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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Da Albertone

    $ | City Center | Italian

    More than 40 kinds of pizza are prepared by Italian cooks who know what they're doing. The house-made focaccia is also delicious, and other...Read More

  • 16. Dom Byta

    $$ | Vladimirskaya | Eclectic

    A lively bar serving old-fashioned cocktails up front, a quirkily decorated dining room in the back, and a menu that ranges from Asian to European...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Freeman's

    $$ | City Center | Mediterranean

    Behind an unassuming facade down a quiet side street off Nevsky prospekt is this warm and comforting room that might transport you to Italy...Read More

  • 20. Gastronom

    $$$ | City Center | European

    This favorite for relaxed weekend lunches is especially popular in warm weather, when outdoor tables overlook the Field of Mars. The main dining...Read More

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