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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Little Italy on Taganka

MTPiccolo isn't worth traveling across town for, but is close to the metro.
Piccolo feels like it should be selling pizza, only it doesn't. That's not to say that anything is untoward, it's just that when there are large Roman columns in a small Italian cafe, there tends to be pizzas baking out the back. But while Piccolo may well have a colonnade, it's pretty much free of any other overtly Italian cliches -- in fact, it's quite a low-key and stylish place.

Its two small rooms both have separate glass entryways allowing in lots of light and, other than the columns and a little additional plaster molding, it's a modern and bright interior.

The menu lists all the usual suspects found around town, at prices maybe just a touch lower than average. There's the ever-popular ruccola salad with mini mozzarella (310 rubles) or with prawns (340 rubles) and Greek salad (180 rubles).

The ubiquitous Parma ham with melon goes for 390 rubles, while salmon tartare with sea scallops, avocado and capers costs 260 rubles. A cheese plate is 350 rubles.

Pasta starts at 180 rubles for a simple spaghetti with chili, up to 320 rubles for pappardelle with salmon. Risotto comes in three varieties -- vegetarian (220 rubles), seafood (290 rubles) and mushroom (320 rubles). Mains with meat include chicken fricassee for 270 rubles and beef sirloin with bacon for 350 rubles. Seafood mains include salmon steak (280 rubles) and grilled sea bass (450 rubles) or dorado (490 rubles).

The wine list has yet to appear, but beers include Krusovice, Paulaner (both 180 rubles a half-liter) and Sibirskaya Korona (100 rubles).

Overall, while Piccolo doesn't strike one as being anything particularly special, it makes for a convenient and peaceful retreat right by the metro on Taganka's hectic square.

5 Nizhnyaya Radishchevskaya Ul., Bldg. 1, 739-1104, 10 a.m.-midnight, M. Taganskaya.