St Petersburg is full of unforgettable restaurants and here is presented just a few of them.

1913

Named after the most prosperous year in Russia´s history, this elegant restaurant is an almost ideal place for a pleasant talk over a good meal, a leisurely business lunch or a romantic dinner by candlelight. Reservations, while rarely essential, are a good idea. The service is attentive but practically invisible, and the music remains in the background. Starters include several mushroom based soups and borscht while the main courses focus on seafood like Sturgeon in Tomato Sauce. The wine list includes several wines from Georgia. Average bill: 20-30 USD. Voznesenskii Prospect, 13/2, St Petersburg, FL 190000 Russia

Aivengo

The Aivengo Restaurant is located in the historical center of Saint Petersburg, on the bank of the NevaRiver, close to MenshikovPalace and the Spit of Vasilievsky Island. Interiors of the restaurant, designed in the Gothic style, are somewhat austere and unusual to Saint Petersburg´s citizens. These remind of the crusades and heroic deeds of the brave knights. Massive furniture of the Aivengo Restaurant is made of natural wood. To create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, the hall of the restaurant was decorated with a functioning fireplace. The rich menu of the Aivengo consists of fish and meat courses. One will be offered a special Lenten menu as well as menu for kids and a buffet menu. The Aivengo Restaurant features an extensive choice of wine, beer, and even absent. In the restaurant, one is welcome to try hookahs of various flavours. The Aivengo Restaurant consists of five halls. The largest hall is intended for up to 80 persons. In the evenings the guests are entertained by live music. Average bill: 20-30 USD Lieutenant Schmidt Emb., 11

Amadeus

Somewhat out on a limb, in St Petersburg, in terms of its awkward location near Smolnyi Cathedral, its good-quality yet sensibly-priced European cuisine, its selection of decent wines which again aren´t hard on the pocket and the endearing staff. Amadeus is a spacious, bright and cheerful restaurant in which to eat at a leisurely pace. Most evenings are accompanied by live entertainment, which usually compliments rather than disrupts the convivial mood. The performers are all very professional and offer a varied repertoire, which nonetheless keeps to a romantically-inclined tenor. Visits by Lenin and Brezhnev look-alikes are not unknown here either and you beam away with the pair of them in impromptu photo-shoots, at a small, decadent cost, of course. Suvorovskii Prospekt, 34, St Petersburg Russia

At Gorchakov´s

 In 2003 At Gorchakov´s was awarded as the Best National Cuisine Restaurant of Saint Petersburg. The guests of this restaurant are offered the delicious dishes of Russian and Ukrainian cuisines: white sturgeon filet filled with lobster meat, fresh veal with potatoes baked with cheese, smoked brisket, venison with blackberry, and other dishes that would be perfect even for a prince´s or a royal dinner. Justifying its´ name, the restaurant is located in the former mansion of the Gorchakovs, in the historical centre of Saint Petersburg. In the evenings the guests of the restaurant are entertained with live music (piano and violin). Average bill: 30-50 USD. Bolshaya Monetnaya St., 19

At Rudolph´s II

This restaurant shares its location, kitchen and even the chef (Alesh Sholts) with another Czech beer restaurant Gambrinus. 6 sorts of beer are supposed to be on sale, but at the moment there are only 4 (Krushovitse and Prazdroi - dark and pale). The tables are covered with white and red cloths and the lay-out is classical. There´s armour on the staircase, and a portrait of Rudolf in front of the bar. The main hall resembles a feast hall. Czech and Middle European cuisine is on offer. Special dishes such as rabbit in sour cream sauce or Duck with knedliki (famous Czech food) are really delicious. Don´t forget to try the Czech national soups. Nevskii Prospekt, 126, St Petersburg Russia

BlinDonalts

This fast food restaurant has appeared in Saint Petersburg not so long ago but has already enjoyed wide popularity that can be compared to McDonalds´. The BlinDonalts have been meant as an ideal place for family rest. A lot has been done for children to enjoy being there. In any BlinDonalts restaurant there is a children room with all kinds of entertainments including a great number of playing machines, numerous attractions and roundabouts, many of which are free of charge. The BlinDonalts restaurants work on the same principles as all the fast food restaurants - tasty, quick and cheap food. But the international principles are combined with the national specific - instead of hot dogs the guests are offered pancakes with sour cream. The approximate price of the dinner is about 20-40 roubles, which is about 1 Euro. The menu is comprised of the tastiest dishes that have acquired the world popularity: Russian jellied meat, borsch, pelmeni, cutlets, etc. And the menu is especially rich in the variations of the dish stated in the name of the restaurant: bliny with meat, mushrooms, cabbage, cheese, ham or sweet bliny with jam, honey, cherry etc. The average price of bliny with filling is 12 roubles. After an extensive dinner drink Russian kvass or cold cranberry fruit drink. Average bill: Under 10 USD. Svetlanovsky Pr., 60

Buena Vista

The Buena Vista restaurant is an oasis of Cuban culture in the very centre of Saint Petersburg, close to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Decorated with bright stained glass windows and plants, the Buena Vista invites you to visit the exciting world of joy, holiday and insouciance. The menu of the Buena Vista restaurant features not only Cuban dishes, but Mexican and Latin American cuisine as well. Here you will enjoy the dishes with exotic names, such as the Enchilada (thin slices of chicken or beef enfolded in a griddle cake that goes with salsa or cheddar sauce), the Tropicana (pork brisket prepared with soft sweet and sour sauce made of red wine), the Vista Alegre (slats of a young mutton), and more. The extensive choice of delicious dishes will satisfy even the most captious gourmet. Average bill: 20-30 USD. Bolshoi Pr. (Petrogradskaya Side), 19/1

Belletage

The Belletage Restaurant was awarded as the best restaurant in the first-class category in 2003. Exquisite and elegant, it amazes with luxurious interiors. The Belletage Restaurant is designed in black and white colours and decorated with reproductions of paintings by Jan Vermeer. It strikes as a stylish and respectable venue. After getting acquainted with the menu, a guest will realize that the first impression was the right one. The extensive choice of the cosy and hospitable Belletage Restaurant features such delicacies as platinum caviar with pancakes and vodka whipped cream, cake with pheasants, soup of mussels with saffron, pike perch filet with ceps, and more. Delicious sauces and rich choice of wines will make an evening spent in the Belletage Restaurant special and memorable. The guests of the restaurant have a unique opportunity to listen to live jazz and lounge music performed on the antique piano. Average bill: 70-100 USD. Nevsky Pr., 60

