August 29, 2012 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Where to eat in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Moscow?

In September I'll be spending a few days each in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. I'd love to hear recommendations for fantastic places to eat in these cities, particularly those that are representative of local cuisine (so no Mexican food joints even if they are awesome.)

Difficulty level: Low. I'll try anything from hole-in-the-wall dives to haute cuisine, and I have no dietary restrictions except for a deep hatred of bell peppers.

posted by socks are for puppets to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In Helsinki, Lappi Ravintola is really good. Lots of delicious smoked fish, reindeer steaks, etc.
posted by tybstar at 9:26 AM on August 29, 2012

Shinok which is a "theme" place, the theme being Ukrainian farm.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:27 AM on August 29, 2012

Helsinki: It's expensive, but Luomo is fantastic. It's modern cuisine with a Finnish twist.

If you want a great local experience rather than strictly local cuisine, you can get the briefest of ferry rides out to Liuskaluoto for a Finnish take on pizza with Finnish beer at Skiffer and a great view of boats pottering by.

Juuri is supposed to be good too.

Lonely Planet raves about Zetor, a tractor-themed place that is quite kitsch and serves lots of Finnish dishes. It's not that cheap and not that great foodwise.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:31 AM on August 29, 2012

When we visited Helsinki last year, we liked Ravintola Karljohan so much we went twice. A great place for local, cheap eats is the market building (Kauppatori) and outdoor market.

We ate at Kapelli, on the corner by the Kauppatori, and were unimpressed by both the food and the service provided. It's a tourist-y restaurant, but good for a drink for the view its patio provides (though it may be past patio season by September!).

In St Petersburg, we really enjoyed a self-service cafeteria-style restaurant on Nevsky called ЩЕЛКУНЧИК ("Schelkunchik" - the link goes to their English website) because it gave us a chance to try a bunch of different Russian dishes on sight and was both really tasty and reasonably priced.

There was a kind of dive-y student-y bar that we enjoyed in St. Petersburg as well. The food was pretty whatever, but it had lots of interesting drinks available, including a horseradish liqueur that we couldn't decide whether it was good or disgusting... maybe with roast beef... It is called кафе-клуб "ПирО.Г.И." (Cafe Piterogi). This was also one of the only places we went other than museums and an Indian restaurant that people spoke reasonably rudimentary English.

My favourite Russian food was Solyanka, which is a kind of tomato-y pickle soup. I recommend it - and wish I could recreate or find it here!
posted by urbanlenny at 12:16 PM on August 29, 2012

Amazing! I, too, am travelling to Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Moscow for a few days each in September.

For each destination I've thoroughly enjoyed reading restaurant/café recommendations on WikiTravel.

The Helsinki section is very extensive and includes some great-sounding local places, as does the the St. Petersburg page. The Moscow entry is not quite as extensive, but still offers a fair amount of information. Some highlights:

Helsinki: Kahvila Suomi, VPK, Kuu, Cella.
St. Petersburg: Samovar (Самовар), Cafe Old Tbilisi (кафе Старый Тбилиси), Na Zdorovye! (На здоровье!).
Moscow: Korchma Taras Bulba, Lavash, The Old Tower (Старая Башня), Oprichnik (Опричник).
posted by fakelvis at 12:00 AM on August 30, 2012

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