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weipanlan | Jul 7, 200202:42 AM     6

I went to this restaurant on Balboa Street, San Francisco at the recommendation of several people who enjoy Russian food.Unlike most Russian restaurants in the Bay area Katia's is an ambient, quiet and romantic space...on weekends a violin or piano player even presides. The food is excellent; traditional, tasty and fresh...obviously local Russians feel the same way as the restaurant seems to attract them by the droves. I can highly recommend the borscht and piroskis, the latter come in a range of flavours and were so fresh they melted in the mouth. The other dishes I tried were the salmon in lemon sauce with dill and fried potatoes and a beef casserole with sour cream and green pea pods. Both were exquisitely prepared home cooked meals. I followed them with cherry and sweet cheese blintzes which I could not fault. Unlike some Russian establishments I didnt come away feeling that I had eaten a mountain of lard. The food wasnt all that heavy considering the ingredients. This is a tribute to Katia's superior skill in relatively greaseless cooking.I was too full to try the famous hazlenut torte but will have to wait till next time....

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