St. Petersburg Restaurants
 

Akvarium
Chinese, $18 to $35, Petrograd Side
Chinese restaurants are easy to find all over the city, but this spacious, sophisticated spot, not far from the Peter and Paul Fortress and right next to the famed LenFilm movie studio, is particularly worth seeking out. Start with the meat-and-vegetable rolls in bean paper, or the wonton soup, which is pricey ($9) but full of flavor. Any of the dishes cooked in clay pots, such as the five-spice pork in garlic sauce or the duck, are good choices. The back of the menu has a curious "food tonic menu" -- one for men, one for women -- that's touted as being "good for health." Metro: Gorkovskaya.
Address: 10 Kamennoostrovsky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/326-8286

Aquarel
Contemporary, $10 to Over $35, Petrograd Side
With three stories of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Vasilievsky Island's Rostral Columns and Stock Exchange, this restaurant-boat docked on the Neva River may have the best dining views in the city. The fusion menu, combining European and Asian influences, is superb. Try the terrine of foie gras with cognac-scented winter fruits, Thai lobster hot pot, or Asian brined veal chops. The spicy Thai coconut soup with shrimp and black mushrooms makes a good starter. The third floor houses Aquarelissimo, where modern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine is served. The tapas menu is a tempting option, while pasta papardelle and vitello tonnato (fillet of veal and fresh bluefin tuna with extra-virgin olive oil) are among the restaurant's signature dishes. Metro: Sportivnaya.
Address: Near Birzhevoy most, entrance from Petrograd Side, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/320-8600

Bagrationi
Eastern European, Under $10 to $35, Liteiny/Smolny
The dining room may be a little sterile and the live music droning, but they take their Georgian cooking seriously here. Everything is prepared fresh and very slowly, but it's worth the wait. Start with the adjarsky khachapuri, a Georgian calzone topped with egg. The fish and the shashlyk (grilled kebabs) are sure bets. Ask for the tkemali (plum) sauce with your meat. The dishes are heavy, but you can order half-portions, which will do less damage to your heart and purse. Bagrationi also owns the simple next-door cafe, which serves many of the same dishes at one-third the price and half the wait. Reservations essential. Metro: Chernyshevskaya.
Address: 5 Liteiny pr., at ul. Chaikovskovo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/272-7448

Bessonnitsa
Eclectic, Under $10 to $25, Petrograd Side
An alert, friendly looking owl greets guests at this new classy restaurant named "Insomnia," where innovative Russian chefs creatively interpret European and Asian dishes. Veal fillet is served with fried grapefruit and blackberry sauce. The Vietnamese noodle soup Fo Bo arrives sizzling hot, leaving you to put the finishing touches on it by dropping in thin slices of meat to cook. Pasta farfalle with mushrooms and cedar nuts is fresh and aromatic. Consider carrot cutlets and the French omelette for breakfast. Beige linen, terra-cotta lamps, and chocolate-color walls define the comfortable interior that overlooks the Winter Palace. The owl, by the way, is served raw meat according to the staff. Reservations are recommended. Metro: Sportivnaya.
Address: 3 Mytninskaya nab., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/973-3577

Bistro Garcon
French, $10 to Over $35, Liteiny/Smolny
This comfortable, Parisian-style bistro on Nevsky prospekt may not have the timeworn quality of the real thing, but from the first bite of baguette, it doesn't matter -- the food is the real treat here. The menu changes every three months but you can always expect delicious onion soup, mussels, salad roquefort, quiche, and creme brulee from its distinguished French chef. Fresh oysters are flown in from Cancale, France, on Monday and Thursday. With omelets starting at $3, real croissants on offer at $5, and continental breakfast with good coffee, this is one of the best places for breakfast in the city (it opens at 9 AM). The excellent Boulangerie Garcon is virtually next door, at 103 Nevsky prospect. Metro: Ploshchad Vosstania.
Address: 95 Nevsky prospekt, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/277-2467

