Russian in Northeast Philly
I am thinking about organizing a Dangerous Dining Club dinner and thought a Russian restaurant might be interesting. Are there any places in the Northeast that would be good candidates? I would try them out first before organizing a larger dinner and would appreciate any pointers on where to try.
The Bride & I had a hilarious time at Kleopatra some number of years ago (1999 or 2000). I'm not sure if they are still in business, as there was a drug ring running out of there. It was Bring Your Own Vodka, and of course there was a cabaret nightclub type show. I remember the food being decent but overall it was the entire environment & experience that was amusing.
I don't even know if this place is still open, but there is a listing for the Black Sea Cafe listed at 13032 Bustleton Ave. I live in Jersey, so not close enough to run over and see if they're still open. I don't know if I'm allowed to post a phone number, but I did call it just now, and the only word I could make out when he answered was "Shalom". (Shame on me, since both sets of grandparents were born in Russia!)
Black Sea has recently undergone an extensive changes. New management, new chefs, an expansion, beautiful renovations, and a name change; Lanjerone (a popular beach resort on the Black Sea)
Lanjerone is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Absolutely delicous dishes, mostly russian but some with clear asian and french influences.
The interior is gorgeous and perfect for a small wedding or similar affairs.... The Northeast Philadelphia russian restaurant scene has nothing that can compare to this new establishment.
I would love to do this with a group! I also hear golden gate is good. I once went to a Russian restaurant on Bustleton Ave., way up, and it was nice but bare bones decor. I don't know if I found out the English name of it. Not golden gate, though. Saturday lunch place.
A group of us went to Golden Gate and it was a total trip. Bring your own vodka and order "The French" menu (Russian but includes seafood, etc). We didn't get out till around 2 am and were the first to leave. Everyone was Russian but the waitstaff was very friendly and helpful to us. Everyone should experience this once. It is like being invited to someone's Russian wedding and not knowing anyone. Fantastic.
Count me in, too. I've been really curious to try a Russian restaurant in Philly, and would love to go with a group of Chowhounds.
i'm interested as well! this is an area of the city i've not yet ventured out into. keep me posted!!
This sounds like fun. Anyone have an approximate idea of when the group will be getting together? Sometime in January?
no idea; we haven't heard from the OP recently. if you're interested, feel free to set something up! i'm always up for an adventure.
i would, but i've already taken on the group mexican outing to los taquitos de puebla, and i'm right in the thick of things planning that one! :) ( http://www.chowhound.com/topics/318681 )
I ate at golden gate years ago. It was a lot of fun. Reminded me of nightclubs in Moscow. I would be up for this as well.
I'm pleased to see the activity here, and hope this dinner happens. I've tried exploring this area by myself, and it's not easy.
The 13032 Bustleton Ave. site has seen several name changes. I visited Lanjeron, the latest incarnation, on the advice of several Russian Jewish immigrants, including one I see at the U Penn Dental Labs, and the pleasant woman at Langeron told me they were not serving lunch that day. There was a small group of nicely dressed women sitting at a table eating, and I suspect they were sampling and choosing dishes for a large affair.
To be honest, the menu didn't look quite as fascinating as I would have expected. Not g'dempte, as my Jewish mother would say. More on the order of dry meat cutlets than homemade saucy dishes that had been simmering in the pot for days. Perhaps I'm missing the point, perhaps the appetizers and extras are more the thing, perhaps it's in the preparation, or perhaps the interesting stuff is not on the regular menu. I'd be interested in hearing more from someone who knows.
I also heard good things about another place which I believe might have been Golden Gate. Sounds like a large, noisy, festive place that doesn't really get going until 10 pm. Not a place for me to research at lunchtime by myself.
