Moscow on the Hill Full Review
Since 1997, Moscow on the Hill has sat in St. Paul’s Chapel Hill neighborhood, just north of Grand Avenue, tempting me in.
As a long-time St. Paul local, I’d heard the rumblings. Authentic Russian food, a warm atmosphere, and a lengthy vodka menu capable of knocking out even the heaviest drinkers.
On a few occasions, I’d experienced the latter. My friends and I had multiple nights either start or end at Moscow on the Hill’s infamous vodka bar. Fresh off fun memories of the bar’s red glow and the vodka’s strong buzz, I’d realized something obvious…
I needed to eat here.
Maybe it was the delicious food I saw coming out of the kitchen. Or maybe it was the hearty laughs I heard around every table as they devoured their dumplings and stroganoff…
In any case, I grabbed a reservation at the nearest opportunity, vowing to see what 25 years of loyal customers had obviously fallen in love with.
Moscow on the Hill Drink Menu (and Vodka!)
As I’d already come to learn, no meal at Moscow on the hill is complete without an order from their legendary bar.
I needed no help with this part. From my past escapades, my hangovers tell me this is one part of the restaurant I’m imminently qualified to discuss. So allow me to give you a tour.
On one side of Moscow’s drink menu, you’ll find the usual – about a dozen white wines, a dozen red wines, and the same number of beers.
The only hint you’ll get that you’re somewhere special is the lengthy vodka menu. There’s an entire section of the menu devoted to approximately 50 different types of vodka, each organized according by country of origin like a sommelier’s take on wine.
But it’s the back of the menu where things REALLY get interesting. Here, the menu starts a dizzying array of signature vodka martinis, Moscow Cocktails, and what’s become perhaps the most popular menu item… the “house infusions.”
Being a Russian bar, naturally those “infusions” mean flavored vodka shots.
The low down on the Vodka menu
At this point, if you’re vehemently telling yourself, “No way… I don’t do shots…” I’d politely tell you, “these aren’t the shots you’re used to…”
Lemon shot? Raspberry shot? Honey shot? These all go down like a fruity treat, and I’ve seen many “No way” folks quickly switch their attitude into “Wow, I’ve never had Vodka that smooth!”
Horseradish shot? Garlic & Dill shot? These sound crazy but the flavor goes perfectly with the vodka. They’re probably the most popular orders, and my personal favorite, too.
All told, Moscow on the Hill sports over 20 different vodka infusions. Each more interesting than the last.
And of course, for an easier drinking experience, the Moscow Cocktails are some of the best mixed drinks in the city. They’re all delicious, and each one is sneaky strong. (My personal favorites are the Alexander Palmer, the Lemongrad, and the Moscow Mule.)
My first trip to Moscow (via St. Paul)
As you can tell, I get excited when it comes time to order drinks at Moscow!
But let’s refocus. On this trip, I was here for the food.
So, after Lily and I took our seats (and naturally, ordered a pair of Garlic & Dill infusions!) we began browsing the menu.
What followed was a wonderful tour through Moscow, Russia. All from the comfort of a warm, comfortable summer patio in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread)
I’d heard the legend of this appetizer, but it still blew me away.
This bread comes out looking pretty normal…
…before surprising with the most mouthwatering mountain of cheese I’ve ever seen!
Long story short, this bread was unreal. I definitely see myself craving this one again and again in the future.
Entree 1: Siberian Pelmeni Dumplings
My local intel told me that for the true Moscow on the Hill experience, I had to order dumplings. (In fact, Moscow’s owner once said they’re her personal favorite menu item.)
There’s three different dumplings on the menu. At the waitress’s suggestion, we went with the Siberian version. (That’s beef and pork filled, served with sour cream and vinegar.)
She absolutely did not let us down. I was a little skeptical of the vinegar topping, but sometimes you just have to taste to believe. Safe to say, I was an absolute believer.
Now days, I can’t even look at that picture without my mouth beginning to water and my fingers reaching for the reservation line.
Entree 2: Beef Stroganoff
Interestingly, Moscow’s stroganoff isn’t served over the wide egg noodles like I’ve come to expect from my Americanized takes on stroganoff. Instead, they serve it over steak strips and mashed potatoes.
Maybe it’s just my Americanized palate, but I did find myself wishing for some noodles to sop up the delicious sauce.
A solid dish, but for me, just not on the mind blowing level of the first two.
Moscow on the Hill Patio
We enjoyed this delicious meal on Moscow’s front patio, which is improvised due to COVID-19. This new space is a pleasant experience with a nice view of the historic architecture on Selby Ave.
That said, this improvised front patio admittedly doesn’t fill the huge shoes of the legendary back patio. There, you’ll find a stunning combination of a beautiful wooden deck, lush greenery, and twinkling lights.
Without a doubt, we consider Moscow’s back patio one of the best patios in the Twin Cities, and we definitely recommend trying to score your reservation there.
For years, we’ve known Moscow on the Hill as one of the most unique and awesome bars in the entire Twin Cities.
Now, we’re even happier to report that the food absolutely lives up to the incredible standard set by the bar!
Whether you’re looking for a great meal, great drinks, or both, Moscow on the Hill is absolutely one of St. Paul’s best.