Burgui

If you enjoy such "bourgeois" amusements as an evening in a cosy restaurant with irreproachable service and multifarious menu, welcome to the Burgui Restaurant located on Pochtamsky Street. Here you will find all those foods and drinks that were blamed in the USSR, including famous hazel-hens with pineapples. The hall of the restaurant is relatively small, but cosy. It reminds of a nicely decorated reception-room in a private mansion. The menu of the Burgui Restaurant is as diverse as its interiors. It features the best dishes of the exquisite French cuisine, the delicacies of hospitable Russian cuisine and various dishes of European cuisine. Friday is a fish day in the restaurant. On Fridays the guests are offered fresh oysters delivered from France and red tuna-fish. The wine carte of the Burgui Restaurant presents all the leading wine-making regions of the world. On Thursdays in the restaurant the ensemble of Russian romances and Gypsy songs "The Fortes" gives performances. On Wednesdays and Fridays the guests are entertained by jazz musicians, and on Saturdays the ballroom pianist gives his concerts. Average bill: 30-50 USD Pochtamskiy St., 6

Borsalino

The Borsalino Restaurant is situated in the Angleter Hotel in the very centre of Saint Petersburg. It welcomes not only the hotel guests, but also the guests and the citizens of Saint Petersburg. The restaurant is intended for up to 140 persons and features an entrance from the street. The interior of the fashionable place was decorated by the well known designer Olga Polizzi. The hall of the restaurant is adorned with lamps shaped as tomtoms, glass waterfall, and mosaic floor. In the Borsalino Restaurant there is a special zone for smoking cigars and a bar zone, where one can have a glass of classical alcohol drink or try exotic cocktails. For those who prefer to have a rest in a company of only familiar people, there are separate rooms - for 12 and for 16 persons. In the Borsalino Restaurants jazz evenings with Russian and foreign musicians participation take place regularly. Average bill: 20-30 USD. Bolshaya Morskaya St., 39

California Grill

With a car-settee a la ´Pulp Fiction´ placed just below the stars and stripes pinned on the wall, a bar lined with stools ready for the regulars and an eager welcome in English from the waitress, you´ll feel well and truly ´state-side´ once you step into California Grill. The menu is conveniently divided into American and European sections: the former has burgers of various sizes and descriptions and the latter allowing you to choose from among a range of Italian and Russian dishes. Nevskii Prospekt, 176, St Petersburg, FL 189632 Russia

Camelot

The name, of course, comes from King Arthur´s legendary city. The majestic atmosphere of that mythical age is conjured up here with the help of a King Arthur figure made from wax, a few knights in armour and a luxurious fireplace. All the seats resemble thrones, with high backs and intricate carving. Tales about the Knights of the Round Table are written on the napkins. In cuisine terms, Camelot seems to stand at a cultural crossroads: Italian carpaccio, German ham, French escargot soup or Scandinavian steamed salmon. Guests can choose from two menus: one for knights (such as Casserole of Rabbit cooked in white wine) and another for royalty (fancier dishes like Saddle of Lamb with hot tomato sauce). It was voted as St. Petersburg´s best restaurant. Average bill: 30-50 USD. Nevskii Prospekt, 22, St Petersburg Russia

Caravan-Sarai

Nowadays there are a lot of restaurants of Uzbek cuisine in Saint Petersburg but the best of them is considered to be Caravan-Sarai. This fact was officially acknowledged in 2001 when Caravan Sarai was awarded as the best restaurant of national cuisine in Saint Petersburg. At this restaurant everyone is welcomed with oriental hospitality, attentive waitresses lavish care upon the guests and offer them to taste the viands of Uzbek cuisine in the charming atmosphere of the East. The dishes of Uzbek cuisine are tasty, nourishing and as a rule not very spicy. Traditional manty, begach, chuchvara, samsa are cooked by the chef of the highest rank. The most famous Uzbek dish is plov (rice dish with vegetables, meat or dried fruits), that can be "morning" and "evening". Morning plov is usually cooked for some solemn occasion or a great holiday; it is light, with raisins and a lot of spicy. The evening plov is dark. Many dishes of Uzbek cuisine have become so popular that they are not treated no more as exotic ones. But home boiled or summer sausages from horsemeat (kazy) are quite an extraordinary dish for a European; still it is really worth trying. The bounteous dinner is usually accomplished with fragrant tea and confectionary, which is highly valued for natural components such as nuts, dried apricots, prunes, raisins and sweetmeat. The service is very prompt: any dish is served within 10-15 minutes.  Daily since 20:00 the guests can admire a fabulous show - eastern beauties perform a belly dance. Average bill: 20-30 USD Nekrasova St., 1

Chainaya Lozhka

The Chainaya Lozhka chain of bistros ranges among the largest in Saint Petersburg. All the venues feature the same design: right-angled tables and chairs, walls decorated with fragments of cart wheels, samovars, distaffs and other home utensils. Those who like well-prepared tea will surely enjoy the Chainaya Lozhka ("Teaspoon"). Here you will find various sorts of this energetic drink: the traditional black tea, green tea that is good for health, and exotic fruit teas. You will enjoy the brewed tea that is served in teapots for one or two persons. In the Chainaya Lozhka you will be offered pancakes with various fillings, such as chicken meat, mushrooms, ham, and cheese. For those who prefer sweet pancakes, there is jam, apples with cinnamon, concentrated sweet milk, and so forth. In additional to pancakes, you can order a salad: the Chainaya Lozhka menu features salads made of fresh vegetables, met, and fish. Average bill: Under 10 USD. Nevsky Pr., 44, Kamennoostrovsky Pr., 40 and Vosstaniya St., 13

Coffee Time

In April, 2003 the Coffee Time became a winner in the "bars and cafeterias" nomination of the Best Restaurant of Petersburg contest. Stylish interiors, qualitative service, delicious dishes at affordable price attract the citizens and guests of Saint Petersburg to this cosy cafe. Here one can not only order a cup of coffee, but also have a slashing dinner or supper. The menu of the place features such dishes as Barbeque chicken wings, scalloped mussels, hot sandwiches, pancakes, spaghetti, scrambled eggs with various fillings, and so forth. Among the drinks are tea, beer, wines of France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Germany, punch, alcohol and non-alcohol cocktails. A special place in the Coffee Time assortment belongs to coffee. Here one can try over 40 sorts of coffee. Not to mention traditional espresso and cappuccino, the menu includes cold coffee cocktails, coffee with spices (cinnamon, black pepper, muscat), coffee with balsam, and even coffee with whisky. Kids will enjoy hot chocolate. Average bill: 20-30 USD Moskovsky Pr., 20

