Russian Samovar & Tolstoy's Lounge

4.4
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345 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Russian
There is only one way to describe it: Classic Russia in the heart of New York.
Russian staples & infused vodkas are served at this longtime eatery that hosts live piano music.

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What 345 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.6
food
3.9
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

First, I never leave reviews, but the evening here was Absolutely wonderful. Every food item was better than the previous one. Had 3 appetizers and 2 entrees, nothing but spectacular. Vodka was also fun to try out all the different flavors. Piano and singer got going, crowd was into it, the Gypsies came out dancing, and let the fun truly begin. Go there, you will not be sorry!

MH
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Food and cocktails were good. Nice ambiance with soft red lighting. Loved the piano and the player was very friendly. Let my 9 year old daughter recommend and play songs with her.

JE
Dallas
1 review
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We happened to walk by here and then looked up more about it. My daughter spent a semester abroad there and wanted to try it; so glad we did. When in NYC we will definitely go back. Very good food and friendly staff.

HB
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food, great music, extremely loud.

NY
New York Area
90 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food!!! There was a jazz band while we were there which made it a little noisy, but not unbearable. Again, the food is amazing.

OT
Singapore
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great ans prompt service, delicious and fresh authentic Russian food.

JL
Charleston
7 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and service

OT
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A glorious evening every time we go. Singing and dancing. And the food and service are spectacular.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Anniversary

CR
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is the kind of restaurant you can only find in NYC. You have to experience to understand. It probably hasn’t changed in 40 years. The food is terrific. Infused vodkas and house cocktails are going to knock your socks off. The Friday night Gypsy show features incredibly talented musicians. There is often live piano at other times. Always playing schmaltzy Russian classics (Moscow Nights, Kalinka, etc). Just a fun night.

H
San Francisco
59 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience3

I had a business lunch here and that was, according to the one other person in the dining room, a much different experience than dinner. So, almost empty during my time there. Had to holler down the stairs to get the attention of any employee as none showed for several minutes on arrival. Once the service began, it was excellent. They no longer have the lunch special shown in the OpenTable menu, but they honored it when I showed it to them. The borscht and pelmeni were excellent.

TG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2020
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Staff has quite the doing you a favor attitude. Much better service to be found at other restaurants throughout the city.

GW
Nashville
6 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fun among friends. What could be better? That’s what the Samovar feels like!

g
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Every item on the menu is utterly delicious.

OT
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great birthday celebration location
Julia was the greatest!
Helped us with everything from drink suggestions, dinner choices and right through to dessert! She made our evening extra special.
The cranberry vodka was delicious.
Piano and Bass Jazz was delightful.

FS
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

I had asked to bring the food at a slower pace as we had 2 1/2 hours until we were leaving for a show. But, it was sooo slow we probably didn't get our entrees (until after drinks and appetizers) for a good 1/2 hour. Then we were rushed to have dessert which never came. To our waiters credit, he didn't charge for them. However, after spending close to $400 for 5 of us, they had the audacity to charge us $2 for our coats which were taken from us as we entered and put on a rack at the entrance with no word of a charge. Also, portions were meager though tasty. Mushroom soup was oily. Drinks were very good and priced well at $12 for an infused vodka. All in all, I will not be back OR recommend. Oh, and while I looked forward to hearing live music during dinner, I hated every minute of it. AND I LOVE JAZZ but this was NOT the place for it. It was SOOO loud and just didn't fit the mood of a Russian Restaurant. Totally disappointed and I'm rarely not happy with a restaurant, esp in NYC.

L
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience1

To say it was bad means to say nothing. It is a very overpriced place compare to food quality they have. Terrible. Customer service is the worst. I had feeling im in Russia not in USA where customer comes first. Girls were with attitude. Rushing us to place an order when they had no other customers to serve. And i doubt if cleanliness was on point. I was in tue reatroom when one server came in, used it and left without washing her hands. So far this was the worst russian restaurant i have ever been. I am not usually leaving comments but i had to do it for this restaurant. I do not recommend it.

JG
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience5

Chicken Circassian (sp?) was delcious, tender, spicy and crispy. The server said it came with vegetables, but instead it came with greasy potatoes. But they were ok. The lamb shank looked delicious, didn't taste it. the appetizer seemed truly authentic Russian, as were many many of the diners.
Surprisingly authentic, cozy and fun.

BH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Service was beyond terrible.

K
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We used to love “Firebird” and have missed it. So we took a chance on this place and loved it. I will say our drinks weren’t great but the food was so amazing we didn’t care. We will definitely go back and take others with us. Thanks!!

PT
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience1

I have been going to RS for 17 years. This was by far the worst experience in all aspects ( minus the vodka which you can’t necessarily). We started with the greeter who was less then pleasant demanding our coats where coming in from the cold I wanted for awhile but she demanded we give them up for her and advised that their was a fee for her to store. Having an early dinner, 530, with reservations we never had seating issues but today would be different, again she instructed us where we must sit telling us our empty preferred table of 17 years was unavailable. We later understood that it was because the herd of table staffers would be hanging out in that area our entire experience was. This was literally in the rear portion of the restaurant, they even had one young gentleman come in and sit while a female staffer ran her hands through his hair.
Well the food was not to the previous experience and of course my main course never came. They didn’t serve the three of us anything at the same time it was like a tapas event not a real restaurant service. When we realized my dinner was not com8ng and inquired, we merely got a ‘we forgot’ , no apologies, and a 15-20 minutes more if you want? At this point I didn’t, tea and departure. Finally the hostess that took our coats was no where to be seen, bar attendant suggested we just wait. We didn’t, got our own coats and left.
The bright spot was the pianist who hasn’t lost her ability.

