Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)

$

Laima

“Cheap and filling food.”—Sergei Avrutin, film producer. Russian specialties (Solyanka soup and cabbage pancakes) and international dishes; speedy service; housed in a beautifully restored 19th century building overlooking a busy canal. 16 Kanala Griboedova Naberezhnaya; tel. 7 812 449 4153.

Oliva

Authentic Greek food; perfect for lunch; convenient location not far from Nevsky Prospekt; salad bar laden with fresh options; Greek music; art exhibitions. 31 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 314 6563. www.tavernaoliva.ru

$$

Idiot

“The atmosphere of a literary café…cozy, informal.”—Shimon Iakerson, St. Petersburg author and historian. Simple, traditional choices such as herring in mayonnaise and beetroot sauce; impressive drink menu; English-language library; frequented by local intellectuals and their foreign friends; known for vegetarian options. 82 Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki; tel. 7 812 315 1675. www.restoran.ru

Sadko

“Attentive staff and a generous Russian table.”—Maria Akinshina, author, Where: St. Petersburg. Informal atmosphere near Mariinsky Theater; unpretentious Russian specialties including fine seasonal mushroom dishes; well-stocked wine bar. 2 Glinki Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 920 8228. www.probka.org

Russian Kitsch

Elaborate, amusing design details poke fun at Russian pop icons and political figures; traditional and international dishes, including sushi; glass terrace offers superb views across the River Neva to St. Isaac’s Cathedral. 25 Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya; tel. 7 812 325 11 22. www.concord-catering.ru

Dolya Angela

Convenient choice for breakfast; try the kashas (porridges); close to the Philharmonia and Russian Museum; difficult to spot so watch for the sign. 16/19 Italyanskaya Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 571-7716

$$$

Côté Jardin

Original interpretations of French and Russian dishes by charismatic French chef; famous for its Scandinavian Sunday brunch (seafood, baked meats, soups); minimalist sleek decor. 3a Mayakovskogo Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 335 1188.

Moskva

Fashion-conscious hotspot worth visiting for its location and river views; top floor of sleek City Center building; one big room with two levels; pasta and beef specialties. Tip: Call weeks in advance to book an upper level table by the two-story windows. 18 Petrogradskaya Naberezhnaya; tel. 7 812 332 0200. http://www.hotelmoscow.ru/eng/restoraunt.html

Backstage (Za Stsenoy)

Owned by the Mariinsky Theater; perfect for post-performance dining; French-inspired cuisine and extensive wine list; interior features original stage floorboards and props. 18/10 Teatralnaya Ploshchad; tel. 7 812 327 0521. www.elbagroup.ru

Le Borshch

Skillful combinations of French and Russian cuisine served in modest portions; pleasing modern twist to traditional recipes; superb views of the Fontanka River and palaces on the opposite bank. 11 Naberezhnaya Reki Fontanki; tel. 7 812 314 00 56

Probka

Wine bar downstairs from Il Grappolo restaurant; wine-by-the-glass and Italian specialties; known for its Caesar salad and pasta dishes; popular with the local beau mondes and ex-pats. 5 Belinskogo Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 273 4904

Restoran

Authentic Russian cooking; numerous homemade salads and pickles; hand-crafted vodka with different fruit infusions; stylish Petrine Baroque interior. 2 Tamozhenny Pereulok; tel. 7 812 327 8979. www.elbagroup.ru

$$$$

Dvoryanskoe Gnezdo

Housed in a former garden pavilion of the Yusupov Palace; somewhat formal and ceremonial atmosphere; live classical music. 21 Dekabristov Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 312 0911.

Le Paris

One of the first haute cuisine restaurants in the city; Parisian chef and Paris photographs on walls; duck, fish, and vegetarian specialties; French wines; opposite Yusupov Palace on the banks of the River Moika. 63 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 571 9545

Caviar Bar and Restaurant

Part of Grand Hotel Europe; opulent interior; wide range of black and red caviar; dozens of brands of vodka served in chilled glasses; full meals and light snacks. 1/7 Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa; tel. 7 812 329 6000. www.grandhoteleurope.com

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