Review: Hawa Russia

Update: Hawa Russia is now closed.

In light of the planned CU Dinner Meetups at Hawa Russia (pronounced “Nasha Rossiyah”), a new Russian restaurant that opened two weeks ago at the Columbus Square shopping center on the Northeast side of town, Paul and I decided to drop in tonight for a little scouting mission, to try out the food and to get a copy of the menu.

The place was rather empty when we stopped in, probably due to the newness of the enterprise, and the decor was homey and a bit on the formal side (white tablecloths, seat covers and linen napkins, yellow walls with various traditional Russian decorations, etc). Shades of the building’s former life as an Asian restaurant were evident, but looked kitschy rather than out of place.

Their menu is almost exclusively traditional Russian comfort food (think borscht and pirozkhi), and we decided quickly on what we wanted. Unfortunately for us, however, the normal chef was not there tonight (aparently there was some medical emergency), so roughly half of the menu items weren’t available because the person filling in didn’t know the recipes.

We decided on a shared appetizer of 3 Meat Pirozhki ($5), which were not at all what we expected. There wasn’t much meat in these, with the filling being mainly bread crumbs with the slight flavor of meat and a very occasional little chunk amongst all the filler. While not great on their own, these were quite tasty acting as a breadstick for the borscht.

Meat Pirozhki

Ah, the borscht. How do we love thee? Let me count the ways… I’m not a fan of beets, but their Vegetarian Borscht ($4 for a honkin’ huge bowl) rocked my socks off. Nicely tomatoey and chock full of lots of veggies (beets, potatoes, carrots, green peppers, onions, etc), it had a wonderful flavor that only improved with the addition of the sour cream that was served with it. If all borscht is this good, count me in.

Vegetarian Borscht

As a precursor to his entree, my husband also ordered the Salad “Hawa Russia” ($7), a very large plate of radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes and scallions tossed in a creamy and refreshing sour cream/dill dressing. This would be extremely soothing on a hot summer night.


He had the Siberian Pelmeni ($10) for his entree, which were meat filled dumplings that kind of reminded me of Chinese Soup Dumplings that have the broth inside of them. The meat flavor shined though on these (a mixture of pork and beef, but during lunch, they also have veal and chicken), and while delicious all on their own with a bit of sour cream, they were magnificent when added to the borscht.

Siberian Pelmeni

Since they weren’t able to make the dish I originally wanted, the Chicken Kiev, the waitress instead suggested that I try the Chicken “Tabaca” ($11), which she said would be similar. It was served with mashed potatoes and what tasted to me like a really spicy cold garlic salsa (seemed a bit out of place, although tasty). I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it, however, because my poultry was underdone. I chalk it up to “new restaurant hiccups” and they handled it with the utmost of professionalism, which is a really good sign. They quickly took it off my bill and I ordered the borscht/pelmeni combo myself.


The space is fairly large, and a good choice for large groups or parties – just be sure to call ahead and let them know you’re coming. On Saturday evenings, they have a banquet with live music. Although it’s going through a few growing pains (that normally happen within the first 6 months of a restaurant’s existence), Hawa Russia shows great promise and fills a void that’s existed in Columbus for a while. I’m eager to go back when the whole menu is available – there are many dishes on there I’d still love to try.

In the meantime, take a look at their lunch menu and their dinner menu. Even if you’re not familiar with Russian food, there’s something on there for everyone.

If you’d like to go: Hawa Russia, 2680 E. Dublin Granville Rd (161), Columbus, 614.899.7020.

