There is no way that you could have walked down Невскийпроспект (Nevsky Prospekt) and not noticed the Елисеевский магазин (Eliseyev Food Hall)! Of course, you have gazed inquisitively at the heavily adorned windows, noticed the puppets and glittering decorations, but maybe you have never had time to take a look inside. You absolutely must! This magnificent place is no mere cafe, as you may have guessed. There are over 3000 delicious products to choose from! Naturally, exquisite cakes of every size, shape, flavour and consistency line vast glass cases just waiting to be tasted, but this isn’t all. Explore the various departments and you will uncover delicacies from smoked salmon and caviar, to the finest wines and cheeses.
Even if you’re not in the mood for sweets or fine foods, there is still plenty here to entice you. Stepping inside, you find yourself in a dazzling Art Nouveau hall that is almost overwhelmingly ornate. The gilded ceilings sparkle with crystal chandeliers, and the decoration ranges from the traditional (wrought iron and mosaics), to the fantastically eccentric (giant pineapples). You may also have noticed that the exterior of the building is strikingly different to most of the others on the street. Its construction in 1902 was highly controversial. Now, it is considered one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in St Petersburg!
If Елисеевский магазин is one of those places that you’ve been meaning to go to for a while but have never found the time, then don’t hesitate to go inside. Although the opulent decor may make the place seem expensive, prices here are very reasonable, especially given the impressive quality of the sweets (honestly, they are the most delicious cakes imaginable). For cappuccino and cake for two people, expect to pay around 700 roubles.
One last thing – as you leave, see if you can spot a little tomcat sitting high up on the external wall of the building. His name is Elisey, he is 50cm tall, and is made of cast iron. Donated by historian Sergey Lebedev in 2001, he has since become an attraction in his own right!
Address: 56, Nevsky Prospekt, crossing Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa