Before arriving in Saint Petersburg, we hadn’t given much thought to the food that we would find there. We’d read that there was plenty of potato and meat (pickled cabbage, anyone?) but not much else. Once we arrived, however, we were wowed by the number of independent, quirky and cosy cafes , each offering an enormous range of delicious and varied food. Below are our favourite cafes that we visited, each as weird and brilliant as the other!
1) Zoom cafe € €
This cafe was our heaven. We love all things quirky and Zoom gave us just that. Stepping into this cafe is like stepping into a children’s room: teddy bears; board games; toys and strange unidentifiable brick-a-brack, fills every corner. It is bright, loud, colourful and eclectic. But what really makes it special is that as you slowly look around, you’ll notice that at each table, every adult is madly colouring and drawing away.
Sure enough, as soon as we sat down, we were handed a big piece of paper and a pot of pens, and told to let our creative juices flow free! Throughout our delicious meal, we scribbled, coloured and drew away. Granted, Laura has zero artistic skill, but it was still a fantastic evening.
2) Yat Restaurant- Buffet € €
We stumbled upon this cafe by chance, as it was right next door to our hotel. What seems a common theme with the cafes in St Petersburg is the cosy feel they all have. We imagine that during their bitterly cold winters, all the people of the city are tucked away in these warm and welcoming places, sharing cake, tea and vodka. This cafe served delicious food, including vegetarian food, home brewed honey beer and a wide range of vodka. Just to add to its appeal, there was even a room out the back with baby rabbits. Yes, we repeat, baby rabbits. We loved this place so much we came back four times. On our last trip here we enjoyed traditional ‘Russian Tea’, complete with homemade biscuits and jam. Delicious!
3) CyACTbE Cafe (Happiness Cafe!) € €
Very aptly named, this cafe is a treasure trove of positivity. With soft white decor (think angel wings and chalk boards full of inspirational quotes) and complete with a delicatessen in the corner, this is a great place to come for something sweet. Although the mains were perfectly nice, the cafes real selling point is its menu of these treats. We treated ourselves to heart shaped jam biscuits, bear themed cookies and huge slabs of cake. Mmmm.
4) Eliseevskiy Store € € €
This is less of a hidden gem and more on an institution in St Petersburg. Built in 1902-1903 and housed within a beautiful Art Nouveau building, stepping foot in this store is like stepping back to Russia’s most opulent era. With twinkling lights, a self-playing piano and a giant palm tree in the middle of the store, this enchanting place is a sweet lovers’ heaven. We spent at least an hour walking and gawping at the amazing cakes, macaroons and candied fruit. It had a wonderful atmosphere and should be a definite must-see for anyone visiting the city.
The great thing about all of these cafes were their value for money. Even with a glass (or ten) of alcohol, and a main and starter, all meals were under £15. It’s one of the most economical cities we’ve visited to date. Yet, their cheap prices do not make for a cheap experience and we would urge anyone visiting Saint Petersburg to take the time to find a cafe, order some cake and take an hour or two to enjoy this wonderful aspect of the city.