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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Where Celebrities Go for Georgian

For MTIf you get a table beside the window, you can dine with a spectacular view of Novodevichy Convent.
In running U Pirosmani restaurant for almost two decades, Turnike Kopaleishvili has one regret. "I just can't believe I was not at the restaurant when Bill Clinton came," he said.

Clinton is one of five presidents and hundreds of celebrities who have visited the Georgian restaurant, named after the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmanashvili.

In the 19 years since U Pirosmani opened, one of the only things that has changed there is the guests.

"We have had the same music, the same food and the same chef, all this time," said Kopaleishvili, gesturing proudly around the room.

Kopaleishvili found the chef by eating in restaurants in his native Georgia and inviting the cooks whose food he liked to come to Moscow with him. One finally agreed, but even Kopaleishvili admitted that it was the location that was the real find.

Across the street from Novodevichy Convent, diners get a view of the golden domes as they eat.


Marina Kamenev / For MT
Kopaleishvili opened U Pirosmani 19 years ago.
"I almost had a heart attack when I saw it," said Kopaleishvili. "Then, it was a cafe that had been abandoned for six years."

Kopaleishvili's other restaurant, Rytsarsky Club, opened 12 years ago at Vorobyovy Gory, with a view over the city when not obscured by foliage. It promises the same food, but not U Pirosmani's cluttered interior, which evokes an artist's studio.

The food itself is an introduction to Georgian cuisine rather than a shock to the taste buds.


Marina Kamenev / For MT
Presidents have dined at U Pirosmani.
Most starters cost 150 rubles ($6), shashliks start at 600 rubles ($24), and French wine goes for 900 rubles ($36) per bottle or 120 rubles per glass -- not too high a price to dine in the same room as the likes of Richard Gere and Val Kilmer.

"I don't think there is a restaurant in Russia as legendary for celebrities as ours," Kopaleishvili said.

In 19 years, his favorite celebrity has been Cindy Crawford.

"She was so beautiful, to this day I still dream of her," he said.

4 Novodevichy Proyezd, 247-1926, noon-10:30 p.m., M. Sportivnaya.