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
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,
More than two decades have passed since the fall of the Soviet Union and with it the days when dining choices in St. Pe

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 | Asian

    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...Read More

  • 2. L'Europe

    $$$$ | City Center | Russian

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

  • 3. Mechta Molokhovets

    $$$$ | Vladimirskaya | Russian

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

  • 4. miX

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky | French

    Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse's Russian outpost has shaken up the city's dining scene with its haute-cuisine interpretation of French...Read More

  • 5. Restoran

    $$$ | Vasilievsky Island | Russian

    Spacious, with soft lighting and earth tones, the surroundings are at once stylish and traditional, and as straightforward as the name, which...Read More

  • 6. Taleon

    $$$$ | City Center | Eastern European

    Inside an opulent mansion connected to the Taleon Imperial Hotel you'll find the usual array of fun for the bodyguard-protected high-society...Read More

  • 7. Terrassa

    $$ | City Center | Asian

    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....Read More

  • 8. Tsar

    $$$$ | City Center | Russian

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

  • 9. 1913

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky | Russian

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

  • 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...Read More

  • 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...Read More

  • 12. Bellevue Brasserie

    $$$$ | City Center | French

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

  • 13. Bistro Garçon

    $$ | Vladimirskaya | French

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

  • 14. Bizet

    $ | Vladimirskaya | Café

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

  • 15. Botanika

    $ | Vladimirskaya | Vegetarian

    This haven for vegetarians and those seeking lighter dishes serves excellent soups, pastas, sandwiches, and dips. The airy dining room, done...Read More

  • 16. Café Singer

    $ | City Center | Café

    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...Read More

  • 17. Caravan

    $$ | Admiralteisky | Middle Eastern

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

  • 18. Chainaya Lozhka

    $ | City Center | Eastern European

    Distinguishable by its white and orange teaspoon logo, this is an extremely cheap and cheerful counter-service blini chain with locations...Read More

  • 19. Chekhov

    $$$ | Petrograd Side | Russian

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

  • 20. Coffeehouse

    $ | City Center | Café

    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...Read More

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