Restaurants & Bars

Splendid dining in St. Petersburg

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Splendid dining in St. Petersburg

Lori McLaughlin | Dec 11, 2003 11:43 AM

I was surprised by the quality of the restaurants and the food we found on a recent trip to St. Petersburg Russia. The wine lists, in general in St. Petersburg, were big on French Burgundy and Bordeaux at excruciating prices, but Rhones and Italians (when you could find them) were reasonably priced.

We steered clear of most of the high brow, tourist places (Nobles Nest, Taleon Club, etc.). And instead, found ourselves with great meals at the following:

Hermitage (the Restaurant, not the museum): Across from the Hermitage Museum (with some tables having a view of the Palace Square), ten rooms in all, each with a different menu (and a Russian specialty menu). The Russian specialities here were delightful: Russian pies, sour cabbage soup with veal and mushrooms, zucchini pancakes with country sour cream. The seafood selection was also outstanding.

Aqaurel: Upscale, fusion and very hip. Right on the banks of the Neva--great view. Upstairs deck is one of the hot spots for young Russians. Classics with a twist, foie gras w/ sushi, peking duck, veal chops w/ pumpkin saffrom risotto, etc. Desserts were the best of the trip: chocolate lava cake, chocolate mousse cake, etc.

But my favorite was Viktor: We spyed this place as we walked back to out hotel from Hermitage. The hotel concierge almost steered us away, probably since there wasn't a single non-Russian in the place. Upscale, understated and sleek, very cool. Japanese/French restaurant. We started with a spicy egg drop soup--very unlike most of the egg drop soups I've had with a hint of cayenne to get it a nice kick. Then a round of sushi--I loved the eel/avocado roll but my husband made me trade for his eel/foie gras/cucumber roll. Melted in your mouth. For my main course, I had foie gras w/ shitake mushrooms. The guys had salmon in caviar sauce and veal medallions in lobster sauce. Dessert was ice cream tempura. Nice vodka selection. Yum!

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