Originally opened in 1785, Palkin was where the richest Russian aristocrats and the most famous intellectuals preferred to dine in prerevolutionary St. Petersburg; its guests included Tchaikovsky, Chekhov, and Dostoyevsky. The Soviets put a movie theater in its place, but by 2002 the restaurant was back in its original spot and, and since then it quickly regained much of its past glory. Today Russia's modern elites, including friends of President Vladimir Putin, dine among Palkin's hand-drawn murals and crystal chandeliers. The restaurant's menu is as upscale as you'd expect: start off with blinis with black caviar, oysters, or Kamchatka crab meat. Move on to borscht, served with smoked bacon and garlic here. The main courses include sturgeon, poultry, imported Angus beef, veal, steak and mutton. Luxury comes at a price, however, so be prepared. Reservations are required.