The St Petersburg dining scene is known to impress. In a relatively small city, restauranteurs compete with one another to provide new and exciting culinary experiences, aiming to outshine each other in every aspect from food to decor. For a meal to remember, here’s 10 of the best high end restaurants the city has to offer.
The Russian Empire
Restaurant, Russian, $$$
The Russian Empire takes you back in time to the days of imperial Russia, where exquisite interiors and lavish feasts were in fashion among the aristocracy. The location of the restaurant could not be more appropriate, set in the halls of the Stroganoff Palace that once belonged to an influential noble family. The menu aims to recreate a table in the 18th century with pheasants, caviar and oysters served on 24 karat gold flatware.
You can find a branch of the world-famous franchise in St. Petersburg. Buddha-Bar experiments with traditional Asian recipes, adding a modern and unique taste to each one. Complemented with custom made, off-menu cocktails, Buddha-Bar caters to all tastes. In the later hours of the evening the restaurant transforms into a nightclub with a choice of cozy hookah dens and a dance floor with live DJs.
Volga-Volga is one of the many Ginza project restaurants in St. Petersburg. Besides providing an outstanding dining experience, this restaurant also offers the best way to see the city – by boat. The floating restaurant sets out on daily cruises down the Neva river, serving your meals with a side of panoramic view. Guests are also welcome to venture outside onto the roof and enjoy the evening breeze. Seating is limited and the sailing time fixed, so don’t be late for departure, otherwise you’ll have to wait till it docks again.
A restaurant founded by the family of a Russian rock star, Cococo aims to bring a modern touch to traditional Russian dishes. The eatery uses locally-sourced, fresh ingredients, therefore the menu changes according to season and availability, bringing fresh vegetables to the table in the summer and pickles and marinades in the winter. A great opportunity to encounter Russian cuisine from an unusual angle.
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As far as views go, The Flying Dutchman is the winner. Here you can enjoy a meal while looking out onto some of the most important landmarks in St. Petersburg. The restaurant is one of the longest standing establishments in the city, opening 13 years ago. The menu fuses French, Italian, Brazilian, Japanese and Russian cuisine, so there is something to suit all appetites.
As is evident from the name, China Gramota specialises in Chinese, specifically Cantonese cuisine. This restaurant chain has already proven successful in Moscow and Sochi, recently opening its new St. Petersburg location. Expect Cantonese delicacies such as chicken feet among dim sum and noodle dishes. What’s more, the restaurant has a rooftop with a panoramic view over the city centre.
Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 | Courtesy Kempinski Hotel Moika 22
The Bellevue Brasserie located at the top of the Kempinski Hotel combines the best of French and Russian tradition. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, despite having a fine dining menu. The dishes are simple, yet all perfectly executed. Top it off with a glass of bubbles overlooking the gorgeous Hermitage and Palace Square.
A restaurant with extravagant interiors, set inside the long-standing Grand Hotel Europe. The atmosphere here is set to impress, with luxurious wooden chairs, stained glass murals and a grand piano for frequent live music. This opulent dining experience will truly take you back in time.
Sit in a throne and enjoy a meal of caviar and vodka, as if you are the ruler of Imperial Russia. Tsar is the Russian name for king and this restaurant aims to make every visitor feel like one. Even the WC resembles a throne room. Novelty aside, Tsar is a great place to enjoy traditional Russian cuisine and spend a few hours being treated like royalty.
A one-of-a-kind lunch experience located in an 18th century palace. Three centuries ago the Eliseev family inhabited this palace right until the Revolution in 1917. During the better part of the 20th century it was nationalised and served as a House of Arts, where famous poets would publicly present their works. The building has now been transformed into the Taleon Imperial Hotel, where visitors can sleep or just enjoy a meal within its historic walls. The Victoria restaurant is open for lunch only, so make sure to plan accordingly.