XL Pelmeni: Local fast food
Xl Pelmeni is a local fast food chain specializing in...pelmeni. Pelmeni are dumplings with different kinds of fillings, like meat, mushrooms, veggies etc. You serve yourself and you pay your food by weight. Apart from pelmeni the restaurants also offers soup, salads and desserts.
Prices are inexpensive and the pelmeni are quite yummy!
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
Aragats: The best place for eating real Caucasian shashlik
The restaurant’s atmosphere here is very interesting, some things reminded me something from Russian mentality. But all in all it surprised me a lot, I liked everything. You can’t see many tables closely together when entering in, because they are separated with not so small fence, so you can enjoy your company. Never saw this: we sat at the table where was only one menu. So my friend who is woman took that menu. At that time came waitress and took away menu and gave it to her man. Why so? In these menus which are given to women there aren’t prices, but in those which are given to men are! Good :)
This place is very famous for shashliks, especially mutton shashlik. So me and my friends took different to taste all of them. My friends took mutton and pork shashliks, I took veal shashlik. They were very tasteful, but I can only mark that mutton was the best.
Favorite Dish: As I said, I took veal shashlik, it was very good. But tasting also mutton shashlik I can only say, that this was very, very good. If you're coming here I recommend to taste it, also enjoying wine.
Pork shashlik - 6 Ls
Veal shashlik - 7 Ls
Mutton shashlik - 8 Ls
Melnie Muki: What a gem!
Melnie Muki, located in the old town, is propably the best restaurant we visited during our stay. It is small and atmospheric, exposed brick walls etc. We ate lunch here on the same day we went to Palete restaurant and afterwards wished we had done the other way around and had dinner here instead.
Their menu is so impressive it takes a long time to go through and there will most certainly be something for everyone. Whether you want Asian or international, Russian or Latvian, they got it all. Very nice wine list and other drinks as well.
Service is very friendly. Our waiter was a real photographer taking 5 pictures of us until she was happy with the result. =) Btw, that is not one of those pictures...
And one thing I absolutely want to say is that food here is very beautifully presented. The dishes were as much joy for the eye as for the stomach. Most beautiful dishes I've ever had.
Favorite Dish: I had coconut chicken with pineapple and a side dish of rice. Yummy. Fresh and delicious.
My boyfriend first ordered a beef steak, but as they didn't have beef at the moment, they suggested lamb, which turned out to be an excellent choise. Even I, who doesn't like lamb at all usually, liked it. The lamb came with small, tasty potato balls.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
This must be my favourite of places where I ate, and I went here twice during my short visit to Riga. Both times I had potato pancake with chicken and bacon, which is also served with salad. The meal was 3.40 Ls and a Latvian beer, 0.5 litres, was 1.50 Ls (December 2008). Other things you will find on the menu are salads, soups, wraps and pizzas.
The atmosphere is relaxed and the music good. Both times I was here I sat in a comfortable sofa reading a book while finishing the beer.
- Budget Travel
Recreational center "Lido": Delicious Latvian and International cuisine
I think this is the place where Latvians like and love to eat. There are always lot of people whether it's working day or weekend, but don't worry free table you can get easy, it's large three floor complex. Like in almost every "Lido" here is self-service, so you can take what you see. But I must warn you, with eyes you can eat more than you really can :). Cuisine is very good, and choosing food you can watch how it's prepared. There are wide choice of meat dish, various meat - chicken, pork, beef, than for vegetarians there are fishes. If you don't want to eat so much, than take pancakes or salads (salad bar here is also good), or some kind of desert. For drinks - here are wide choice of hot drinks, beer and natural juices.
During summer you can eat outside on fresh air, but it's also good inside. On the first floor there is almost always live Latvian music.
After good eating activities, go outside and see activities there. Despite that mostly of them are for children, you can skate and ride bull here.
Favorite Dish: Chicken soup.
Roast chicken with rices or home fries.
Stewed sauerkraut with home fries.
Pancakes with filling.