Bliny Domik
Eastern European, Under $10, Vladimirskaya
This homey, pocket-size place is all about blini. Everything served here is tasty, filling, and inexpensive -- try the mushroom soup, followed by pork, cheese, or jam blini. Blinchiki are also available; they differ from blini (at least at this place) in that while blini resemble pancakes with toppings, blinchiki are wrapped around fillings and sometimes fried. Bliny Domik is no longer the secret it once was, but that only means it's even more foreigner-friendly. You sit at communal picnic tables, giving you a chance to meet other travelers and strike up conversation. Metro: Vladimirskaya.
Address: 8 Kolokolnaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/327-8979

1913
Eastern European, Under $10 to $35, Admiralteisky
With its name, this restaurant recalls Russia's best year in history. Low-key, comfortable elegance combines with affordable prices, a giant menu, and giant portions. It's a fine alternative to the stuffier, more touristy dining options, and it's convenient to the Mariinsky Theater. The menu's traditional Russian cuisine emphasizes game and fish, plus there are European dishes. Try the mushroom soup or borscht for a starter, followed by sturgeon or salmon. Reservations essential. Metro: Sadovaya or Sennaya Ploshchad.
Address: 13/2 Voznesensky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/315-5148

Canvas
Eastern European, $18 to Over $35, Admiralteisky
Serving innovative Russian cuisine with a modern twist, Canvas, on the first floor of the St. Petersburg Renaissance Baltic Hotel, is a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, a prestigious international association promoting the culinary arts. This cozy little restaurant designed in warm, bright colors juxtaposes traditional Russian ingredients with a European approach and artistic presentation. A perfect example is beetroot jelly with herring fillet and Laredo apple served on toasted black bread with potatoes and dill-mustard sauce. Try sturgeon roulade with spinach and the excellent game solyanka, filled with bear, elk, and wild boar meat. Your dinner can also be served on the hotel's sixth-floor terrace, where the shiny golden cupola of St. Isaac's Cathedral, set against charming crumbling rooftops, makes for an unrivaled view. Canvas offers an excellent three-course business lunch at $11. Reservations are recommended. Metro: Sadovaya.
Address: 4 Pochtamtskaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/380-4000

Caravan
Middle Eastern, $10 to $18, City Center
The stuffed camel, Turkish carpets, and food cooking in the middle of the room leave you in little doubt as to the theme of this spacious restaurant, a leading contender for the best Mideastern eatery in town. You can lounge in separate cabins at one end of the restaurant, or sit at the more orthodox chairs and tables nearer the entrance. The kutab, a lightly fried pocket filled with shrimp, pumpkin, or cheese, makes a good starter. From there move on to any of the more than 30 varieties of kebabs on offer. Metro: Sadovaya or Tekhnologichesky Institut.
Address: 46 Voznesensky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/310-5678

Che
Cafe, Under $10, Liteiny/Smolny
A trendy 24-hour cafe, Che is a popular stop for many clubbers. It has live music in the evenings, good coffee and tea, and even better desserts. No credit cards. Metro: Ploshchad Vosstania.
Address: 3 Poltavskaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/277-7600

Da Albertone
Italian, Under $10 to $18, City Center
Get your cheap and scrumptious pizza here. This cheerful pizzeria serves more than 40 kinds of pizza prepared by Italian cooks who are very good at what they do. Although clearly not a gastronomic palace, Da Albertone has a diverse choice of traditional dishes. Though it's busy, the service is friendly and prompt. The children's play room is an added draw for families. Metro: Nevsky Prospect.
Address: 23 Millionnaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/315-8673

Dvoryanskoye Gnezdo
Continental, $25 to Over $35, Admiralteisky
At the Noble Nest, tucked away in the garden pavilion of the Yusupov Palace, formal attire matches the service, decor, and Continental food. There are two set menus: the "Turgenev" is very Russian, and the "Nobleman" has more of a French touch. Try the fillet of venison, baked pheasant, or a selection from the small vegetarian menu. The wine list is extensive and includes Lafite, Latour, and Margaux at extraordinary prices, but there are some more reasonable choices. With the Mariinsky just around the corner, the restaurant attracts a post-theater crowd as well as foreign dignitaries and businesspeople (an expense account helps). Reservations essential. Jacket and tie. Metro: Sadovaya or Sennaya Ploshchad.
Address: 21 ul. Dekabristov, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/312-0911

