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St Petersburg trip report

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There is so little info on this city on chowhound that I thought I'd post before leaving for our next destination.
We were here 5 nights.
Overall, things are expensive.
Definitely watch prices on the menu.
It's common to see a 350 ruble (~$14) dish of fish cakes followed by 8900 ruble (over $300) plate of crab claws, or oysters for $150 a dozen.

Here is my rating system:
0 stars = would not order again, or would not return to restaurant
1 star = would order again, or would return to restaurant\
1-1/2 to 2 stars = would look forward to
2-1/2 stars = great
3 stars = as good as or best I've had of this dish, or favorite restaurant in city

Mansarda Restaurant -- 3 stars
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Hip, young, fun vibe. Nice music. New restaurant. Great views.
We were seated in the backmost room in the rear corner, which is the happening spot. There's also a cool looking outdoor area.

Beetroot salad with herring -- 3 stars. (I love this dish and this is the best I've had of it. Fresh and delicious)
Borscht with beef -- 3 stars (better than my mom's recipe)
Beef Stroganoff -- 2 1/2 stars (not my favorite dish, but the best of it I've had)
Seafood Pelmeny w/egg - 3 stars (my friend had this, it's his rating)

Second night we were headed to Caviar Bar, but it was empty. Our concierge suggested Teplo instead. Glad she did....

Teplo Restaurant -- 2 stars
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Cozy, charming, friendly, homey.

Potato pancakes with red caviar -- 3 stars (amazing potato pancakes)
Fish Cakes -- 2 stars
Beef Stroganoff - 1 star (friend's rating)

Palkin Restaurant - 0 stars
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Not that it was bad, but I would not return. Very expensive. We got seated in the back in Siberia as it were. Very affected white glove service. The food does not back up the attitude.

Chopped Shrimp with pastry and cream sauce -- 2 stars (this was the winner dish. If everything were this good the place would get a star)
Doe deer pelmeni -- 0 stars (for all that money it should be good but it's not)
Beef stroganoff -- 0 stars (friend's rating)
Cheese course -- 1/2 star (poor selection of unspectacular cheeses. But watching him cut it with such affectation gets it a 1/2 star for amusement points)

1913 restaurant -- 2 stars
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Simple, clean, slightly art nouveau decor. Nice preparations. Good for after the ballet at Marrinski as it is not far. Trio of musicians (violin, guitar, singer) was just lovely. Friendly service.

Red caviar and blinis -- 1-1/2 stars (straightforward but tasty)
Chicken Tabaka - 1 star (nice, but I thought this dish was supposed to be deboned and this was not. Prepare to wrestle)
Broccoli with breadcrumbs -- 1-1/2 stars
Also, the desserts looked really good but we did not order

For the last night, we had reservations at the Griboedov at Taleon. However, after the first night at Mansarda, we talked to our concierge and raved about it. She suggested we try Terrassa, by the same people (Ginza Project is the corporation). So we swapped out Taleon for Terrassa. On the way to Terrassa we passed Griboedov. Can't speak for the food, but through the windows we saw what looked like upscale tourists dining. The did not look unhappy, but they were not bubbling with joy either. I feel we made the right choice...

Terrassa Restaurant -- 2-1/2 stars
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Like Mansarda, hip and current with good music. Bigger than Mansarda. Big open kitchen. Here, you want to sit on the terrace outside. Best seats are sofa-like chairs at tables outside. These are in the center, by the railing. As at Mansarda, all the help is young and attractive. A little more friendly and smooth here, perhaps becuase it's been open longer. If you sit outside they have chic white blankets to throw over your shoulders if you get cool. The women seem to use these while the men tough it out. Food here is also excellent, but not quite as good as Mansarda. More of an asian influence than mansarda. The overall rating is higher than the pure food rating because it's such a great atmosphere.

Varniki -- 2 stars (friend's rating)
Beetroot salad with herring -- 2 stars (great but not as good as Mansarda. Here they added pieces of pea pod and sesame oil, which brought the dish down for me)
Red Caviar sushi -- 1 star (served in little cucumber cups japanese style with soy sauce)
Seafood pasta -- 2 stars (friends rating. This looked good but I did not taste)
Duck chinese style -- 1 star (I ordered a 1/2 size portion and this was a surprisingly large amount of food. Very tasty)

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