I went to Cili Kaimas for lunch one day during my stay in Vilnius. My first thought was that the place looked touristy, but the restaurant seemed like a popular place for locals too... And the restaurant is specialized in local Lithuanian food. I had a really good potato casserole; the portions were a little small, but the prices very reasonable, and I will visit again anytime...
Across the Baltics one will find many Coffee Inn locations. Find me a weird coffee drink and I will try it, as I did with Coffee Inn's "Winnie the Poo"- a shot of espresso, honey and condensed milk. Nothing to write home about, but respite from the rain outside and a clean bathroom! Also lots of normal coffee drinks, teas and baked goods.
Hot on the frozen yogurt trend is Lithuania's YoYo. The only problem is that they seem to serve frozen plain ice, not frozen yogurt. There are quite a few "flavors" (and I use the term loosely) and toppings to choose from. The product coming out of their dispensers is bland and badly-textured. On the plus side the cups are cute and the inside of the restaurant is decorated nicely. 2.5 LT per hundred grams.
Cili Pub is a popular pub in the heart of Vilnius. As you enter, and inevitably queue, you will be treated to the sight of a chicken coop. Yup, some restaurants have fish tanks, but this one has a glassed chicken coop! There is an upstairs restaurant and pub area, while the downstairs has a limited pub menu, and service on both levels is friendly. The menu accommodates both meat eaters and vegetarians. I started with a bowl of creamy mushroom soup in a rye bread bowl, and followed it with potato-spinach dumplings in a cream sauce. On the side? Kvass, of course. The menus is in both English and Latvian, and features illustrations to help you make your choice.
Uzupio Kavine was called "legendary" in my guidebook and noted for it's "good" cheap breakfasts. Well, if they can do breakfast right they should be able to handle lunch, right? Wrong. Located at the entry to Uzupio and right alongside the river, this is a dark, damp restaurant with a patio along the river (and lots of mosquitoes and wasps to go along with its prime location). Service is slow and disorganized, and unfortunately most of the vegetarian things on the menu were unavailable. My starter of traditional cold beet soup with boiled potato was fine, and my kvass was good too. What I was forced to order as a main dish, however, was absolutely horrible. Imagine grilled eggplant and zucchini layered atop boiled mixed vegetables and rice, then doused with sweet and sour sauce and topped with mock parmesan. What the heck was that? Gross, for sure. I can't see any reason to recommend eating here- it's bad food from an incomplete menu in an unclean atmosphere. Avoid.
It's true that Forto Dvaras is located on a busy, touristic street in Old Town Vilnius, and yeah, and lot of its customers are tourists, but that doesn't mean it's a tourist trap. In fact, this restaurant was excellent, dishing up a variety of different traditional Lithuanian foods in a bustling environment. I was particularly impressed by the kind waitress who brought me a little something extra when she found out I was vegetarian. Meat eaters will have lots of options here, and I was able to piece together an interesting meal of salad and "zeppelins", pillow potato dumplings filled with cheese. I washed it down with kvass, which is a drink made from fermented rye bread.
(This restaurant is really popular and gets really busy. As a single diner I had to wait for a table for about ten minutes, and groups waited longer. I noticed many people verbally abusing the staff and demanding to be seated, despite the fact that obviously the restaurant was full. Have some manners, people!)
We'd passed by this restaurant many times, and had gazed at the plates of diners eating outside, under the patio heaters.
On our last night, we decided to treat ourselves to a meal here. We decided to eat inside as it was a bit chilly that evening.
We were directed to a dining room, passing through another room that was occupied by a private party and a lone accordionist.
The room was quite comfortable, with an understated elegance, but not at all stuffy. A mix of clientele - a family group at the next table, (that disappeared halfway through their meal, leaving their wine, then returning nearly an hour later with an extra female and minus the man (father?) who'd been there earlier), a young couple who appeared to be on a first date (or at least early in their relationship), another young couple and a jolly group of senior citizens who appeared to be on holiday together.
The party next door (a company do?) were going through speeches, with much applauding followed by dancing to the tunes from the accordion.
Our waiter was polite, helpful, efficient and spoke very good English.
After our meal, I got chance for a quick look around the town hall with its impressive staircase.
We exited through the front door of the Town Hall, down the steps and into the square - a lovely end to our meal.
Open Monday-Saturday 11.00-24.00, Sunday 11.00 - 22.00
Favorite Dish: Oysters
I have recently 'discovered' oysters and usually treat myself when I'm in Dublin. I've only ever had small oysters though.
I decided to try 3 large ones. Phil declined a starter and was quite bemused at my excitement over these raw molluscs.
At 15Lt each (£3/$5) these were a good price to me.
They arrived on a platter of crushed ice with a lemon wedge.
These were nicely chilled, and with a real 'Taste of the sea' Phil tried a small morsel, but wasn't impressed. I was impressed that he'd tried oyster voluntarily though!
Zander cutlet filled with butter and greens, described as a gastronomic heritage dish(44Lt/£10/$16)
I wasn't sure what Zander was - the waiter explained that it was pike - perch! I decided to try it. It came with with mashed potatoes and a few carrots with leek. I was warned to be careful when I cut into my fish as it was full of hot butter.
