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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. LeChaim

    $$ | Admiralteisky | Russian

    The kosher cuisine, served in the spacious basement of St. Petersburg's Great Choral Synagogue, is as popular with a nonreligious crowd as it...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Stolle

    $ | Admiralteisky | Café

    This casual eatery combines the best of the old and new: the fashionable surroundings are comfortable, clean, and spacious, while the kitchen...Read More

  • 8. Teremok

    $ | City Center | Café

    Don't be put off by the spartan setting: the owners penny-pinch on furnishings and presentation but focus their attention on their famous blinis...Read More

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