Restaurant "Palkin" is one of the oldest dining establishments in St. Petersburg and one of the few that has retained its original name and location. Its roots go back to the St. Petersburg restaurateurs, the Palkin family, the first mention of whom dates back to 1785. Initially, the popularity of the family's taverns, and then later the "Palkin" restaurants was extraordinary. The most fashionable - restaurant "K.P. Palkin" - was situated on the corner of the Nevsky and the Vladimirsky Prospekts, house number 47.
The building was purchased by Konstantin Palkin in 1871, after he inherited the business of his father, Pavel Palkin. A professor of architecture, the great A.K. Keizer himself, was invited to attend to the renovation of the house, and on September 8, 1874, came the grand opening of a restaurant with 25 dining halls, a billiard room, private cabinets, and a majestic staircase that was adorned with exotic plants and a gorgeous, sparkling fountain.
In 1890, the restaurant "K.P. Palkin" was bought by Vasily Soloviyov, an hotelier and owner of several food delicatessen stores. A little later, in 1904, the famous architect A.S. Khrenov worked on an extension to the restaurant and a reconstruction of the building's concert hall. The latter proved to be an ingenious addition. The restaurant's visitors were treated to performances by famous musicians and singers, and Soloviyov further enhanced the fame of the establishment through introducing a trendy new concept of "After theatre evening meal" and also the "Sunday lunch with music".
Restaurant "Palkin" counted many a famous St. Petersburger among its regular clientele. A brief list might include the poet Alexander Blok, scientist Alexander Butlerov, writers Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolai Leskov and Anton Chekhov, painter Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, as well as composer Petr Tchaikovsky. The chefs of the restaurant were among the first in Russia to adopt certain elements of French cuisine into the traditional Russian cooking.
By 1925, after the Bolshevik revolution, the restaurant was converted into the "Titan" movie theatre. It quickly became one of Leningrad's (St. Petersburg's) most popular haunts, so it was not surprising that in 1934 it was "Titan" that hosted the premiere of the now legendary film by the Vasiliev brothers - the civil war epic "Chapayev".
In March 1995, Nevsky Prospekt, house number 47, was made to reinvent itself once more - this time as casino club "Premier", which soon gained fame among those who valued exceptional and prestigious entertainment. The decor of "Premier" captivated with its elite, chamber finish, to match the respectable club atmosphere and a top level of service. When it came to restoring the former restaurateur traditions of the building, and it was decided to create a new restaurant "Palkin", there were a number of complications to surmount. Renovation work of unique intricacy had to be carried out, all under guidance of experts from the State Hermitage museum.
Firstly, effort was concentrated on restoring the building's original interiors; then a distinctive, particular style was introduced for each of the restaurant's halls - the fireplace hall, the chess hall, and the large hall, as well as for the bar and the red foyer. In the summer of 2002 “Palkin” welcomed its first guests. A visit to restaurant "Palkin" is an authentic, proper acquaintance with the cuisine of Russian aristocracy, much of which has, sadly, been lost elsewhere. Those with a taste for the gourmet are welcome to savour dishes that once delighted top society in the imperial city of St. Petersburg.
The restaurant's wine list presents over 120 vintages, mainly from France, Italy, Chile, among others. The rare wines kept in stock include the 1982 Chateau-Margaux Premier Grand Cru Classe and the 1988 Chateau Petrus Pomerol Grand Vin. On the bar menu, you can find over 30 brands of cognac, brandy, and calvados, more than 40 sorts of vodka, whiskey, and gin. "Palkin" also offers a choice selection of cigars. Since 2004, restaurant "Palkin" buys its house wine at the best wine auctions in France.