ITMO: The Traditional Сuisine of St. Petersburg

Every year, my friends from other Russian cities come to visit me in St. Petersburg. I always show them the sights and give them a gastronomic tour. In my opinion, until you try its traditional cuisine, you will not be able to fully understand the culture of the city. Today, I will tell you about 5 delicious dishes that you should definitely try when you come to our wonderful city! Bon appétit!


Smelt – the main fish-brand of St. Petersburg. In addition, it is the official ambassador of spring — in April, during spawning season, it is caught by thousands of fishermen, eventually appearing on the stalls near every metro station and exuding a typical cucumber-like smell. Smelt is pan-fried in every apartment and restaurant. Every spring in St. Petersburg, a smelt festival is held that attracts a large number of residents and guests of the city.

In the Soviet years, the oldest confectionery factory in the city, Metropol, made a set of petit fours: reduced copies of cakes, including mini-bouchees, eclairs, cones, sponge strips and shortbread tartlets. The mix was named after St. Petersburg’s name at the time. This is one of the most popular sets so far. All the factories in the city produce such a set.


After smelt, crumpets, or pyshki, are the main “gastrobrand” of St. Petersburg. The secret of St. Petersburg crumpets is that we still make them according to recipe No. 1095 from the Soviet state-standard recipe book. By the way, in the rest of the country, they’re called “doughnuts,” or ponchiki. The most delicious crumpets in our city are prepared in a cafe at Bolshaya Konyushennaya St. 25.

This legend of Soviet canteens inherited its recipe from the Russian-Finnish brine-based soup called kalya. This pickle soup is an improved version of the Moscow version, cooked in chicken broth with giblets and kidneys to which pearl barley, potatoes, and carrots are added. You can eat this delicious soup in all the canteens of the city.

Petrograd salad

The city was called Petrograd in the early 20th century, but the salad of its name was noticed only in the mid-2010s. This salad was invented by the chefs of the cafe Carousel. It is the same as the Mimosa salad, but between the layers of potatoes, carrots, and mayonnaise is not red fish, but chicken with mushrooms. This delicious salad can also be enjoyed in any restaurant or dining room.

St. Petersburg is undoubtedly the gastronomic capital of Russia, so when you come here as a tourist, you should pay attention not only to the beautiful architecture of the city, but also to the culinary masterpieces of the city’s cafes. In this case, you will be able to fully understand the culture of the city.

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