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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Darbar Rises to the Top

MTDarbar's new 16th-floor dining room has all-new furnishings.
Darbar has moved up in the world -- literally. Although the veteran Indian restaurant has always been popular among diehard fans of Indian cuisine, its appeal to wider audience was limited by several deficiencies, such as its location far from the city center in the basement of the Soviet-style Sputnik Hotel, and its Spartan interior, which was in need of a serious revamp.

Now, all that has changed with Darbar's December move from the very bottom to the very top of the hotel.

The new, 16th-floor Darbar is radically and refreshingly different. The interior design has been updated, with Indian artwork hanging on plain white walls and new dark-wood furnishings adding a refined touch.

All this would amount to little more than a long-overdue improvement if not for just one thing -- the spectacular views that make dining here a truly wonderful experience. On one side, a full wall of windows provides a stunning view over the Luzhniki sports complex and beyond, with at least four Stalin skyscrapers visible; smaller windows on the other side provide an equally panoramic view.

The extensive menu remains unchanged. There are separate tandoori and curry menus as well as a South Indian section. Prices are reasonable and perhaps even a little below average for Indian restaurants in Moscow, although the flavor is up there with the best. A two-piece serving of vegetable samosas costs 190 rubles, while a spicy serving of chili pakoda -- lightly battered and fried whole, green chili peppers -- goes for 210 rubles. Curries average at about 700 rubles for seafood, 550 rubles for lamb, 500 rubles for chicken and 300 to 400 rubles for vegetarian. Garlic naan costs 90 rubles.

The beer selection includes Zolotaya Bochka for 130 rubles per half-liter as well as Indian beer King Fisher for 190 rubles per 0.33 liter bottle.

All in all, Darbar has lifted its game to a level that stands to make it the city's best Indian restaurant.

38 Leninsky Prospekt, 16th floor of the Sputnik Hotel, 930-2925/2365, noon-midnight, M. Leninsky Prospekt.