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.
Taking its name from 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, signature Sever chocolate cake with cream and moreish almond biscuits.
An exotic and eye-catching option, Waff & Love specialises in Hong-Kong style waffles. Visitors first choose their favourite flavour of waffle—plain, vanilla or chocolate—and then decide which filling to have, with options such as peanut butter, marshmallow, chocolate and a variety of fruits to choose from. The finishing touches come from toppings like cream, ice cream, Nutella, berries, exotic fruits and caramel.
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 a raspberry éclair 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. With two outposts at both the Zanevsky Cascade Shopping Centre and Loft Project ETAGI, visitors have double the opportunity to sample Di Neve’s cool, creamy delights. 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.