This Review of Birch Restaurant St. Petersburg, Russia is one of my many St. Petersburg posts. Visiting the Venice of the North? Check out my 10 Travel Tips for St. Petersburg, Russia.
Birch Restaurant Location, Hours and Reservations
Birch is located at Kirochnaya Ulitsa, 3 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although in the city center, this is in a more residential neighborhood of St. Petersburg, a good 20 minute walk from Nevsky Prospekt, so it's not near the more tourist-oriented sights. Instead, consider visiting Birch after a visit to the Summer Garden. Birch is open 1pm-1am daily.
Note that Birch is extremely popular, so it's not a place you just drop into, despite its welcoming vibe. Make a reservation at least a few days in advance. We reserved 1 week in advance for our prime time 7pm dinner reservations, both times that we visited.
During both our visits, most diners were local Russian diners in their late 20s-30s, although there were a few older guests and also some other foreign diners, likely lured by Birch's high TripAdvisor rating. The chefs and servers speak excellent English, so there won't be any language barrier.
The restaurant would be right at home in Brooklyn or Scandinavia, with its high ceilings and spare aesthetic, warmed by wood tables and candles. The main dining room has a long communal table and 2-tops and 4-tops, while the open kitchen reached through the “Staff Only” doors features some bar seating right by the kitchen, as well as a couple tables.
Birch Restaurant Menu and Food
Birch has a straightforward menu; it won't shock you with its dish descriptions, and you won't have to worry about zany combinations. But you're likely to enjoy Birch's new take on classics such as ceviche, pasta, pate and more, in the vein of “why haven't I had this dish prepared this way before?” Here's an excerpt of the menu:
On our first visit we were urged to start with corn bread with onion, which came with butter and olive oil. This was served fresh from the oven, and was delicious. Often in the U.S. I don't care for cornbread, which is too sweet and cake-like. This was more of an actual bread, which I preferred.
Perhaps my favorite dish, so much so that we ordered it again on our second visit, was the Tuna Ceviche, with chunks of fresh sushi grade ahi, nectarines, tomato, and yuzu, dotted with basil oil. If you like tuna, this is a must-order. My husband generally doesn't like ceviche, so was skeptical that he'd like this dish, but it ended up being his favorite as well.
We also tried the Salmon Ceviche, which was good, but just not in the same league as the Tuna Ceviche.
My husband wanted to try the Turkey Pate, which I thought would be boring, but the miso added nice umami, and I loved the way the diced quince punctuated this dish with sweet tart notes.
Beef Tataki, which our server recommended, was flavorful and well complemented by the marinated beets and the ponzu sauce, with its garnish of crispy potatoes adding nice textural contrast.
On my first visit, my main of Duck with Couscous and Carrot and Lychee Cream was very satisfying.
Even better than it, though, was my son's Salmon with Roasted Barley and Citrus Sauce. The description didn't do it justice, it was fantastic.
My husband, on our most recent visit, chose the Lamb Pie, which we shared (so the photo below is only one third of the pie), and featured a tender, well flavored filling and flaky crust.
The Ravioli with pumpkin and black truffle came with a superb sauce that we mopped up to the last drop, but note that there are just 6 raviolis in the serving, so it's on the lighter side.
The Beef Brisket with eggplant has the eggplant as a creamy, flavorful sauce, and was excellent.
After we concluded our savory dishes, we were brought a complimentary palate cleanser of lemon sorbet served in lemon skins–a perfectly refreshing way to end the meal if you're full, or to transition to dessert if you want to end on a sweet note.
We tried two desserts, although there was originally a mixup with one of them. First out was the Hazelnut Mousse with Baileys Ice Cream and Chocolate, and this was my favorite.
My son's favorite, since he likes watermelon so much, was the Strawberry Espuma (foam) with Watermelon Granita, with lime zest adding a pretty and refreshing garnish.
Yes, Birch is out of the way of the main tourist sights, but that's what also makes it a delightful find, and keeps prices reasonable: most dishes, including main dishes, won't set you back more than ~500 RUB, or about $7.50 at the current exchange rate. Even my husband's glass of red wine was less than 400 RUB, or under $6.
We liked everything we tried, but our favorite dishes and must orders are the Tuna Ceviche with Nectarine and Yuzu; the Salmon with Roasted Barley and Citrus Sauce; the warm Corn Bread; the Ravioli with Pumpkin and Black Truffle; Beef Tataki with Beets and Ponzu; and the Hazelnut Mousse with Baileys Ice Cream and Chocolate.
If you've been to Birch in St. Petersburg, what was your favorite dish?
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