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Geographia: A Culinary Discovery

Geographia // 5 Ulitsa Rubinshteina // Tel. 340 0074 // Open 11 a.m. until the last guest leaves. // Dinner for two with alcohol 3,980 rubles ($120.56)

Published: January 15, 2014 (Issue # 1793)



  • Despite the lack of natural light, the windowless interior is comfortable and resists seeming claustrophobic.
    Photo: VKontakte

The latest eatery to open on Ulitsa Rubinshteina, Geographia is a cut above the rest, single-handedly raising the tone of a street that frequently offers more choice than quality. Of the street’s handful of truly enjoyable restaurants, Geographia now tops the list of places that deserve a second visit.

Visiting early on a quiet evening over the new year holidays, the true character of the place was not yet in evidence. What we did find was a calm, elegant and modern oasis that was at once welcoming and familiar.

Ushered into the back dining room ­ — a windowless chamber that is tranquil and plush — we settled into a wide, comfortable booth. With walls covered in a burgundy red painted paneling and herringbone tweed and red seat coverings accented with a band of electric blue, the room is furnished with a beautiful hexagonal table at its center and resists seeming claustrophobic despite the lack of natural light.

The menu at Geographia presents a mix of Asian inflected dishes that treads a fine line between fusion and classicism. The wine list is one of the best we have come across in a long while and the selections by the glass are all appealing. While waiting for glasses of a 2010 Billaud-Simon Petit Chablis (390 rubles, $11.81), we skimmed the concise menu finding it hard to choose from the delights on offer — but choose we did.

For starters, a Greek salad (320 rubles, $9.69) seemed like a good way to find out what the kitchen was capable of, requiring as it does a certain amount of restraint and the highest quality ingredients to make it sing. What arrived was a wide and shallow black bowl filled with a mix of greens, roasted peppers and tomatoes with an herb-covered slab of rustic feta. To keep the salad from being over dressed or wilting, the sauce was presented in a footed shot glass. While not strictly traditional in flavor it was, however, delicious.

The next appetizer to emerge from the kitchen was a roasted beetroot carpaccio with a house-made cheese (290 rubles, $8.78). Expecting a pinwheel of crimson discs on a plate, it was a pleasant surprise to be presented with five slices of beetroot folded around a creamily delicious cheese perched atop a bed of arugula and tomatoes. Presented on a wooden cutting board covered with a piece of butcher’s paper, the beets were slightly charred and perfectly complimented by the creamy cheese and a tiny dash of fresh horseradish topping each Agnolotti-shaped bite.

For mains we selected for lamb chops (850 rubles, $25.75) and a steamed sea bass (640 rubles, $19.39). The fish apparently changes with what is available in the market but we were pleased with the bass, which was the platonic idea of clean simplicity, steamed in a banana leaf and served a slightly spicy Thai tomato sauce. The lamb arrived atop a trio red and yellow roasted peppers and was perfectly rosy on the inside and crusted with a blend of spices that included black pepper, garlic and coriander. The lamb was accompanied by two violently colored sauces — one red and one green — which suited the meat perfectly. A plate of grilled vegetables (240 rubles, $7.27) that included tiny new potatoes, peppers and eggplant were cooked to perfection and provided just enough of a side to share.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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