Ermitazhniy Restoran
Eastern European, Under $10 to $25, City Center
Although it differs greatly in style from the Hermitage's General Staff Building in which it's housed, this modern, stylish restaurant maintains subtle connections to the museum; for example, the green throughout the museum appears everywhere here, from the fresh apple juice to the staff uniforms. Each dining "hall" is different; the Music Salon hosts live music, while the Cameo Room is romantic with amber lamps and tables for two. Paintings by local artists line the walls of the hall connecting these dining rooms. There are two menus -- one European, one Russian -- with many reasonably priced options. Try any of the salads, soups, or blini. Metro: Nevsky prospekt.
Address: General Staff Bldg., 8 Dvortsovaya Pl., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/314-4772

Gorniy Orel
Eastern European, Under $10 to $18, Petrograd Side
Try to eat on the terrace of this friendly, casual eatery in Alexandrovsky Park; this will place you away from the tacky interior, and closer to the grill, where you can smell the shashlyk (shish-kebab) cooking to perfection. One of the few St. Petersburg restaurants not afraid to use spices, Gorniy Orel is considered by many to serve the most authentic Georgian food in the city. Try the lobio (vegetarian chili) or a cheesy khachapuri (cheese bread), accompanied by a plate of fresh greens, the ubiquitous tomatoes and cucumbers, or pickled garlic. A clay jug of Georgian wine -- sladkoe (sweet) or sukhoe (dry) -- complements your meal. No credit cards. Metro: Gorkovskaya.
Address: 1 Alexandrovsky Park, off Kronverkskiy pr. and near zoo entrance, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/232-3282

Idealnaya Chashka
Cafe, Under $10, City Center
"Ideal Cup" is St. Petersburg's answer to Starbucks, with new branches popping up all over the city. Serving more than three dozen kinds of coffee and fine desserts at good prices and in comfortable surroundings, these are nice spots to take a break. Take a look at the Web site so you'll recognize the logo around town. No credit cards. Metro: Nevsky prospekt.
Address: 15 Nevsky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia

Il Grappolo
Italian, $10 to Over $35, City Center
Easily the city's best Italian restaurant, the comfortable, elegant Grappolo is a culinary treat, a place for people who know and appreciate good food. The chef and owners are knowledgeable and use only the best ingredients available -- it's the only place in town with true buffalo mozzarella, which makes the delicious Caprese salad a house specialty. The menu includes fresh arugula salad, mushroom risotto, veal with mushroom sauce (or just about anything with porcini mushrooms), and an excellent tiramisu. Downstairs at the sister wine bar Probka, you can order wines by the glass from the well-chosen list and eat the only real Caesar salad in town. Metro: Gostinny Dvor.
Address: 5 ul. Belinskovo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/273-4904

Kvareli
Eastern European, Under $10, Petrograd Side
In contrast to the miniscule size of the place -- there are only six tables -- the food arrives in enormous amounts in this congenial and hugely popular Georgian cafe. It's tucked away in a back street, a stone's throw from the Peter and Paul Fortress and the city Zoo. The place immediately wins you over with its lively atmosphere and cordial service, and when you try their gorgeous juicy Georgian kebabs, spicy satsivi (chicken in thick nut sauce), rich khachapuri, hot lobio, and other Caucasian delights, you'll just melt. It gets addictive quickly. The prices are most appealing: the entrees are all less than $10. Reservations essential. No credit cards. Metro: Gorkovskaya.
Address: 22 ul. Lizy Chaikinoi, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/947-7878

Kilikia
Middle Eastern, Under $10, City Center
A haven for the local Armenian diaspora, Kilikia, named after its namesake Armenian region in Turkey, has a strong reputation for its ethnic cuisine. Sizzling beef stew is a hit, and expertly cooked kebabs are available in tempting variety. There are six halls in this sprawling, dimly lighted eatery but seating only expands to them as space is needed. The seemingly endless menu may confuse the non-initiated, but the staff are competent and are a great help with orientation. Budget travelers will be thrilled by Kilikia's business lunch at $4. Metro: Sennaya Ploshchad.
Address: 26/40 Gorokhovaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/327-2208

