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Northern Europe & Baltics Aarhus, Bergen, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Greenland, Helsinki, Oslo, Riga, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallinn

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  #1  
Old April 3rd, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Default Restaurants in St. Petersburg

We'll be taking a custom tour with Denrus when we are in St. Petersburg this summer. Denrus sent us a list of recommended restaurants for our lunches each day, but also said that we could stop at any restaurant, whether or not it was on the list.
Does anyone have a favorite restaurant (or two) to recommend? We'll be a group of nine (including three children aged 10-13); we're not looking for anything fancy, but we also don't want to descend to MdDonald's level either. I guess the main thing is something relatively quick and easy; we'll be eating our main meals on board ship, anyhow.
Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:47 AM
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Try Stolle's. Our Denrus guide, Elena, took us there and we loved the russian pies. They are square slices filled with either salmon, meat, rabbit, cabbage, or mushrooms. For dessert, more pies! They had apple, peach and chocolate? Most local patrons were genteel and would have one slice to share with a couple cups of coffee. We barbarians from the West ordered two slices of each and had dessert pies as well.

Our favorite was the cabbage and meat. Our guide and driver each had a slice of the salmon. The dessert pies were a little on the sweet side. Oh, we had soda with our pies (probably a big no-no). I think one of the fun parts of our tour was sitting down to a simple meal and eating with our guide and driver. Our driver Andre didn't speak much English but our guide was extremely fluent in English and translated for us and Andre. We asked many questions about their life and family, and they asked many questions about our lifestyle in the US.

The pies were a high-end food item for the average working Russian family so it was nice to see our guide and driver enjoy their food and they really loosen up and treated us like family throughout our 2 days with them. Our time in St. Petersburg with our guide and driver was one of the best private tours that we have taken.

Happy Planning.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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We have a small group with DenRus in July. One day, we eat with a Russian Family. The second day, we eat in a restaurant. We are hoping that our driver and guide will join us as our guests. How do you handle this since everything has been prepaid with Denrus? Thanks for your advice.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Default Eating with guide and driver

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We have a small group with DenRus in July. One day, we eat with a Russian Family. The second day, we eat in a restaurant. We are hoping that our driver and guide will join us as our guests. How do you handle this since everything has been prepaid with Denrus? Thanks for your advice.
Let me quote what our contact with Denrus wrote:
"The tradition has always been that the guests invite and treat their guide to an identical lunch they are ordering for themselves. The reason for this is that almost all of our cruise passengers are visa-free tourists, and accordingly the guide is expected to be with you on all occasions. Weather you want the guide to sit with you and next to you, or you prefer your own group’s privacy, that is another question and up to you. You have the right to tell the guide that you’d prefer if he/she sat in another table, no offence. The driver is not so much engaged as the guide, and can take care of himself, while you are touring various museums. However, some gusts like to invite for lunch both the guide and the drive to create warm and friendly atmosphere for two days of their tour. This is all up to you."
I assume that we'd pay for their lunch on the day, but I'm not sure.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Default Stolie's

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Try Stolle's. Our Denrus guide, Elena, took us there and we loved the russian pies. They are square slices filled with either salmon, meat, rabbit, cabbage, or mushrooms. For dessert, more pies! They had apple, peach and chocolate? Most local patrons were genteel and would have one slice to share with a couple cups of coffee. We barbarians from the West ordered two slices of each and had dessert pies as well.

Our favorite was the cabbage and meat. Our guide and driver each had a slice of the salmon. The dessert pies were a little on the sweet side. Oh, we had soda with our pies (probably a big no-no). I think one of the fun parts of our tour was sitting down to a simple meal and eating with our guide and driver. Our driver Andre didn't speak much English but our guide was extremely fluent in English and translated for us and Andre. We asked many questions about their life and family, and they asked many questions about our lifestyle in the US.

The pies were a high-end food item for the average working Russian family so it was nice to see our guide and driver enjoy their food and they really loosen up and treated us like family throughout our 2 days with them. Our time in St. Petersburg with our guide and driver was one of the best private tours that we have taken.

Happy Planning.
Do you remember, more or less, where Stoli's was located? Or what sites it was near? It sounds really interesting to me, but only if it will not require a detour from our tour. Thanks.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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MacThespian, thank you so much for posting this. Apparently, this is commonly done so I agree with you...we'll probably just pay there. The tip would be paid locally as well...so this would make sense. I hope the same procedure works for "Lunch with a Russian Family". This is why we travel: to learn!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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MacThespian, thank you so much for posting this. Apparently, this is commonly done so I agree with you...we'll probably just pay there. The tip would be paid locally as well...so this would make sense. I hope the same procedure works for "Lunch with a Russian Family". This is why we travel: to learn!
Glad I could help. i've learned so much from others on these boards, so it's good to be able to reciprocate a bit.

