The Soviet Union spanned eight – eight – time zones, encompassing an enormous array of climates, ethnicities and cuisines. So it makes sense that in Brighton Beach, nicknamed “Little Odessa” for its large number of Russian-speaking immigrants, you can find restaurants specializing in dishes from all over the former U.S.S.R., from hearty Ukrainian dumplings to the noodles and flatbreads of Central Asia. Here are six that are not to be missed.


If you’re new to the Russian dining experience, Tatiana is a good place to start. While the menu is all over the place, serving everything from borscht to sushi, the best way to enjoy it is to get a big group together and have a banquet. Plan on settling in for the night, because Tatiana is more than just a restaurant — it’s also a nightclub, known for over-the-top, Vegas-style shows, meant to be enjoyed with plenty of vodka.

Photo courtesy of Tatiana.

kashkar-cafe-russian-restaurant-brighton-beach-uygur-salad-6813189Uygur Salad | Kashkar Cafe via Facebook

Kashkar Cafe
Uyghurs, a Muslim Turkic people from Central Asia, come from several different countries, including western China and Uzbekistan, the latter of which was part of the Soviet Union. Kashkar Cafe was one of the first Uyghur restaurants to open in New York. Their halal kebabs, juicy dumplings called manty, toothsome langan noodles, and savory lamb pies called samsa are easy to fall in love with. Order a few salads and you have a superlative meal.

ocean-view-cafe-russian-restaurants-brighton-beach-brooklyn-borscht-soup-5855435Cold Borscht Soup | Nicole A. via Yelp

Ocean View Cafe
If Russians rather than Greeks had cornered the diner business in New York, it’s likely the menus would be a lot like the one at Ocean View Cafe. The potato-heavy selection of dishes includes, of course, a solid borscht, as well as beef stroganoff and smoked fish. Your tea will come with cherry preserves for any sweetening it might require.

bakery-la-brioche-russian-brighton-beach-brooklyn-pastries-5993394The pastry spread at Bakery la Brioche | Taiyo O. via Yelp

Bakery la Brioche
This Russian-Jewish bakery is a dream come true for anyone with a sweet tooth. Date-walnut squares, vatrushka danishes filled with cheese, poppy-seed rolls, rugelach – they have it all. They cut cake by the pound, and the smetannik, a classic sour cream cake that is a staple for Russian home cooks, has been featured on the Food Network. 

cafe-glechik-russian-restaurant-brighton-beach-brooklyn-vareniki-mushrooms-onions-7802360Varenyky with mushrooms and onions | Camille N. via Yelp

Cafe Glechik
If it’s Ukrainian food you’re after, particularly the hearty, savory dumplings called pelmeni and varenyky, Cafe Glechik is the place to head. It’s been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and New York Magazine named their chicken soup with mini-pelmeni one of the 50 tastiest soups in the city. 

national-russian-restaurant-brighton-beach-brooklyn-golubtsy-6002251Golubtsy | National Restaurant via Facebook

National Restaurant
This is another huge restaurant, nightclub and event space, opened in 1978 by a family who arrived in Brooklyn from Odessa. It’s popular for weddings, lavish birthdays and other celebrations, and the menu is stuffed with classic Russian dishes like beef stroganoff, dumplings and fish.

Businesses Mentioned Above