Visa-Free
Shore Excursions
in St.Petersburg,
Russia 
Phone: +7 965 09 555 12
E-mail: alexp@stpetersburg-guide.com

Dining

What is one of the most important things for people all over the world? What do they want to try any country they go? What can be plain and exquisite? What has become an art. We are sure you guessed it right - it is FOOD. Since you are going to Russia, can you also give answers to the following questions - what do Russians eat? What is their favorite cuisine? What are the traditional courses in Russia? What is pelmeni and blini? What are the traditional soups in Russia? Why is everybody so enthusiastic about them? If you cannot answer at least one of these questions, you have come to the right place to find the answers!

You cannot go to Russia without knowing the right ones!

The Russian cuisine is extremely diverse and nourishing and its origin is lost in centuries. Here on these pages I would like to introduce you to what Russians usually eat and what they are especially fond of. You'll get to know what our traditional courses are and even learn some of our most cherished recipes so that you could cook a couple of the delicious Russian meals at home!

The tastiest Russian meals are home-made, and not everywhere a public place can be found where meals are cooked according to the authentic Russian traditions of our mothers and grandmothers. But we know several places where you are not going to be disappointed by the choice, the quality and the prices! One of such places is Russian restaurant called "At Gorchakov's". You'll find a warm atmosphere, wonderful Russian authentic interior, hospitality and friendliness. But anyway you should be in the know when you open the menu and that is why we invite you to read this material which has been carefully collected from different old and modern books and articles for you, as well as learn our personal notes on eating in contemporary Russia. But let's start from the traditions of ancient Russia.

Russian people have always eaten a lot! Food was very important for them as it was the symbol of their wealth, social position, health and peace in the family. That is why there were so many traditions associated with meals. Russian dinners were marveled at all over the world, especially those that were held at the Imperial court. There could be more than 3000 people present at dinner; they were served by more than 500 waiters and other servants. Dinners could go on for hours. They could start at 3 pm and be over far after midnight or even in the morning. During the meal there could be more than 300 different courses served. There were several dining rooms in the palaces of the Emperor and in other aristocratic homes.

When you visit the Imperial palaces you will be able to see huge tables laid for 30 and more persons, and upon them - beautiful services and tableware made of the thinnest porcelain, silver, and gold decorated with jewels, produced at St. Petersburg, Moscow and other factories. Foreign ambassadors were astonished at the fact that Russian aristocrats ate and drank "on gold". They never imagined a regular dinner for 300 persons who just "came by" and "dropped in".

That was the custom of Russian hospitality. No host was ever unprepared for any amount of guests. Tables were full of most sophisticated as well as plain courses - ducks, rabbits, venison, mutton, poultry, fish of any kind, red and black caviar, traditional pastry, gorgeous desserts, and, of course, Russian traditional drinks - vodka, ale (myod), kvas, sbiten, and tea. In ancient Russia (before Peter the Great's time) men and women ate separately when guests came over.

But the host's wife had to come in front of the male guests, bow to them with bread and salt in her hands, and every guest had to come up to her and kiss her. In some rich homes the hostess had to come up to every guest in different clothes - after each kiss she left and returned dressed in another garment - it was the way to show that the family was very well off. It was an insult to the host if his guest left home sober or not full. Sometimes guests were forced to drink even if they did not want to. After the feast was over the hostess gave each of the many guests a lot of food to take home with them. It was an insult not to take the food offered. By the way, this tradition still exists.

Nowadays in our country almost all the people prefer authentic Russian food, even when they dine out. Here are traditional Russian courses that are most delicious, that are loved by both Russians and overseas guests so much and that are worth trying here in Russia:

The restaurant "At Gorchakov's" is one of the best in the city, but it is not the only one. There are others that we can recommend for you to visit if your stay in St. Petersburg is far from short.

We are sure you'll love Russian food as much as you'll love our wonderful country. And now that you've read all this it's time for you to go and have something to eat as we are sure this story made you very hungry indeed!