Practical information : Eating out Saint-Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург)
You can't starve to death here. St. Petersburg never sleeps, so it is easy to find something to eat at any time of the day, especially along the Nevsky Prospect where several establishments remain open 24 hours a day! Unlike in France, most establishments serve daily without exception and in continuous service, usually until midnight or 1am, with some going beyond that. Only a few gourmet restaurants close one day a week or can take a break between lunch and dinner services.
Budget & Tips
With such a choice, you can really eat at any budget and from 100 RUB. To eat quickly and cheaply, the famous Soviet-era canteens (stolovaya) are scattered here and there in the city. Lunch is served among office workers, students and workers who are finishing or starting their shift. It is a real local experience and tourists are rare. If their cuisine doesn't deserve a song, they eat very well and at very low prices (often less than 10 € for a full meal). In any case, prices don't bite at SPB and good tables are often more than affordable.
Almost all establishments accept CB, except for small ryumochnaya bars and a few neighbourhood canteens. It is therefore not superfluous to always carry a little bit of cash with you.
What costs extra
Gratuities are at your discretion. The tip standard is around 10%. They are left on the table or given directly to the waiter or bartender. Please note that Russians do not drink tap water, so there are no water jugs, so you will have to order paid water (very cheap), and systematically choose between still water (Негазированная вода, pronounce "nié gazirovannaya voda") or sparkling water (Газированная вода, pronounce "gazirovannaya voda").
The local way
Table reservations are mainly necessary in beautiful restaurants and mainly at weekends. It is easy to find a table without a reservation during the week. The Russians linger less at the table than we do, the service turns faster.
The locals are not very accustomed to eating blue or rare meat (except in establishments specializing in barbaque). It will therefore be necessary to specify the cooking if you want something other than well cooked. Rare is said скровью (pronounced "skoryou") and blue if said "raw".
Your basket of bread may be paid for but not everywhere, so you will need to specify if you do not wish to eat it. And if you are tempted by the bread, the best thing to do is to make sure whether you have to pay for it (Хлеб платный?, pronounce "hleb platniy?") or whether it is free (Хлеб бесплатный?, pronounce "rhleb bièzplatniy?").
To be avoided
Avoid eating in the small, overly colourful street kiosks with pictures of food on the "kebab" type facade and often close to markets. We are the first to encourage you to live a local experience but our mission is not to poison you. However, the quality of hygiene in these food points is often dreadful.
Don't worry about having lunch or dinner with the children, Russians love them and like to go out with the family. The establishments (apart from the bars of course) frequently offer spaces for children to play, sometimes even with entertainers. This is the case of the restaurants Zoom, Yat, Teplo reviewed in these pages.
Smoking is strictly forbidden in public places. Smoking rooms are not permitted in the establishments (except nightclubs), so it will be necessary to go outside to smoke.
The rule may be variable for outdoor terraces depending on the nature of the establishment. The sense of observation, decorum and otherwise a question to the waiter/barman will allow you to be fixed.
Most of them are concentrated in the city centre, along the Nevski Prospect. If you see a flapper, often in disguise, a little sticky and handing out promotional flyers, be aware that it is rarely a good plan.