Cheap & real Russian cuisine in St. Petersburg

We have one very nice fast food restaurant chain in St. Petersburg which is called "Чайная ложка" (teaspoon). You will see a lot of its spots throughout the city, they are bright orange and work in a same way. With one exception which I plan to cover later.

First, there are a lot of them in the city (more than 50), including shopping malls and some railway stations (for example, Moskovskiy does have it but without WC which is weird in my opinion). Their website contains the map but as always does not bother to have English version. If you are already familiar with the city map or with the place you stay in the city, you can zoom in to find a spot close to you:

Second, the prices are really low. The pancake with filling (sweet or sour) will be about 80-200 RUR and the tea or coffee - another hundred.

Third, you can see how they prepare the food: seems like one of fast food rules is to have no wall between cooks and guests.

Forth, despite the fast food principle it's quite healthy here. And nearly all the guests are Russians, so this is not a tourist trap (though it's likely to find another foreigner if you come to the venue situated in the center of the city).

For sure, you will not see any waiters running with radiant and shiny napkins because it's, well, fast food joint. But I see people of many social groups coming so don't be afraid.

Don't forget to bring cash because they do not take cards in most places.

Some tips to feel comfortable with the local rules of order:

1. Come to the side of the counter without cash desk (you will notice the queue there if the place is crowded). Ask for the English menu, they could have it. Choose some bliny's (pancakes) talking to a girl. In the first place they ask only about pancakes so avoid asking for a tea or salads here. 

2. Take an orange tray with an orange indicator with a number on it which a girl gave you. Move on.

3. When the next girls ask you about the salad, choose something by pointing onto it with a finger or refuse. You pay fixed amount for every 100 g of salad so tell a girl if you need more or less of it. Take a plate and move on.

4. Take fork and knife and move to the tea set. You will see small glass cans with tea leaves and you can choose any by pointing onto it. Ask for a small (1 cup) or bigger (2-3 cups) teapot. They pour the water for you or in some places they will ask you to do it yourself because the hot water pot is situated at your side of a counter. Or simply ask for coffee! Move on to the check out.

5. Take a dessert or refuse. And pay in cash. Then take your tray and start to look for a place to seat. They will bring your pancakes according to the number on the orange indicator so place it somewhere on the table to be easily seen from the counter.

6. If you are going to WC, read a 4-digit code on the top of your receipt (something that looks like "КОД ОТ ТУАЛЕТА 1234" where "туалет" means WC) and use it to get in. That's the usual fast-food solution against drug addicts and homeless persons, I've seen this at burger restaurants all around the Europe.

There is one "Чайная ложка" right on the Nevsky prospekt (address: Nevsky, 64) breaking all the rules though. They call it "The New Чайная ложка" and this is an experiment that I guess they should widen. It's more like a small restaurant with wi-fi and wall outlets and even wok food (but it doesn't look like wok, sorry guys, too many sauce). The interior is nice but if we talk about food, I prefer the old fashion.

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