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Vinostudia: Bargain Basement Buzz

Vinostudia // 38 Ulitsa Rubinshteina // Tel. 380 7838 // Open Sunday –Thursday 10 a.m to 2 a.m., Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 a.m. // Menu available in English // Dinner for two with alcohol 2706 rubles ($82.68)

Published: July 31, 2013 (Issue # 1771)



  • The minimal black, beige and bare concrete palette is a refreshing change from the over-the-top designs of many restaurants.
    Photo: For SPT

In a land where tastes run to vodka, “champagne,” and semisweet wines, serious vintages have had a hard time gaining a foothold among the general population. Vinostudia, a self-styled “gastrobar” is taking a stab at changing that and, if the crowds are any indication, is having some success. Unfortunately the wines on offer never rise much above the variety that can be found in most bodegas and supermarkets. But at least it’s a start and the concept is clear; a large selection of low-priced wines by the glass and a bit of food to go along with them.

Presenting a clean, almost Spartan, interior, the restaurant is pleasant enough although it relies a bit too heavily on Ikea for its design inspiration and so feels rather cheap and flimsy. The minimal black, beige and bare concrete palette, however, is a refreshing change from the over-the-top designs of many restaurants and provides a soothing, neutral background against which to focus on the food and wine.

On first entering we were intrigued by a banquette mounted high on the wall with tall tables and stools but after a few minutes of uncomfortably dangling feet decided to move one level down to one of the nearby tables.

It took a while for someone to offer a menu but the young, friendly staff, once they woke up, were pleasant and efficient. At least there was no lack of smiles and the fear that was evident on the server’s face at having to deal with a table of foreigners faded somewhat as the meal progressed.

A prossecco and raspberry cocktail (180 rubles, $5.50) was a light and refreshingly tart way to start the evening and so we enjoyed that while perusing the menu and wine list. The menu at first seems to be mostly small dishes to accompany the wine selection but does offer an assortment of heartier plates.

To accompany the violently magenta cocktail we ordered a selection of pintxos – Spanish tapas atop bread. We chose the roast beef (98 rubles, $2.99), goat cheese and sun dried tomato (90 rubles, $2.75), and smoked salmon (88 rubles, $2.69). For their size and complexity they seemed a bit overpriced but the bread was perfectly toasted and other than a canned black olive on top of the salmon, accompanied by appropriate garnishes such as horseradish for the roast beef and a drizzle of pesto oil under the goat cheese. A dish of fried potatoes and chanterelles (220 rubles, $6.72) was simple yet fresh and flavorful although the sour-cream filled ramekin that came with it seemed beside the point and not very well conceived.

Done with the cocktails we moved onto wine, selecting from the decent amount of wines available by the glass listed on blackboards dotted around the room. Trying to avoid the more prosaic offerings we settled on a 2012 Monte Tondo Mito Soave (190 rubles, $5.81) and a 2011 Maybach Riesling (140 rubles, $4.28). Both were served from bottles opened at the table leading us to wonder if they did this for every glass of wine they serve, and what became of all the nearly full bottles that must be stacking up behind the bar.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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