Where to eat

The good news is that St. Petersburg is a self-proclaimed Russian capital of veganism, so there are many wonderful vegan places to make sure you won’t go hungry. According to Happy Cow, a popular vegan app, there are at least 18 exclusively vegan cafes here and  28 vegetarian places that provide vegan options.

Here are three cafes that are must-visit for every vegan in the city:

A nice place with affordable street food: burgers, wraps, hot dogs, and sandwiches. One of their hits is the Sweet Baby Burger featuring tofu, grilled pineapple, sweet peppers, lettuce, and sweet chili sauce. You can stop by for breakfast in the morning or indulge in a freshly-made dessert. As a nice bonus, there are three cafes in different parts of the city so you can choose one that is closer to you.

Are you a picky eater and want to customize your burger? That’s the place to go! At Jiva Burgers, you can choose a bun (apart from regular ones with different flavors there also is a lettuce leaf — definitely a diet-friendly option) and a patty (made with tofu, seitan, chickpeas, etc.). The cafes will charm you with their spiritual atmosphere, Indian music, and the smell of incense.

If you want to go to a bit of a fancier place for a Sunday brunch or a date night, you should try Mir at Berthold Centre. It’s a spacious cafe with lots of plants and big windows — the place is wonderful. The menu is also great but a bit pricey. The dishes are more unusual than just burgers: at Mir, you can try syrniki made with tofu (tofniki) and different types of pancakes for breakfast, nourishing soups and bowls for lunch, and delicious desserts for a night out.

Credit: Anna Pelzer (@annapelzer) via Unsplash

Credit: Anna Pelzer (@annapelzer) via Unsplash

Where to shop

Vegan diets can be pretty simple and consist of products that are sold at the closest store. But sometimes it’s fun to cook something unusual or to find vegan substitutes for meat-based dishes. Vegan shops are life-savers in these situations. So here are three authentic shops that are popular among the vegans of St. Petersburg:

Llamas Shop (@llamasshop)

This tiny place is hidden in one of the courtyards next to the Summer Garden. Llamas provides a wide range of vegan products including frozen items like vegmeni (dumplings with tofu, lentils, mung, and so on) and seitan steaks, a variety of non-dairy milk options, cheeses, and even sausages. Moreover, there are other things for a more conscious lifestyle: cruelty-free cosmetics, reusable water bottles, and phone cases that can be composted after use.

B12 (@b12veganshop)

This nice vegan shop on Vasilievsky Island always tries to surprise customers with unusual products that cannot easily be found in Russia. For example, they have a wide variety of meat substitutes — from cutlets that imitate the meat flavor to fish sticks that are not made from fish. This place is also a must-visit for those of you with a sweet-tooth: you’d be hard-pressed to find such an impressive variety of vegan chocolates, cakes, and biscuits anywhere else in the city.

Bunker (@veganbunkerspb)

As one of the oldest vegan places in St. Petersburg (Bunker was opened in 2015), this shop is well known among many citizens, not only vegans. It’s also located between the Vladimirskaya and Mayakovskaya metro stations, so it can be easily visited by tourists and locals who live in the center of the city. The variety of products is impressive and includes frozen cakes and other desserts, as Bunker collaborates with several vegan confectionaries.

Tatiana Martianova. Photo courtesy of author

Tatiana Martianova. Photo courtesy of author

Tatiana Martianova, vegan since April 2016:

“In recent years, the number of vegan places has rapidly increased. Nowadays, you can find vegan options at almost every restaurant. For example, coffee with oat milk is sold in most coffee shops. In my opinion, Llamas Shop, Hood Street Food and Daner Pizza are must-visit places. Compared to my hometown, Petrozavodsk, veganism in St. Petersburg has been developing much faster.”

All in all, it can be easy to maintain a vegan lifestyle in St. Petersburg if you know where to shop or have dinner out. As there are plenty of small vegan places in the central part of the city (including the Petrogradsky District and Vasilievsky Island), you will probably find several cafes or shops that are located next to your home, workplace or university. Apparently, in the suburbs of the city vegans might face difficulties when looking for meat or dairy substitutes. However, more and more supermarkets widen their range of products and start to sell alternative milk, vegan cheese, and tofu.

Written by Sonya Savushkina,
Digital Journalism student,
Soft Skills 2021