In a climate that can be as crisp and icy as St Petersburg’s, the promise of a delectable dessert or two is guaranteed to keep intrepid explorers warm. Luckily, the Russian city has a mouth-watering assortment of venues catering to sweet-toothed locals and visitors alike. Get a taste of classic Russian confections, indulge in Asian-inspired bubble waffles, appease your inner child with an ice cream sundae of fantastical proportions and experience fine dining interpretations of national favourites. Follow our food tour of St Petersburg to find the city’s sweetest spots.
Named for the Russian for ‘north’ and in operation since the 1930s, Sever is, perhaps unsurprisingly, something of a foodie institution in St Petersburg. Head to the flagship location on Nevsky Prospect and prepare for a feast of traditional Russian cakes and confectionary. Enduring favourites include the Soviet Kartoshka and Sever’s signature chocolate cake with cream and moreish almond biscuits, both said to be made from the same, unchanged recipes of the 60s and 70s.
A particular favourite among younger diners, Mickey & Monkeys is a spacious and welcoming café with great views of Kazan Cathedral and Gorokhovaya Street, as well as Griboedov Canal. However, the stars of the show here are undoubtedly the Overshakes, which are head-turning, gargantuan ice cream sundaes created in weird and wonderful combinations. Choose from flavours like the “Green Mile”—apple milkshake served with candyfloss, waffle, apple cake, ice cream and topped with a doughnut—or the “Betti Bup” banana milkshake, which comes with passion fruit cheesecake, waffle and whipped cream. For the less daring, there’s also an excellent selection of traditional desserts, such as raspberry éclairs and tasty blackberry cake.
One of the leading lights of St Petersburg’s food scene, Cococo combines seasonal Russian produce with immaculate, artistic presentation. Presided over by chef Igor Grishechkin, its savoury offering delivers classic Russian recipes with modern flair, but it’s the dessert menu that’s particularly captivating. With enigmatic yet enticing names such as Piggy Bank and My Mother’s Favourite Flower, Cococo’s desserts are innovative and delicious in equal measure. Expect imaginative and original takes on favourites such as crème brulee, tiramisu and baked Alaska. Moreover, traditional Russian sweets, such as honey cake, are given a new spin – here it’s served with a very clever beeswax ice cream and there’s also an inventive ice cream menu that features scoops such as tea and honey sorbet or Halva ice cream.
Made with only natural ingredients and available in a wide variety of flavours, it’s little wonder that Gelateria Di Neve is St. Petersburg’s favourite ice cream parlour. Choosing from over 110 ice cream flavours and around 40 different kinds of sorbet might prove challenging for food lovers visiting St Petersburg. Moreover, Di Neve also shapes their ice cream cones into perfect roses, making them (almost) too good to eat.
With a menu based on Ayurvedic principles, St. Petersburg’s oldest vegetarian and vegan gourmet café proves you can enjoy healthy eats without compromising on flavour. In addition to its broad menu of savouries, its sweet offerings are colourful and unusual, drawing on cuisines around the world. Sample vegan and mostly sugar-free specialities, from Mayan Wonder Bars to Mango Burfi.
Set in the former Grand Hotel du Nord across the road from Moskovsky, Du Nord 1834 is a charming blend of smart Parisian patisserie and cosy bakery. Settle in beneath crystal chandeliers and Art Nouveau features to enjoy an appropriately elegant range of French pastries, including the usual suspects such as croissants and cream puffs to more extravagant desserts in the form of tarts topped with glistening strawberries.
Guests with a taste for sophisticated desserts will discover plenty of culinary delights at Corinthia St Petersburg’s Lobby Bar. Join us for afternoon tea for a gourmet platter of macarons, lemon meringue tartlets, creamy profiteroles and elegant sponges has been perfected by the pastry chef. Served alongside a beautiful selection of finger sandwiches, it’s dessert at its very finest. Enjoy it with tea, or choose a chilled flute of Moët & Chandon to toast the good life.
Murder, intrigue, crime and punishment… St Petersburg has it all. Those fascinated by the more ghoulish side of history will love these significant spots from fiction, and real life.