Chopsticks

There are a plethora of Chinese options for diners in St. Petersburg, but this restaurant situated within the Grand Hotel Europe is by far the most prestigious. Waiters and waitresses in Chinese silk costume, extravagant decoration and, of course, a distinct lack of knives and forks all contribute to a very Chinese experience. Main courses average around RUB540 and up to RUB1620 for the restaurant special Peking duck. You can have Chicken Shanghai (in oyster sauce) for RUB405. Mikhailovskaia Ulitsa, 1, St Petersburg, FL 189321 Russia

Da Vinci

Da Vinci is a fine restaurant and a modern nightclub including erotic shows and festivals. The interior is influenced by the work of that most famous of famous Renaissance geniuses - Leonardo Da Vinci. The restaurant presents work by young and sometimes well-known local artists, available for sale. The menu is a mix of various world cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Russian, French and American. The dishes all have specific names, like the seafood The Last Supper or venison The Last Centaur. Malaia Morskaia, 15, St Petersburg Russia

Demyanova Ukha

The Demyanova Ukha Restaurant, specializing on fish courses and seafood, is well-known in Saint Petersburg from 1971. Here you will be offered multifarious menu that features such special offers as "Baltiysky" fish soup, pike perch "Po-Demyanovski", sturgeon "Po-Boyarski", salmon filet with piquant cheese sauce, and so on. A large choice of appetizers, hot and cold courses, as well as "fisherman´s bar" will make an evening spent in the Demyanova Ukha Restaurant unforgettable. Not only the menu, but also interiors of the restaurant correspond with fish thematic. The walls and windows of the Demyanova Ukha are decorated with bright images of various fishes. The hall of the restaurant reminds of a typical village dwelling house: log walls, carved tables made of wood, and Russian oven create a cozy, friendly and home-like atmosphere. The Demyanova Ukha Restaurant is an ideal place for a banquet, romantic supper or business lunch. In the evenings the guests of the restaurant are entertained by live music. Average bill: 30-50 USD. Kronversky Pr., 53

Drago

The Drago Restaurant was named in honour of the restaurants´ chain founder Dragomir Rakanovitch, the well-known Yugoslavian victualler. There are the restaurants of the Drago chain in many countries of the world, including Germany, England, and the USA. The Drago Restaurant in Saint Petersburg is located not far from the Chernaya Rechka metro station. In the restaurant the guests are offered a large variety of European cuisine dishes. The menu is intended for the visitors with different tastes: it features fish, poultry and meat courses, as well as vegetarian dishes. The wine carte of the Drago Restaurant includes French, German, Italian, Spanish, Georgian and Yugoslavian wines. Here you can also order real Czech beer. Each day (except Monday) the guests of the Drago Restaurant are entertained by live music. The repertoire includes romances, classical music, and French chanson. Average bill: 20-30 USD. Primorsky Pr., 15

El Machete

Not the easiest place to find in the city as it´s located off the Prospekt in a courtyard, which isn´t that unusual in itself here, but the signs directing you to it are certainly difficult to pick out. Once you find it however it´s a revelation. Everything looks very authentic without any pompous trimmings and the food which is one hundred per cent Mexican, chilli peppers and all, is going at prices which aren´t a strain on Petersburgers´ pockets but definitely a liberating challenge to their taste buds. Kamenoostrovskii Prospekt, 38/96, St Petersburg, Russia

Federico Fellini´s Cinema Restaurant

This unabashed display of cinema buffer with dining areas done up to resemble film sets and menus stuck on reel-cases as well as members of staff dolled up as starlets is one of the city´s most popular restaurants. Italian paraphernalia is also prominent with maps and newspaper clippings adorning the walls. Pan-European specialties include Fondue Borgonnaise at RUB750 and other main courses running RUB300-900. Beer starts at around RUB60. Malaia Konushenaia 4/2, St Petersburg 191000 Russia

Fiesta Bistro

Stopping just short of the bad taste that festers around other cafes of its type, bright Fiesta is a summery beacon in this most wintry of cities. It doesn´t choose to blast your ears with squeaky Russian disco either, opting instead for MTV playing just a little higher than a whisper. The service is novel with the girls at the counter speaking your order into microphones so it´s picked up immediately by those listening in the kitchen. Presentation is slightly more upmarket here, with one or two more frills lurking around the plate. That said, the prices are higher than usual as well. Liteinyi Prospekt, 64/78, St Petersburg Russia

Golden Dragon

There are two Golden Dragon restaurants in St Petersburg. The first one was opened in 1994. The interior is decorated in an Oriental style, but there´s still a strong hint of European design. The atmosphere is cosy and comfortable. The menu includes not only classical and exotic Chinese dishes, but also dishes from other countries in Eastern Asia. You order your meals with the help of a photo menu with about 100 dishes. The Dragon Salad is one of the best dishes on the menu, and those who like exotic food can always try the Frogs Fried in Sweet and Sour Sauce, or even the Eel soup. The desserts are nothing special, but fried bananas will satisfy the sweetest of teeth. Dekabristov, 62, St Petersburg Russia

James Cook Pub and Cafe

The James Cook Cafe and Pub breathes life into the newly renovated Malaia Koniushennaia. The cafe offers a huge selection of coffees from all over the world—Ethiopia, Guatemala and Kenya, among others—while the pub side has an excellent selection of drinks and a hearty of expensive menu. Prices are in dollars. Despite the name and the obvious attempts at English pub decor, the setting is rather modern. They serve coffee, salads and burgers along with beer. Shvedskii Pereulok, 2, St Petersburg Russia

Kafe Grot

Better get a Russian-speaking pal to come along with you to this place, or brush up on the language yourself, for there´s no getting around these true-blue natives! No gourmet meals here - you´ll find only heavy meats and tummy-filling side dishes on the menu. Juices are freely available too, and the decor, with its dim lighting and fish tank, makes it feel like you´re munching on a quickly put together meal at home. This joint is favour by the working class of modern Russia, who come looking for a quick bite and banter with friends, so you´re not likely to run into many tourists. 38 Obtahka Ulitsa, St Petersburg Russia

Kalinka Malinka

A log-cabin interior, staff dressed up as ´muzhiks´ and heavily-garnished meals in the typically Russian manner make this restaurant a natural place to visit for those hopping on and off buses on their tours around the city. During the winter therefore, the custom pretty much dribbles in, whereas in the peak summer season, the live folk entertainment brings in an assortment of foreigners and easily encourages them to join in with the fun. Italianskaia Ulitsa 5, St Petersburg 190000 Russia

