Saint Petersburg, Russia
Luba, 34
Free Spirit
see her Saint Petersburg city guide

ask Luba about

breakfast and brunch parks coffee shop donut shop russian restaurant

What do you do and why do you do it?

I play piano. I sing. I sit next to water and read. I people watch from those coffee shop high chairs, sipping on hazelnut latte. I walk for hours. I enjoy kitchen talks with the loved ones. I make lists and connect the dots. Why? That keeps me going.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Amy Winehouse - Love is a losing game, James Morrison - If you don't wanna love me, Lily Allen - Somewhere only we know, Jamiroquai - Picture of my life, Jason Mraz - 3 things

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Friends. I know, I know. Duh? But sorry, they are the best. Some other of my favourites are not as popular (at least in my circle) - like "Becker", "Newsroom", "Jeeves and Wooster" and "Episodes"

Name some spots in St. Petersburg that are good for a Tinder date.

Come on, this is Saint Petersburg - grab a coffee to go and a croissant from any Bushe bakery and go enjoy a walk along the water and wonderful architecture. But if you want to impress (and spend some cashy cash) - choose Tartarbar, Birch or Hamlet+Jacks.

Who’s your hero and where in St. Petersburg would you take them out for a serious hang?

Anton Chekhov. To me he is not just one of the greatest writers this world has ever received, but one of the most authentic, truest humans. I wouldn't care about where we go - as long as that is the place where we can share several shots of vodka followed with some herring and heart-to-heart conversation. (No, I am not kidding right now).

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

SH'U - for stylish, but weatheproof rain/winter jackets, and, well, Uniqlo that you can seemingly find in every shopping center in Saint P. now.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Walk in peace and quiet (and solitude) along the beach next to Peter and Paul fortress, preferably closer to the sunset and even more preferably in a slightly colder weather when there are no crazy sunbathing crowds around you. It's a magical place there. And also visiting new coffee places - honestly, there's so many new ones opening each month, it's hard to keep track!

Where can you get the best cocktail in St. Petersburg? Which one do you like?

I am not a big fan of cocktails, but I absolutely love "nalivky" (alcoholic fruit cordials) and the best place for them is hands down the Buterbrodsky where they brew their own cordials from a wide variety of fruits and berries. Cherry and bourbon? Raspberry and gin? YES PLEASE. NOW.

Where would you take your partner in St. Petersburg if you wanted to really pamper them?

Tartarbar, Sight, Birch, Hamlet+Jacks, and maybe Mansarda (but not so much for the food as for the view).

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Koryushka! It's a fish, and Google translate helps to explain it's "european smelt" in English. This snack is not just typical for Russia, but for Saint Petersburg only. Visit us in May and enjoy this fried piece of heaven. (Some may not agree with the last part. Oh well). Also - Russia has quite a peculiar coffee culture (that would probably bring an Italian to a heart attack, but still) - in most of the cafes you will see a lot of very interesting (or weird?) taste combinations. I say - give them a try, it's worth it. Drink some raf, for example ;) (you'll have to ask barista about what it is, no other country has that coffee drink).

What are the St. Petersburg spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Pyshechnaya - it's the iconic place for "pyshki" (aka donuts) with the ambiance and decor as it's been since the place opened in 1950s (I think).

Tomorrow’s your last day in St. Petersburg. How do you spend it?

Ah, that's simple! I'd get a caffeine overdose wandering around all of my favourite coffee spots and bakeries and walk along as many streets and canals and cross as many bridges as possible until I drop.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

When I was living outside of Russia I could easily say Saint Petersburg. But now... Boston. I could go there any time. This city has everything I love - water, lots of green spaces, beautiful sites, amazing seafood and slightly better weather than Saint P. :)

photos by

Natalia Dubovik