We’ve chosen for you nine restaurants specializing in Russian cuisine, from democratic ones to posh fine dining establishments. Menus features from what you can taste at an average Russian’s kitchen (that’s where we usually eat every day’s meal) to rather exotic dishes dating back to the Russian Emperor times in the early XXth century. If you tell about them to an average Russian, he will be likely to hear of them for the first time in his lifetime.
A note before we start:
— all the restaurants from the list have a menu in English, and you’ll find a hyperlink to it at the end of each description. If a link is broken, get us aware of it, you will fix it and show you the right link so that you could understand if a restaurant is what you want to visit;
— we mentioned an average range of prices, excluding the most expensive dishes, i.e. “400-800 rubles” is an average price of a dish, it doesn’t mean that the most expensive dish at a venue costs 800 rubles;
— most famous Russian dishes are borsch, schi, pancakes and pelmeni. You can find them in the restaurants’ menu, but they are every-day dishes. Following old recipes, many restaurants have recreated dishes popular among the Russian aristocracy, intellectuals, and merchants in the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century;
— we made fun of CNN Travel a bit, who reported that Russians eat salmon roe and black caviar for breakfast, but at restaurants you will find a lot of dishes featuring these delicacies;
— payment is accepted in Russian rubles only; bank cards are accepted;
— bear meat dishes are not fake.
Severyanin resembles an apartment of a creative intellectual who lived in Stolyarny Lane at the beginning of the 20th century: antique furniture, stylish lighting, white tablecloths, decorative elements such as real lace napkins or an old telephone set, all interior details help this “immersion”. The area, where the restaurant named after the famous Russian poet Igor Severyanin (1887 – 1941) is located, is called “Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg”: the author and many of his characters lived in this part of the city. Rodion Raskolnikov, the protagonist of the “Crime and Punishment” novel, lived in Stolyarny Lane.
The menu is based on classic dishes of Northern Russian cuisine with a signature touch. Here you can taste codfish fillet with tomato sauce, chopped chicken cutlets dressed with porcini sauce, beef stroganoff with porcini and truffle oil, bird cherry noodles with quails and truffle oil.
Prices: soups cost about 500 rubles, salads – 300-700 rubles, mains – 600-1000 rubles. You’ll enjoy a wide range of homemade bitters and wines.
Address: 18, Stolyarny Lane. The nearest subway station is Sennaya/Sadovaya/Spasskaya (a three-minute walk)
Menu in English: http://eng.severyanin.me/en/
2. Pelmenya (network)
Pelmeni (a type of dumplings) are considered a national dish in Russia. They consist of a meat filling (mostly beef) wrapped in thin, unleavened dough. The restaurant offers not only traditional Russian pelmeni, but the dumplings of other nationalities, including khinkali, ravioli, gedza, khanum, maultaschen. You can also taste Russian Siberian manti and varenyky.
Wood dominates in the interior, soft pastel colors are on the walls, and the ceiling is impressive – decorated with bricks.
Prices: 10 ordinary pelmeni are inexpensive – 180 rubles, 7 pieces of khinkali with beef – 380 rubles.
There are six restaurants in the city center.
Menu in English: http://www.пельмения.рф/
A restaurant in the spirit of the 19th century, when the great Russian writer and dramatist Anton P. Chekhov lived. The interior is in the style of a small middle class country house: there is a veranda, a living room, including a musical lounge, a tapestry lounge, a library, and a dining room. Oak furniture, array of homemade pickles, antique gramophone, a white piano, frayed book covers all contribute to the intimate and cozy atmosphere.
Prices: starters – 300-700 rubles, soups – 200-500 rubles, mains 500 – 900 rubles. There is an opportunity to taste such exquisite Russian dishes as pike cutlets, rack of lamb, roasted venison, fish soup, cream-soup of broccoli, wild northern codfish and marbled beef.
Address: 4, Petropavlovskaya street. The nearest subway station is Petrogradskaya (a 10 minute walk).
Menu in English: http://restaurant-chekhov.ru/812-2/?lang=en
A classic restaurant, where Russian dishes are served. Eclectic interior impresses: a colorful Zhostovo painting on gray ceilings, branded plates with large red flowers from Russian folklore and chandeliers made of Murano glass. A separate item in the menu is caviar – salmon and sturgeon, which is traditionally served with pancakes. All dishes are divided into Russian and European.
Prices: salads 400-600 rubles, soups from 200 to 500 rubles, mains – 500 – 1300 rubles. There are assorted wild mushrooms and kholodets with horseradish, draniki, Kamchatka crab julienne, medallions of venison and… pelmeni with bear meat. Specialty is Zharkoye “Sadko”: wild boar fillet, bear and elk meat with vegetables, served on coals (for 2 persons).
There is also a special tourist menu. The main “dish” in this menu is a show of singing waiters.
Address: 2, Glinka street. The nearest subway station is Sennaya/ Sadovaya/Spasskaya (10 minutes by taxi or a 40 minute walk). The restaurant is located next to the Mariinsky Theater.
Menu in English: http://sadko-rst.ru/eng/
The restaurant is on the second floor of the famous merchants Eliseevs’ shop on the city main street – Nevsky prospect, in the office of the former director. There are only a few tables. The space of the restaurant is decorated in the style of the magnificent Russian Art Nouveau: marble furnish, unique antique tableware with gilding, moiré glass, sparkling crystal chandeliers and skillful ceiling painting. Antique furniture is a copy of the Hermitage garniture. All this makes you plunge into the atmosphere of the bourgeois chic of the beginning of the 20th century.