Kavkaz Cafe and Restaurant

Operating both as a cafe and restaurant, Kavkaz offers the customer the choice between whiling away a little time in fairly functional surroundings and indulging oneself in an immaculate setting, modelled to perfection on its Caucasian roots. Whether nibbling away at a chebureki in the cafe or gorging yourself on the generous skewers of meat washed down by one of its delicious Georgian wines, you´ll be relishing a real Caucasian treat. Karavannaia Ulitsa, 18, St Petersburg Russia

Kolobok

The pirozhkis at this restaurant are very popular with locals who live and work nearby. Ridiculously inexpensive at RUB 8 each these small pies come with fillings such as: cabbage, minced meat, and egg and onion. Sausages in pastry are also available for RUB10. Accompanied by tea or coffee pirozhkis make for a very filling quick breakfast or snack. The other food available is standard Russian cuisine of medium quality but they generally have a healthy range of soups on sale. The”shchi” is usually a good bet. Chaikovskovo Ulitsa, 40, St Petersburg, FL 189900 Russia

Laima Bistro

This is a hectic, around-the-clock bistro cafe, very conveniently-located, with a reliable menu consisting of familiar but high-quality Russian food. Living up to the title bistro, you shouldn´t have to wait longer than ten minutes for your main course. The decor is bright with small high round tables and lower rectangular tables. This place has two tiers with more seating and a large video screen on the upper-tier. This is an excellent place to fill up if your sight-seeing itinerary is in danger of getting the better of you. Kanal Griboedova, 16, St Petersburg Russia

Lesnoi

The name of the restaurant ("lesnoi" - woody, forest) most likely comes from the street where it is situated. Nothing in the restaurant design or its cuisine is connected with a forest. On the contrary, the establishment is reckoned as one of the best restaurants of oriental cuisine in Saint Petersburg. The wonderful menu offers the incomparable choice of dishes of Azerbaijani, Armenian, Georgian and Uzbek cuisines. The restaurant specializes in traditional cuisine of Transcaucasian countries. The fabulously rich menu boasts more than 25 varieties of shashlyk that is the most famous Caucasian dish, - made of pork, veal, sturgeon, fish, and game. All the dishes are cooked from the freshest products. It is the only restaurant in the city boasting stock raising farm with a herd of rams brought from the Caucasus. In the special pool the guests are welcomed to choose any sturgeon or trout and it will be cooked on charcoal in twenty minutes. In the evening, the guests enjoy live music concerts or original performances of exotic dancers. In the summer time the outdoor cafe is working. There the customers can dine in the open air and enjoy the picturesque sights. Average bill: 20–30 USD. Lesnoi Pr., 4

Literary Cafe (The)

Fans of Russian poet Pushkin and newcomers to Russia will be pleasantly surprised when they walk into this charming cafe, for there sits the great man himself, brooding and solemn. This cleverly crafted mannequin looks quite real, with life-like curls and sideburns. This was the cafe where the poet ate his last meal before his fateful duel in 1837, and his mannequin sits almost morosely, as if pondering on life´s ironies, one of them being the swanky new KFC outlet nearby. The food is staid Russian – dull soups, thick salads and heavy meats, but the desserts are finger-licking good. 18, Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg, FL 191186 Russia

Mama Roma

Mama Roma is still one of the most popular venues for Italian cuisine. Friendly and hands-on management make it worthy of its excellent reputation, and although the menu is largely unoriginal, the food is as good as elsewhere and generously portioned. They also handle large groups well, gladly shifting tables around to accommodate birthday parties or other celebrations. In addition, you can find a second branch of Mama Roma at Moskovskii Prospekt, 192. Karannaya Ulitsa, 3/35, St Petersburg, FL 189963 Russia

Matrosskaya Tishina

For a long time Saint Petersburg, a maritime city, didn´t have any restaurant specializing in sea cuisine. But at last this injustice was repressed and in Marata Street a new restaurant appeared. The doors of the rather modest from outside establishment open into the paradise for gourmets. The name of the restaurant (Matrosskaya Tishina - Sailor´s silence) doesn´t has anything in common with a notorious Moscow prison; it is metaphorical and symbolizes silence and peace of mind that you can feel sitting on the shore listening the waves lapping. The spatiality of the house is ice plateau with seafood. You´ll find a part of the ocean floor with all kinds of oysters, mussels, lobsters, crabs and shrimps served on the ice. Sometimes the restaurant organizes festivals of oysters or of some exotic cuisines, for example, of Sri-LankaIsland. The chef of the Matrosskaya Tishina Restaurant doesn´t strives to create absolutely new gustatory senses; on the contrary, he upholds the traditions of the exquisite French cuisine. The owner of the restaurant is proud of the fact that the menu and wine list of his establishment corresponds to the best sea-fashion restaurants in Europe. Luxurious wine list includes the best wine sorts representing the world famous brands that are considered to be the ideal accompaniments to fish dishes. The choice of white wines is especially rich, but there is also an extensive collection of red wines and strong drinks. The French chef of the restaurant is Serge Ferie, well known not only in Saint Petersburg but in Europe as well. He worked in the best restaurants of London, Paris and Singapore. Average bill: 50-70 USD Marata St., 54/34 

Old Custom House

In the historical district of the city next to the Kunstkammer there is the Old Custom House Restaurant. Nowadays it is one of the best restaurants but just ten years ago it seemed hardly possible that the decaying building would turn into the culinary centre of Saint Petersburg. The guest are offered European menu with French stress. We will simply make some quotes from the menu for you to have the idea of the luxurious dishes offered: Fillets of quail fried in walnut oil, served with deep fried foie gras and fresh vegetables confit in sauterne served with granite of red burgundy wine, Roast sqab pigeon in walnuts butter served with a fondue of leek sauce parsley and garlic confit, Home-smoked salmon log filled with black caviar and prawns, served with spicy cream bavarois and soy sauce, Tournedos Rossini prime fillet of beef on a crouton, topped with foie gras with a demi glace sauce, Tournedos of veal with carrot and basilica sauce and a mille feuille of chanterelles and season vegetables, "Chateaubriand" (for two people) served with forest mushrooms, garden carrots, roast potatoes and accompanied with sauce "bearnaise", etc. Exquisite European cuisine, award winning French chef, live music and marvellous interiors are the reasons why the restaurant is really worth visiting. Average bill: 70-100 USD V.I., Tamozhenny Side St., 1

