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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Il Grappolo

    $$$ | City Center | Italian

    One of the city's best Italian restaurants serves deliciously fresh food, including a Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella. Everything—from...Read More

  • 5. Macaroni

    $$$ | Vladimirskaya | Italian

    Settle into one of the plush booths to enjoy simple Italian fare in friendly and comfortable surroundings. The pastas and pizzas are authentically...Read More

  • 6. Mops

    $$$ | Vladimirskaya | Thai

    The city's most authentic Thai cuisine is served in modern black-and-white surroundings with a glass-enclosed terrace on the street that's great...Read More

  • 7. New Island

    $$$ | Vasilievsky Island | Eastern European

    In summer this dinner cruise has stunning views as it sails along the Neva River, past the rows of colorful palaces lining the banks. The New...Read More

  • 8. Sadko

    $$$ | Admiralteisky | Russian

    Ruby red chandeliers and modern interpretations of Russian folkloric motifs provide a perfect prelude to a night at the nearby Marrinsky Theatre...Read More

  • 9. Bessonnitsa

    $$$ | Petrograd Side | Eclectic

    At the classy "Insomnia," innovative chefs creatively interpret European and Asian dishes. Veal fillet is served with fried grapefruit and blackberry...Read More

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