If anyone is interested in doing further research, I highly recommend finding an appropriate looking shopper in the aisles of the NET COST market, a humongous Russian suspermarket on Bustleton. One nice woman shopper gave me great information which I wish I had written down. I 've also tried asking the help behind the counters in several of the Russian markets, without much luck. I should post a warning, however. If you go to NET COST, you may have trouble leaving with less than six different types of smoked fish or caviars to try. Their prepared foods section is also dangerous (although the grape leaves, I believe, came from a can), and stay away from the aisle with lots of jars of things like eggplant salad, as you may feel compelled to try one of each, as I did! I'm still trying to use mine up so I can go back and get more. (FWIW, The soups in jars, while cheap and interesting, are extremely salty - if that's an issue for you.)
BTW, rabidog is doing a great job of organizing the Mexican dinner this month, so if no one else steps foreward, I strongly suggest coercing him to organize this one next! I'd be happy to join the tasing committee, if more help is needed.
^ that's 'her' to you! and thanks!! :)
we'll talk more at dinner later this week - i'm happy to help organise, but i simply have never been to any of the russian places. nor do i know the first thing about russian food. is it similar to polish? aaahhh, i've no idea!! on top of that, i seem to get lost in the NE phila expanse every time i venture up there.
i'll try to have a solo NE phila adventure sometime this week, just to test the waters.
Oops, sorry about that. Also, I have no idea what a "tasing committee" is, though "tasting" I can do.
Most of the Russian restaurants and stores are on Bustleton. I'd head up Roosevelt Blvd, and take a left on Red Lion to Bustleton, and you'll be at the epicenter. Bustleton runs parallel to Roosevelt, just to it's west.
I'm pretty sketchy on details, but starting from the North and heading South on Bustleton and working your way back to the city, you'll hit Lanjeron at 13032, and then the large NET COST market on the left, with what looks like another large restaurant and catering hall attached to it's left.
Then, a bit further South, I believe at Red Lion, set back on the SW corner, a small shopping center with a Russian grocery and also a restaurant which I believe may be called Tashkent.
Further South, just past a fairly large intersection with a street coming in on an angle on your left, which may be Haldeman, you'll find a small shopping center on your right with another small Russian grocery, and a little restaurant right at the elbow of the shopping center. The name of the restaurant is in Russian on the sign. It may be the most accessible of the Russian Restaurants - easy for a quick bite . I had a very nice hearty borscht there.
Further South, you'll see a fairly large shopping center on your right with an older, quite large Russian supermarket on the left end, I believe painted blue, and what looks like another Russian restaurant in the middle.
I haven't been past Golden Gate, but it's at 11058 Rennard, a side street running west off Bustleton, at the Northern end. It's only open for late dinner.
ok, I'm officially obsessive compulsive:
Lanjeron 13032 Butleton
Net Cost 11701 Bustleton
Zep's Pizza and Kebab 9965 Bustleton
(I know, this sounds italian/middle eastern, but it's Armenian ((former soviet Union)) and the chicken & pilaf lunch special was a delicious bargain.)
Red Lion International Market 9983 Bustleton
Tashkent 824 Red Lion
Stolovaya 9846 Bustleton (sign is in Russian)
Bell's Market 8354 Bustleton (above Castor)
If I was really, really compulsive, I'd be showing you this from Bustleton.net.
(some are obsolete. Black Sea is now Lanjeron. I'm curious to know if some of the others are still around.)
5TH Corner Creperie
618 Collings ave Collingswood NJ, 08107618 Collings ave Collingswood NJ, 08107
Tel(856)858-5557Tel (856) 858-5557
e-mail: email@example.com : firstname.lastname@example.org
Beige & Beige
2501 Huntingdon Pike Huntingdon Valley, PA 190062501 Huntingdon Pike Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Tel(215)938-8600Tel (215) 938-8600
Black Sea Cafe
13032 Bustleton Ave.13032 Bustleton Ave. Philadelphia PA 19116Philadelphia PA 19116
Tel(215)671-4088Tel (215) 671-4088
11901 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia Pa 1911611901 Bustleton Ave. , Philadelphia Pa 19116
Tel(215)698-2233Tel (215) 698-2233
Cafe Nostalgie, Inc.
