St. Petersburg Russia
We're going to be in St. Petersburg for 6 days at the end of June (during White Nights), and are looking for great dining (and any other suggestions including a great guide) adventures - not Americanized, and hopefuly not too astronomical. We've been to Russia before but only in Siberia, not in the West. Thanks in advance.
We found a couple of places in St. Petersburg. In general, it is a difficult city. We are not true chowhounds--but there is such a paucity of information about the place that any information is useful!
Pizza Hut is quite expensive--$30 for 2 for large pizza, pitcher of soda, and a salad--although good, better pizza than the Pizza Huts at home, by report. (We won't go into why teenage boys, and some of the difficulties of the city that made this worthwhile.) One branch is west of Nevsky Prospekt on Moika River and Gorokhovaya Ul.
Kafe Tbilisi, Sytninskaya ul. 10, maybe 1/2 mile north of Peter and Paul Fortress (across a park and a market, and closer to the metro stop). Listed in Lonely Planets as main meals $3-$7 with poor decor, but actually more like $7-$15 and elegant. Remodelled and re-priced? Delicious. Best food we had in Russia. All the guidebooks say that Georgian is both in fashion and great--based on one data point, they are right. There is an English menu.
Do get the cheap bread basket--the khachipuri (fresh yeast bread) is wonderful and the lavash, well, lavash-like. Unfortunately, I did not copy the names of the foods. The spicy soup, eggplant rollups, ratatouille-like stew, kebabs and fried cheese were great. The delicate souffle-like cheese was boring--or we were wanting punchy flavors after slavic food for too long. The service was warm and helpful, the atmosphere calm and clean, and the total cost for lots of food for 4 on the order of $100 including tip.
"The Cynic" 4 per. Antonenko, Admiralteisky. The guide on www.peterswalk.com took us to it. It is near St. Issac's. There is a webpage in Russian: www.cynic.spb.ru Within that, there is a KOHTAKT page with a map. But the key point is to turn into the opening to a courtyard (east side of street), go about 10 feet on the right side to an unlabeled door down 4 steps--and open the door.
They have a juke box, a foosball game, menus in English, Russian clientele and prices, reasonable food for reasonable prices. Garlic toast and "white soup" (salmon in light chowder) are especially good. Service is unsmiling but adequate. Order at the bar and they bring you the food. If you are tired of slavic food, get the roast chicken.
Teremok is a fast-food blini chain. We went to the one at Sadova metro. They make the blini freshly, although the ingredients are pre-cooked and the batter comes in huge plastic bags. No English menu, but the top 4 choices are shown with pictures, ala fast-food places here. The smoked salmon (7R) is quite good, the "email" mushroom and cheese (5R?) good. Cheerful service, rare in Russia. There was even a sink in the corner to wash your hands. Overall, cheap, fast, pleasant, and very Russian.
Non-food comments: St. Petersburg was full of beautiful buildings with fresh gilding, dirty streets, glorious ballet, drunks, fabulous art, and mosquitos. Difficult, expensive, and rewarding.
Try Salhino for the best food in St. Petersburg -- excellent Georgian food -- you can read about this restaurant at http://progoblin.ru/test/places.html -- it's worth the trouble (not much) to get here -- Eka speaks fluent German and there is interesting art on the walls
one of the times I was here with a group and we helped shut the place down -- we pushed the tables back and danced after a great dinner
Here are some links to previous discussions. PLEASE report back, there is a real lack of any new info on this gorgeous city (and I'm going back next year)!