Olius

The restaurant as a whole seats 45-50 people. For greater intimacy you could book the separate dining room, with room for six people. Restaurant has strict but stylish decoration, with light-coloured and skilfully painted walls. A white piano with candelabra stands in the corner. The sound of a fountain relaxes. Cuisine is mostly Russian, including hot meat dishes baked in a bowl with tomato and sour-cream sauce. Among the fish dishes the White Sturgeon under Beshamel Sauce is particularly noteworthy. The restaurant plays host to regular entertainments such as magic shows or Gypsy bands. Sed´maia Krasnoarmeiskaia Ulitsa, 6/8 St Petersburg, FL 198052 Russia

Onegin 

The Onegin Restaurant is regarded as one of the most stylish venues in Saint Petersburg. It is here that the show-business stars, politicians and bohemia representatives gather in the evenings. The stylish interior of the restaurant perfectly harmonizes with the delicious cuisine performed by chef. The menu features exquisite dishes of French and Russian cuisine. The restaurant also offers a special menu for vegetarians as well as for fasting guests. The Onegin Restaurant positions itself as a venue for rich and stylish persons. To enter the club, one should pass the strict face-control. Average bill: 70-100 USD. Sadovaya St., 11

Ollis

Pizzeria Ollis serves pizzas with various fillings. Pizzas with vegetables, cheese, salami, bologna, beckon, ham, fish and sea food are at the guests´ disposal. In the pizzeria you can even order the so called dessert pizza that consists of fruits, honey, cinnamon and berry sauce. The special course of the Ollis is pizza with salami, mushrooms, corn, eggs, tomatoes, and olives under delicious sauce. As for the drinks, you are welcome to order lemonade, juice or beer. Pizzeria Ollis offers not only pizzas, but also classical Italian dishes, such as Beef Carpaccio (pasta with beef slices, béchamel sauce, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and tomatoes), as well as various salads, soups and pastas. Average bill: 10-20 USD. Korablestroitelei St., 34/1 and Gakkelevskaya St., 22/1

Orient Bistro

Despite the name, you´ll be hard pushed finding any chopsticks and noodles in here. Russian favourites like borshch, solianka, pike perch and shashlik are most definitely up there on the menu however and whilst it´s true you´ll be tucking into your order only minutes after you´ve paid for it, you might also find it´ll take you only a few minutes to eat it. The portions they serve up here are a little erratically-measured and one´s spoon can travel through the air for some time before plunging in to the soup steaming away lower-down in the bowl. Bolshaia Morskaia Ulitsa, 25/11, St Petersburg Russia

Orient Express

Situated about ten minutes walk from Nevskii Prospekt to the south, the miniature train engine thrusting out the front door is the obvious way to spot the place. The restaurant is divided into buffet and ´first and second class restaurant cars´. The interior of the buffet is similar to that on a suburban train. Hooting, tapping of wheels and station´s sounds accompany the music all the time. Fortunately this is more pleasant than you might think. The menu is primarily European, although it includes a few dishes from Russia and Caucasia. Some of the dishes are cooked on an open fire. The Chicken Fillet in Peach Sauce with Cauliflower is recommended. Desserts are also satisfying. Average bill: 30–50 USD. Ulitsa Marata, 21, St Petersburg Russia

Palkin

The Palkin Restaurant is one of the most fashionable places in Saint Petersburg. Opened in 2002 after a long interruption, the restaurant boasts a long history and formed traditions. To restore the famous "bohemian" atmosphere of the Palkin Restaurant, the luxurious interiors of the venue were updated, and the receipts of delicious dishes that used to be on the tables on the days of Russian Emperors´ coronations were discovered in the archives. One can try those royal dishes today in the Palkin Restaurant. The menu features such delicacies as lobsters´ necks with avocado and black caviar, starlet with white wine, rabbit stewed in sour cream and - any time of the year- fresh strawberry. In the luxurious Palkin Restaurant you will be offered rare sorts of cognac, wine, and vodka. The guests of the Palkin Restaurant are entertained by a special program the visitors with the finest taste will appreciate. Each evening in the restaurant one can listen to live classical music, romances, jazz or touching Gypsy songs. Average bill: 70-100 USD. Nevsky Pr., 47

Patio Pizza

Slightly classier and more Italian than the likes of Pizza Hut, but less pricy than the city´s other Italian restaurants, this medium-priced pizzeria occupies one of the most central and convenient locations of any restaurant in the city. A few steps from Nevskii Prospekt metro, the positioning also makes it one of the city´s busiest eateries. Their advertising makes much of the "wood-oven" used to cook the pizza. A large portion of the clienteles are tourists. There is a second branch of Patio Pizza at Nevskii Prospekt, 182 Nevskii Prospekt 30, St Petersburg 190000 Russia

Picasso

They say here that Pablo Picasso liked to eat and that many of his works were inspired by food. If you like the great 20th-century master´s works you´ll like this stylised interior, livened up further by live music and Spanish cuisine. At least that´s what the owners would hope. Fish and meat dishes are cooked on open coals and named in the manner of paintings: Still-life with Guitar (salmon steak) or Abduction of Europe - basturma. Speaking about strange names, Surrealism mushroom soup is worth trying. Bolshoi Prospekt, 3, St Petersburg Russia

Pirosmani

If you visit the Pirosmani Restaurant situated on Petrogradskaya Side, you´ll discover the oasis of Georgian culture in the centre of Saint Petersburg. The menu of the restaurant can cater for the most refined tastes. Different salads, traditional dishes from eggplants and haricot, harcho soup, roasted beef and pork with spicery, shashlyk - these are only few dishes from the offered extensive menu. Georgian cuisine is famous for the abundant use of sauces that fundamentally differ from European both in ingredients and the way of cooking. The restaurant offers such sauce as satzivi, satzibeli, tkemali and others. It should be mentioned that the chef cooking all these mouth watering dishes is from Tbilisi and has mastered to perfection all the refinements of the complicated Georgian cuisine. Wonderful cuisine, rough Georgian wines, unusual interior and Caucasian hospitality - all these pleasant memories you and your guests will bring away after having visited the Pirosmani Restaurant. Average bill: 20-30 USD. Bolshoi Pr. (Petrogradskaya Side), 14

Plakuchaia Iva (The Weeping Willow)