Hawa Russia on Urbanspoon

25 thoughts on “Review: Hawa Russia

  1. Vitali Arlovski

    You can’t send americans to taste cultural delights if they do not know what that culture desires. Why order MASHED POTATOES at a foreign restaurant? ANY foreign place? bitch

  2. bashka

    went with my ethnic luncheon group. some were of russian extraction and some had been to russia.
    what we discoverd was beet soup without the flavor of beets, food that was minus salt and simple pepper. commercial bread with the additon of home made rolls that were niether interesting or tasty. out of sixteen people three people liked thier meals. the ambience was charming chairs in white diapers very nouveau and the linen impeccable and the waitress and waiter dazzling in thier good healthy looks. they were delightful kind and helpful. the cooking however leaves so much to be desired im just amazed
    at the wonderful reviews. perhaps the cook was ill that day or they couldnt handle such a big group but what is the excuse for no salt pepper or beet flavor in the beet soup? coming from a russian family i must admit this was a unique spin
    so delighted that this reviewer loved it, not one person in my group waxed as poetic. yes will try it again perhaps in the evening and we will find
    a different ambience perhaps similar to the many
    restaurants like this in brooklyn new york near Brighton Beach where they proliferate like mushrooms after the rains.

    nice to see ethnic attempts infiltrating our flatlands. and we will surely support it and encourage the russians and hopefully they will come up with a truely robust wonderful bread that the russians are famous for …………..hopefully.

  3. Bernadette Adams

    Why the ‘b’ word, Mr. Arlovski? The reviewer clearly stated her food was ‘served with’ mashed potatoes. What was she to do, dump them onto the floor? The “really spicy, cold garlic salsa” that came with them was obviously ‘foreign;’ many cultures serve the same basic foundational food (chicken, beets, potatoes), then personalize it according to their culinary custom.

    She also said, in her third paragraph, that the regular chef was not in attendance that evening.

    Did you read every word, or just every other word and skip ahead to the photos?

  4. A Buckeye

    You Did A good review swampkitty05, We live a few miles from Hawa Russia. We Plan on trying it Thank you. Now as for Vitali Arlovski, I sure hope you are not a Buckeye ,Hope your not even in the U.S.! Bernadette Adams was right, Did you even read what she wrote ? She did not ask for mashed potatoes, She did not say she didn,t like them. As for the B word. Juat add a S.O. to the front of it . I think we all have your new nic name!!

  5. simplylogic

    I am plannning on visiting the place, but seeing a buckeye there might turn me off. Great that you think a response to an insult is an insult in return. And yes, dear Buckeye, check your spelling before you post anything.

  6. Jennifer

    Wow, that’s an impressive exchange of nastiness over a food blog!! Grow up and get a life, folks.

  7. simpylogic

    We went to eat at “Hawa Russia” a few weeks ago. It was me and my three children. We loved the decor, friendliness of a young waiter and its gracious owners. But more then anything we loved the food and the prices. The portions were enormous!!! We ordered 4 entrees, 3 appetizers and 1 drink. Our bill with taxes was under $60. And that was DINNER!!! We loved it there and are going to be back.

  8. Maureen McCabe

    We finally ate at Hawa Russia on Thursday.

    We’ve tried to go two Saturdays recently and they were doing “a night club.” I loved the meat pirozhki that came with my borscht. I loved the Hawa Russia salad, very summery with the cucumbers and tomatoes but even in November it was great.

    I ordered the mashed potatoes. Why not? Hawa Russia offered them, went great with the stuffed cabbage roll.

  9. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Hawa Russia in NE Columbus

  10. Ksenia

    I just want to say to the first few comments on this page where some of you went back and forth about the B word and all that other mess… All of you need to grown up instead of brining it back up couple un-necessary times. And instead of arguing maybe you should just go and try out the food!!!

  11. CNH

    I am so excited to try Наша Россия! I am a Russian major at OSU and have yet to try Russian food. I am studying abroad next summer in Tomsk and would love to develop a taste for Russian cuisine. Does everyone on staff know Russian? Thank you for the pictures and detailed descriptions of your meals.

  12. Russian Columbus

    CNH – yes the staff that I’ve seen there all spoke Russian. When we went there, we thought the food was great, very flavorful, and quite authentic. And we’ve been to those aforementioned Russian restaurants in Brooklyn 🙂 lots of times (used to live in NY). Of course this place can’t compete with NYC. No Columbus restaurant can compete with an NYC restaurant. But Hawa Russia comes relatively close in food… Although they gotta do something about the decor. Seriously, the resemblence of the used-to-be-Chineese restaurant are too evident. And the entry to the place is a little… ghetto. 🙂 But overall, good food for reasonable $. Let’s give ’em a break — they are the first Russian restaurant in Columbus.