We were thinking of lunch with a Russian family, but we have a group of 9 and Denrus indicates 8 is the maximum. Besides, we're doing so much other stuff that I don't think we'd have time to make the most of this. Have you decided which restaurant you'll be eating in when you're not dining with a Russian family?
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Old April 4th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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We going to 28 Millions. Apparently it's close to the Hermitage and will save us some time on a very busy day. As for eating with a Russian family, I think they have had to split us up into two groups to make that work. Thanks again for your input!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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We going to 28 Millions. Apparently it's close to the Hermitage and will save us some time on a very busy day. As for eating with a Russian family, I think they have had to split us up into two groups to make that work. Thanks again for your input!
We've pretty much decided on 28 Millions for one of our lunches also. Now we have to decide on the other!

We leave for the UK on July 31, and start our cruise on August 5th. If you have time to post any reactions to your tour (and/or the lunches), that would be great.

Enjoy your cruise and tour!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 04:23 PM
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MacThespian...will do! We'll be back July 24th and I'll send our impressions...which I'm sure will be positive!
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  #11  
Old April 4th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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MacThespian...will do! We'll be back July 24th and I'll send our impressions...which I'm sure will be positive!
Thanks, Mushroom. I really appreciate it.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 04:43 PM
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To answer the questions about Stolle. I don't have the specific address. I had a business card but can't find it now. It seems like the Stolle cafes are a chain franchise so there would be a few in the city itself. I could be wrong about this. Ask your Denrus contact person. Actually, we were scheduled to go try Bliny House but our guide suggested that we may want to try the pies instead because it was closer to one of our sightseeing stops (maybe Church of Spilled Blood).

This cafe only took rubles. I had some local currency from our last cruise to Russia. But I had our guide take us to a money exchange location and she went in as a local to get me $300 of rubles (we enjoyed shopping at the dance store). She went into the money exchange location by herself and gave me the rubles along with the exchange receipt so I knew how much was the exchange rate and how much I was suppose to get back.

Whether to eat with your guide and pay for their meals is a matter of personal choice. My husand and I just felt that we spent so much money already (about $1000 for a family of 4) that treating our guide and the driver is not a big deal. We made a good impression with our guide & driver and they really treated us like good friends. Our driver always parked as close as possible to the sites and came out to escort us from the dance shop (where we spent some money) to the car so our purchases wouldn't be snatched as we were walking back to the car. Andre, our driver, carried my sleeping daughter from the van to the immigration hut after our 1st long day in St. Pete. Our guide always kept one eye for the restrooms and when there was a short line, suggested that we go immediately before the big tour buses came. We spent more time at the Petershoff fountains because our guide saw how much our kids loved the gardens and fountains. St. Petersburg really was the highlight of our Baltic cruise, not only because of the rich history and amazing architecture, but also from learning about how the Russian people live and what they think.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Default Stolle

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To answer the questions about Stolle. I don't have the specific address. I had a business card but can't find it now. It seems like the Stolle cafes are a chain franchise so there would be a few in the city itself. I could be wrong about this. Ask your Denrus contact person. Actually, we were scheduled to go try Bliny House but our guide suggested that we may want to try the pies instead because it was closer to one of our sightseeing stops (maybe Church of Spilled Blood).
This cafe only took rubles. I had some local currency from our last cruise to Russia. But I had our guide take us to a money exchange location and she went in as a local to get me $300 of rubles (we enjoyed shopping at the dance store). She went into the money exchange location by herself and gave me the rubles along with the exchange receipt so I knew how much was the exchange rate and how much I was suppose to get back.
Whether to eat with your guide and pay for their meals is a matter of personal choice. My husand and I just felt that we spent so much money already (about $1000 for a family of 4) that treating our guide and the driver is not a big deal. We made a good impression with our guide & driver and they really treated us like good friends. Our driver always parked as close as possible to the sites and came out to escort us from the dance shop (where we spent some money) to the car so our purchases wouldn't be snatched as we were walking back to the car. Andre, our driver, carried my sleeping daughter from the van to the immigration hut after our 1st long day in St. Pete. Our guide always kept one eye for the restrooms and when there was a short line, suggested that we go immediately before the big tour buses came. We spent more time at the Petershoff fountains because our guide saw how much our kids loved the gardens and fountains. St. Petersburg really was the highlight of our Baltic cruise, not only because of the rich history and amazing architecture, but also from learning about how the Russian people live and what they think.
Thanks for the detailed response. I'm concerned about location just in terms of not having to go out of our way all that much to eat lunch, but it sounds like we could handle this.
I had sent an email to my Denrus contact, but didn't have a reply when I posted here. (That was a good suggestion of yours, though.) Yes, it is apparently a chain, but as you note, it offers a bit of variety and something we don't normally get.
All of us like the idea of eating with our guide and driver. The additional cost is not a big deal, and I think it's just another way to enrich the experience for us. We're planning on doing it.
Do you recall how expensive Stolle was? It sounds quite reasonable from your description, but there will be three unrelated families on this tour and I'd like to have all the information for them.
I really appreciate alll the details.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:41 PM
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I don't recall the exact price but I think we spent around $45 to $60 USD for at least 7-8 slices of entree pies and an additional 3 slices of dessert pie. This amount fed 4 adults, 2 small children, and our guide plus driver. Oh, we had 3 sodas and 3 cups of tea. I wouldn't be surprised if the sodas cost more than the slices of pie. I don't think we tipped at Stolle because it was sort of self-serve. You go up to the counter and point/tell what you want and you take your slice of pie to your small table. A staff person did bring us our drinks. I am pretty sure that I asked our guide if we needed to tip, and she must have said no. We went to a sit down lunch the next day and I did leave a tip at this restaurant.

