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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


One might not expect to find Mediterranean warmth in a large kiosk-style building on the edge of a chaotic outdoor market or on the edge of a factory district in the city's industrial southeast.

But I did. And given the recent cold snap, boy, was it welcome.

I don't know why the owners of Greek Quarter Tavern decided to build their kiosk on the edge of Leningradsky rynok. They were not doing a roaring trade the day I was there. Which made me wonder what happened to the large lamb roasting on a spit in the open kitchen at the end of the uneventful day.

We didn't notice the lamb on the way in so we ended up lunching on salad, soup and hot appetizers: a rassolnik with spiced marinated meat and a plate of fluffy cheese and pepper croquettes for him; a bright, pungent salad of whipped feta cheese, peppers and herbs plus a roasted eggplant slathered with garlic, tomato and cheese for me. A pint of beer and tea for each of us brought the bill to 310 rubles.

But we probably misordered. The place appears to specialize in grilled meats and fish; it offers a host of salmon dishes for around 220 rubles each and meat dishes for around 180 rubles.

We got it right at Barsalino, a new pizza joint, again inexplicably located but worth a trip out to Nizhegorodskaya Ulitsa. Barsalino is the latest offering from the owners of perennial MT favorite Verona with a similar but more pizza-oriented menu. It's also slightly cheaper.

But the pizza is the same: with a thin but substantial crust, warmly spiced and herbed, and piled with whatever your heart desires - especially if yours, like mine, desires Parma ham and artichoke hearts.

The bill came to just under 800 rubles for four people - a lot cheaper than a flight to Naples - including aperitifs, a tomato and mozzarella salad, three pizzas, a steak (104 rubles) and numberless espressos. To my dismay, it did not include gelato, though there is a selection on the menu.

- Melissa Akin

Greek Quarter Tavern is located at 11/3 Chasovaya Ulitsa. Metro Aeroport. Tel. 151-2600. 12 p.m. till last customer. Credit cards: none. Barsalino is located at 28 Nizhegorodskaya Ulitsa. Metro Marksistskaya. Tel. 278-1051. 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Credit cards: V, UC, MC, EC.