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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

For Arty Backstreet Eats

MTThe original artworks decorating Van Gogh's walls are available to buy.
As the chains take over Ulitsa Maroseika, ruthlessly squeezing out the small players, Kitai-Gorod cafe-goers seeking a cute spot with its own character may find more of interest on the back streets. Take the Van Gogh cafe, for instance.

Located on a quiet alley that winds around behind Maroseika, Van Gogh oozes character. For starters, it is small -- even tiny -- with only about half a dozen tables. As you would expect, the interior design is art-themed and colorful, with original artworks on the walls. The paintings are for sale, as are the arty knickknacks and collectables displayed by the entrance.

Following a themed-restaurant cliche, Van Gogh has given many of its dishes annoyingly cutesy and uninformative names, such as "Van Gogh's Hat," a hot mushroom salad (280 rubles), or "Art Viscera," chicken liver in creamy mushroom sauce (280 rubles). Less artistically named dishes include stuffed blini (130-210 rubles) and soups (120 rubles for minestrone up to 230 rubles for Mediterranean cream of seafood). The pasta options include mushroom spaghetti (220 rubles), cream of mushroom tagliatelle (250 rubles), and two sorts of fettuccini (carbonara 250 rubles, spinach 220 rubles). Fondue goes for 700 rubles.

The cafe opened before receiving its liquor license, but there is draft beer at 160 rubles for a half-liter of Krusovice and 190 rubles for Velvet.

The cafe has live music on Wednesdays and Fridays, with a music selection that includes jazz, blues and even a bit of rockabilly.

3 Petroverigsky Per., 624-9305,

9 a.m.-11 p.m., M. Kitai-Gorod.