GUM's New Canteen

MTFlanked by posh stores, Stolovaya 57 is a refreshing inexpensive retreat.
Stolovaya 57 is quite incongruously located. Buried deep among GUM's boutiques and jewelers, the new eatery is exactly what its name would lead you to believe: It's basically a cafeteria, albeit a very good one. Far from being just a smorgasbord cafe, however, Stolovaya 57 is a fully retro recreation of such an establishment from 50 years ago.

The design is fairly simple, with old-fashioned tablecloths and whitewashed walls amid marbled square columns to add a sense of formality. In one corner of the restaurant stands a wonderful antique-style soda-water machine, and at the counter are large glass cones of juices and sodas. Tables out on the balcony provide a sweeping view down across GUM's entire third wing.

The food is just what you would expect -- all the old favorites, the kinds of dishes that you find in the "Book of Tasty and Healthy Food," for prices that are hard to beat, especially downtown. Salads include olivye (55 rubles), vinegret (45 rubles), stolichny (55 rubles) and the classic herring dish seld pod shuboi (55 rubles).

There is a selection of simple sandwiches, such as cheese (25 rubles), ham (45 rubles), salmon (60 rubles) and red caviar (80 rubles). Hot mains include pork shashlik (75 rubles), bifshteks meat patties (80 rubles) and beef stroganoff (90 rubles).

Single small bottles of wine sell for 110 rubles and the draft beer is an interesting choice -- Ochakovo's red Rubin for just 60 rubles a half-liter.

Stolovaya 57: 3rd floor, 3rd line, inside GUM, Red Square, 788-4343,

10 a.m.-10 p.m., M. Okhotny Ryad.