for seafood or salmon.

Wine starts at around 250 rubles a glass for red or white.

29 Michurinsky Prospekt, (499) 739-1697/1940, noon-11 p.m., M. Universitet.