Gifts of the sea - Fish and seafood restaurants in St. Petersburg

Although it's sometimes easy to forget, St. Petersburg is a seaside town and, while there is not much to be caught in the Gulf of Finland, the rivers and lakes of Northern Russia produce a huge quantity of excellent fresh fish.

Fish of all varieties is highly valued in traditional Russian cuisine, so much so that St. Petersburg even has a festival every spring devoted to the arrival of smelts (koryushka) in the Neva Delta. Other local specialties include trout, perch and Baltic herring - soused herring with boiled potatoes is particularly prized as an accompaniment to vodka.

The number of St. Petersburg eateries serving local fish is quite limited, unfortunately. Easier to find are top-end restaurants serving imported fish (mostly from Western Europe) and luxury seafood (including Kamchatka crab and, of course, Russian caviar). These include some of the best and most expensive restaurants in St. Petersburg.

Selected fish and seafood restaurants:

Demyanova Ukha
European, Fish, Russian $$
One of the oldest restaurants in St. Petersburg, this no-frills eatery on the Petrograd Side takes its name from a famous Russian fish soup (ukha) of which it boasts several varieties. There is also a good selection of local fish on offer, cooked and served with the utmost simplicity. As well as reasonable prices, Demyanova Ukha has a specific Soviet-era atmosphere that makes it well worth visiting.
Porto Maltese
Fish, Mediterranean $$$
There are now three branches of this small international chain in St. Petersburg. The concept is exceptionally simple - high-quality fish and seafood imported direct from the Mediterranean, kept on ice and cooked in front of clients with minimal additions or alterations. The results have made Porto Maltese one of St. Petersburg's most popular luxury restaurants, despite the high prices.