No matter how impressive your appetite is, it's no match for Russia's rich and filling dishes. Dive into traditional foods like borscht, beef stroganoff and blinis along St. Petersburg's historic city streets.
St. Petersburg has a wealth of international eateries scattered throughout the city, but when hunger pangs strike, it's the traditional family-style restaurants that serve up the most satisfying fare. With menus full of warm, comforting dishes that could've come straight from the pages of a classic novel, these four restaurants are some of the best in town:
Keep a close eye out for Teplo's hidden front door, nestled in the basement of the House of Composers on Bolshaya Morskaya street. The cozy restaurant feels like a particularly welcoming family home, complete with a mini library and fireplace. Warm up with potato pancakes, served with Buko cheese, red caviar and smoked salmon, or try traditional all-weather favorites such as the colorful borscht soup with sour cream. Save some room for dessert – it's hard to go wrong with the home-style cream cake or apple layer cake with ice cream and orange juice.
Masha and Bear
A short drive from our Radisson Sonya Hotel, St. Petersburg brings you to Masha and Bear, a welcoming spot named after a famous Russian folk tale. Younger children may now be more familiar with the animated series that casts the two characters as inseparable friends, but this restaurant sticks with the original story, in which a young girl wanders away from her family, is captured by a bear, and must use all her wits to escape him. Folklore motifs cover the walls, and the menu comprehensively covers all the best-known national dishes, from beef stroganoff to chicken Kiev. It's admittedly something of a tourist trap, but this has the benefit of guaranteeing an English menu, for all those lacking proficiency in Cyrillic.
This cozy restaurant on the northern side of Petrograd Island attracts almost as many visitors as the plays of its famous namesake. The food at Chekhov is simple, traditional and extremely filling for anyone not used to it, so it's worth working up an appetite first with a day of sightseeing. There's a strong focus on homemade and locally sourced ingredients; the beef comes fresh from a nearby farm, making the stroganoff here a particular delight. You can continue the literary theme throughout your meal by choosing the minced meat cutlet served with Pushkin potatoes – more typically known as baked potatoes, their Russian name comes from the fact that they were supposedly the legendary poet's favorite dish. End your decadent meal in style with a shot of home made vodka infused with whole cedar nuts or, if you're feeling more adventurous, chili peppers and hot garlic.