Must-See Brighton Beach
by Laura Kusnyer, 01/01/2010
Photo: Will Steacy
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3145 Brighton 4th St., 718-332-0341
"It's normal to drink vodka in the morning here," says Volna employee Gio Asatiani in a low voice as the bartender carries a trio of shooter glasses to a table of early tippling patrons. Volna is a popular boardwalk restaurant whose outdoor seating fills up at lunchtime during summer. Late in the morning, it's a quiet and friendly place to get coffee—or something a little stronger—as Asatiani and his colleagues meticulously arrange the tables' yellow-and-blue-stripe tablecloths and ham it up with talkative passersby. Beverage favorites here include Nemiroff for vodka and Baltika for beer. In terms of food, Asatiani recommends the restaurant's xachapuri, Georgian flatbread filled with cheese. If you're in a rush, you can pick up sandwiches at the "Volna on the Go" station next to the outdoor dining area, but it's worth having a seat to enjoy the casual atmosphere, ocean views and raki (crawfish), which Volna imports directly from Russian waters.