  13. LO


    Before you go to Tomsk, let people know at the Slavic dept and Center that you’d like to try out the food. Someone is likely to cook for you! Maybe your class this quarter or next can take a field trip to Nasha Russia. In Columbus there are around 8000 Russian speakers, thus there are produktoviye magaziny, too, where one can find tvorog, pel’meny, ikra, salo, salaty, ryba, etc.

  14. AGENT

    I went to this place once and thank you, no more. Service was terrible and the food seemed like it came out of the microwave. Too much of neglect for such amount of money! No thank you! Better be something else. Have a good one.

  15. Russian Likes Food

    What A restaurant!!! We witness several couples get up and leave because they did not get their food, the supposed owner insult Polish customers and several people not get thier orders and some get replacement orders for what they ordered. 2/14/09 The banquiet at 8:00 pm was a disaster Watched a person dole out Caviar with a METAL SPOON. Restaurant is a DISASTER but FUNNY. Remember the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld? Then YOU will love This Place!!!

  16. Russian Likes Food

    Dont Get ME WRONG!!! The food is to DIE FOR!!! Even if they run out and bring replacement it is going to be even better than what you originally ordered.. EVERYTHING we ordered was fantastic and we definitely are taking our friends next week.

  17. columbusfoodie Post author

    I have a hard time believing that Boris would talk bad about anyone. We were there on Friday and had no problems whatsoever. The food and the service was as good as it usually is. I've never been to one of their banquet nights but the regular menu seems just fine to me.

  18. Neo

    Every Friday night "Nasha Russia" holds a techno night with a free entrance, and reduced prized at a certain hours. Usually it's 8-11. If you ever come you MUST try russian "Baltika" beer there. They play great European dance music that you barely can find anywhere in Columbus. Professional Dj play all night ( there actually two of them. one also plays in Boma. and Dj Jeka also plays at private parties)

  19. simply logic

    The owner of this place Boris would never insult anybody. He is very nice and friendly. You have a certain bias, can't believe you would tarnish his reputation. What can I say? Hater!!!!!!!!!! You are the one who is a disaster. Come on!

  20. simply logic

    Service was hoorible? That is what they are known for. They have a great service. Their food is great too. And your name is AGENT? That's funny lol.

  21. Jen T

    Well, we've been here a few times. The service has always been great. The food is pretty good, but overly expensive for what you get. The piroshki "meals" are simply a medium bowl half-filled with the dumplings. No sides. And they run $7-$9. To order a side separately will be another $3 or more. I had the cabbage rolls, got 2 that were about 3"x2" and a small pile of buckwheat. $11. The Kvass is an interesting drink, definitely try it. The biggest plus was the sweet waitress. She noticed that my son, who's a very picky eater and wary of new things, wasn't eating his meal, so we asked for a side of mashed potatoes (sorry, Mr. Arlovski) knowing he would eat those and she brought him a lovely plate filled w/the potatoes, a small serving of the stroganoff and vinaigrette-dressed cucumbers and tomatoes, then refused to charge us for it! I'd be there every week trying something different if it weren't so expensive. For the three of us our meal was $55 with tip, which some may say is reasonable, but I say it's not something we want to do too often!

  22. Kresnadi Blog

    After reading your review about Hawa Russia, we ordered VegetarianPirozhki, Vegetarian Borscht, and Siberian Pelmeni. They are all delicious. Most of my friends did not order based on your review and their orders did not taste good. Thank you. I will definitely visit your blog frequently, especially before I visit new restaurants.

  23. sjeff

    Not getting your food? Under seasoned? Commercial bread? Lots of potatoes? Sounds EXACTLY like real Russian dining experience to me!

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