Russian dinner at Mari Vanna | New York

On Saturday evening I had dinner at Mari Vanna, a Russian restaurant near Union Square. It was an interesting experience and I still have mixed feelings about it. The dinner was sequence of negative and positive alternations.

Vareniki: dumplings filled with mashed potatoes. One of my favourite Russian dishes. 

Salmon kebab: very delicious but a bit of a challenge since the starter was so huge (and I hadn't even eaten all of it). 

I had prepared a lengthy post about the entire evening but I'm going to make a long story short:

What I liked
  • Excellent food - no doubt about it
  • Friendly service
  • Super cosy decor
  • Design of their menu and website
  • I received a key for Key Mondays when after 9 pm only guests with a key can get in

What I didn't like
  • Sitting below a leaking a/c
  • The gin and tonic contained too much gin and not enough tonic. Great if you want to get tipsy quickly but it doesn't really taste that good.
  • Almost half an hour waiting time between the starter and the main course. I had the impression that they had forgotten about me.
  • I was almost served a Chicken Kiev instead of the salmon kebab that I had ordered. Luckily I reminded the waitress on time.
  • I was charged for a Chicken Kiev instead of the salmon kebab. OK, the difference was one dollar and when the bill comes to $79 it doesn't really matter I guess.
  • A number of guests were not happy when they were told that they had to sit at a high dining table or that another party who had arrived after them was seated before them. Somehow the staff managed to magically save the situations when the guests threatened to walk off... 

Overall, still a much better experience than Russian Tea Room. At least I would consider eating at Mari Vanna again.

41 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States of America

PS: Sorry for the bad pics. Due to a combination of iPhone and low lights.



  1. That restaurant looks good but it sounds like you had some pitfalls. I don't think I have ever had a $79 meal in my life haha

  2. Its such a cute place where Id definitely like to go! The food seems delish as well, lol for the mistake of salmon, I dont eat meat as well, if it happened to me I could go mad!! XO

  3. Sounds interesting, I never tried Russian food before, shame about the bad experiences. Have a great day.

    Gemma x

  4. The plating looks so homey. Delish vibe. Interesting place!

    <3 | X ALY | Aly In Wanderland | LATEST: Bit Beachy

  5. Hope they read your review and pay attention to the things that aren't ok. As far as I understand, this restaurant is potentially great!

  6. It's a shame about your seat and drink but at least the food was excellent. This restaurant looks to have a cute homey vibe.

  7. Anouk,
    Thanks for this informative review. I've been wanting to try this restaurant (we have one in DC too) and your review of the food persuades me. I had no idea there were multiples of this place. It sort of makes me rethink the kind of experience I'll have, but it's still worth a try based on your experience, I think.


    Love, Mary

  8. Yum The salmon kebab looks amazing. I'm a fan of borscht, and like this post so much because you know I looove food, haha.

  9. Yulia22.8.16

    Oh, it's so lovely to see Russian food on your blog :) though salmon kebab is not really a traditional dish.. But vareniki are for sure, it makes me homesick :) Enjoy your stay and new experiences!

  10. Salmon Kebab, want! Shame about the negatives but hopefully the food made up for it
    Maya Not Mya

  11. Andreea Birsan22.8.16

    They do have some interesting cuisine! Hope you enjoyed it! x

    Have a great week,

  12. It would be interesting to read your review and see the photos! Hopefully the restaurant in DC is a bit better organised :)


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