The sole Russian outpost of this international lounge chain, Buddha Bar is the favored late night venue for well-heeled St. Petersburg residents and visitors.
Caviar Bar & Restaurant
Georgian food is one of St. Petersburg locals’ favorite cuisines, and this cozy eatery is guaranteed to deliver delicious and home-style fare. Set in the south of the city, Hochu Harcho is a good option for those wandering around the Sennaya Ploschchad area or for a meal before or after seeing a performance at one of the Mariinsky Theaters. Another favorite for Georgian food is the more centrally located Mamaliga from the same owners.
The grand-dame restaurant of the Grand Hotel Europe, L’Europe boasts a spectacular Art Nouveau setting—complete with a stage and stained glass roof—as sophisticated as the white gloved servers and elegant diners themselves. Russian classics including rare caviar and the obligatory borscht are sprinkled throughout the French-inspired menu, which includes mouth-watering desserts, prepared at your table.
Live music accompanies most meals, and the celebrated Tchaikovsky night (on Friday) and Sunday Jazz brunch are particularly popular.
This restaurant on the roof of an office building boasts a knock-out terrace outfitted with hammocks, gazebos and chaise lounges. There is even a sand box where kids can play while their parents linger over a summer lunch and rosé. The Italian food conjures Capri or Sardinia. There are excellent pizza and pasta dishes as well as delicious grilled fish and cheeses flown in from Italy. Don’t miss the homemade lemonade.
A member of the successful Ginza Project family, this charming eatery specializes in Georgian cuisine. Dishes include that which the restaurant is named for, Mamaliga (a polenta-like meal made of maize), as well as cold and warm salads and goulash-style stews. Other Georgian favorites include vegetable and walnut patés and khachapuri, a flat bread topped with melted butter and a fried egg.
Mansarda is one of St. Petersburg’s buzziest and most impressive restaurants, and one that delivers a guaranteed ‘wow’ factor. Diners enter a nondescript modern office building lobby (home to Gazprom), take an elevator up a few stories and are rewarded with a chic, airy space fashioned with silver disco balls and boasting incredible views of the city. Cuisine is modern and features both Russian as well as international dishes; the Italian food selections are particularly delicious. When the weather is warm, the best tables are those outside.
Refined Italian cuisine in a sexy dining room in the city’s most opulent hotel, and it is no surprise that tables here are among the toughest to book in a status-obsessed city. The dining room is broken up into a series of rooms so all areas feel intimate and have views of the cathedral and square. The corner room was used as an office by architect Montferrand while he was building St. Isaac's Cathedral. Today the cuisine is made mainly with ingredients shipped from farms in Italy and prepared in an open kitchen, where homemade pasta and risotto seemingly always simmer.
This dining institution is certainly designed for tourists, but it is well done and perfectly located for lunch before or after visiting Catherine Palace. There is a small gift shop by the entrance that sells traditional toys and wooden crafts that make for nice souvenirs. Food is old-fashioned Russian in style and will not be the best you will have on your trip, but live music and the cozy atmosphere helps keep diners cheerful.
Russian Vodka Room
This quirky restaurant offers tours of its in-house vodka museum (charting everything from the first vodka recipe to modern-day branding) and short vodka tastings. The dining room itself is bright with arched ceilings and draped velvet curtains and a choice of quiet booths and round tables that are often filled with groups of tourists. The large menu offers largely Russian dishes including the ominous sounding “meat and fish carousel,” salo (Russian salt pork with bread and mustard), rassolnik (giblets and dill pickle soup) and sharing platters of small dishes.
This pastry shop specializes in strudel-like pies that can be bought for take out or for eating at the few tables in the quaint dining area. The staff does not speak English but there is a menu so you can decipher your choices, which include savory and sweet options such as spinach, cheese, sausage and mushroom as well as apricot, apple and raspberry. There are many outposts in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Check the web site for more addresses.
Stroganoff offers a break from the gold-leaf glamour of many St. Petersburg eateries with a simple, hearty menu served in an industrial-style dining room with exposed brick, black-and-white photographs depicting pre-Revolution Russia and lots of taxidermy. The English-speaking staff is helpful in navigating the Russian and international menu of stchy (cabbage soup)—with or without vodka, whitefish, rye bread or pickled cucumbers—Argentinian and Australian steaks and veal chops. The dark-wood central bar is a place to linger with a glass of wine from the extensive wine list and parents can retreat to large leather banquettes while children are entertained in the kids’ playroom.
This perennially popular spot is located on the roof of one of the city’s tallest buildings, making the 350-square-meter terrace the place to be during summer’s White Nights. The dining room’s décor feels contemporary and features an open kitchen where chefs prepare a fusion menu of Italian and Japanese dishes such as lasagne, sushi, dim sum and pizza in endless varieties. It is worth saving room for a sweet treat from the two-page dessert menu or sitting with an aperitif on the terrace admiring the views of bustling Nevsky Prospekt and Kazansky Cathedral below.
A firm favorite with St. Petersburg’s society crowd, this beautiful restaurant is, indeed, fit for a king with historical details restored by designer Sergey Tretyak along with a clash of gold, deep red and cream furnishings. The menu, which is based on 19th-and 20th-century recipes favored by the royal family, features a dedicated pickle section, traditional veal tongue with horseradish, and grilled dishes; as well as homemade sherbets.