St Petersburg & Russia

Hermitage Tips

Food and Drink

Tip 1

Eat and drink (too much) vodka and blinis at The Idiot, the café with a bric-a-brac design and a menu (Russian and vegetarian) inspired by St Petersburg author Fyodor Dostoevsky. Constant problems with paying by debit and credit card because the machine is always breaking down so make sure you have cash (or argue with the manager after drinking too much vodka: and suddenly the machine will start to work again).

The Idiot Café, Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki 20

Tip 2

Drink an expensive drink at the Grand Hotel Europe bar: a famous entourage decorated completely in Russian Art Nouveau (late at night some contemporary Russian Art Nouveau: ladies of ill repute).

Grand Hotel Europe, corner of Nevski Prospekt and Mikhailovskaya ulitsa 1/7

Tip 3

Visit Kempinski Hotel for lunch at Belle Vue Restaurant, with a superb view - as the name suggests. Not cheap, but very pleasant both inside and outside.

Kempinski Hotel, Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki 22

Tip 4

For those on a budget: dine at Restoran (in Cyrilic it reads: Pectopah), a hip and actually quite beautiful restaurant with a splendidly sanded woodwork.

Restoran, Tamoenni Pereulok 2

Tip 5

Krokodil is a nice, café restaurant with a stylish interior (beautiful crocodile lamps). The cuisine is Russian and European, with excellent Italian dishes at a reasonable price.

Krokodil, Galernaya ulitsa 18

Tip 6

Backstage Restaurant, belonging to and at the back of Mariinski Theatre: ideal for supper after a show. Book in advance, because it is popular among the theatrical crowd. This is conductor Valegy Gergiev living room.

Backstage, Teatralnaya Ploshchad 18/10

Tip 7

Vostotshny Ugolok (The Oriental Corner) is a fantastic restaurant with Caucasian, Central Asian as well as East and Southeast Asian dishes. The plethora of dishes and the size of the servings are reminiscent of Chinese restaurants here in Amsterdam. The food is excellent. The atmosphere is relaxed and loud, and it is always quite full. You have to not mind the television being on full blast (as in most Russian restaurants). Very affordable.

Gorochovaya ulitsa 52, on Fontanka (easiest to reach by taxi; nearest metro station is Sadovaya)

Tip 8

Tinkoff is a bar licensed by a brewery. Light industrial design, with hop boilers. Most of the food is delicious, sometimes you’ll find some unusual and interesting dishes (a notorious item is the metre-long sausage). Slightly more expensive, but not exorbitant. Full especially on Fridays with hip, young people.

Kazanskaya ulitsa 7 (behind Kazan Cathedral. Gostiny Dvor/Nevski Prospekt station).

Tip 9

Giuseppe Park is an Italian-style restaurant behind Spilled Blood church, where Griboedov and Mojka meet. Beautiful location, with a nice semi-open (transparent canvas tent) terrace. This is Russia, so even in this cultivated restaurant there’s a loud television, although there are plenty of places where the noise is bearable. More expensive than Tinkoff, slightly dearer than most Dutch restaurants.

Kanala Gribojedova 2B (Gostiny Dvor/Nevski Prospekt station and a short walk)

Tip 10

Tbilisi: the cuisine in this restaurant hardly needs explaining. It dates from before Perestroika; that it still exists speaks volumes. During the Soviet period and the years immediately after, Tbilisi was one of the few places that served decent food. Delicious in fact, and for extraordinarily low prices. The sturdy interior hasn’t changed since it first opened. Some people consider that positive.

Sytninskaya ulitsa 10, just behind Peter and Paul Fortress (Gorkovskaya station)

Tip 11

For enthusiasts of the megalomaniac Russia of the Brezhnev era: Pribaltiiskaya Hotel on the Gulf of Finland has three restaurants, one of which seats 1,000. In the old days you’d find at least ten people dining. In the background there was always a quaint combo playing Russian folk music. Hopefully that still exists. The colossal hotel is worth a visit in its own right.

ulitsa Korablestroitelej 14 (Primorskaya station and 15 minutes walk. That too is a walk down memory lane. Not overly depressing either, in the summer)

Tip 12

Across from Kazan Cathedral, in one of the few modern buildings in the centre of St Petersburg, above Vanity boutique is La Terrazza. Hip name, less than hip interior, reminiscent of V&D’s La Place. Though (as the name suggests) the real attraction is the wonderful and pleasant lounge terrace. Magnificent view of the cathedral. Order an absinth and an interesting performance follows. Not cheap of course, yet not terribly expensive. And obviously only for a few months in the year.

Kazanskaya ulitsa 3 (Gostiny Dvor/Nevski Prospekt station)

Opening hours

Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed on 27 April (Kingsday)
Open on Christmas Day (25-12) &
1 January 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Roy Beusker Fotografie

More information:
+31 (0)20 530 74 88

More information online ticketing:
+31 (0)20 530 87 55


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