James Cook
Cafe, Under $10 to $18, City Center
Upon entering James Cook you have a choice: turn right for the pub with a decent menu or left for one of the finest coffee shops in town. Choose from 40 kinds of coffee, elite teas, various coffee cocktails, and desserts. The breakfast deal at the coffee shop is one of the best in town: $5 will buy you a hot dish plus coffee or tea, toast, and a choice of yogurt or fruit salad. Metro: Nevsky prospekt.
Address: 2 Svedsky per., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/312-3200

L'Europe
Eastern European, $10 to Over $35, City Center
In a category all its own, this elegant restaurant in the Grand Hotel Europe serves fine Russian and Continental cuisine. The breathtaking interior -- complete with an art nouveau stained-glass roof, shining parquet floors, and private balconies -- is fit for a tsar, as are the prices. The menu is simply mouthwatering, with some dishes inspired by authentic royal recipes. Try the venison marinated in vodka and juniper berries, or the lobster, sturgeon, and salmon a la Russe. If you're not up to an expensive dinner, consider the buffet breakfast or popular Sunday champagne-and-caviar brunch. Reserve well ahead, particularly in summer. Reservations essential. Jacket and tie. Metro: Nevsky prospekt or Gostinny Dvor.
Address: Grand Hotel Europe, 1/7 Mikhailovskaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/329-6000

Laima Bistro
Cafe, Under $10, City Center
Just off Nevsky, this central, bright, 24-hour cafe is not far from the colourful Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Laima serves tasty, inexpensive, Russian fast food -- if you can call kebabs, salads, and beef Stroganoff fast food. The extensive menu on the wall is in English and Russian. No credit cards. Metro: Nevsky prospekt.
Address: 16 Kanal Griboyedova, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/318-9219

LeChaim
Kosher, Under $10 to $18, Admiralteisky
This new, spacious, and welcoming kosher restaurant has been a hit with cosmopolitans and a nonreligious crowd since it opened in the spring of 2005. In a spacious basement of the St. Petersburg Great Choral Synagogue, LeChaim serves generous portions of high-standard Jewish cuisine at modest prices and is an excellent value for the money. Try chicken schnitzel or trout fillet wrapped in grape leaves. The lemon and orange sponge cake for dessert is not to be missed. A disadvantage is the closing time: 10 PM.
Address: 2 Lermontovsky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/972-2774

Macaroni
Italian, Under $10 to $18, City Center
A sister restaurant of the excellent Il Grappolo, this trattoria serves simple Italian fare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. The risotto primavera, pastas, pizzas, and salads are delicious and reasonably priced. The plush booths and muted shades of red, orange, brown, and green give this trattoria a unique look that sets it apart from other restaurants in the city. All and all, Macaroni is a comfortable, casual break from the hectic city. A 20% discount is offered for weekday dining between noon and 5 PM. No credit cards. Metro: Dostoevskaya, Vladimirskaya, or Mayakovskaya.
Address: 23 ul. Rubinshteyna, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/315-6147

Mechta Molokhovets
Eastern European, $10 to Over $35, Vladimirskaya
A refined and intimate restaurant with prerevolutionary flair, "Molokhovets' Dream" has a tantalizing menu entirely based on a famous 19th century cookbook by the Russian Mrs. Beaton, Yelena Molokhovets ("A Gift to Young Housewives"), which inspired many culinary episodes in works by Russian writers. Cooking is state-of-the-art here. Try venison fillet accompanied by baked pears filled with cranberries and soaked in chanterelle sauce, foie gras with hot saffron sauce and iced apples, or pike-perch soaked in a piquant sauce made with red caviar. The restaurant's solid waiters show reverence to the guests, serving them in a pleasant ceremonial, but not at all artificial, manner. The cuisine is grand yet the place itself is relaxing. With only six tables, booking is recommended. Metro: Ploshchad Vosstania.
Address: 23/10 Kovensky per., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/279-2247

