With its huge menu, you can eat there a bunch of times and get something new every time.

Svetalanskaya Stolovaya in Vladivstok

Published: March 13, 2012

Stolovaya on Svetlanskaya Street
ул. Светланская 21
Price: $5-$8
Hours of Operation: Daily from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m

While my friends and family have been enjoying an unusually warm winter back in America, here in Vladivostok the weather has been as cold and windy as expected.  The café called simply Stolovaya, located on Svetlanskaya Street, across from the “White House”, has been a great place for me to grab a steaming bowl of soup to warm myself up.  With its traditional Russian dishes and comfortable, central location, it’s a great place to just relax with some tasty food.

The entrance to the café is an indiscrete door, hiding right next to the passage filled with flower shops.  For me, it’s most easily recognizable by its contradicting signs advertising round the clock service and an 8-10 schedule.  The interior is simple, with the necessary chairs, tables, a TV or two, and nothing else.  The café is clearly not trying to cater to a wider audience, which is further evidenced by the fact that 80% of their customers are local business people and city officials.

Since little effort is put into the décor, you’d expect that Stolovaya would focus their energy on serving good food.  And on that, they deliver.  The menu is made up of the kind of traditional Russian dishes that the average Russian person is attracted to after a long morning in the office.  Standard Russians salads, soups, and entrees are offered.  The variety offered at Stolovaya is probably the largest for this type of café in Vladivostok.  And generally, the prices are very reasonable, if not cheap.  Most salads and soups run between 40 and 50 rubles, while main entrees cost around 70.  If you’ve got a small stomach like me, you could get full on just a bowl of soup and a salad.

The service is a little icy, but I haven’t felt that it has detracted anything from my visits.  Last time, I ordered some rassolnik soup (50 rubles), a small salad (50 rubles), pelmeni (70 rubles), and some black tea (20 rubles).  Honestly, the soup would have been enough.  It was a gigantic bowl, so I hardly made it through half my salad and pelmeni before I was stuffed beyond belief.  While the pelmeni were a bit cold, overall the food was great.  Every time I visit Stolovaya, I leave satisfied.  Not to mention, they have a business lunch special for 130 rubles, which includes soup, salad, entrée and tea.  Basically, you get a similar meal to mine for less the price!

If you don’t mind being treated with a little indifference, I would suggest stopping by Stolovaya.  The food is tasty, quick, and cheap (which is exactly how they advertise themselves). One thing I would advise not doing though is buying a bottle of coca-cola.  They charge three times more for a coke than any stand on the street.  So, if you desperately require coke, buy it beforehand!

For groups and faculty-led tours, the cafeteria can hold groups of up to 20.  There looked to be a banquet hall in the back that could possibly hold more than 20.

About the author

Michael Smeltzer

Michael Smeltzer has degrees in Russian Language and Philosophy from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He has previously studied abroad in Irkutsk and is currently spending an academic year in Vladivostok as part of SRAS's Home and Abroad program.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

View all posts by: Michael Smeltzer

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