Unexplored St. Petersburg: Vasileostrovsky Market
In the heart of St. Petersburg, the historic Vasileostrovsky Market is experiencing a transformation from a place where pushy babushkas sold pickles and herring along with counterfeit jeans to an urban center not unlike its European counterparts.
This summer, it re-opened after a $2.3 million renovation spearheaded by Kantin, a local development company, that envisioned Vasileostrovsky Market as a gathering place that preserves a unique historical vibe and yet resonates with the young crowd. The drab 19th-century building was remodeled with a nod to local architecture, featuring marble slates, granite floors, wrought-iron elements, and modern art on the walls.
The main attraction here is currently the food hall, a concept quickly gaining ground in Russia. Walk in through the giant glass doors and you can’t get past the basil and lime scents of the Vietnamese pho boiling right here in giant vats. The communal tables are filled with people sampling California-style burritos and vegan burgers. Matcha cupcakes and espresso are consumed on the go. In the evening, it's cooking classes and lectures on popular science.
Now the company is bringing fresh dairy, produce, and meat direct from the farms into the “market” part of the space as well as opening an on-site cheese manufacturing facility. The success of this project represents a step change in the traditional use of outdated spaces and shows that it’s possible to honor a landmark’s unique personality while satisfying the growing appetite for international flavors and sustainable fare.
Opening hours: 9 am - 9 pm
Restaurants: 12 pm - 11 pm.
Getting there: Bolshoi Prospect VO, 16/146. A 10-minute walk from Vasileostrovskaya Metro station.