New Island
Eastern European, Under $10 to $35, Vasilievsky Island
In summer this ship-turned-restaurant has a stunning view as it sails along the Neva River, past the rows of colorful palaces lining its banks. New Island sets sail promptly at 2, 6, 8, and 10:30 PM. In winter, when the river is frozen, glitzy fairy lights adorn the ship, and the boat stays put (and prices go down significantly). Inside, all is simple but refined, including the menu; try the duck carpaccio as a starter. The fried fillet of trout with almonds and the various blini are good. The wine list is extensive and pricey. Reservations essential. Metro: Vasileostrovskaya.
Address: Universitetskaya nab., between Lieutenant Schmidt and Palace bridges, across road from Repin Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/963-6765

Oliva
Greek, Under $10 to $18, City Center
The cavernous size of this Greek taverna, seating more than 200 people, illustrates the confidence of its cooks, and the venue is almost always full. Feta cheese is delivered directly from Greece, and the house specialties get high marks in the city. Try mussaka (minced-meat baked with potatoes and spices) and kefal fish baked with tarragon. No one even tries to finish their enormous business lunch ($7.50), which includes soup, unlimited salad bar, main course, dessert, hot drinks, and even a glass of good house wine. Metro: Nevsky Prospect.
Address: 31 Bolshaya Morskaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/314-6563

Onegin
Eastern European, $10 to Over $35, City Center
Chic or pretentious, it's your call, but Onegin exemplifies the latest in St. Petersburg's dining and social scene, with the restaurant turning into an exclusive dance club late at night. Seeing and being seen are the main reasons to come, but it also happens to have an outstanding kitchen. The duck, fish, and arugula salad (a rare find in this city) are flavorful, but pricey, as are most of the dishes. The design of this underground refuge is a modern twist on Imperial St. Petersburg style, down to the ceiling relieves finessed by the artisans who keep the Hermitage's baroque details looking spectacular. It all feels like a private party at an aristocratic Russian's home. Metro: Gostinny Dvor.
Address: 11 Sadovaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/571-8384

Palkin
French, $18 to Over $35, City Center
The Premiere Casino's grand restaurant envokes the name of a great restaurant established on this spot in 1785. With white tablecloths and candelight, the interior is formal and elegant, and you'll be treated like royalty the moment you enter. Already renowned for its fine and original cuisine and courteous service, Palkin has recently launched its own wine and introduced an a la carte menu. Look for poularde with morels sauce, venison with pine nuts marmalade, fillet of turbot served with pistachio nuts and curry sauce, and salad of smoked salmon with fresh oysters and beluga caviar. Palkin would be worth a visit for the window seats looking out onto Nevsky prospekt alone. Reservations essential. Metro: Mayakovskaya or Nevsky prospekt.
Address: 47 Nevsky pr., at Vladirmirsky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/703-5371

Pirozhkovaya Mr. Baker
Eastern European, Under $10, Vladimirskaya
With a choice of two dozen expertly cooked rich and filling pies priced between 40R and 80R a piece, this place is a budget traveler's dream. Fish and mushroom pies are particular favorites. Accompanied by traditional Russian soups (40R-50R) served in hearty portions, the meal provides a substantial refuel. No credit cards. Metro: Ploshchad Vosstania.
Address: 33 ul.Vosstania, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/279-6410

Pirozhkovaya Stolle
Cafe, Under $10, Vasilievsky Island
This spot near the Repin Institute combines the best of the old and new: the fashionable surroundings are comfortable, clean, and spacious, while the kitchen turns out fresh pierogi. Choose from sweet or savory fillings, including fish, vegetables, and fruits. The apricot is a must, but they are all mini-masterpieces. No credit cards. Metro: Vasileostrovskaya.
Address: 50 1st liniya, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/328-7860

Pirozhkovaya Stolle
Cafe, Under $10, Admiralteisky
The two branches on the same street combine the best of the old and new: the fashionable surroundings are comfortable, clean, and spacious, while the kitchen turns out fresh pirogi. Choose from sweet or savory fillings, including fish, vegetables, and fruits. The apricot is a must, but they are all mini-masterpieces. Metro: Sennaya Ploshchad. Other location: 33 ul. Dekabristov, PHONE: 812/714-2571; No credit cards; Metro: Sennaya Ploshchad.
Address: 19 ul. Dekabristov, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/315-2383