Prices: salads 700 – 900 rubles, soups – 500 – 900 rubles, hot dishes 1200 – 2000 rubles. The Russian cuisine in the menu is represented by a lamb leg, roe deer fillet, Murmansk cod, reindeer steak with risotto and porcini mushrooms, ear royally, crème-borsch with Antonovka apple and goat cheese.
Address: 56, Nevsky prospect. The nearest subway station in Gostiny Dvor (a 2 minute walk).
Menu in English: http://www.kupetzeliseevs.ru/restoranyi/mezonin/
Perhaps, it is the most famous and expensive restaurant in St. Petersburg and one of the few that has retained its original name and location.
The first Palkin tavern was founded in 1785, and the fashionable restaurant, which we are writing about, in 1875. It has a great hall, fireplace and chess halls. The interior is impressive: stucco, crystal chandeliers, paintings on the walls, luxury antique furniture. The cuisine here is traditional Russian with a slight French accent.
Prices: salads cost 1400 – 3300 rubles, hot dishes – from 1200, 2000 -3000 rubleson average. The signature dish is DeLuxe Palkin ice cream. The main menu includes Kamchatka crab, pelmeni with boar meat and venison, sterlet sturgeon baked in white wine, rack of mutton in flambe, old Russian style sauerkraut soup with bacon, long baked in the oven.
Address: 47, Nevsky prospect. The nearest subway station is Ploschad Vosstaniya/Mayakovskaya (a 10 minute walk).
Menu in English: http://www.palkin.ru/en/
7. Russian Ampir
Russian Ampir restaurant is settled in the Stroganoff Palace, a true masterpiece of Russian Baroque. There are five gorgeously restored dining halls: Avant Hall, Armorial Hall, Hall of Orders, the Throne Room, and the lobby bar. Even the most exacting audience will be fascinated by the view of tables served with 24 karat gold flatware, exclusive porcelain of 18th century, crystal wares encrusted with gold. Russian Ampir cuisine rehearses the fancy of Imperial dinners by using gastronomic specialities. Many of recipes were recovered from the cookery book of the Imperial Winter Palace. The wine vaults of the Stroganoff Palace are famous for the incredible wine collection that is considered to be the most luxuriant in the 21th century.
Prices: salads – 500-800 rubles, soups – 600-900 rubles, hot dishes – 1000-1800 rubles. Visitors can enjoy pelmeni of stirlet, pelmeni of hare, Kamchatka crab, Beef filet Stroganoff, lamb tongues, duck breast, and a hunting cutlet of bear meat.
Address: 17, Nevsky prospect. The nearest subway station is Admiralteiskaya (a 10 minute walk).
Menu in English: http://russianampir.ru/en/
8. L. BRIK
L. BRIK is designed in the avant-garde style popular in the 1920-1930s. The restaurant was named after Lily Brik, the woman who inspired the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky to write a lot of brilliant poems. It was she, free and bold, who opened one of the most popular literary salons of that period.
L. BRIK tried to recreate the literary salon, where you will find not only Russian haute cuisine from a young talented chef, but also exhibitions of contemporary St. Petersburg artists and even live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant has just a little more than 50 seats, which creates a homely atmosphere that suits the literary salon perfectly. An important detail: a walk from the restaurant to the Moscow railway station and the Gallery shopping center will take just a few minutes.
Prices: starters – from 160 to 700 rubles; salads – 220-490 rubles; soups – 260-420 rubles; main courses from 390 to 750 rubles.
Here you can taste potato gnocchi with trout, stewed pork belly in balsamic caramel, bulgur with porcini mushrooms, Russian borsch, and baked eggplant in balsamic caramel.
Home-made cordials and liqueurs: horseradish, ginger & lemon, red bilberry, raspberry, cherry, Siberian pine (from 200-250 rubles for 50 ml).
Address: 16, Pushkinskaya street
Menu in English: http://lbrik-cafe.ru/en/menu/
The Gogol (named after Russian writer Nikolay Gogol) restaurant represents a cozy and hospitable flat of a St. Petersburg writer of the middle of the 19th century. The project owners aim to recreate the very atmosphere of that epoch, the uniqueness of home Russian cuisine that borrowed so many fragrant names and exquisite recipes from the French. You can choose one of four rooms. Intimate piano music every evening is a real pleasure!
Prices: starters – 360-1500 rubles; salads — 330-690 rubles; soups – 370-590 rubles; main courses – 590-2300 rubles. You can taste traditional Russian dishes: fine selection’s sturgeon caviar, Kamchatka crab, summery okroshka soup, Caspian starlet, traditional Russian milk mushrooms of barrel salting from Novgorod province, hand made pelmeni, salmon fillet baked with herbs.
Home-made cordials and liqueurs: horseradish, sea-buckthorn, ginger & lemon, red bilberry, raspberry, cherry, Siberian pine (from 200-250 rubles for 50 ml).
Address: 8, Malaya Morskaya street
Menu in English: http://restaurant-gogol.ru/en/955-2
If you are going to visit a Russian cuisine restaurant not listed by us and want to get some information, leave us a comment in the section below the text. We will look for review to get you informed.
Photo credit: restaurant administration, pixabay.com