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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ravioli With Rococo

MTThe new Venezia's interior makes you feel like you're in the Hermitage.
Venezia has long been liked for its high-quality yet inexpensive Italian food. Its unbeatable central location in a courtyard just off Pushkin Square has only added to its appeal, resulting in long lines to get a table on weekends. Coming to the rescue of impatient pasta devotees is Venezia's sister restaurant, conveniently located in the very same courtyard.

The second Venezia does differ in some significant ways from the original, however -- the most striking difference being the interior. If the original basement eatery is down-to-earth and cozy, then the new one is its mirror opposite. It's so over the top -- like someone let off a rococo bomb in the middle of the dining room -- that it seems like a parody of some of Moscow's more grandiose upmarket restaurants. Although such an interior might invoke images of the Hermitage museum, the atmosphere is nevertheless quite relaxed, and it seems to attract the same clientele as the first democratic-style Venezia.

The menu's price might be a little higher than at the original, but not significantly so. Salads start at 150 rubles for a vegetable salad, and average at about 250 rubles. Soup of the day costs 110 rubles, a cream of asparagus soup costs 180 rubles, and mussel "soup," which is really a generous serving of whole unshelled mussels in a little broth, is good value at 230 rubles. Pasta dishes average at around 260 rubles and include such dishes as tagliatelle with crab (390 rubles), and two varieties of lasagna, the "Venezia" with salmon (390 rubles) and with chicken (270 rubles). The most expensive dish on the menu is the lobster thermidor at 790 rubles.

The wine is reasonably priced and starts at 450 rubles a bottle or 150 rubles a glass. Draft beers range from Krusovice dark or light at 180 rubles a half-liter to Hoegaarden at 190 rubles.

4/3 Strastnoi Bulvar, Bldg. 3, 694-5862, 650-6909, noon-midnight, Sat. & Sun. 1 p.m.-midnight, M. Pushkinskaya.