St. Petersburg Restaurants

More than two decades have passed since the fall of the Soviet Union and with it the days when dining choices in St. Petersburg, or any Russian city for that matter, were limited to traditional, often uninspired, but always inexpensive Russian-style eateries. In fact, dining is among the great pleasures in the city of Peter the Great these days. Yes, you can dine like a tsar, and in just about any other fashion and on any kind of cuisine you prefer. Top chefs have taken over the dining rooms of some of the best hotels—including the Grand Hotel Europe, the Kempinski, and the W—where they serve top-notch food in beautiful settings. You'll also find a growing number of ethnic choices, and even vegetarians, often at a loss to find a meat-free meal in Russian, have some options, too.

Traditionalists need not worry, however. Homey and jovial budget eateries serving quick, substantial, and good meals for less than 250 rubles have mushroomed around the city. Stands selling Russian blini, the hearty Russian cousin of the French crepe, are everywhere, and they make a great pit stop.

Here are a few things to keep in mind. Few restaurants in St. Petersburg have no-smoking sections; in fact, some places have cigarettes listed on the menu. But attitudes are changing and you'll sometimes be offered a seat in a no-smoking section. The dining sections of St. Petersburg Times and St. Petersburg in Your Pocket are worth checking out, for both the restaurant reviews and the ads for tempting business lunch deals, which are typically priced between 300R and 600R.

It's not necessary to plan ahead if you want to land a table in a nice establishment on weekdays, but it's generally a good idea to reserve ahead for weekend dining. Ask your hotel or tour guide for help making a reservation. Most restaurants stop serving food around 11 pm or midnight, although more and more 24-hour cafés are opening.

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  • 1. Buddha Bar

    $$$$ | Vladimirskaya

    Dining alcoves that line the mezzanine of a former redbrick textile factory on the Neva are an atmospheric setting for a meal of inspired cuisine...

    Dining alcoves that line the mezzanine of a former redbrick textile factory on the Neva are an atmospheric setting for a meal of inspired cuisine accompanied by mellow jazz and lounge music. Portions of expertly prepared sushi and other Asian delights are big enough to share and the cocktails are perfectly calibrated.

    78 nab. Sinopskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191124, Russia
    812-318--0707
  • 2. L'Europe

    $$$$ | City Center

    The breathtaking surroundings—there's an art-nouveau stained-glass roof, shining parquet floors, and private balconies—are fit for a tsar, as are the prices. The mouthwatering menu includes...

    The breathtaking surroundings—there's an art-nouveau stained-glass roof, shining parquet floors, and private balconies—are fit for a tsar, as are the prices. The mouthwatering menu includes some dishes inspired by authentic royal recipes, among them beef filet with a bacon and mustard champagne sauce. The chef's tasting menu gets off to a memorable start with a pair of eggshells filled with truffle flavored scrambled egg topped with Osetra caviar. Reserve well ahead, especially in summer.

    1/7 ul. Mikhailovskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-329--6000

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential, Jacket and tie
  • 3. Mechta Molokhovets

    $$$$ | Vladimirskaya

    A refined restaurant with prerevolutionary flair has a tantalizing menu based on a famous 19th-century cookbook, A Gift to Young Housewives, by Yelena Molokhovets. Cooking...

    A refined restaurant with prerevolutionary flair has a tantalizing menu based on a famous 19th-century cookbook, A Gift to Young Housewives, by Yelena Molokhovets. Cooking is elaborate and highly traditional here, along the lines of baked venison fillet in lingonberry and juniper sauce, pan-fried foie gras with orange-flovored brioche, or Astrakhan sturgeon braised in champagne. Waiters show deference to the guests, serving them in a pleasantly ceremonial, but not genuine, manner. With only six tables, this dining experience is as intimate as it is expensive.

    10 ul. Radischeva, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191014, Russia
    812-929--2247

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential
  • 4. miX

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky

    Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse's Russian outpost has shaken up the city's dining scene with its haute-cuisine interpretation of French classics. Using the best and freshest...

    Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse's Russian outpost has shaken up the city's dining scene with its haute-cuisine interpretation of French classics. Using the best and freshest local produce—as well as specialty items flown in from abroad—the kitchen prepares satisfying and deceptively straightforward variations of such classics as oven-baked duck breast and seared beef fillet. Like the menu, the dining room manages to be ultra-fashionable while staying relaxed and comfortable at the same time.

    6 Voznesensky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 190000, Russia
    812-610--6161

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 5. Restoran

    $$$ | Vasilievsky Island

    Spacious, with soft lighting and earth tones, the surroundings are at once stylish and traditional, and as straightforward as the name, which means "restaurant" in...

    Spacious, with soft lighting and earth tones, the surroundings are at once stylish and traditional, and as straightforward as the name, which means "restaurant" in Russian. The menu of traditional classics is as nonfussy as the decor; try the sterlet (sturgeon) baked in fragrant herbs with horseradish sauce, veal with mashed potatoes and chanterelles, or the house-made pelmeni (dumplings) filled with lamb, beef, or potatoes and dill. A long, wooden table at the entrance supports a wide selection of house-made flavored vodkas in rustic glass decanters.

