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Sep 13, 2013 05:33 AM

St. Petersburg and Helsinki, nothing?

I hopped on a couple other posts trying to get info on these cities but got no reply, they seem to be unpopular destinations. Yet eating at the Helsinki airport got quite a bit of discussion, go figure. In any case, I'm looking for one splurge and a bunch of decent fun meals in both cities. Have a list for Helsinki from 7 years ago when i visited and one for St. Pete that I've cobbled together from the internet but it'd be great if people could offer first hand info (also for Rovaniemi if possible). Anyone? Thanks.

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  1. I just returned from St. Petersburg. The food is amazingly good and the restaurants with good food can range from obscenely expensive to surprisingly cheap.

    We stayed at the Astoria/Angleterre near the Admiralty Building and these places were in walking distance 2-3 blocks).

    We are 3 Aussies and me from New Orleans.

    Gosti is Serbian. A very homey place with customers mainly middle class and families. 13 Malaya Morskaya. It has red awning and hanging flowers in front. 4 apps, 4 entrees, 4 beers, 1/2 carafe wine, desert and coffees, about $50 USD per person. Menu was in Russian and. English

    The next one is Restaurant Gogol
    It is a dark clubby place, more expensive than Gosti, but not bad. They have house made horseradish vodka that is amazing. As soon as I get home I will be experimenting to create horseradish infused vodka.

    Others have said the Italian restaurants in that vicinity were good. Somewhere in that area is a Latvian restaurant that friends went to where they had a great meal at about $25 PP.

    Since there is hardly any signage in anything other than Cryllic it is difficult to get around or find places for those that don't speak Russian. I was surprised that a city that is so close to the west had so little of the west visible. I found it easier to get around in Japan, Korea, Beijing and even Greece, as there is more signage in English.

    2 Replies
    1. re: collardman

      Thanks for that info, seems only the foreigners report on these cities. I'm worried about the alphabet and getting around, wonder if we can find places on my list even with full addresses. It'll be interesting for sure. Did you try that blini chain Teremok (I think that's the name) or go to any fun bars and live music places? Thanks for the reply.

      1. re: Joanie

        with the help of a concierge and cab driver you should be able to find what you want. Otherwise it is difficult.
        I did not go out other than to eat but some of the others at the conference did and had a good time just hitting bars at random. No one went out for what is usually called "live music" but some did go to folk music/dancing presentations and to the opera and ballet. There is something in the classical vein every night.
        Several attempts at private museum tours fell through due to my schedule but those that took them ($100-200USD per person depending on the number in the group) were very pleased and thought it was money well spent.
        There is the Red Bus jump on-jump off for free, and canal tours for 700-800 Rubles. The canal tour gives you a great overview of th old city and some great perspectives for photos...and to eyeball some restaurants and cafes locations that might look interesting for you.

    2. Hi. I haven't been to Helsinki since I was a teenager even though I live in Stockholm so I can't give you any tips from experience, but once I make it back there Chez Dominique is the restaurant I am going to. It's been on the San Pellegrino top 50 for quite some time, but dropped to place 67 on the last list. It's still 2 michelin stars however. Another restaurant that is bound to be good is Farang. They are considered one of the best restaurants in the country and this year they opened a sister restaurant here in Stockholm, which is one of the two best restaurants for south east asian food in Stockholm so I'm certain that the original restaurant should be worth a visit as well. It should be said it's regarded as a cross-over between Scandinavian cuisine and asian, but from my visit in Stockholm the Scandinavian influence is only in some of the ingredients used, the flavour-profile is asian. The web pages to the restaurants are:
      Hope this will be of some whelp or that somebody located in Helsinki can help you out further.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JosefK

        Damn, I looked up Chez Dominique thinking it was the perfect place for my travel agent meal and they're closing in a week. oh well.

        1. re: Joanie

          This is late for your trip but since I didn't find any recent threads about Helsinki:

          I ate once at Chez Dominique. It wasn't that special compared to some other Michelin places I've ate at - and very expensive especially with the wines. I have heard rumours that they might be opening again.

          My recommendation for anybody coming here is Chef & Sommelier. I've been there six times or so and never disappointed. Not very complicated dishes but full of local flavours and good ideas based on organic cooking, mainly featuring vegetables but also some fish and meat. Very nice intimate place and personal staff. Booking is a must because it is a small place, the value is great.

          Still one of my favourite restaurants, and I have eaten in several Michelin starred/pellegrino places.