Southern South Korean

MTSammi is the kind of local hangout that many expats seem to miss.
You could call Sammi the secret Korean restaurant. Its location is certainly hard to find -- there's absolutely no way you could just stumble upon it while walking by. The restaurant is located in a small, nondescript shopping center hidden back from the street at the end of the metro line. More precisely, its entrance is located around the back end of a small nondescript shopping center, through a Korean movie rental store.

Given its modest location, the cafe is surprisingly bright and cheerful and packed with Koreans. The interior is fitted out with sturdy, pine furnishings and the tables even come with Korean-style in-built grills -- something not found in every Korean restaurant around town, even some of the more expensive ones. And Sammi is definitely not expensive.

The menu comes on a single photocopied page and its brevity is striking, just 16 items in total. All but four of the dishes cost 230 rubles, and the servings are large. The moksal sliced pork and the seafood soup cost 250 rubles, barbecued pork ribs go for 280 rubles and the seafood pancake is 350 rubles. Dishes in the 230-ruble price bracket include kimchi fried rice, kimchi soup with tofu, fried dumplings and a spicy beef and vegetable stew.

Two bottled beers are offered: a half-liter of Baltika for 80 rubles or 330 milliliters of Korean Hite for 100 rubles. Otherwise it's juice, soft drinks or mineral water -- all 50 rubles.

There's also a small store, where you can buy some exotic foods that you'd be unlikely to find anywhere else in town.

Sammi: 4/2 Ul. 26-Bakinskikh Kommissarov, 937-5706,
M. Yugo-Zapadnaya.