Judging by the guest list on Mari Vanna’s UK website, the London outpost of this extraordinary Russian restaurant ‘chain’ is as much a destination as the branches in New York, LA and Washington DC (St Petersburg and Moscow boast the Russian originals). A trip here is certainly memorable.
It’s impossible not to gasp at the mirrors and chandeliers, the shelves overflowing with dolls, porcelain, books and knick-knacks, the tapestries both hanging and adorning the tables. During our lunchtime meal, the place was chock-a-block with Russian-speaking diners. The booking procedure may seem Soviet-strict, but the welcome is warm, and service – by beautiful Russian staff – polite and attentive.
It’s the food, however, that might hasten a second visit. You can dine like a peasant or a tsar, but the simplest, relatively affordable options are a delight. From the breads, including coriander-scented rye, via traditional thirst-quenchers such as kvass (like a rye-bread root beer) or birch juice to pirozhki – don’t miss the sea bass version – and lactic-fermented pickles, there wasn’t a discordant note.
Tender beef stroganoff had just the right degree of paprika warmth, and sweet cherry dumplings paired with a shot of cherry-infused vodka proved an ideal end to a memorable meal.
|Venue name:||Mari Vanna||Contact:|
|Cross street:||Wellington Court|
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-3.30pm, tea served 3.30-5pm daily. Dinner served 7-11.30pm Mon-Sat; 7-10.30pm Sun|
|Price:||Main courses £14-£24. Set lunch (noon-3pm Mon-Fri) £18 2 courses, £25 3 courses. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £120|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
3.2 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:4
It is pretty obvious that a restaurant like this will be quite expensive. Looking for a cheap restaurant in Knightsbridge seems like a "mission impossible". The food definitely matches the price and staff there is always being friendly and helpful.
What a great restaurant! Hiding from the chilly wind, this place makes feels warm, cosy and at home. I must say, the food since the opening has gotten better and better.... the Olivier salad with 'doktorskiy' sausage was just splendid, topped off with chicken soup and some kotleti - made an excellent lunch... The traditional Russian sweets in the drawer by your table made an excellent touch. Hope to come there again. ++ Very attentive staff
It is the worst restaurant I have ever been in london. The food was awful and the staff very rude. The waiter was standing next to us the whole evening. He took my plate without asking me if I finished. There are so many amazing restaurants in London. There is no reason to go to Mari Vanna.
If I could give this place 0 stars I would. Went there last weekend. The food is shockingly bad - I was unable to finish my main which was a mixture of cabbage and pork that had been boiled until it tasted like bark. The "most delicious" thing on the menu (according to the bored looking waiting staff) was basically cheese on toast. The decor was stiff and made for a very formal atmosphere and the tables were incredibly close to each other, so that I kept having to move my seat to allow other people to pass behind me. Other people's seats touched the backs of the seats on neighbouring tables. The salt in the wound was the bill at the end - insultingly expensive for one of the worst meals I've ever had in London. There is no reason for anyone to go to this place - if you want to drop £80-100 per head then head then London has plenty of restaurants that put this place in the shade.
Go, if just to see a restaurant that is a museum and nothing else. Pretty people in a pretty place, with pretty poor food. Bob Bob Ricards Russian food is much better, and cheaper.
Sickeningly expensive, in Knightsbridge or not. Food okay, but not worth money. Would expect Michelin star for those prices, but unfortunately nowhere near level. Beautiful interior, amazing attention to detail, but no atmosphere. Staff attentive and friendly, but quite corporate and rehearsed. I think this restaurant is for people who don't know what to do with their money and think how a place looks is all that is important.
I had dinner with my wife in this place. The starter was OK but the main was DISGUSTING. I ordered a chicken Kiev which is supposed to be one of the flagship dishes of the Russian cuisine.
The chicken was undercooked ,dry and clearly cooked from frozen . We called the waiter to complain and he admitted himself that it was frozen. Instead of taking my complaint as constructive feedback and remove the chicken from the bill they took it as a personal offence saying that we must have sophisticated tastes!!
For the quality of the food we got and the rude staff we won't come back to this place.