Well Zander wasn't what I was expecting - the texture was quite un-fishlike and it didn't taste of fish - it didn't really taste of anything - Like chicken? A bonus was that there were no bones!
I'm glad I tried it, but I don't think that I'd order it again.
Phil had ordered cod, but was informed apologetically that this was off the menu, so he opted for halibut which came with white sauce and bolete mushrooms on a bed of rice (42 Lt/£10/$16) He enjoyed this.
Goats cheese trio
These small balls of creamy goats cheese were coated in 1) Flaked almonds 2) black poppy seeds and 3) rasins
Served on a dusting of icing sugar with halved strawberry and a berry that I didn't recognise.
Phil devoured a trio of very fruity ice cream with a marmalade accompaniment.
We finished the meal with coffee and Lithuanian herbal liquor (me) and vodka (Phil)
With a 1/2 bottle of wine this came to the grand total of 223Lt! One of those heart stopping moments until converted - £51/$83/65Euros.
Expensive by Lithuanian standards, but very reasonable for us
I'd been recommended to try this riverside terrace restaurant by VTers who'd visited it. We arrived late afternoon, and decided this was the time and place to try one of Lithuanias delicacies- the - cepelinas or Zeppelin. A type of dumpling made from grated potatoes and stuffed with minced meat, which are boiled and served with sour cream and bacon pieces.
These can also be stuffed with curd (cottage cheese) or mushrooms.
These are called Zeppelins due to their resemblance to the German airships.
We found a seat on the outside terrace overlooking the river, opposite the mermaid sculpture and a gallery of photo's of some of Užupio's residents/characters.
Read about the history of this restaurant building
Well this was a nice place to chill out! We intended to return one night, but never got round to it. I'd forgotten that this place sold Uzupio souvenirs until I returned home -doh! Ah well, I'll just have to return to Vilnius!
Would recommend this place for location alone!
Apparently it's the only restaurant overlooking a river in Vilnius.
As we arrived late in the afternoon it wasn't overcrowded, although there were plenty of customers relaxing over a drink or snack on the terrace, enjoying the sunshine.
Favorite Dish: Well, we managed to finish off our Zeppelins, they were quite tasty, but I'm glad that we ate them fairly early on - they felt like a brick in my stomach for quite a while!
Washed down with a glass of Volfas Engelman beer this was a pleasant snack.
One Zeppelin cost 8.50 LT (£2/$3)-September 2012 Two cost 15.50Lt - Hmmm, one of our neighboring diners attempted two, but failed half way through the second.
We wanted something fairly light to eat, and pancakes seemed to fit the bill - This place had so many varieties of fillings. We were a bit hesitant as it looked like a bit like a 'Fast Food chain' but decided to give it a go.
We were shown to a table where we had a view of staff making the pancakes. There was a mix of clientele - all ages - family groups/couples/friends
Open - Daily 09:00 to 22:00
Favorite Dish: I chose the Cheese/ham and mushroom pancake.(7.10 Lt/£1.60/$2.65)-September 2012
I was then asked to choose a sauce, so went for the Mustard/horseradish (1.60Lt)
Phil went for the Cheese and ham pancake (6.40Lt) with mayo (1.60Lt)
We washed this down with a Tauras Extra beer - small for me (5Lt) and large for Phil (6Lt)
I enjoyed my pancake - the filling was tasty and it was just enough to eat.
Worth visiting for a quick cheap tasty meal.
I'd hoped to return to try their 'Gingery' pancake - Chocolate pancake with ginger, hot pepper, cinnamon, cloves, Tabasco sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream - I love ginger/chocolate and thought that this would help clear my cold!
Afraid that we didn't find time to return this visit.
Forto Dvaras is 'a large Lithuanian franchise of folk restaurants' We chose this place (the Pilius branch) for our evening meal as we were getting increasingly hungry, trying to make our minds up what we wanted to eat. We'd found one likely place, after perusing the menu, but heading inside (it had turned a bit nippy) the 'greeter' told us that it was a different menu inside - yes, and much more expensive too, so we ended up here.
Enquiring if there was a table for 2, the waitress off-handedly said 'Only Downstairs' well, she made it sound as if this was quite grim! No it wasn't - it was quite homely in a cave like sort of way.
This was certainly a popular restaurant, with a mix of clientele of all ages, couples, family groups, groups of friends and solo diners.
An extensive menu of dishes including meat, fish and poultry, dumplings/pancakes, salads, soups, appetisers etc also beer snacks and snack plates.
Our waitress was quite efficient and our food was hot and tasty.
Forto Dvaras was the first restaurant in Lithuania to serve certified meals from the Gastronomic Heritage Foundation. A quality mark for meals made in the traditional way and using locally sourced products.
Open Daily 11.00 - 24.00
Favorite Dish: I chose 'The Strongman Roast' - Pork neck roast with fries, cabbage salad, tomatoes and garlic sauce 18.50 Lt (£4/$7)-September 2012
Phil had a chicken dish, which I think was crispy chicken with vegetables, fried potatoes and cheese sauce 16.90 Lt (£4/£6)
We had been tempted to try the cepelinai (Zeppelins), but having eaten one a few days later I'm glad that I didn't - I think I'd have had an uncomfortable night!
