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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spaghetti Western Eats

MTPorto Chervo mixes modern with traditional in a cinema setting.
Porto Chervo is an Italian restaurant in a cinema complex, although its advertising campaign pitches it as a restaurant complex -- the Oktyabr restaurant complex. Which just so happens to be a multiplex as well.

There is something about restaurants in cinemas, much like restaurants in shopping centers, that weakens their credibility. They seem to struggle to convince the dining public to take them seriously, even when they're a creation of a highly regarded restaurateur.

Arkady Novikov's Porto Chervo does a fairly good job of feeling like a normal restaurant under the circumstances. Trees visible through the tall windows help you forget your trek through chaotic kinorama to reach its second-floor hideaway. The interior follows a simple design, with ample use of lightly toned wood to create a modern feel, nicely contrasting with the classical red-and-white checked tablecloths and the legs of ham hanging from the ceiling.

The salad bar (310 rubles per person for unlimited refills) includes some tasty-looking Mediterranean offerings such as grilled squash and giant olives, as well as some less enticing options like canned corn and peas.

Porto Chervo calls itself a pizza and pasta restaurant, and as you would expect, it provides a good selection of both. There are more than 20 varieties of pasta -- or, more correctly, 20 varieties of sauces, each available with a choice of one of several types of pasta, priced on average between 200 and 300 rubles.

The pizzas come on a thin crust and limit themselves to two or three toppings, although extra toppings can be had for extra money. Prices for pizzas average a little over 250 rubles and the quality is acceptable, even if the crust is a little limp. A liter of house red wine costs 1,190 rubles.

As could be expected in such a location, Porto Chervo positions itself as an inexpensive eatery -- but the bill can quickly add up. A meal for two with a couple of courses and some wine can easily cost close to $100.

Given this is a casual spot for a bite to eat, the kind of place where raucous kids run laps around the room, the prices may seem a little steep. However, if you have some time to kill before the main feature, Porto Chervo isn't a bad curtain-raiser.

24 Ul. Novy Arbat, inside the Oktyabr cinema complex, 203-2162, noon-midnight. M. Arbatskaya.