Restoran
Eastern European, Under $10 to $18, Vasilievsky Island
Spacious, with soft lighting and earth tones, Restoran (literally "Restaurant") is at once stylish and traditional, and it bustles with tour groups and locals who know the Russkiy stol (Russian table) is the real thing -- and a real bargain at $11. It's an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of Russian zakuski, or small dishes: soups, salads (such as tuna), and pickled treats like garlic, green tomatoes, and cucumber. The main courses are as minimalist as the decor; try the simple veal with broccoli and cauliflower in a cheese sauce. For dessert, return to the Russian table for teas, cakes, and other Russian delights. Reservations essential. Metro: Vasileostrovskaya.
Address: 2 Tamozhenny per., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/327-8979

Russkaya Rybalka
Eastern European, Seafood, Under $10 to $25, Kirov Islands
The gimmick at Russian Fishing is that you catch your own dinner. It's set in a charming wooden house overlooking a lake full of trout, sturgeon, and beluga sterlet. Tackle, bait, and expert advice are provided, and your catch is prepared before you on the grill. There are several other options on the menu as well, including a baked eggplant dish that is quite good. No credit cards. Metro: Krestovsky Ostrov.
Address: Primorsky Park Pobedy, 11 Yuzhnaya doroga, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/323-9813

Staraya Tamozhnya
Continental, $25 to Over $35, Vasilievsky Island
Considered for many years the best restaurant in St. Petersburg, the Old Customs House has been surpassed, but it's still pretty impressive and a good time. The restaurant's greatest advantage is that it has class without being snobbish. Comfortable elegance and pizzazz come together here -- the open brickwork and neon lights sound grim, but they actually work well with the immaculately presented tables. Much of the food is exquisitely prepared, the wine list is excellent, and the service is top-notch and friendly. You can even watch the chefs at work in the open kitchens as they create such dishes as salmon with coconut sauce and spinach, and roast veal with figs and a pumpkin-morel puree. Reservations essential. Metro: Nevsky prospekt or Vasileostrovskaya.
Address: 1 Tamozhenny per., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/327-8982

Sukawati
Indonesian, Under $10 to $18, City Center
The first Indonesian restaurant in Russia, Sukawati has trendy beige interiors and good, reliable cuisine. The coexistence of Indonesian and Japanese dishes on the menu is bizarre, but if quality is the issue, nobody is complaining. If you feel like a big meal, order one of the rice platters as well as the renowned Indonesian dessert, gendar bali (a warm black rice pudding served with coconut cream, fruit, and vanilla ice cream). The Herculean four-course business lunch ($7) includes a drink and a dessert. Address: 8 Kazanskaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/312-0540

Taleon
Eastern European, $25 to Over $35, City Center
An opulent mansion houses an ultra-exclusive restaurant, private club, and casino, all connected with the Yeliseyev Palace Hotel. You'll find the usual array of fun for the bodyguard-protected high-society set -- gambling, cigars, $230 glasses of cognac -- in a glittering setting, with marble fireplaces and gilded ceilings. The Russian and European menus are full of hearty, classic options, including caviar, oven-baked partridge in coriander sauce, veal cutlet with sage sauce, and carre d'agneau in rosmarine sauce. The most expensive dish is baked dorade with ragout of spinach and snails with mascarpone ($67). The Sunday brunch ($45) includes black and red caviar as well as lobster and champagne. Be sure to tour the casino, with its lush cigar lounge with walnut-covered walls and leather sofas. Reservations essential. Jacket and tie. Metro: Nevsky prospekt.
Address: 59 nab. Moika, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/312-5373 or 812/315-7645

Tandoor
Indian, $10 to $25, City Center
One of the best ethnic restaurants in town, Tandoor has a great location across the street from St. Isaac's Cathedral. With its succulent curries and spicy oven specialties, this place wouldn't do badly in a much more established culinary Mecca. Every meal is a gastronomic delight, and you can trust finding your Indian favorites here. Waiters, dressed in ethnic costumes and soft embroidered shoes, move soundlessly in this comfortable and quiet little place. Tandoor is not cheap, at least by Russian standards, and a dinner for two people with alcohol can come to about $50, but the food is worth every dime. The restaurant serves a generous business lunch for $12. Metro: Sennaya Ploshchad.
Address: 2 Voznesensky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/312-3886