This restaurant has 12 varieties of this traditional dish.
Again, we chose beer to drink with our meal
We came across this pleasant restaurant while wandering around the old town near The Gates of Dawn.
It was about 14.00 and we'd realised that we were quite hungry.
This is one of the oldest restaurants in Vilnius. We ate outside in the 16th Century courtyard.
Medininkai serves an array of Lithuanian and International dishes. Apparently the chef has received many awards.
The restaurant is part of the adjacent elegant Europa Royale Hotel.
Inside there are three dining halls - The White Hall with 18th Century Italian ceramics, the frescoed Big Hall saloon and the Wine Cellar.
It was just warm enough to eat out - there were overhead heaters, but the one near our table wasn't switched on.
At the far end of the courtyard, an artist was painting scenes of wine barrels, which I enjoyed watching.(pic 4)
Being on 'the tourist trail' I suspect that this restaurant would have been quite busy a few hours prior to our visit - Good Timing!!
Service was efficient, and our young waitress spoke good English.
Although it's probably a bit more expensive than some restaurants in Vilnius, it was still very reasonable to us - I think my soup was 14Lt (£3 /$5) - September 2012
12:00 to 23:00
Breakfast: 07:00 – 10:00 (weekends 08:00 - 11:00)
Favorite Dish: I fully enjoyed my "Granny's" wild mushroom soup served in a special bread loaf" (pic 3) I chose it as I'd enjoyed a similar dish in Krakow a few years ago.
The soup was Hot, and with lots of flavour from the mushrooms, onion and potatoes- i think I could taste dill too. The dense bread had a light caraway seed flavour.
Phil enjoyed his Caesar Salad with grilled chicken
We both had a glass of Svyturys Extra beer
Our first day in Vilnius and Phil spotted this Ice Cream shop - he was in 'like a rat up a drain pipe' - Hmmmm, and I thought I was keen to try new ice cream venues!!
There was quite a selection of flavours to choose from, mainly described in Lithuanian. Well we had ample time to choose as the American gentleman in front of us wasn't in a hurry - he sampled a few flavours before deciding which to have.
I'd spotted a brightly 'berry' coloured ice cream - the assistant (who spoke excellent English) described it as cranberry with chocolate pieces! Mmmmmmm - Health Food :-)
Now to decide which cone - there were 3 varieties - one being 'home made' biscuit, which we opted for - in hind-sight perhaps I'd have preferred one of the lighter versions.
We'd hesitated over deciding whether to go for 1 or 2 scoops , but settled for 1 - pheeew! The scoop was quite big.
Initially I really enjoyed this ice cream, but towards the end, I was feeling a bit full and overpowered by the sweetness of the ice cream and the claggy 'biscuit' texture.
Besides cornets, you can choose tubs or pre-packed ice creams etc.
Probably not the cheapest ice cream in Vilnius, but good for a treat!
Seating inside. We noticed that cushions were provided outside for the deep windowsill.
This company was formed in 1950, producing 'Premium ice cream' using natural products and fresh cream and milk.
There are many branches through Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities. A kiosk opened at Vilnius airport recently.
Dione FaceBook Page
The small brewery pub is probably not the easiest place to find, which is probably why I liked visiting the place. It is in a quiet area away from the Cathedral Square, Town Hall Square, Pilies street or Gedimino avenue, so it tends to be frequented by "locals". Busi Trecias means "you will be third" which harbours back to soviet times when a bottle of vodka costed 3 roubles. When two guys wanted not to get drunk but just "merrie" they would wait for a third person to share the vodka or beer. So the idea of not just drinking but sharing & meeting people is a good description of "Busi Trecias" in Vilnius. As well as drinking rooms inside, there is a lovely garden for alfresco drinking & eating. The beer, light & dark beers, beers with fruits are brewed in the cellars beneath the pub.
Favorite Dish: The weather was hot, the beer was cool & refreshing (I had the light beer) and I also had a "Lithuanian" salad which also contained "pulses" as well as lettuce etc. In Lithuania I found I didn't often have to visit the bar, the waiter(ess) came to me. The staff at Busi Trecias were very good & friendly.
Coffee Inn is a chain of Lithuanian coffee shops in the mould of starbucks. I was told they did good coffee and sandwiches, but when I dropped into the one at Gedimino 9, I discovered no sandwiches. But I did find some really nice bruschetta, a wide pleasant terrace, and, of course, pretty decent coffee.
I don't know if it was the food or the day, but I had a perfect evening at Da Antonio's. Sitting outside with good food and wine on a warm summer's evening listening the peeling bells of the Cathedral while children played in the pavement fountains was sublime. I'm not sure if the food made the day or the day made the food, or if it was a mix of both, but I had a wonderful time. I can't imagine any other night would be less than good.
Note: There are three Da Antonio's in Vilnius, but I only visited the one on Cathedral Square.
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