The restaurant is inspired by the style of the early sixties - neon advertisements, big windows, colourful tables and chairs in the bar hall. Everything is bright and optimistic. There´s a pool for fish in the room next to the dining area. There´s no fish as yet, buy there will be shortly, after which visitors will be able to choose one and send it to the kitchen. The name is taken from the popular Russian comedy "Brilliantovaia Ruka" - there´s a restaurant called in the same way. Dishes are mostly fish-based: stuffed pike, fried halibut, for example. If you don´t like fish though, there´s always duck of beef Stroganoff. For children, there´s a room on the second floor with games, toys, and a nanny). It´s free of charge. Zagorodnyi Prospekt, 45, St Petersburg Russia 

Propaganda

The restaurant is decorated according to the aesthetics of the 20s that denied bourgeois way of life and pomposity. Rough and heavy furniture, homemade lampshades, metal constructions are the main elements of the restaurant interior. The guests not accustomed to the proletarian minimalism are likely to be surprised at table-clothes. The menu of the restaurant is international. There you´ll find Japanese harmony, Kamchatka steak, Mexican fiesta salad, Arabic dumplings and Farmers treat as well as other dishes. During the day time the salad-bar is open. The wine list is quite multifarious. Try truly Russian cocktails Tereshkova, Gagarin, Baikonur, X-ray or Propeller. For tourists and tourist groups the restaurant offers special menus. For example, there is menu Samovar, Babushka, Matreshka, Window on Europe, Tsar´s Dinner. They are comprised of the traditional Russian dishes that enjoy a wide popularity in the Soviet period. They are pelmeni, borsch, Russian vinaigrette salad with Mustard sauce, red caviar with blini (pancakes), etc. Average bill: 20-30 USD´. Fontanka Emb., 40

Pushka Inn Restaurant and Bar

Housed in an 18th century monument that is now a tourist hotel, this restaurant-cum-bar serves Russian cuisine with a twist - how does Duck with Baked Apple, Whortleberry Sauce and Mushrooms sound? No Russian meal is complete without the local staple - potatoes - and you´ll certainly get plenty of them here! Boiled, baked, fried...you name it, and it´ll be on your plate. Guzzle the local poison, vodka, while you watch a range of sports on the big screen. Friday nights feature live music, where you can try out the exuberant traditional Russian dance. There is a meagre English menu too, and thankfully, English-speaking staffs, but when in Russia, it´s advisable to do as the Russians do! 14 Moika Embankment, St Petersburg 191186 Russia

Russian Kitsch

On Vasilievsky Island, on one of the oldest embankment of Saint Petersburg, there is a unique restaurant, called by its owners "cafe of the period of transition" that has fulfilled the aesthetics of the new epoch. The restaurant´s interior recreates a typical flat of the so-called "New Russians". The decoration combines luxury with self-mockery - green marble, pompous gilded garlands of flowers, hand painted murals on the ceilings, luxury sofas, and the busts of Moors. The menu of the restaurant corresponds to its conception - combine non-compatible and treat everything with irony. Here the chef feels free to experiment. To start with, the menu itself is stitched into the complete set of works of Vladimir Lenin. Red and black caviar with blini (Russian pancakes), fresh oysters, served with mandarin sauce, deep-fried pelmeni served with crab meat and coconut sauce, shashlik from royal prawns with Pene and Pesto sauce, home smoked trout served with carrot comfiture and an orange cream are some dishes of the exclusive menu. But there are also common dishes like herring slightly pickled in pistachio, dear to all Russians Kiev cutlets and famous borsch with sour cream. On the whole, everyone can choose something to his preferences. Average bill: 20-30 USD Universitetskaya Emb., 25

Russkaya Rybalka

In 1999, a summer cafe Russkaya Rybalka (Russian Fishing) was opened. It enjoyed such a wide popularity that soon it was reconstructed in a restaurant. In 2001, the Russkaya Rybalka Restaurant won two nominations in the prestigious contest "The best restaurant of Saint Petersburg - 2001": the best first class restaurant and the best discovery of the year. There are many restaurants offering fish menu, but this restaurant is really unique - there the guests are offered to fish in the pond a trout, sturgeon, sterlet, beluga or carp. All the necessary fishing-tackles are provided. The experienced assistants help to bait and if you need a good peace of advice tell you the secrets of fishing. The caught fish is cooked at once. According to your will the cook will bake it in a foil, smoke, roast or fry. The chefs of the Russkaya Rybalka carefully keep their professional secrets but it is known that the smoked fish attained special fragrance because it is cooked on the smoking shed from alder-tree. Beside fish dishes the menu includes such traditional Russian dishes as pickling, kulebyaka (pie with vegetables, meat or fish), pirozhki (pasties) with different fillings, young pig stuffed with buckwheat, quails, etc. The honourable guests of the Russkaya Rybalka were Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Yakovlev, Alexander Pochinok and many Russian famous actors and singers. Average bill: 30-50 USD. Kirov Stadium, Primorsky Park

Russkaia Vipechka

Marrying spotlessness with rustic earthiness, Russkaia Vipechka fully exploits a key national resource, by panelling its walls and seating its customers almost entirely with wood. It offers a decent enough range of dishes, though surprisingly no potato or rice accompaniments, and the soups include spicy kharcho (spicy) from the Caucasus and shchi from Ukraine, along with the usual Russian choices. Though you won´t exactly trip over the place as you´re heading down Ulitsa Vosstania, as everything happens below eye-level, you should find yourself in the company of a good smattering of fellow customers, who obviously appreciate the cleanliness and value for money. Ulitsa Vosstania, 30, St Petersburg Russia

Saint Petersburg

The Saint Petersburg Restaurant is situated in the one of the most beautiful places of the city - on Griboedova channel embankment not far from the cathedral of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood. The cuisine of the restaurant can be called European but with strong Russian influence. In this respect the restaurant ideally convey the spirit of Saint Petersburg, the most European city among all Russian towns but still Russian in its essence. The refined menu, reflecting all the achievements of imperial Russia is complemented with luxury wine list. The specialty of the Saint Petersburg restaurant is shchi "Petrovskie". The size of the portions is also worth mentioning while they are quite impressive according to Russian traditions of hospitality. The special pride of the restaurant is the costume show, stylized under the Peter the Great assemblies that the guests can enjoy daily except of Monday. The restaurant has a nice cafe, where you can not only drink a cup of good coffee (that was introduced into Russian culture by Tsar Peter the Great), but have a three-course dinner. In the summer time the tables are taken into the yard, from where the wonderful view on the embankment opens. Average bill: 50-70 USD. Griboedova Emb., 5