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
Smoked Fish on Centrālais tirgus
All around the Baltic Sea from Germany and Denmark up to Finland you can find excellent fresh smoked fish but I found that the skills to prepare them are at the highest level in the three Baltic states. I strongly recommend to eat the smoked fish as long as they are still warm. The only shortcoming is the fact that these countries do not grow the wine these delicious fishes are urgently demanding for to accompany them (Latvia has the worlds northernmost winehill near Sabile in Kurzeme but there are two problems: first its area is only 1,5 hectares and second it produces mostly red wine).
The famous local speciality in Riga are sprats (šprotes in Latvian), the only other (second best) place for them is Kiel in Germany, but they cost a multiple there.
The picture was taken in the halls of the Central Market.
On my husband's birthday we went to this restaurant. We always like to go to places that serve local food, and all the reviews that we had read about were full of praise for this place. It is in a cellar very near the Freedom Column. The food was delicious, life music was played and the value for money was excellent! While waiting for our food, we were served some of the famous Latvian dark bread with lard - boy, that was a perfect start to what was to come!!!
Favorite Dish: My husband had zander fillet and I had pork fillet with sauerkraut and the best mashed potatos ever!!! As an appetizer we had a delicious soup and a sort of diced meat salad, which was a surprise, since I did not remember ordering it, but it tasted good!
Emihls Gustavs: Best hot chocolate ever
These small chocolate "boutiques" are out of this world!
There are three of them in Riga (and a couple more throughout Latvia):
right next to the Hotel Latvija (Elizabetes 55)
in the old city center (Tirgoņu iela 8)
at Bergs Bazaars (K. Barona iela 7/9-16)
Although this is a chain, you feel so very comfortable there. The interior is so cozy with dark wood panelling, dried cocoa fruits as decoration and the most wonderful pralinés you could possibly dream of.
And then their hot chocolate - nothing that you have ever tasted before! It is not the type of hot chocolate that you mix with two spoons full of cocoa powder and milk - no, it is pure dark chocolate melted and served in a small cup.
While I am writing this, my mouth starts watering again..... We went to two of their cafés and both were absolutely wonderful.
Be sure not to miss this when you are in Riga!
Pie Kristapa kunga: Taste different nationality cuisine
This restaurant which opened quite recently seemed to me very interesting. First of all surprises it’s interior and spacious of premises. I’d like to mention that here are eight halls, each with it’s own name. I was enjoying meal in Mauricio’s hall and it seemed very romantic. You can find here even water-pipe. For those who love comfort, here are also chesterfield with many pillows. About the meal: the cuisine here is very different, you can find here something from Latvian cuisine, too.
We enjoyed chicken julienne, it was very good, and grilled pork chop with fried potatoes and sauerkraut.
Favorite Dish: As I mentioned before we took:
Chicken julienne – 1.90 Ls
Pork chop – almost four Lats
Skyline Bar: The view from the top
This place is awesome: you have the most spectacular view over Riga, because the Skyline Bar is on the 26th floor of the Hotel Latvija. The Skyline Bar has different faces: if you go there in the afternoon, it is more like a panorama café, but in the evening it is a nightclub sort of place (please see my nightlife tip). The seats next to the windows are of course the most wanted ones and we were lucky to get the last available table, when we got there at 3.15 p.m. (The place opens at 3 p.m.!!!). Service is very friendly and the cocktails are delicious!
Wilhelms Pancake house
At Wilhelms in Old Town you can get some good pancakes. It is self-service so you put what you want to eat on your plate and then you pay. There are plain pancakes and pancakes with different fillings, cottage cheese, sour cream and jam. This is what I ate (very yummy) and what I paid (December 2008):
Pancake with meat filling: 0.60 Ls
Pancake with cheese filling: 0.60 Ls
Pancake with banana filling: 0.45 Ls
Rasberry jam: 0.25 Ls
Kefir to drink: 0.35 Ls
Traktieris: From Russia with love
Traktieris is an atmospheric Russian restaurant located in the beautiful Art Nouveau district. The place is very charming, sort of rustic romantic, with pictures painted on the walls and old samovars and other items from the past adorning the tables and window sills. The waiters wear red silk shirts and are friendly and helpful. I loved the fact that this restaurant feels very authentic and not just aimed for tourists and that all around us people spoke Russian, which was a good sign too.
