St Petersburg Restaurant Recommendations

There are three restaurants I recommend to anyone visiting St Petersburg.  The first is Yolki Palki (Nevsky Prospekt 88, metro Mayakovskaya), a typically kitsch restaurant (now a chain), where the waiting staff are dressed up in costumes and the walls are adorned with everything from fake vines to the heads of animals.  OK, this place might sound like your worse nightmare but it’s good fun and produces some reasonable quality food which is also relatively reasonably priced, a rarity in this chic and cosmopolitan city.  Yolki Palki will give you a taste of provincial Russian cooking and does not adhere to the airs and graces many restaurants attempting to emulate a European vibe will.  The Kalinky pancakes with stuffed meat, or alternatively with salmon, make for great hearty dishes, perfect after a days sightseeing.  Even more of a rarity in Russian and Eastern Europe as a whole, is that this restaurant actually offers some great vegetarian options.

Yolki Palki

Yolki Palki

My second recommendation has to be NEP (nab reki Moyki 37, metro Nevsky Prospekt).  While most communist-theme restaurants and bars recount the 1970s, NEP celebrates the flurry of entrepreneurial activity and liberalism under Lenin’s New Economic Policy, which effectively encouraged (or at least did not discourage) decadence.  Sitting just next to the Dvortsovaya Pl (Palace Sq), one walks down into the basement to find an elaborate curved ceiling.  Cinematography from the 1920s and 30s is being shown on one of the walls while from 8 P.M. on Thursdays to Saturdays, music and cabaret is put on for the diners.  Being located at the end of Nevsky Prospekt, not far from what was the Stroganoff Palace and the place stroganoff was invented, I just had to try NEP’s version.  It was perfect!  The beef was tender, the sauce was just the right consistency and there was just enough on the plate.  The rice and side vegetables were adequately cooked but not overcooked.  All in all, this restaurant had a great atmosphere and a great menu.

Ket

Ket

No one has failed to be aware of the recent struggles between Georgia and Russia.  It may come as some surprise then that my third and final restaurant recommendation is actually a Georgian restaurant located in the historic centre of St Petersburg.  Cat (Ket, Stremyannaya ul 22, metro Mayakovskaya)) is a small restaurant, and although the tables are quite tightly packed, because the room is so dimly lit, you do not really feel on top of the other diners.  The restaurant is popular with local Russians, Georgians and visitors to the city, so it is a good idea to book a table if you want to try out this place’s vast and delicious food and wine menu.  The kinkali (meat dumplings) come highly recommended (by my sister, who ate there on my recommendation), but I personally enjoyed the shashlik.  The kebabs which can be any meat or poultry, come with rice, toasted flat breads and a what can only be described as heavenly dipping sauce.  After quizzing Sasha, the waiter, he finally revealed the chef’s secret behind this condiment: stirring.  The sauce is made from tomatoes, cooked for a long time, with a little bit of chili, and is stirred and stirred.  Just before serving fresh, roughly chopped coriander is added in abundance.  It sounds simple, and it is, but it is every bit delicious as I am attempting to convey.  All I would say, is if you struggle to read in the dark, take a small torch, maglite etc with you because this place is dark, dark, dark, presumably compensating for the ‘white nights’ I was encountering!  It’s a truly gorgeous little restaurant, with ornate decor and dark, rich, red walls.  The cocktails are great too, after the meal I devoured a flaming B-52 which was definitely an experience!  Enjoy a decadent night here!

Related Images:

About Charlotte J

Graduate, journalist, blogger and follower of all things media.