Sorry in advance for my horrid English
I've gotten a few requests to explain how to dine/buy vegan in Russia, specifically Saint Petersburg - where I live/have always lived.
Anywho, for restaurants, there's only two specifically and strictly vegetarian, and I highly recommend them both. Thankfully one of these restaurants is chain, and you can find 18 of them dispersed (with numerous vegan options) throughout our massive city. This is...
(Troitskiy Bridge, Троицкий Мост)
Troitskiy Most is a quaint Russian-based cafe. Most food options are of Slavic tradition, though vegetarianized since the regular Slavic diet is heavily meat-based. Or mushroom based. Take your pick.
The prices are low, but you have to mention that you're a strict vegetarian
(don't say 'vegan', the word isn't in Russian vocabulary) when dining here, so if you're foreign, remember that some options have milk and cheese, but no eggs. In the Russian vegetarian diet eggs are not consumed.
Some of the menu is also usually in English, but defiantly not all of it. The menu changes daily, and they have an amazing salad bar where all salads are made with a Russian Vegenaise. The most easy-to-find location is on the Moyka River, to the right of of the Nevskiy Prospect metro station.Recommended Vegan Dishes
Plov with Porcinis/Aubergines - Reminiscent of the American Risotto, but with a heavy and delicious Slavic Twist.
'Celedka' Salad - A vegan take on the regular Russian 'Herring Under a Fur Coat' Salad, where this fish is replaced with pickled shiitakes. The salad has beets, potatoes, carrots, onion, mushrooms, pickles and vegan mayonnaise,
Russian Pancakes with Cabbage - A lightly fried Russian pancake on Soy Kefir with a cabbage filling.
'Olivye' Salad - A vegan take on the regular Russian 'Olivye' where pork is mixed in with apples, peas, mayonnaise, potatoes, and pickles. The pork here is replaced with porcinis and the mayonnaise is vegan.
Beef Strogonov - This is done with handmade soy meats and covered in a delectable soy-cream based sauce.
(Cafe Bottanist, Кафе Ботаника)
Cafe Botanika is another lovely (but not chain) vegetarian restaurant of Saint Petersburg, but I can't say much about it since I've only been there once in my life. The decorations are beautiful, and I heard tourists speaking in English there with the staff, so foreigners should be fine.
Now, there are many vegan options on the menu, but once again one should mention that they are strict vegetarians here due to this restaurant being milk-and-butter full. The menu here is more international than that of Troitskiy Most, and if you're a fan of Indian Food, this is a good place to dine. But for the authentic Russian experience, all of my kudos go to Troitskiy Most.
Cafe Botanika is located close to the Summer Gardens and the Muhinka Institute of Art (where I'm educatteeeddd).
The two above mentioned reservation are cool and all, but thankfully you'll not die of starvation if you can't stumble upon them. Saint Petersburg offers you refuge in many, maaanyy more ways: Teremok (Теремок), Kroshka Kartoshka (Крошка Картошка), and Chaynaya Loshka (Чайная Лошка)
These three are massive chains that appear on nearly every fricking. street. corner. Teremok and Chaynaya Loshka are both Russian Fast food - they offer quick, Russian go to meals, but they're a 'food for all' place - they offer meat, fish and eggs. But at the same time, you can get delicious vegan salads and Blin (pancake) combinations here - for example, the 'Vinegrette Salad' (pickles, beets, carrots, peas, onions, potatoes) is to die for. And then, you can choose amazing things from their huge Russian Blin menu - some amazing recommendations are Blin with Mushroom, Blin with Cabbage, Plain Blin, Blin with Fresh Greens, Blin with Curdled Sweetened Soy Milk.
And then, there's Kroshka Kartoshka, which is also a 'food for all' chain, but based on potatoes. What they basically do is take a potatoe, much like your Subways, and fill it with anything that you like. Highly recommended fillings are Shiitakes with Pickles, Fresh Cut Beets, Mushrooms, or the Plain 'Post Potatoes'. If potatoes aren't your thing, you can also get 'Vishnoviyi Vareniki' - A dough ball with fresh Russian cherries inside in a sour compote.The Idiot, Cafe Literaturnoye (Кафе Литературное)
If you'd like to go out somewhere extravagant one night, go for 'The Idiot'. This is a historic restaurant that is half vegetarian due to Dostoyevskiy's own vegetarian diet, with many vegan options. The building the restaurant is located within is the house the main character from Dostoyevskiy's 'The Idiot' resided in within the novel. I've heard it's expensive, and so I've never been inside myself as a poor student. But if you're adventurous, go right ahead! The name of the Cafe is also conveniently written out in English, and it's located not far from 'Troyitskiy Most' on the Moyka River off of the Nevskiy Prospekt.
Cafe Literaturnoye is just about the same deal. This is located on the Nevskiy Prospect, close to the historic Hermitage/Winter Palace. The menu here is also partially vegan/vegetarian and rather expensive from what I've heard. However, this cafe is famous for being one of the favourite eating spots of Russia's infamous and great poet, Alexander Pushkin. So if you're fancy shmancy, love Russian food or want to try it, write, and are willing to spend at least 900 Rubles on yourself, hop on down to Cafe Literaturnoye on the Nevskiy Prospekt! Easily identified by a plaque and large portrait of Pushkin near the doorway.
Don't you guys start thinking all you can do in Petersburg is eat in resturaunts! We have many, many fruit markets everywhere - you'll pass at least one with every 5 minutes of walking. Fresh produce is Russia's treasure - most of the food we sell is home-grown and imported from within Saint Petersburg or a village on it's outskirts. Trust the produce, but wash everything you buy
. Strawberries, Cabbage, Cherries... you name it. The prices are inexpensive and the taste is far beyond what most modernized countries have, even when it's an old lady selling it to you in a huge market.
I highly recommend our 'rinoks'/markets, because they'll have produce as far as your eyes can see - and it's always sold at the day of pickings. Plus, the markets are eye candy. Everything is so beautiful!
For drinks - Russia is famous for Raw Beer, and Kvass
. Kvass is a non-achoholic beer that is made by a bread-soaking process and it's safe to give to children. Plus, unlike some beers, it's completely vegan! I'd recommend to get it inexpensively in store - less than 30 rubles for 2 litres - but there are also street vendors selling it from huge barrels in mugs that will give you an authentic Russian experience. Drinks such as Baikal
(A sugary kola made from the roots of pine trees. Waaay better than it sounds) and Tarhun
(A bright green slightly sweet kola made from the grass Tarhun, also waaaay better than it sounds) are highly recommended. As are our 100% natural fruit juices.
I know this article is rushed - Saint Peteresburg is so huge and lovely that it's hard to talk about it all in one entry.
In principle, as long as you'll not cut my throat, I also show and feed vegans around the city when requested. If you wish to have fine details on Saint Petersburg or wish to bask in the awesome of Russia's northern Venice, just private message me and ask for Vasilisa.More coming soon