You can find all sorts of Russian specialities on the menu and the portions are huge. There is surely something for everyone whether it is chicken or just vegetarian dishes you're after or maybe even something more unusual. Prices are very reasonable and considering the quality and quantity of the food, this restaurant is excellent value for money.
Traktieris seems to be very popular and it is recommended that you take your time in the main restaurant. However they have opened a buffet next door if you happen to be in a hurry.
Favorite Dish: Everything we had was very tasty from the borsh to the almond crusted pork and chicken steak in golden sauce (sorry forgot the name of the sauce/dish), but the highlight has to be vodka ;). You absolutely must try their flavoured vodkas! I'm not a fan of vodka shots, but the chilled cranberry vodka was so delicious. BF liked their cowberry vodka, which was nice on my opinion too.
We will definitely re-visit on our next trip and I am planning to try their blinis then. And some more vodka of course ;)
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Kokanda: Uzbek food in Riga
I'd never been to an Uzbek restaurant before. In fact, I'm not even sure if there are any in the UK. But I had tried Uzbek food before (I had an Uzbek pilaf at a Kazakh restaurant in Vilnius a few days previous), and it was pretty good.
Recommended in my "In Your Pocket" guide as the only Uzbek restaurant in Riga, me and my mate decided we'd give it a try - there was nothing to lose!
The interior is very brightly decorated with multi-coloured tiles on the walls and photos of mosques and other street scenes (presumably taken in Uzbekistan). The staff are friendly and the service is efficient. During our visit, several locals (maybe Uzbek ex-pats?) came in, ate bowls of soup, and left again.
I had a beef and noodle soup to start which was very hot and spicy - perfect for a cold afternoon! I then had pilaf for my main meal, consisting of rice, chickpeas and grilled meat. To be honest, the main course was pretty bland and not as good as the pilaf I'd eaten in Vilnius. It was perfectly edible, the meat was well cooked and the price was very cheap, but it was just a little dull. It was "average" rather than poor.
There didn't seem to be too much variation in the menu. A lot of the starters were soup based and many of the mains were either various types of pilaf rice dishes or grilled meat dishes. Ice creams and pastries were available for dessert.
Not a bad meal, but not outstanding. The two course meal and a beer came to just 6 Lats (6 GBP or 9 Euros at October 2005 exchange rates), so no complaints regarding value for money.
If you're a fan of pilafs, then you'll probably love this place. If not, then maybe you'd be better just popping in for a warm soup.
Staburags: Just one word: superb!
Staburags is probably one of the most known restaurants in Rīga, and now I perfectly know why! It's incredibly huge inside, and very beautiful at the same time (which seldom happens in big restaurants), but what's more important, of course, is food. And Latvian food at Staburags is absolutely GREAT! I ate the biggest and the best pork-leg of my life, with mushrooms and potatoes beside... I had some problems to finish it because of dimensions, but I wanted to eat it all, and at last I won over the pork! ;-)
If you go to Rīga you have to eat at least once at this restaurant. Much famous people have done it before me, as well as tons of "normal" people, and I think all came back home satisfied, and maybe a bit fatter! ;-)
And another good reason to go there is the final bill, really cheap, as usual in Latvia.
As I wrote on the title, just one word: superb!
Opening hours: 12. 00 – 24. 00
Birch juice and other Latvian Specialities
When visiting a country, we always try to taste the local specialities - and boy, did we enjoy that in Latvia as well:
the most unusual speciality was birch juice! We had heard about it in German TV and had asked our wonderful tour guide, if she could help us find some. Since the freshly made birch juice is only available in spring, we had to get it in a bottled version! Interesting taste!
Other specialities in Latvia are cabbage soup, sorrel soup, peas with bacon, definitely the dark rye bread, good beer and many more. Do have a look at the very interesting link below!
Oh, and you better like caraway seeds - it seemed to me that about every bread we tasted had some in it!!! (Luckily I love it!!!)
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