elegant interiors and careful menu

In the new selection in St. Petersburg, selected gastronomic spaces are located in modern buildings, which stand out with interest among the historical ones.

Cathedral of St. Isaac and Astoria. Photo: press service

On Sunday, in my favorite Astoria, I opened the window in the morning overlooking St. Isaac’s Cathedral and found myself thinking that this weekend in the sunny spring of St. Petersburg, almost all of my restaurants were in new buildings. And we rode in a new boat, and not, as usual, in a battered “barge”. We are so used to the fact that we associate St. Petersburg with classicism and decline that I decided to make a selection of restaurants located in modern and elegant buildings.

Breakfast in French

The light pistachio interior and location of the Frantsuza Bistrot on the river in the state-of-the-art 22nd Admiral Lazarev Embankment, whose main menu was written in March, simply required a soft French breakfast. Frantsuza is now the first and only St. Petersburg restaurant of Dmitry Blinov’s Duoband team, where breakfast is served from 9:00 until 12:30. Chef Ivan Frolukhin, called the Frenchman on the team, worked his emergency service as a cook on the famous cruiser Aurora, operating beautifully and dynamically, like a well-oiled machine. Seeing Ivan in the morning at work is a big charge for a new day.

Right at the entrance, on a white marble table next to luxurious bouquets in vases, smile three types of almond tarts with shiny, seductive, colorful fillings. The toppings are different every day, if there is apricot, strawberry and pear, take all three without looking at them. In my next life, I want to become Ivan Frolukhin’s strawberry tart and lie elegantly on a white marble table under a hug of delicate coral peonies.

Ivan managed to do the impossible: to restore a decent reputation in Russia to a real French quiz. Quiche is an open pie filled with a mixture of eggs, cream or milk, cheese and sour cream. I had salmon and bacon for breakfast. This is not the fuzzy egg substance in the microwave that was given Starbucks and give in 90% of cases. Kishi by Ivan is warm, tender, creamy. My new love in St. Petersburg.

There is also an unusual toast with anchovies and pesto sauce, an elegant omelette with classy red crab sauce and biscuits, silk scramble, soft boiled egg with homemade ham and mushrooms and the thinnest corn porridge with cherries and straits. The only thing that made me ask a silent question was the omelette with brie cheese, it looks like it was made by a student chef: the omelette is tiny and on top it is just a piece of brie cheese. Knowing Ivan’s talent, this dish seemed rustic to me, although the omelette roll, of course, is perfect.

All 70 seats in the breakfast room are occupied, there are families with children, couples and groups – a pleasant noise, like in a real Parisian bistro. The terrace is already open, the bright chairs and sunlight are waking up. So far, only blanket lovers swim to the although sunny, but still cold Petersburg. But almost, and it will not be possible to sit on the terrace.


A gray building with beautiful black glass doors on Dobrolyubov 11. There are two Duoband restaurants here: Harverst and Recolte. Since April 14, Recolte has undergone conceptual changes. Chef Alexey Alekseev was replaced by Dmitry Blinov, who was personally standing in the kitchen.

Dmitry Blinov. Photo: press service

The ride in Recolte this time was comparable to the feeling of a child whose parents had just divorced. Alexey Alekseev made a great, absolutely Michelin star last year. But Dmitry Blinov likes the room to be full and buzzing, and changed the idea to the usual “pancake” food. In the end both bosses won. Aleksey opens his own restaurant in the fall and Dmitri has realized his old dream: to establish procedures in all projects and to stand behind the stove in a beautiful, elegant restaurant himself.

Dmitri cooks on his own, as in the good old Duo Gastrobar, without considering the concept, without any framework. She cooks what she loves most: anchovies with delicious tomatoes, happy yellow tails in soy sauce with truffle and lemon, magic foie gras, lard in potato donuts and A5 Wagyu marbled beef. For some reason, I always remember Lady Gaga in her “meat costume” when I think of Wagyu marble.

Of course, this is not only a different Recolte, but also a different Blinov: the sauces have become more tender, the presentation is more refined. And finally, the ideal Wellington beef appeared in Russia, for which you want to go to Recolte again and again.

The restaurant has taken on a noisy life, the audience has changed: now there are groups of blue-haired teenagers, men in suits and stylish elegant women – all are comfortable and tasteful and the fit is 100%.

I personally met the wonderful sommelier Kristina Veselova (now Gladilina), who oversees all Duoband restaurants. The Satellite Côtes de Bordeaux red wine he proposed in 2017 was “meaningful wine” – that’s what I called it when the brain caught the spiritual movement, the result is like reading a book. I understand why Kristina is the best sommelier in Russia according to Where to Eat (2022), the best female sommelier of the All-Russian Women’s Sommelier Competition (2021) and holder of one of the most famous professional qualifications – the ASI (International Sommelier Association) gold diploma, there are only such diplomas 12 people in Russia.

