Wine, Lobio and Song

MTTraktir Via boasts classic Caucasus dishes along with a cozy interior.
Traktir Via may be newly opened, but it is 100 percent old school. This Georgian restaurant, located just off the Garden Ring, is a classic example of a now-dying breed -- the inexpensive Caucasus eatery where the focus is on the food and a banquet atmosphere pervades.

The interior design is a simple, rustic recreation of an old Georgian house, but this is not the kind of place people come to examine the fixtures. Traktir Via is the kind of place intended for celebrations, which probably explains why the crooner sings old favorites at ear-splitting volumes, even on a Sunday afternoon. No matter which hall you choose to sit in, the music will certainly be hard to miss. This seems to suit the local patrons just fine, as they merrily tip the performer 1,000 ruble notes to keep the entertainment coming.

Traktir Via serves a classic selection of dishes. Lobio beans with nuts are offered cold in green (160 rubles) and red (200 rubles) varieties, as well as hot Imeriti-style red (180 rubles). Other popular options include Bulgarian peppers stuffed with walnuts (170 rubles), adzhapsandali stewed vegetables (200 rubles) and khinkali dumplings (170 rubles).

The all-important khachapuri cheese pie selection starts at 180 rubles for Imeriti-style, which comes out freshly baked and piping hot.

Of course, the shashlik selection is good and includes two varieties of pork (330 rubles and 420 rubles), veal (390 rubles) and lamb (380 rubles). They also serve veal lyula-kebabs (340 rubles) and veal-and-lamb lyula-kebabs (420 rubles). There is a decent range of wines, starting at just 90 rubles a glass for either red or white.

Traktir Via is a good place to come for some laid-back drinking and dancing, but keep in mind that it can get pretty loud.

71 Ul. Bolshaya Ordynka, 951-7007, noon-midnight, M. Dobryninskaya.