Restaurants in St Petersburg
With the rise of Russia’s new affluent middle classes, the old Soviet canteens serving bland versions of traditional Russian dishes have been banished to the dustbin of history. They have been replaced by fabulously expensive eateries frequented by oligarchs, and a growing number of more affordable restaurants and chains catering to ordinary Russians.
Restaurants range from cosy café-bistros and lunchtime canteens to lavish banquet halls more befitting of royalty. Menus have expanded far beyond traditional Russian and ‘near abroad' (former Soviet states) cuisine too.
Sushi has become a major fad and there are restaurants offering Mexican, German, Italian, Japanese, French, and even Indian cooking to local gourmets. Note that some trendier restaurants double as nightclubs and employ ‘face control’ to ensure only glamorous patrons are admitted – smart dress is essential.
The St Petersburg restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over US$80)
Moderate (US$30 to US$80)
Cheap (up to US$30)
These St Petersburg restaurant prices are for a three-course meal and for a bottle of house wine or equivalent, including VAT and a compulsory 10% service charge, unless otherwise stated.
Bellevue BrasserieCuisine: Russian and French
The ostentatious Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 offers every imaginable luxury, and that extends to the menu at its rooftop restaurant. Bellevue Brasserie serves a lavish menu of Russian delicacies, from caviar to Kamchatka crab, in front of a 360-degree panorama. The prices, though, can test even the deepest wallet. Smart dress essential.Address: , Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, naberezhnaya reki Moyki 22, St Petersburg, 191186
Telephone: +7 812 335 9111.
L'EuropeCuisine: Russian and French
As you might expect from St Petersburg's grandest hotel, this stylish restaurant offers the perfect mix of art nouveau elegance, flawless service and creative Russian gastronomy. Beneath a stunning stained-glass ceiling, you can dine on imaginative Russian-meets-French cuisine, including expertly prepared sturgeon and caviar, and there is an elaborate Sunday jazz brunch.Address: , Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, Mikhailovskaya ulitsa 1/7, St Petersburg, 191186
Telephone: +7 812 329 6000.
For a sophisticated night out, look to the studied elegance of Palkin, a one-time favourite of Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky. This historic restaurant has a prestigious location on Nevsky prospekt and an impressive menu of Russian delicacies, from Beluga caviar to flambé lamb, accompanied by fine Russian wines and vodka. Smart dress is essential.Address: , Nevsky prospekt 47, St Petersburg, 191025
Telephone: +7 812 703 5371.
Café BotanikaCuisine: Russian, European and Asian
A rare vegetarian find in meat-loving St Petersburg, Café Botanika serves a soul healing selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and main courses, with flavours from as far afield as Russia, Italy, India and Japan. It's also a handy lunch stop for the Stieglitz Museum of Applied Arts.Address: , Pestelya ulitsa 7, St Petersburg,
Telephone: +7 812 272 7091.
Armenian food is little known outside of the Caucasus, but Erivan aims to change that with a hearty menu of homestyle meals based on fish, meat, seasonal vegetables, and handmade breads and noodles. More like a country dining room than a formal restaurant, it's a welcoming spot with duduk (Armenian pipe) players providing a fitting soundtrack.Address: , naberezhnaya reki Fontanki 51, St Petersburg, 191011
Telephone: +7 812 703 3820.
The IdiotCuisine: Russian
Inspired by the Dostoevsky novel, The Idiot lures patrons with its quirky décor and comforting home cooking. There are plenty of vegetarian dishes amongst the meaty specials, and the basement setting, in four vaulted chambers with antique furniture and oil paintings, is straight out of a Russian novel. It's easy to miss – look for the stairs leading down off naberezhnaya reki Moyki.Address: , naberezhnaya reki Moyki 82, St Petersburg, 190000
Telephone: +7 812 946 5173.
MarketplaceCuisine: Russian and International
This small St Petersburg chain is a favourite with young locals for its low prices and healthy food. The setup is a modern version of the old-fashioned Soviet canteen, with a huge range of sandwiches, rolls, salads, pasta and made-to-order wok-fried dishes and meat and fish grills. There are more branches scattered around the city.Address: , Nevsky prospect 24, St Petersburg, 191186
Telephone: +7 981 854 4833.
Obed BufetCuisine: Russian, European and Asian
Cafeteria food doesn't have to mean austere Soviet-era cooking; Obed Bufet is a great stop for an imaginative buffet lunch or a quick, satisfying bowl of soup. There daily spread usually includes plenty of salads, soups and sandwiches, plus more filling meaty dishes, pizzas and Asian stir-fries. Arrive early for the pick of the dishes.Address: , Nevsky Center, Nevsky prospect 114, St Petersburg, 191025
Telephone: +7 812 640 1616.
Stolle CafeCuisine: Russian
This old-fashioned café near the Church on Spilled Blood specialises in just one item – stolle, the traditional Russian pie, stuffed with fruit or savoury fillings. The crowds of eager regulars are a good indication of the skills of the house bakers. There are branches around the city, including the original Stolle bakery on Vasilyevsky Island.Address: , 1-ya line 50, St Petersburg, 199004
Telephone: +7 812 328 7860.