Babushka Restaurant/Nouveau Russe is located in a tiny strip mall on the south end of downtown Walnut Creek, about 45 minutes east of San Francisco and the same distance south from Napa. It’s just a couple easily-walked blocks from the bustling Broadway Plaza shopping concourse, a modern retail and dining destination that has become the heart of upscale East Bay living. (see map below).
Babushka Restaurant is a distinct contrast from the nearby retail glitz. The dining room is simple, like the Russian and Eastern European foods on the menu. The word babushka is Russian for grandmother, which to many represents passing down of traditions (Grandma’s Country Salad is a menu item). From appetizers to desserts, the menu is paved with names most of us recognize and associate with Russian or Eastern European food. Aside from the sourcing of ingredients, it seems that few influences on the food are stronger than the culinary traditions of the family that brought Babushka Restaurant into existence in the East Bay.
The wine list includes uncommon labels from Hungary, Croatia, Russia, Germany and France with most glasses in the $10 to $13 range and bottles from $35 to $45. If you’re not familiar with the styles of the wines offered, ask for sample sips.
There is a deli in the back that offers mostly packaged foods and other goods from Eastern Europe, plus a few fresh items from the restaurant menu.
Prices are moderate, service is extraordinary and the quality of the food at Babushka Restaurant is fantastic. If you’re in the East Bay, stop in. If not, make a special trip.