During our meals together, I learned that our guide and her husband met at the University while studying Geology. Her husband is a professor in England and she has two daughters. They have an exotic persian cat. The "in" thing is to eat sushi. Most average Russian workers do not eat out often because it is too expensive. They cook at home. Our guide makes sushi at home. Sounds like being a tour guide pays way more than being a professor in Russia. Our driver was very proud to tell us that his daughter is studying in Germany at a university. It was interesting to just hear about everyday life in Russia and takes away the perception that "most Russians never smile".
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Old April 5th, 2007, 11:00 PM
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I don't recall the exact price but I think we spent around $45 to $60 USD for at least 7-8 slices of entree pies and an additional 3 slices of dessert pie. This amount fed 4 adults, 2 small children, and our guide plus driver. Oh, we had 3 sodas and 3 cups of tea. I wouldn't be surprised if the sodas cost more than the slices of pie. I don't think we tipped at Stolle because it was sort of self-serve. You go up to the counter and point/tell what you want and you take your slice of pie to your small table. A staff person did bring us our drinks. I am pretty sure that I asked our guide if we needed to tip, and she must have said no. We went to a sit down lunch the next day and I did leave a tip at this restaurant.

During our meals together, I learned that our guide and her husband met at the University while studying Geology. Her husband is a professor in England and she has two daughters. They have an exotic persian cat. The "in" thing is to eat sushi. Most average Russian workers do not eat out often because it is too expensive. They cook at home. Our guide makes sushi at home. Sounds like being a tour guide pays way more than being a professor in Russia. Our driver was very proud to tell us that his daughter is studying in Germany at a university. It was interesting to just hear about everyday life in Russia and takes away the perception that "most Russians never smile".
Thanks for all the information. It's certainly an inexpensive lunch, but it sounds delicious. And you obviously learned a lot from your guide and driver.

I really appreciate your taking the time to clear things up for me.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Stolle cafes are located in Konyushenny pereulok #1/6 (close to the Church-on-Spilt Blood), in Dekabristov str. # 19 and #33 (both - not far from the Theater Square and Mariinsky theater), yet another one - in Vasilievsky island, 1st line, #50.
Thanks, Alexei. I think we'll probably be able to eat at one of these.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Another nice place to catch a quick lunch - Stroganoff cafe located in the yard of Stroganoff palace (Nevsky prospect, corner of Moika embankment). One can have an inexpensive good meal served buffet-style.
Thanks for the suggestion, Alexei.
Do you by any chance live in St. Petersburg? (Just wonderring.)
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Old April 9th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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There is so much to see in two days in St Petersburg, that anything other than a quick lunch wastes too much time. On day one we had a quick lunch on our Den Rus tour (7 of us) with or guide. We had great perogi's at a buffett restaurant. The second day we did not want to waste time eating after being stuck in unbelieveable traffic, that we skipped lunch altogether so that we could see everything we wanted. We were so busy we didn't even miss the not eating. There is plenty of food on the ship when you get back. Have fun, it is a great trip.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 10:47 PM
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Smile Thank you for your gentle reminder

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We made a good impression with our guide & driver and they really treated us like good friends. Our driver always parked as close as possible to the sites and came out to escort us from the dance shop (where we spent some money) to the car so our purchases wouldn't be snatched as we were walking back to the car. Andre, our driver, carried my sleeping daughter from the van to the immigration hut after our 1st long day in St. Pete. Our guide always kept one eye for the restrooms and when there was a short line, suggested that we go immediately before the big tour buses came. We spent more time at the Petershoff fountains because our guide saw how much our kids loved the gardens and fountains. St. Petersburg really was the highlight of our Baltic cruise, not only because of the rich history and amazing architecture, but also from learning about how the Russian people live and what they think.
tclowe -- I just stumbled across your post. I have no idea why I read the thread when we aren't (until I read this thread) planning on a meal in St. P.

I had to stop to say thank you. Thank you for the details and thank you for the reminder that we are visiting Russia not just to visit historical sites but to meet the people of Russia.

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Old April 12th, 2007, 10:57 PM
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tclowe -- I just stumbled across your post. I have no idea why I read the thread when we aren't (until I read this thread) planning on a meal in St. P.

I had to stop to say thank you. Thank you for the details and thank you for the reminder that we are visiting Russia not just to visit historical sites but to meet the people of Russia.

I recall what a friend I met in Germany once told me: You can see buildings anywhere; it's the people that make the difference.

He's right. Yes, I certainly like seeing historical sites and amazing palaces, but what I'll remember from our trip are the people we meet.
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