St. Petersburg is a city of a million flavors, yet not a single one of them is characteristically local.
St. Petersburg chefs are not bound by tradition: they experiment freely across various cuisines, choosing all accessible foodstuffs to that end. Perhaps the only characteristic feature of St. Petersburg dealing with restaurant culture is that you can embark on your gastronomic journey at any time of day. Even at night or in the early morning, you will always find a restaurant, grill, canteen or café where they will be happy to serve you at any hour.
… Grilled burgers and molecular experiments, new Russian cuisine with perlotto as the main treat, and cabbage soup made according to a beloved 18th-century recipe; Italian, Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, Caucasian foods – it is virtually impossible to list all of the components of the St. Petersburg gastronomic palette. But there do exist several very special districts, where at any time of day or night you will be offered an excellent dinner, lunch or glass of wine with elegant entrees.
The main gastronomic haven of St. Petersburg is Ulitsa Rubinsteina. Located smack in the middle between Moskovsky Railway Station and Gostiny Dvor, Ulitsa Rubinsteina’s three blocks off Nevsky Prospekt offers a tasty variety of more than 20 eateries. The street is quite small, so there is a café, restaurant or bar in almost every building. Ulitsa Rubinsteina is remarkable for more than its opportunities to eat out; it is also a neighborhood of tremendous historical and architectural significance.
Yet another street famous for its gastronomic traditions is Ulitsa Belinskogo. A tiny street with just ten buildings, one of which is a cathedral, Ulitsa Belinskogo still has more than half a dozen places catering to people of various income levels with different ideas about a good night out.
The area between Ploschad Vosstaniya Metro and Chernyshevskaya Metro is filled with dozens of establishments – from tiny ones with just three tables to big bars with professional chefs with their own signature menus, rare drinks and extensive wine cards. This district is the best for bar hopping St. Petersburg-style.
Moving from one establishment to the next, and stopping for no more than an hour at each, you will complete a head-spinning tour of the gastronomic culture of St. Petersburg and will definitely meet some interesting characters along the way.
It would be unfair not to mention the restaurants in the city’s five-star hotels. Each of them does their utmost to reflect their high status and satisfy the needs of the most demanding patrons. The chefs at these restaurants are not opposed to experimentation, either. They are bold, and filled to the brim with the spirit of freedom brought to the Neva banks by the city’s founder, Peter the Great.
Good to know
St. Petersburg Restaurant Festival 2016
This fall, St. Petersburg will host the First St. Petersburg Restaurant Festival. For a full month (from November 1 to November 30), the best restaurants of Russia’s Northern Capital will treat city residents and guests alike to the most trendy dishes prepared by famous St. Petersburg chefs and their European colleagues.