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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Jean-Jacques

    $ | Petrograd Side | French

    Mirrored walls, red and mahogany furnishings, and tables topped with paper provide an authentic bistro ambience, a perfect setting for a classic...Read More

  • 8. Kilikia

    $ | City Center | Middle Eastern

    A haven for local Armenians, and named after an ancient region in modern-day Turkey, this restaurant serves sizzling beef stew and a tempting...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Teplo

    $ | Admiralteisky | Russian

    The name means "warmth" in Russian and this popular spot does indeed make guests feel warm all over, with a country house atmosphere (a fire...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. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

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