During the war, dozens of Italian cafes and restaurants were opened in St. Petersburg. Is this a new trend? Let’s talk about the most notable projects
Petersburg restaurateurs continue to launch projects, many of the new establishments are related to Italian cuisine. New gastromarkets cannot do without residents with Italian dishes: for example, in the space Balagan pizza and pasta are prepared by the pizzeria team “The Master and Margarita”, and on renovated Moscow market the project is responsible for the Italian direction Pio.
Elements of Italian gastronomy are also used by restaurants that are not directly related to Italian cuisine – for example, in a new restaurant of author’s cuisine Paseo del Prado dishes from the Apennines are prepared along with French and Spanish. There are references to Italy even in establishments of other cuisines: for example, a new Japanese establishment Gorilla in the building of the cinema “Mirage Cinema” offers guests an Italian dessert tiramisu, prepared in an Asian style, with matches and lavender.
The war in Ukraine, the economic crisis associated with it and the accompanying logistical difficulties did not affect the interest of business in Italian establishments. In July “Paper” told the stories of ten interesting restaurants opened after February 24 – three projects from this list specializes in Italian cuisine. Another institution – Mina Arama Mnatsakanova – combined the gastronomic traditions of Italy and Lebanon. In July, August and autumn, the interest of restaurateurs in Italy remained: at least ten Italian establishments were opened in the city.
Interviewed “Paper” St. Petersburg restaurateurs assess the popularity of Italian concepts in different ways. Eldar Kabirov, co-owner of 22 cm pizzerias, believes that there are more popular destinations on the city gastronomic market, for example, various variations of Asian cuisine.
– Italian cuisine and restaurants that open on its basis in different formats are moderate classics, not avant-garde and the most popular trend. Compared to the number of Asian restaurants open or looking at fast food, the share of Italian restaurants will be small. At the same time, as I have noticed, the openings of Italian restaurants grow during periods of crisis or strong economic growth. In times of stability, other cuisines and concepts come into favor: Asia, Latin America, the East.
Italian restaurant co-founder Numero Zero at the Vasileostrovsky market, Evgeny Lakotkin believes that Italian cuisine has always been popular in St. Petersburg: “It is for centuries. Because family, simple and for every day. And our people really like Italy.” Chef Ilya Burnasov, co-founder of the new Italian bistro Figata, agrees with him.
– Italian food is delicious. And it fits, I think, most people. The same tiramisu is in any cafe, and this is not necessarily an Italian restaurant, these are some kind of marker Italian dishes. Italian cuisine uses familiar products – pasta. Everyone eats pasta, only in Italian restaurants we call it pasta and cook it with different sauces. This is an understandable and varied meal for every day, and you can alternate different dishes: today eat pizza, tomorrow – pasta, the day after tomorrow – risotto.
By request “Paper” portal Restoring studied the statistics of opening Italian restaurants and cafes in St. Petersburg in recent years. It turned out that the interest of restaurateurs in this area remains stable year after year.
From 2015 to 2022, at least 30 Italian projects were opened in the city a year. From the beginning of 2022 to mid-October, 37 new Italian establishments entered the St. Petersburg market, which is more than all 2021but significantly less than in 2015, when a record 66 Italian cuisine projects were presented to Petersburgers.
Establishments of many other popular cuisines – Georgian, Russian and Pan-Asian – are opened in St. Petersburg less often than Italian ones.