Confectioner Stas Paul has expanded the dessert menu, there are now seven seats, some of which have been moved from the same set. Feijoa cream, pumpkin tart, basil raspberry ganache and black truffle dessert are at the top of my personal success. Stas also started to smile more, the birthplace of the firstborn Duo, I think he is very happy that Dmitri is back “on the machine”.

After the interview with Blinov, I started to see the whole Duoband team differently. A well-coordinated clockwork mechanism instantly rejects the lazy and the toxic, as well as those with whom, for various reasons, chemistry does not occur. But everyone on the team knows their area of ​​responsibility, they follow the discipline and the director and the project partner do not hesitate to grab empty dishes from the guest back in the kitchen. With the same pleasure they open champagne and bring delicious espresso.

Recolte is a new exquisite shape: human, delicious. Here everyone has access to an aesthetic interior, a glass of Zalto and broccoli and parmesan soup for 450 rubles. For me, this is not only Recolte 2.0, but also Blinov 2.0.

Sea, Signora

Sea, Signora is a fish restaurant by chef Antonio Freza, located in the new business center “Senator” in Bolshaya Morskaya, 30. The mansion was rebuilt from scratch with a detailed representation of the historic façade. In the center of the huge hall is an aquarium with decorative fish. The beautiful menu focuses on the freshest fish, seafood, pasta and an aesthetic combination of Italian and Israeli cuisine.

I have known Antonio for many years, so it was nice to get to an almost family dinner, which he organized in a separate room, called here Casa (Italian – “home”). Crudo, whole pagr, red shrimp with cherries, seafood pasta on a huge platter, tiramisu strawberry and, of course, the famous prosecco in a magnum bottle. Antonio also arranged an entire fire show: two huge fish, the baramundi and the sea bass, are cooked in salt and actually burned in front of the guests.

This year, Sea, Signora opened for the first time a large terrace in the courtyard of the business center. Only this is not the “general well” we are used to in St. Petersburg, but a warm, quiet courtyard like a real Italian patio with climbing green and wicker sofas. From possible rainy days, the courtyard was covered with a transparent dome and the bar was hidden under an arch. It will be great to come to the terrace for an elegant breakfast and cocktail. The entrance, as well as the walls to the terrace, were decorated by florists with flower panels and gates – it turned out to be a bright summer in St. Petersburg.

Ante seafood & bar

What is St. Petersburg without bars? This time there was my favorite Larisochnaya, now still in Petrogradka, the famous El Capitas with their secret room with a fresco of Black Madonna on the ceiling and a taste of rare miscals, a glamorous Mexican Paloma Cantina with St. Petersburg friends and return to the hotel at four in the morning and bypass by raised bridges. But since I have gathered a selection for new buildings, I will mention the Ante seafood & bar, especially since this bar is located in the business district of Neva Town Hall. Consider where to go with your business negotiators: this bar is very different from the drunken fun bars we represent in St. Petersburg.

The Ante is a respectable bar. The visual idea is a reference to Martin Scorsese’s film “Casino”: deep red color, mirrors, a large bar counter with lacquered wooden base in the center of the room, an impressive chandelier decorated with red muslin. A pleasant soft light, like a movie light, illuminates the tables, but not the guests, allowing guests to remain incognito. There is an ironic coral ornament on the floor. In general, the ante is a bet made by poker players before the cards are dealt, a “blind bet”.

Dmitry Blinov is responsible for the kitchen and the aesthetically pleasing dishes. The atmosphere and the visual idea are in the hands of Mikhail Sokolov and Timur Dmitriev, who created more than 25 restaurant concepts, including Atelier Tapas & Bar and Salone Pasta & Bar. The menu includes dishes with an emphasis on fish and seafood: scallop tartar with cucumber, wonton with crab and anchovies with grilled paprika. But there is also “necessary” food: beef cheek with wild garlic, duck breast with porcini mushrooms. To feel luxurious, like in a casino, order a plateau with sea urchins (190 rubles each) and oysters with chili sauce (520 rubles each). The list of bars is another nod to the Casino: martini twists and vodka cocktails inspired by Scorsese movie characters.

There are an incredibly large number of tourists in St. Petersburg now, and even adults. Crowded restaurants. Petersburg in a pleasant pulse: but the rhythms of St. Petersburg-Petersburg-Leningrad remain unchanged. The taxi driver greets you with the phrase: “Let’s tell you the news of the city: we have opened a book fair in Palace Square, all the publishing houses are there!”. – and then makes a monologue about the cost of raising the bridge and the best recipe for fragrant. Dialogues in the style of Dovlatov, the incredible beauty of the building, wonderful ballet and delicious food, for the sake of which we make gastronomic trips.

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