We went to the Russian Tea House the first day we moved to St. Paul in the summer of 2007. A friend had recommended it when he learned we were moving just a short walk away from the restaurant. I remember loving the food and the charming, low-key atmosphere, but what I especially recall is Linda Alenov’s (half of the husband/wife team that has owned the Tea House for 33 years) insistence that we absolutely must visit as many state parks with our children as we can. It was not the advice I expected from the Russian Tea House, but it has been some of the best advise I have gotten.
I’ve only gone back a few times since only because the hours are a little tough if you don’t work in the neighborhood (Tues-Fri, 11am – 3pm). The best day to go is actually Friday, which is the only day they serve a wonderful beef stroganoff. I went on Thursday and got a piroshki, which is a type of sandwich that exists in some form in many cultures all over the world: ground beef, cheese, and rice rolled into baked dough. They’re not totally dissimilar from the pasties so common in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as on the Iron Range. Best of all, it was only $4.50, and you can even get six frozen piroshkis for $20. I added a refreshing cold tea and it all came to $5.50.
I have also had the perogies and the borscht, and I would recommend both. Another added bonus is they often have musician upstairs playing accordion or mandolin.