Makaronniki//Arena-Hall Business Center,//16 Prospekt Dobrolyubova//Tel: 677 6088//Open midday to midnight//Menu in English and Russian//Meal for two without alcohol 1,800 rubles ($64)
Published: June 16, 2011 (Issue # 1660)
The trend for rooftop restaurants in St. Petersburg, making the most of the flat skyline (the buildings aren’t supposed to be any higher than the gables of the Winter Palace, for those who haven’t been taking notes) continues unabated. So far, Ginza Project’s restaurants have been leading the way, with Mansarda on Pochtamtskaya undoubtedly the leader of the pack — its view of St. Isaac’s Cathedral is a cracker. Mansarda, however, is hampered by its idiotic policy of claiming that the window seats are always booked when they clearly aren’t (nice way to insult all your customers), and by Ginza’s staffing policy — the trick of hiring a bevy of attractive, dolled up girls to work as “managers” in the reception area is worn out and severely undermined by the fact that they are incompetent and ill-mannered. Even if their hair is nice. And last week’s opening of the brilliant cafe and bar area on the top of the W hotel, complete with an even more breathtaking view of St. Isaac’s, indicates that there could be a new kid on the block.
With Makaronniki, the Petrograd Side has made a cautious entry into this high-altitude market, and in terms of atmosphere it’s a success, although the food itself is something of a hit and miss affair.
The restaurant stands on top of a business center on Dobrolyubova, and it has to be admitted that the view is impaired by the surrounding buildings. Nevertheless, the vast windows do wonders with the light, and the distressed wood, natural materials and open kitchen create the impression of being in a trendy beach shack in the sky: As you sit in the window booths that are ranged round the central bar, you’ll find that there’s a relaxed youth and vitality here that you won’t find in the city’s other rooftop restaurants. On a visit several weeks ago, the outdoor area was just being completed, and is now open for business.
The cuisine is Italian, with a range of reasonably priced pastas, pizzas and risottos running from about 300 rubles up to 500 rubles ($10.75 to $18), and again that’s something that puts it in the lead over the city’s other rooftop restaurants, which are generally overpriced (Ginza people, hang your heads in shame).
We started with the lentil soup with black truffle sauce (350 rubles, $12.50), a rich concoction that risked being too oily, but somehow managed to pull it off. The seafood soup (390 rubles, $14) was on the same par, drenched in Mediterranean flavors.
The tuna fish pizza (410 rubles, $14.70) was a good effort and great option for the summer — the thin base was by no means overly heavy, and the topping was generous.
A slight disappointment was the arugula salad with prawns (370 rubles, $13.25), where someone had been far too liberal with the salt in the dressing, making it almost inedible — a shame as the prawns looked mouthwatering.
The hot drinks section is worthy of a special mention, indicating that this place might last past the end of the summer. The cranberry with lime leaf brew (150 rubles, $5.40) and the very sweet and filling milky spiced orange tea look likely to keep visitors coming back for winter warmers.
On Top of the World
Now that the summer and the White Nights are well and truly here, the city’s rooftop restaurants with outdoor seating really come into their own.
The rooftop restaurant of the Kempinski Moika 22 hotel has two very pleasant open-air sections offering fantastic views over the Hermitage, Palace Square and surrounding area. The food is what you would expect from a 5-star hotel.
22 Nab. Reki Moiki. Tel: 335 9111
In addition to its spacious interior, the glam crowd’s favorite eatery has extensive outdoor seating running around the edge of its roof, overlooking the Kazan Cathedral. On warm nights Terrassa is wildly popular, so booking ahead is recommended.
3A Kazanskaya Ulitsa. Tel: 937 6837
Sixth Floor Terrace at the Renaissance Baltic Hotel
Neighboring Mansarda has a contender for the best views of St. Isaac’s Cathedral now that the Renaissance’s summer terrace is open. The compact terrace is not huge, so it’s best to book ahead here too.
4 Pochtamtskaya Ulitsa. Tel: 380 4000