Sakura

Although you might get a slight start when you enter this restaurant and are pounced upon by a gaggle of Japanese waitresses in full geisha garb, beaming deferentially as they welcome you, the rest of your time in this immaculate place should be most harmonious. The decor is white, bright and cool and your party of friends, family or colleagues will be able to stretch themselves out in idle comfort while enjoying a convivial lunch or dinner. A decidedly invigorating break from the human clutter of nearby Nevskii Prospekt, the prompt and eager attention of the staff will put you well at ease as you savour the succulent fare on offer. Mid-priced. Naberezhnaia Kanala Griboedova, 12, St Petersburg Russia

Samson Bistro

Part of a chain of bistro cafes, Samson is nearly always a reliable place to go for filling meals and does better than others of its type by ensuring that decent portions are not incompatible with some of the best prices in the city. It doesn´t stray too far from its core menu but the lemon chicken and pike perch, typical features in most cafes or restaurants here, rarely disappoint. You can wash it down with a half-litre of Baltika, which at 23R, competes very well with the opposition. Kamenootrovskii Prospekt, 16, St Petersburg Russia

Schwabsky Domik

One of the first Western restaurants in Saint Petersburg, the Schwabsky Domik has been upholding its reputation for many years. Being faithful to its traditions and not trying to surprise the guests with ultra-fashionable novelties, the Schwabsky Domik Restaurant decently ranges among the best dining venues in Saint Petersburg. It is located not far from the centre of the city, on Zanevskaya Square. The menu of the restaurant features Schwab cuisine, as well as German and European. In the Schwabsky Domik one can enjoy Schwab wedding soup prepared on beef bouillon with German pancakes, German ravioli, French onion soup, Russian cabbage soup - shchi and Hungarian soup - goulash. Rich German cuisine and generous portions are ideal for those who are really keen on good food. The special offer of the restaurant is elite Alpirbacher beer that is known since the 11th century when the monks for the first time prepared this delicious beer on vivifying mineral water from Alpirbacher sources. Charming waitresses in national costumes and folklore shows are other features of the cosy Schwabsky Domik Restaurant. Average bill: 20-30 USD. Novocherkassky Pr., 28/19

Senat Bar

One of the best restaurants in Saint Petersburg is situated in the historical part of the city. Such world famous landmarks as the Bronze Horseman, St Isaac´s Cathedral, the Admiralty and the Neva embankment are just very close to it. The restaurant occupies the basement of the building that played an important role in Russian history, while it is the building where the meetings of Senate and Synod took place. The first guests were welcomed at the restaurant in 1993 when all the wide-scaled restoration work had been completed. The menu combines classical European and traditional Russian dishes, some of which are cooked right on your table. The specialties are sterlet garnished with crayfish, beef-turnedo, halibut-grill and others. The extensive carte allows you to choose the right wine to accompany your dinner. The majorities of wines are French, but there are also Spanish and Portuguese. The guests are invited to visit wonderful bar, where the professional barmen will demonstrate their mastery. Great number of beer sorts from the best Russian and European brewery, wide selection of aperitifs and cocktails, impressive collection of strong alcohol drinks can satisfy the most demanding guests. Every evening from 20:00 to 22:00 the guests can enjoy live classic music, jazz and improvisation on folk music, performed by the best musicians of Saint Petersburg. Average bill: 30-50 USD. Galernaya St., 1

Sharovnia na Aptekarskom

The grounds of club occupy a considerable territory. In summer you can play tennis, in winter go to the skating-ring or hide in the main building. There you can choose: Russian billiards (in the cosy room with fireplace, luxurious furniture and quiet music), bowling, or restaurant. The restaurant resembles a traditional hunter´s lodge. Copies of Middle Age tapestry hang on the walls together with swords, axes and parts of armour. Aptekarskii Prospekt, 16, St Petersburg Russia

Sukavati

The Sukovati became the first restaurant featuring Indonesian cuisine not only in Saint Petersburg, but in the entire Russia as well. It serves Indonesian and Japanese cuisines. The main feature of the exotic venue is not only unusual cuisine, but also plates and dishes. Here the food is served in traditional Indonesian plates made of teak tree and dishes made of burnt clay. Wicker furniture and wooden tables create a cosy and home-like atmosphere. The menu of the Sukavati Restaurant offers a large choice of Indonesian and Japanese soups, dishes of noodle, fish, seafood, meat and poultry. Here you will also be offered sushi, sashimi, nigiri sushi, and rolls. The best way to try traditional Indonesian cuisine is to order national Indonesian dish, which is a set of several hot courses and rice as a garnish. Average bill: 20-30 USD Kazanskaya St., 8

Staraia Tamozhnia (Old Custom´s House)

This is a plush, pricey restaurant (incorporating a bar and nightclub) but it´s not aiming to be anything less. The building has been beautifully refurbished and the restaurant caters to both touristy and wealthy Russian clientele. The menu is bilingual, as is the staff. The menu and wine list are undoubtedly impressive, with generous portions of Russian and other European cuisine. Service is generally excellent, if a touch obsequious. There is also live jazz from 6:30pm. Tamozhennyi pereulok, 1, St Petersburg, DE 199034 Russia

Tandoor

What better way to fight off the evil sub-zero chill of the Russian winter than consuming copious amounts of spicy food? This is St. Petersburg´s best-known Indian restaurants, situated a short stroll from St Isaac´s Cathedral. Kitted out in the usual Indian fashion with Hindu figurines and such it is a pretty low-key affair. Prices are mid-range. Indian standards like Chicken Tandoori, Kebab, and Rogan Josh all cost RUB250. Voznesenskii pereulok 2, St Petersburg 190000 Russia

Tchaika

The Tchaika Restaurant specializing in German cuisine is favourably located in the very center of Saint Petersburg, close to Nevsky Prospect, the main thoroughfare of the city. The interiors of the restaurant dwell on seaside theme: the main hall is decorated with ships´ models, hitches and old photographs, and reminds of a chief cabin. Unusual interior and perfect service attract to the Tchaika Restaurant not only the employees of German companies that work in Saint Petersburg, but also those who like traditional German cuisine and original German beer. For the guests could taste the best of German culinary art many dishes stated in the menu are prepared from the products delivered directly from Germany. The guests of the Tchaika are also welcome to try the best sorts of German beer (Jever Pilsener, Erdinger Weissbier) and have a good rest listening to live music that entertains the visitors every day from 21:00. Average bill: 30-50 USD Griboyedov Canal Emb., 14