Teremok
Eastern European, Under $10, City Center
Don't be intimidated by the cafe's Spartan setting and plastic plates. Teremok's owners penny pinch only on furnishings and presentation. Cooked in front of your eyes, their famous bliny -- priced at 40R-100R -- are deservedly rated the best in town. Stuffed with mushrooms, ham, pork, grilled chicken, cream, honey, and a dozen of other fillings, the bliny, rich in flavor and never over- or underdone, taste just as if a Russian mom cooked them. A single bliny is so rich and hefty, it may leave you stuffed. Be conservative when you order unless you're absolutely starving. Teremok encompasses a huge chain of street stands. The most central addresses include 5 ulitsa Marata; 52 Zagorodny perulek; 27 Bolshaya Konyushennaya ulitsa; and 22 Chkalovsky perulek. No credit cards. Metro: Ploshchad Vosstania.
Address: 93 Nevsky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/277-0881

Teremok
Cafe, Under $10, City Center
Don't be intimidated by the cafe's Spartan setting and plastic plates. Teremok's owners penny pinch only on furnishings and presentation. Cooked in front of your eyes, their famous bliny -- priced at 40R-100R -- are deservedly rated the best in town. Stuffed with mushrooms, ham, pork, grilled chicken, cream, honey, and a dozen of other fillings, the bliny, rich in flavor and never over- or underdone, taste just as if a Russian mom cooked them.,A single bliny is so rich and hefty, it may leave you stuffed. Be conservative when you order unless you are absolutely starving. Aside from this cafe, Teremok encompasses a huge chain of street stands. The most central addresses include 5 ulitsa Marata; 52 Zagorodny pereulek; 27 Bolshaya Konyushennaya ulitsa; and 22 Chkalovsky pereulek. No credit cards. Metro: Nevsky Prospect.
Address: 60 Nevsky pr., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: No phone

Tinkoff
American, Under $10 to $25, City Center
The crowded, loftlike Tinkoff is St. Petersburg's first microbrewery. People come to enjoy good beer and tasty comfort food in a relaxed, almost club like dining room. There's a sushi bar, too, but you're better off sticking with the beer and burgers. Metro: Nevsky prospekt.
Address: 7 Kazanskaya ul., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/718-5566

Volshebniy Vkus
Eastern European, Under $10, Petrograd Side
Usually filled with clued-in locals, Magical Taste -- or, as it's more simply known, Pelmeni Bar -- does one thing and does it better than anywhere else in the city: dumplings, whether they be Russian pelmeni, Ukrainian vareniki (usually sweet), Uzbekistani manti (meat dumplings, sometimes in broth), or Georgian khenkali (made with lamb). You can order sauces, such as the traditional smetana (sour cream), on the side. Prices are ridiculously low; the most expensive pelmeni, filled with salmon, costs less than $3. Do as the locals do and order a half-litre of vodka; the $4 chilled carafe of Gzhelka Kristal is a good choice. The place is no-frills but clean, and service is fast. No credit cards. Metro: Gorkovskaya.
Address: 53a Kronverkskiy pr., entrance around corner on ul. Markina, St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/238-0977

Za Stsenoi
Continental, Under $10 to $25, Admiralteisky
Just steps from the Mariinsky Theater, with windows overlooking the pretty Kryukova Canal, "Backstage" has a dramatic setting. Its scrubbed floorboards were taken from the old Mariinsky stage, and the exposed-brick walls are bedecked with ornate mirrors and theatre props. The menu fuses French and Russian influences. Venison capriccio and creme lobster soup with cognac make good overtures for beluga fillet baked with mushrooms and behamel sauce or grilled salmon with caviar sauce. The wine list has reasonably priced wines. All in all, this is a great choice for a post-theater dinner, but be sure to plan ahead as this small place fills up quickly. Reservations essential. Metro: Sadovaya or Sennaya Ploshchad.
Address: 18/10 Teatralnaya Pl., St. Petersburg, Russia
Phone: 812/327-0684


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