Favourite is the restaurant you should head for after a day of sightseeing and walking along the avenues and paths of Petrodvorets park and gardens. From Sankt Peterburgsky prospekt, the main road that borders the upper garden of the park-palace complex, take a bus that continues further west to Lomonosov (formerly called Oranienbaum). Sankt Peterburgsky prospekt opens into Sankt Peterburgskoe shosse and turns north towards the coast. Get off at the first stop after the bend and you'll soon see the restaurant-bar Favourite on your left.
Half hidden by century-old trees and bushes, it is located within a picturesque area of the Znamenka country estate, formerly belonging to Alexander Danilovitch Menshikov, the favourite friend of Peter the Great.
This restaurant is the eating place of the 60 room Hotel Favourite. The old red cottage-like building that houses the hotel was restored some years ago and now looks wonderful. While preserving the traditional countryside atmosphere prevalent in the area, the hotel has comfortable rooms with all modern amenities. The restaurant itself was given a facelift and now boasts a splendid bar that offers a large variety of local and imported drinks.
The restaurant menu has two sections. One section is devoted to European food, mostly grilled meat dishes, seafood and vegetarian salads. No Italian food is available; so don't look for pasta or pizza. The other section which lists a long range of Russian dishes is where Restaurant Favourite excels. Their tasty 'Our Russian Favourite' is a generous dish of chicken fillets stuffed with paprika, bacon and fruit. Even better and more Russian is their Tolstoy-style Nezhenka pancakes ringed with large slices of salted salmon and grilled potatoes. If you are after fish, their tasty cod Russian-style presented with sour cabbage and salted cucumbers is to die for. For a lighter meal, choose a dish from their long list of unusual soups. Try their Ukha monastery-style, a thick fish soup with noodles or their Shuvalov exclusive delicacy, a white crayfish soup with chicken quenelles and truffles.
Restaurant Favourite has a vast wine cellar from which you can choose your bottle of local or imported wine. Imported brands from France, Italy and Spain are expensive; not so expensive and yet as good are the superb wines from Georgia costing about US$10 a bottle. Restaurant Favourite has six types of imported beer on draught and 15 brands of bottled beer. Carlsberg and Pilsner are two of the brands available. Or why don't you taste the traditional Russian kvass, a light alcoholic drink with a delicious taste of carob juice? End up your meal with an appetising dessert and a cup of frothy cappuccino. Choose Favourite's 'Duo' gateau, two huge slices of white and dark chocolate cake topped with fresh raspberry sauce.
The good traditional food served in a serene and cosy ambience is the restaurant's best asset. Add to this the excellent service and the friendly staff and you will understand why Restaurant Favourite attracts crowds of visitors.
Birchircara, Malta Majjistral, Malta
December 10, 2004
From journal There's nowhere like St.Petersburg