OT
Columbus
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was the best place that we dined at in NYC! The ambiance was energetic, and the music was awesome. The food was delicious, and they accommodated our fast meal to be able to get to the theater on time. Perfect right before a show!

AD
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

The mainstay is the array of infused Vodkas ranging from interesting to adventurous. Go for the authentic items like Pelmeni, Khachapuri and Salo and pass on the Americanized interpretations of Russian cuisine. This after all is a Russian restaurant so don't expect personal attention or excellent service. To be fair this is a step up from your average Soviet Stolovaya (cafeteria) ... and you should be thankful for that.

GW
Nashville
7 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is amazing! And Moon is the best server! We are heading back again in January.

OT
Denver
4 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall2food5service1ambience3

Waited for 10 minutes and no one showed up to seat us.

LD
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall1food4service1ambience5

The food was terrific but that is the only good thing I can say. When we got there, we were told we had to check our coats at the door due to space concerns...what?? And btw, it is 2$ a coat.

We were then seated and after waiting about ten minutes, our waitress comes up and says ‘I’m ready’ in an annoyed tone. Ready for what? She didn’t greet us, ask if we would like a drink, nothing. She seemed bothered we were sitting at her table. That’s how the entire meal went. She wasn’t the least bit attentive to our table. Never checked on us once. My daughter got the wrong drink but she was nowhere to be found to fix it so I had to flag down another server to get the correct drink.

We were there for my daughter’s birthday and her attitude really put a damper on our evening. When we were finished, we had to wait an extended amount of time for check. We had a show to get to, and finally I had to get up and ask another waitress to bring us our check.

The service was the worst I have ever experienced. There are plenty of great restaurants in NYC and I will not be back.

E
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding food. Had live music the entire time. Good vodka selection. Cannot wait to come back.

N
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had so much fun! We would recommend this to any of our friends who are looking for a good time and want some good food. The floor show was excellent and fun.

OT
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience2

This was not a good experience. Dungy decor. Basket of stale bread. Fatty, unpleasant meal. No wine list. Server hovering when I don’t need them and missing when I do. Very talented woman on piano but who looked unhappy and played outdated lounge songs. Typical NYC prices which I’m fine to pay but not for this kind of dinner. Then when I go to retrieve my coat they charge me additional for that. I am not a picky diner and am almost never critical like this but in my experience, literally almost any other restaurant in this part of NYC will be better.

F
Phoenix
27 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It’s my favorite NYC restaurant. We shared appetizers and paced our order. Delicious food, great waiter and terrific horseradish vodka

PR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

the food was excellent! the service was helpful and friendly and the prices were reasonbable

WK
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

We had early dinner on a Sunday after a play. The focus at that time seemed to be on the piano bar because the lounge in front filled up quickly and apparently it was "open mike night" with lots of people getting up to sing or play their instruments. The music was generally pleasant enough but the quiet conversation we expected was not going to happen during our visit. We ordered a full meal -appetizers, entrees and dessert. The food was well prepared and delicious although the portion of duck was a bit skimpy. However, overall, we felt that this place was way overpriced. The entrees were reasonable, but they get you on everything else, especially the starters and the desserts. The strudel was okay, but not worth what they charged. And - deal breaker for us - they charged $5 for a cup of unremarkable coffee and then another $5 for a refill. That is practically unheard of in NYC! For that reason alone, we won't be going back....

E
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great atmosphere , show and authentic Russian food

SD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Unwelcoming right upon walking in the door. There were a handful of people at the bar and it took awhile to be greeted let alone seated. In between the bar and small dining area there was some type of musical entertainment which was the only positive vibe in the entire restaurant. The guy who finally seated us in literally an empty dining area ( there were 2 other tables of 2 dining) “struggled” with whether to seat us at a corner table of 4 or cram us in to a very small table for 2 so after consulting with someone in the kitchen for over 5 minutes, finally seated us. A server finally approached a good 7 minutes later to offer water and said she would be back to take our drink order and food. We never saw her again. We left and were very lucky to dine at the absolute FABULOUS Russian Vodka Room directly across the street where we were greeted happily, seated in a comfy spot - all with no reservations. The food and service at the Russian Vodka Room were amazing. So glad we exited Samovar and had a wonderful evening.
Parting advice: RUN don’t walk from this awful restaurant!

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Fun place, but expensive

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Rude lady who sits by the door! Also they didn’t tell us coat room costs $2 before taking out jackets

JS
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, service and atmosphere. I can’t wait to go back!

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience1

I loved it. The Stroganoff and Duck ala Russe were excellent. Great drinks. I will be back.

N
New York Area
39 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious, the price was reasonable, and as an added bonus, the pianist supplying music was excellent. This is a good choice for pre-theater because, unlike some restaurants in the theater district, it was not crowded.

OT
Las Vegas
20 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Eat here on every trip to NY. Excellent food. Authentic.