1. Restaurant 'Tsentralny
“There are a lot of jokes about the bad quality of food in the USSR, but I don’t think they are fair”, says restaurant founder Leonid Garbar. “Everything was unified and cooked according to GOST (state) standards, which were the same for public catering from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. When chefs followed the rules and didn’t economize on products, everything was healthy and tasty,” he adds.
The restaurant offers classical Soviet courses: Stolichny salad, vinaigrette
2. 'Sever' confectionery on Nevsky 44
A bakery has operated on this spot since 1903, but the cake shop Sever (which means North) opened in 1936. Locals say the taste of some specialties hasn’t changed at all, while several recipes date back to the 1960s and 70s. The most traditional are
“During Soviet times very few people could afford eating out in a restaurant,”
“This is our classic sweet,” says
Nowadays there are more than 50 Sever bakeries in the city. For many Muscovites, taking some of their tasty desserts
3. Café 'Snezhinka' (snowflake)
This cozy café celebrated its 60th anniversary in November. Founded as an ice-cream coffee shop, nowadays it serves such hits of Soviet cuisine as herring under a fur coat,
The clientele is mostly residents of the Petrograd side of the city (the district of St. Petersburg north of the Peter and Paul Fortress), including actors and filmmakers from the Lenfilm studios, which are located nearby. Artist Vladimir Remenets first came to Snezhinka 20 years ago and even depicted it in one of his paintings: “
4. Café 'Mayak'
Although it’s called a café, it really is closer to a
Dutch-Italian journalist Francesca Visser, who has lived in St. Petersburg for the past two years, included it in her review of local drinking culture.
“I found it on the Guardian
The café is situated on Myakovskaya Street, which is named after the Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. Francesca notes that although the area is becoming more and more hipster, Mayak manages to retain its authenticity. The crowd is very mixed: you can meet students, football fans, couples in their 70 years old, who might live in a communal apartment nearby. “It seems to me that people who go there don't really approach you for chit-chat, conversations always start with some deeper ideological question and then people go on and on talking about politics, history etc”.
NB: there is no English menu, so it would be useful to take a Russian friend or translator with you, if you don't speak Russian.
5. Soviet café 'Kvartirka'
This café is a delicate reconstruction of a Soviet
Maximilian Gassmann from Switzerland, who fell in love with St. Petersburg four years ago while on a language exchange, took his Spanish girlfriend, Carla, for dinner there last spring. “We had Chicken Kiev, birch juice
While waiting for their orders visitors can entertain themselves with such popular Soviet table games as lotto, dominoes
This holiday season, don't forget to read our perfect gift ideas from St. Petersburg.
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