    2 per. Tamozhenny, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 199034, Russia
    812-327--8979

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential
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  • 6. Taleon

    $$$$ | City Center

    Inside an opulent mansion connected to the Taleon Imperial Hotel you'll find the usual array of fun for the bodyguard-protected high-society set (cigars and cognac...

    Inside an opulent mansion connected to the Taleon Imperial Hotel you'll find the usual array of fun for the bodyguard-protected high-society set (cigars and cognac are much in evidence) in a glittering setting, with marble fireplaces and gilded ceilings. The menu is laden with hearty Russian classics with European inspiration, including caviar, consommé with fois gras ravioli, and sea bass with truffle risotto.

    59 nab. Reki Moiki, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-324--9911

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential, Jacket and tie
  • 7. Terrassa

    $$$ | City Center

    It seems as if you could touch the cupola of the Kazan cathedral from the open-air terrace of this stylish and glamorous "place to be...

    It seems as if you could touch the cupola of the Kazan cathedral from the open-air terrace of this stylish and glamorous "place to be seen." The fusion cuisine shows heavy Asian influences, with such dishes as Peking-style roasted duck on the menu. Excellent service complements the fine food and memorable views.

    3 ul. Kazanskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-640--1616

    Known For

    • Delicious Peking-style duck
    • Fantastic views from the terrace
    • Excellent, friendly service

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 8. Tsar

    $$$$ | City Center

    This large, bustling, and brightly lit dining room where oil paintings commemorate various Romanovs seems to be lifted right off the pages of War and...

    This large, bustling, and brightly lit dining room where oil paintings commemorate various Romanovs seems to be lifted right off the pages of War and Peace, and the dining experience is truly royal. A meal might begin with the classic Russian appetizer of layers of herring enclosing a beet vinaigrette and move on to beef Stroganoff or a Pozharskaya cutlet, served with sizzling hot potatoes, made in a copper pan. Despite the grandeur, the atmosphere is pleasantly relaxed and the service is anything but intimidating.

    12 ul. Sadovaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-640--1616

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 9. 1913

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky

    The name evokes the last days of Imperial Russia, and the era is celebrated in low-key, comfortably elegant surroundings where a menu offers a huge...

    The name evokes the last days of Imperial Russia, and the era is celebrated in low-key, comfortably elegant surroundings where a menu offers a huge selection of Russian favorites served in huge portions. The emphasis is on game and fish; an excellent and traditional meal might begin with mushroom soup or borscht, followed by sturgeon or salmon.

    13/2 Voznesensky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 190000, Russia
    812-418--3013

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential
  • 10. Abrikosov

    City Center

    At this soothing place to take a break with a good view of Nevsky prospekt, you can enjoy coffee, ice cream, and scrumptious cakes, or a whole...

    At this soothing place to take a break with a good view of Nevsky prospekt, you can enjoy coffee, ice cream, and scrumptious cakes, or a whole range of traditional Russian and European dishes. Out of the Russian menu try borscht (beetroot soup) with sour cream or pickled herring and mushrooms. In summer Abrikosov offers an open terrace.

    40 Nevsky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191011, Russia
    812-312–2457
  • 11. Art-café Brodyachaya Sobaka

    City Center

    No. 5 Ploshchad Iskusstv had a famous café and art salon, the Stray Dog, in its basement from 1911 to 1915. A diverse group of painters, writers...

    No. 5 Ploshchad Iskusstv had a famous café and art salon, the Stray Dog, in its basement from 1911 to 1915. A diverse group of painters, writers, and musicians—including the poets Anna Akhmatova, Nikolai Gumilev, and Osip Mandelstam—used it as a creative meeting point. The restaurant is now open again under the same name and valiantly tries to re-create some of the original "arty" ethos: quasi-postmodernist dog sculptures made of wood, newspapers, and various fabrics by local artists are scattered through a gleaming white interior. At the bar you'll find a selection of pamphlets of poetry hot off the press, as well as paintings by local artists on the walls. On the menu are dishes that were served during the restaurant's first epoch, such as Dogs Rissoles, cutlets made of pork and beef.

    5 pl. Iskusstv, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-312–8047
  • 12. Bellevue Brasserie

    $$$$ | City Center

    A meal atop the Kempinski Hotel is literally head and shoulders above any other dining experience in St. Petersburg, thanks to a breathtaking, 360-degree panorama....

    A meal atop the Kempinski Hotel is literally head and shoulders above any other dining experience in St. Petersburg, thanks to a breathtaking, 360-degree panorama. The menu fuses French classics with traditional Russian classics, such as beef Stroganoff. For dessert, there's the coupe Romanoff, an artfully presented concoction of strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream. Bellevue welcomes those who just want to stop in for coffee or a drink and take in a view that includes the golden spire of the Admiralty, the top of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the roof of the Hermitage, and the dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral.