10865-67 Bustleton Ave Philadelphia PA10865-67 Bustleton Ave Philadelphia PA
Tel(215)673-4142Tel (215) 673-4142
Fax(215)673-4143Fax (215) 673-4143
E-mail: email@example.comE-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
11058 Rennard Street Philadelphia PA 1911611058 Rennard Street Philadelphia PA 19116
Tel(215)677-9337Tel (215) 677-9337
11650 Roosevelt Blvd Philadelphia PA 1911611650 Roosevelt Blvd Philadelphia PA 19116
Tel(215)677-4140Tel (215) 677-4140
Fax(215)677-4145Fax (215) 677-4145
Leo Mall 11729 Bustleton Ave PhiladelphiaLeo Mall 11729 Bustleton Ave Philadelphia
Tel(215)673-2545Tel (215) 673-2545
9859 Bustleton Ave Philadelphia PA 191169859 Bustleton Ave Philadelphia PA 19116
Tel(215)677-3323Tel (215) 677-3323
8336 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia PA 19152 8336 Bustleton Ave. , Philadelphia PA 19152
Tel(215)742-9811Tel (215) 742-9811
Russian Tea House
111 Buck Road, Holland PA 18966111 Buck Road, Holland PA 18966
Tel(215)364-2200Tel (215) 364-2200
9846 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia PA 191159846 Bustleton Ave. , Philadelphia PA 19115
Tel(215)698-2584Tel (215) 698-2584
824 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia PA 19115824 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia PA 19115
Tel(215)464-0106Tel (215) 464-0106
And if I was really, really, really compulsive:
Black Sea Philadelphia
Golden Gates Philadelphia
Imperator Philadelphia (725 Red Lion)
Kleopatra Philadelphia (15005 Bustleton)
Melodia Philadelphia (11729 Bustleton)
Noah's Ark Jenkintown
Old Europe Pittsburgh
Paradise Philadelphia (8336 Bustleton)
Pierogies Plus McKees Rocks
Roxolana's Garden Pittsburgh
Russian Tea House Holland (111 Buck Road)
XO Southampton (1135 Bustleton Pike)
For all things Slavic - I strongly recommend a venture into Bell's Market.
Bell's Market 8354 Bustleton (above Castor)
Therein you will find all manner of smoked meats, kielbasas of every variety, herrings and smoked fishes, prepared foods, pickled everything, etc, etc
Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Turkish, Slavic of every sort..
darn! methinks i should have checked the boards before going out on an adventure tonight --- i drove up and down roosevelt blvd, then drove up and down bustleton, right through the whole area you mentioned, for about an hour and a half... but i guess driving aimlessly around at night, trying to pay attention to the road while also looking for anything resembling russian signs proved too much for me! i passed right by that net cost market several times, but didn't see anything else, much less anything open. finally i figured i was too late and turned around and headed home. next time, i will go prepared with actual street addresses and names!
for what its worth, i also saw several brazilian places in that area. and a lot of italian. very intriguing corridor for all things food!
I am wondering why you included Cafe Michelangelo. While its in the safe shopping center as a russian store, the last time I was there it was an italian restaurant with a wood fired oven for the pizza and a bocci court out back. Now half the customers in there are on their cell phones talking russian .. but.
Sorry, if I was unclear. The first list is to give you details of the Russian restaurants and stores I can vouch for. Either eaten at, shopped at, or at least they were recommended and I stopped by.
The second two lists came from Russian web sites. As I mentioned, some of these places are closed, or open under new names. The last list included obviously Asian restaurants and others which I weeded out. The list with Michelangelo appeared to be more concise and Russian. In any event, I thought the list might be useful to diehard Chowhounders - I can see that rabidog is one - to check out for hidden gems
As far as I can tell, Kleopatra (Sometimes listed as Cleopatra - an oviously Russian name, huh? They also seem to like names like Palais Royal and DeJa Vu!)) is a prominent Russian banquet hall which is no more. I tried calling, and their phone is disconnected. XO - there's a Russian name for you - has an active web site with a large Russian banquet menu. And I believe there are several more that could be well worth checking out.
So thanks for your input on Cafe Michelangelo, and I'd appreciate hearing input on any of the others.
