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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 its 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 servers 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. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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