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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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