So here's one more list, this one from russianpa.com/russian retaurants, some of which is obsolete, but I'm sure has some great potential meals in it.
Fri, Sat & Sun
1135 Bustleton Pike
Feasterville, PA 19053
11058 Rennard Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19116
7734 Bustleton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19152
8336 Bustleton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19152
842 Red Lion Road
Philadelphia, PA, 19115
9859 Bustleton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19115
15005 Bustleton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19116
BLACK SEA CAFE
Brunches on Sat, Sun.
Lunches on weekdays.
13032 Bustleton Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19116
725 Red Lion Road Philadelphia, PA 19115 (215) 677-7675
Lunch special Tue-Sat Noon-4pm
Capacity 130 persons
110181-83 Verree Rd.
Philadelphia, PA 19116
11729 Bustleton Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19116 (215) 673-2545
RUSSIAN TEA HOUSE
111 Buck Road
Holland, PA 18966
13032 Bustleton Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA, 19116
11729 Bustleton Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA, 19116
Hello, I'm new here on Chowhound but stumbled upon this site after losing the phone number for Lanjeron. I am Russian, first generation in my family born here, and have been to many of the places discussed. By far, for the overall experience Golden Gate is the best. As someone mentioned, it's like being at someone else's crazy wedding, complete with the drunken "relatives" making fools of themselves on the dance floor. The food is good and the atmosphere is festive. Lanjeron is much more subdued in atmosphere, but the food is great. The menu is much larger than what it appears on simply walking in there to eat. They have several different menus to choose from, and for a group or party they'll also take requests and make just about any food you can think of! Hope this helps -- Btw, Kleopatra closed down a few years back in case anyone is hoping to try it!
If you are thinking of opening a Russian restaurant you may want to consider my advice about the meat that you want to offert to your customers. It is a big difference in the taste if you compare naturaly, farm raised animals and the one that you buy from wherehouses or stores. I found a small animal farm in Upper Makefield (very close to Phili). I bought from them 30 pounds turkey for Thanksgiving, one rabbit and a chicken! You can't imagine how tender & delicious was this turkey. The good thing about this place is that they have different type of animals and they raised them the old fashion way - no antibiotics, no chemicals or hormons. All the animals are raised naturaly, so the meat is way healthier and delicious. I am from Russia - it feel like home when I cook it! I think that this is very important for this kind of restaurants! I'm constantly looking for places that have food close to my contry! I hope I can be helpful for your business - the farm is located in Bucks County, Upper Makefield. You can contacrt Nataliya, her phone number is: 215-300-9909.
I am not Russian, but I have a friend who is Ukrainian and we arranged my son's 21st birthday at Golden Gate. It was a total trip and my son reported that it was THE birthday he would never forget. There was so much food that I couldn't possibly have tried everything .... and it was also great for the kids to be able to get up and dance as well. Wait staff very pleasant as well. Price per head was very reasonable as well.
A group of my friends went to Golden Gates a few years ago and it was a total trip. I believe the earliest reservation 9PM. It is bring your own vodka and you can choose from several menus and they just keep bringing out food all night long. Even though we were clearly the only non Russian speakers there, we were made to feel welcome and thought it was just a fabulous experience. Ladies get really dressed up...like for New Year's Eve and don't plan to leave until the wee hours of the morning. Everyone should do this once. BTW, we ordered "The French Menu" which we came to understand was the more expensive menu with lots of seafood.
Tashkent should NEVER be one of your choices in Philadelphia Russia dining. If I could give it 0 stars, I would. This restaurant has THE worst service of any restaurant I've been to, anywhere. You might think "oh, they're Russian. Russians don't know service," but I've never seen service this bad in Moscow or even in the backwoods of the Ukraine.
Be prepared for inattentive waitstaff who disappear for LONG stretches of time and act as if they're doing you a favor. Be prepared for hidden "service charges" that are not listed anywhere on the menu. Be prepared for meat that is of questionable quality and far too fatty.
Overall, a HUGE disappointment and frankly I'm shocked that it has stayed in business for as long as it has.