Meat-free - St. Petersburg's vegetarian eateries

Until very recently, vegetarianism was seen as something like a perversion by most Russians, which made dining in St. Petersburg a trying experience for many vegetarians. Thankfully, in the last few years vegetarianism has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice among locals, and the number of vegetarian eateries has rocketed.

In the past, vegetarian travelers to St. Petersburg were largely relegated to picking the few suitable options off the menu of Caucasian and Central Asian restaurants (still a worthwhile option for a couple of meals) or sticking to the most basic prepared food such as potato pies or pancakes with sour cream. Now, however, St. Petersburg can offer an increasing number of good-quality vegetarian restaurants, the best of which are worth exploring even for more carniverous visitors.

Selected vegetarian restaurants:

International, Vegetarian $
This beautiful cafe a few steps from the summer garden boasts a great vegetarian menu from all over the world, with Indian and Middle Eastern dishes alongside traditional Russian and European offerings. Quality is uniformly high, and Botanika can also offer a charming summer terrace opposite the magnificent Stieglitz Art Academy, as well as a well equipped children's playroom.
International, Russian, Vegetarian $$
Named after Dostoevsky's mystical novel, this long-serving vegetarian restaurant is relatively close to the Mariinsky Theatre, and wins recommendation more for its attractive interiors and friendly - especially foriegner-friendly - atmosphere as much as for its rather basic but reasonably good quality vegetarian cuisine.