    22 nab. Reki Moiki, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-335--9111

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 13. Bistro Garçon

    $$ | Vladimirskaya | Coffee

    Nevsky prospekt is St. Petersburg's version of a Parisian boulevard, and this comfortable, Parisian-style bistro fits right in. From the first bite of baguette you'll...

    Nevsky prospekt is St. Petersburg's version of a Parisian boulevard, and this comfortable, Parisian-style bistro fits right in. From the first bite of baguette you'll be transported, and the seasonably changing menu is full of soups, mussels, quiches, and other bistro favorites. With fluffy omelets, buttery croissants, and good strong coffee, the breakfast here is one of the best in the city.

    95 Nevsky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191036, Russia
    812-717--2467

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 14. Bizet

    $$ | Vladimirskaya | Coffee

    A youngish bohemian crowd flocks to this café furnished in pastel greens and creams and famous for its airy meringues—the Bizet, with chopped almonds and...

    A youngish bohemian crowd flocks to this café furnished in pastel greens and creams and famous for its airy meringues—the Bizet, with chopped almonds and garnished with fresh raspberries, is especially popular. Some good soups and about a dozen salads are also available.

    41 ul. Zhukovskogo, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191014, Russia
    812-702--7738

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 15. Botanika

    $ | Vladimirskaya

    This haven for vegetarians and those seeking lighter dishes serves excellent soups, pastas, sandwiches, and dips. The airy dining room, done in shades of green,...

    This haven for vegetarians and those seeking lighter dishes serves excellent soups, pastas, sandwiches, and dips. The airy dining room, done in shades of green, has an abundance of potted plants and is nonsmoking; the only alcohol permitted is beer.

    7 ul. Pestelya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191028, Russia
    812-272--7091

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 16. Café Singer

    $ | City Center

    The location, on the second floor of the Dom Knigi bookstore, is one of the best people-watching spots in St. Petersburg, and the food is...

    The location, on the second floor of the Dom Knigi bookstore, is one of the best people-watching spots in St. Petersburg, and the food is a notch above that usually on offer in cafés. The menu includes traditional Russian dishes, including pelmeni (meat dumplings) and borscht, as well as lighter and sweeter fare, such as sandwiches and quiches and cakes and ice cream.

    28 Nevsky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-571--8223

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 17. Caravan

    $$ | Admiralteisky

    The stuffed camel, Turkish carpets, and sizzling kebabs prepared in the middle of the room create an exotic ambiance in which to enjoy what many...

    The stuffed camel, Turkish carpets, and sizzling kebabs prepared in the middle of the room create an exotic ambiance in which to enjoy what many aficionados consider to be the best Middle Eastern food in St. Petersburg. Whatever the variety of kebab you choose, begin a meal with kutab, a lightly fried pocket of dough filled with shrimp, pumpkin, or cheese.

    46 Voznesensky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 190068, Russia
    812-571--2880

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted
  • 18. Chainaya Lozhka

    $ | City Center | Coffee

    Distinguishable by its white and orange teaspoon logo, this is an extremely cheap and cheerful counter-service blini chain with locations all over downtown. You may...

    Distinguishable by its white and orange teaspoon logo, this is an extremely cheap and cheerful counter-service blini chain with locations all over downtown. You may be put off by the plastic cutlery and the lackadaisical service, but the blini are authentic and filling, and they provide a great cheap meal when you are in a hurry. The two-course business lunch is also a good deal and very popular.

    44 Nevsky Pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-571--4657

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No credit cards
  • 19. Chekhov

    $$$ | Petrograd Side

    Wicker furniture, handwoven napkins, and a birdcage with canaries and finches add to the flavor of an early-20th-century Russian country house, and the menu also...

    Wicker furniture, handwoven napkins, and a birdcage with canaries and finches add to the flavor of an early-20th-century Russian country house, and the menu also lovingly re-creates Russian recipes of yesteryear. Emerging from the family-run kitchen are such carefully prepared dishes as roasted venison with warm fruit, Spanish garlic, and port wine sauce and Caspian sturgeon fillet with salmon roe, leek cream, and morel mushroom sauce. Libations include a nice selection of fruit liqueurs.

    4 ul. Petropavlovskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 197022, Russia
    812-234--4511

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential
  • 20. Coffeehouse

    $$ | City Center | Coffee

    Starbucks clones have sprung up on almost every corner in St. Petersburg, and many belong to the Coffeehouse chain. At any you can grab a...

    Starbucks clones have sprung up on almost every corner in St. Petersburg, and many belong to the Coffeehouse chain. At any you can grab a good and inexpensive lunch with soup, salad, and coffee or tea, and a full range of reasonably well-made coffee drink is available.

    5 Nevskiy Pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-363--3140

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

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