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 | 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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Marcelli's

    $$ | Vladimirskaya | Italian

    An unpretentious dining room decorated with Italian knickknacks and bare wooden tables is a good choice for an inexpensive lunch or post-theater...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Pervoye, Vtoroye i Kompot

    $ | Vladimirskaya | Café

    A glass of kompot , an infusion of stewed fruit, is served as a welcome drink at this funky café where two dining rooms are furnished with...Read More

  • 12. Teremok

    $ | Vladimirskaya | Russian

    At the spacious branch of this famed blini chain, the signature dish is cooked right in front of you. New flavors arrive every few months, and...Read More

  • 13. Venezia

    $ | Vladimirskaya | Café

    This tiny café (just six tables) is hugely popular with the local Italian community, who reserve well in advance for weekends and evenings....Read More

  • 14. Bliny Domik

    $ | Vladimirskaya | Eastern European

    This homey, pocket-size place is all about blini. Everything served here is tasty, filling, and inexpensive—try the mushroom soup, followed...Read More

  • 15. Gavroche

    $ | Vladimirskaya | French

    One immediately feels at home in this bustling but laid-back bistro. The walls of the single, small room are adorned with retro black-and-white...Read More

  • 16. 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

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