The only thing I was told about Russia was not to expect anything. The food is ‘heavy’. The people are rude. The weather is harsh. However, this couldn’t have been further from the truth and we loved it. Apart from the slight language barrier, the food was amazing and the over decorative architecture made it incredible to walk the streets and enjoy. St Petersburg is stunning.
Walk around the streets soaking up the architecture and local life. There isn’t a lot of tourists in town because it’s so bloody hard to get a visa. Eat all the cabbage rolls, sauerkraut soups and cutlets (like meat pattys) and get sculling Kvass. A local drink similar to kombucha made from fermented rye bread.
Katyusha Restaurant; for a very traditional experience. It is just off the main road Nevsky so it is quite touristy but the interiors and costumes of the waitresses is worth seeing. Pelemni dumplings and cabbage rolls were both great.
Friends Place Café; lucky for us this awesome restaurant was attached to our hotel. If you’re over Russian food go for the pizzas otherwise the traditional dishes are great.
Surf Café; coffee shop with a funky chilled vibe, lots of students on laptops curled up on sofas and about 10 different milk alternatives and vegan croissants.
Mickey and Monkey; this place has everything your Instagram ever desired. Including these ridiculous freak shakes that everyone seemed to be ordering. One was a banana milkshake with whipped cream, 3 slices of cheesecake, a waffle and an upside down ice cream cone with vanilla ice cream and popcorn and lollies. Yes all in the one ‘shake’. One even had a fricken HOT DOG on it! We opted for cheap Aperol spritz and watched the world go by outside.
I am Thankful for Today; a sister café to the one above with great coffee and cocktails. The take away coffee cups are really cute and they made a good almond milk flat white.
Coffee Room Street; another sister of Mickey and Monkey with bright blue vegan pancakes, matcha lattes and more freak shakes.
Mansarda; roof top views over the stunning city
Charlie; great restaurant with a funky twist on Russian food. I recommend sharing the food and getting a view plates so you can taste it all. The savoury profiteroles to start are a delight. We got the hummus and Pate one.
Tsar; Russia food recommendation but we didn’t get around to going.
Moskva; Japanese restaurant with amazing roof top views over the city.
Pyshki; small little popular coffee shop and bakery with lines of locals having their morning sugar coated donut.
Pyshkapyshka; local coffee shop with more donuts – pyshkas.
Hermitage Museum; this building inside and out is incredible. It is one of the oldest and biggest museums in the world. Plenty of French and Russia revolutionary paintings, Da Vinci work and statues from Michelangelo. There are interior rooms from the Russian palaces set up to view and the ornate building itself is just stunning.
Winter Palace; official residence of the Russian Monarchs. Today it forms part of the Hermitage Museum.
Palace Square; the huge square out the front of the Hermitage Museum is just amazing. The buildings are really solid and tall and the colours and finer decorative details don’t go without notice.
Banksy Exhibition; this was in town when we visited so I am not sure how long it will be there for but it was great. If you haven’t seen a Banksy piece, google it and find the closest or next exhibition in your area. It was spectacular.
Church of the Resurrection; spectacular church, probably one you have seen on postcards. Built in 1883.
Mikhailovsky Castle; former royal residence. Built for Emperor Paul in 1789.
Canals; just stroll up and down the canals taking in the views. It is beautiful
So go to Russia. Expect nothing. Hopefully you love it like I did. Don’t forget to look up and admire the buildings.