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. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Erivan

    $$$$ | City Center | Eastern European

    One of the city's few Armenian restaurants is calm and simply decorated, and nicely located along a quiet stretch of the Fontanka around the...Read More

  • 10. Francesco

    $$$$ | Vladimirskaya | Italian

    Politicians, businesspeople, and television personalities are regulars at one of the city's busiest and most fashionable venues, where the two...Read More

  • 11. Grand Cru Wine Bar

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky | International

    Wine lovers can choose from a huge list of French and Italian vintages, then select a bottle from the adjacent shop. Or, they can settle into...Read More

  • 12. Ocean

    $$$$ | Petrograd Side | Seafood

    This floating restaurant moored within sight of the Hermitage offers spectacular views as well as a buzzy dining scene on weekends. At other...Read More

  • 13. Palkin

    $$$$ | City Center | French

    A legendary restaurant of the same name was established on this spot in 1785. The formal and elegant interior evokes those bygone days, though...Read More

  • 14. Russian Vodka Room No.1

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky | Russian

    Discreet and genteel, this spacious one-room venue could come straight out of one of Chekhov's stories and is the perfect place to try various...Read More

  • 15. Staraya Tamozhnya

    $$$$ | Vasilievsky Island | European

    What was for many years the best restaurant in St. Petersburg has been surpassed in recent years, but with open brickwork walls, ornate decor...Read More

  • 16. Dvoryanskoye Gnezdo

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky | European

    At the Noble Nest, tucked away in the garden pavilion of the Yusupov Palace, the attire of the guests as well as the staff is as formal as the...Read More

  • 17. Triton

    $$$$ | Vladimirskaya | Seafood

    This restaurant's clientele is overwhelmingly made up of knowledgeable seafood-lovers. They come in part because of the fame of the chef, Vyacheslav...Read More

  • 18. Za Stsenoi

    $$$$ | Admiralteisky | European

    Steps from the Mariinsky Theatre, with windows overlooking the pretty Kryukova Canal, "Backstage" has a dramatic setting. Its floorboards were...Read More

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