Tequila Boom

Those who like Latin American culture and is longing for a memorable evening in a bright and stylish venue with democratic atmosphere and reasonable prices are welcome at the Tequila Boom Restaurant. The restaurant corresponds well with the conception of Latin America as the European sees it: the personnel (Mexicans, in majority) are cheerful and joyful; the bright decor of the halls features ponchos, cactuses and lizards. For the guests could plunge into the unique Mexican culture, each evening at 19:30 there are live Mexican songs, and from Thursday till Saturday - performances of Latin American dancers. The menu of the restaurant boasts the most popular dishes of Mexican cuisine. There are very spicy courses, as well as less spicy appetizers and salads. The menu consists of traditional Mexican chips, nachos, with various sauces, tortillas made of wheat flour, Mexican pork ribs, cactus salad, cheese soup with chicken and avocado, and other appetizing dishes, all of them prepared by Mexican chef from the freshest products. The Tequila Boom Restaurant offers an extensive choice of alcoholic drinks, showing preference for tequila, of course. Average bill: 10-20 USD. Voznesensky Pr., 57

Traveling Bag for a Pregnant Spy

The Traveling Bag for a Pregnant Spy is not only a restaurant, but also a club, a museum and a theatre. If you want to dine in a refined setting you definitely shouldn´t visit this restaurant. There the dinner will turn into a small performance with a lot of decorations and characters. From the point of view of design the restaurant can be reckoned as the most extremely decorated establishment in the city. The basis of design conception was an "epatage and having fun". There you´ll find a mixture of the aesthetics of the 30s, movie characters and the realization of weirdest fantasies. The interior of the restaurant has been awarded more than once and was included in the top list of the best interior restaurants in Russia. Sometimes you can meet the pregnant spy in person strolling around the restaurant. Dressed in old-style clothes with a lot of padding to look pregnant she takes a seat near guests and makes conversation with them. After her visit you can find a note on your table with her forecast of your bleak future (something like Chinese fortune-telling). In the evenings if you are not nervous and supersensitive you are welcomed at the theatrical performances, striptease and freak concerts. The main merit of the restaurant is its design, idea, mood, not its cuisine that is also quite good. The portions are big, the dishes are tasty, and the prices are reasonable. But you´ll make sure of it only if you stand reading the "tempting" menu where each dish is described in a peculiar way. The owners have added such comments like "milk and cucumbers won´t stay too long in your ass" (about the vegetable salad with sour cream) or "flyblown thigh of a cow died of rabies" (about the baked beef) to help you in making choice. Average bill: 30-50 USD. Bolshaya Konyushennaya St., 13

Triton

The Triton Restaurant specializes in seafood. To cook the exquisite dishes the highly qualified chefs use only the freshest fish and seafood that are delivered to the restaurant from France, Italy, South-East Asia and the USA. State-of-the-art freezing technologies allow preserving all the healthy elements. Intricately decorated, mouth watering and healthy delicacies served at the Triton Restaurant thoroughly meet the requirements of modern "haute cuisine". The menu of the Triton Restaurant features such unusual dishes as the salad made of red Mediterranean tuna-fish, Burundian grape snails baked in butter with garlic and spices, oysters with a sauce made of Champagne and truffles, and so forth. The Triton Restaurant regularly houses various celebrations and special occasions, such as "lobsters´ evenings", during which theatrical performances and musical concerts take place. Average bill: 70-100 USD. Fontanka River Emb., 67

Troitskii Most

A novel addition to St Petersburg´s cafes and restaurants, with its 100% vegetarian menu and alcohol-free drinks´ selection, Troitskii Most has proven to be very popular, in this predominantly carnivorous and heavy-drinking city. At the Troitsky Most one can order various fruit and vegetable salads, appetizing desserts, as well as hot courses, some of which contain soy as a substitute for meat. The special offer of the Troitsky Most is the Troitskaya baked pudding made of mashed potatoes, soy meat, cheese and vegetables. Here one can try delicious Fetuccini - spaghetti with red pepper and mushrooms, as well as potatoes baked with cheese, baked pudding of spinach or broccoli, and so forth. The staff tends to be attentive and professional and the prices are incredibly low. The menu of the cafe does not contain alcoholic drinks, and the visitors are not allowed to smoke within the premises of any cafe of this chain. Average bill: Under 10 USD. Malaia Posadskaia Ulitsa 2, St Petersburg, ON N0B Russia, Zagorodny Pr., 38-a, 6th Line of VasilievskyIsland, 27 and Kronversky Pr., 35

U Teshcha Na Blinakh (Bliny with your Mother-in-law)

The name of this no-holds-barred Russian-style cafe/restaurant translated, means roughly ´Bliny with your Mother-in-Law´, which given the lay-out of the place - an idyllic pastiche/parody of a rustic hut - would suggest the said mother-in-law is a homely Russian stereotype known the world over. The staff are all dressed in peasant smocks, far less lavish than costumes worn in other Russian restaurants and the food is also dealt with in a no-nonsense manner with a young cook heating your bliny (Russian form of pancakes) while you wait. It´s these blinis which are the salient feature on the menu here and the customers can´t seem to get enough of them. Zagorodnaia Ulitsa, 18, St Petersburg Russia

Valhall

As the name might suggest, this cellar bar right in the center of the city is designed with a Viking theme. The rather lush menu contains dishes such as Flaming Mermaids or Sizzling Spit, “served on a Viking sword”. There is also a stage area through the back decked out with purple velvet fabrics. It should all be good fun, but the place seems tо take itself far too seriously, as witnessed by the dry welcome from suited doormen. However, the quality of the cuisine and the imaginative menu make the high prices worthwhile. Nevskii Prospekt, 22, St Petersburg, FL 190000 Russia

Zolotaia Panda

This is an excellent untouristy Chinese restaurant tucked away on an untouristy street not far from Sennaia Ploshchad´. Nonetheless, it seems to do a brisk trade among a fairly sober, quiet and apparently non-criminal crowd. The decor is fairly standard for a Chinese restaurant - yes, there´s even a little wooden bridge over a little rippling stream - and the nice Russian staff are decked out in Chinese gear. But it´s not over the top and is spick and span. The excellent menu is in Russian and English and there´s a good selection of wines from near and far. Ulitsa Kazanskaia, 34, St Petersburg, DE 199106 Russia

Zoom

Swanky and relatively new, Zoom is aptly named, for time seems to fly by when you´re having fun. Very slick black glass-topped tables set off the blue walls. Books are revered here, as you will realize when two menus are handed to you – one for books and the other for your meal! The menu consists of loads of salads and soups, well-balanced by steak and fish dishes. Leave room for a wholesome dessert, such as an apple baked with honey and nuts. Regular drinkers will be a tad disappointed, though, for liquor is not served all the days of the week. 22 Gorokhovaya Ulitsa, St Petersburg 191186 Russia