Flavors of the Moment

MTCafe Emporio has all the design elements found in club-like eateries.
Cafe Emporio is the epitome of a Moscow fashion restaurant. In fact, you could say it's like a restaurant on fashion steroids -- pumped to the max with everything that is so flavor-of-the-moment. The color scheme: chocolate, naturally, but with liberal lashings of dark wood and gold highlights. The ceiling features intricate stucco moldings, and the furnishings are equally elaborate. The lighting and music create a clublike atmosphere.

The restaurant was created by the people behind such other fashionable endeavors as Prado Cafe and Moncafe, so such a result is hardly surprising. The most relaxed area is the enclosed veranda, which is relatively restrained with a simple fit-out in comparison with the opulent main dining room.

As should be expected, the menu features modern Italian for hefty prices. The most inexpensive starter on the menu is a single white pearl No. 2 oyster for 210 rubles; a cheese plate, on the other hand, will set you back 980 rubles. Soups start at 250 rubles for handmade angel hair pasta in chicken broth with quail eggs and go up to 550 rubles for seafood soup with garlic bruschetta. The pasta and risotto section begins at 390 rubles for bucatini with cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese and reaches 780 rubles for spaghetti with scampi, cherry tomatoes and basil. Mains begin at 450 rubles for chicken shashlik under a salmoriglio sauce with baked tomato.

The wine selection is large and starts at 350 rubles for a glass of red or white. If it's coffee and dessert you're after, an espresso goes for 150 rubles, semifreddo with spices costs 450 rubles and tiramisu 350 rubles.

18 1st Tverskoi-Yamskoi Per., 251-5145, noon-last guest, M. Mayakovskaya.