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It has to be said that Riga probably has the best cafés in the Baltics. Here, you can find a dozen places that have pleasant interiors and also serve good coffee and pastries. In the other two Baltic capitals, you have to search a little harder for a good café. Many cafés in Riga are open for breakfast. 
    See also
Tea Houses and Cyber Cafés.

Cadets de Gascogne: (C-3) Basteja 8, tel. 791-3177, next to the Jekaba kazarmas. Open:07:30-22; Sun. 09-20. A French-owned café that offers a wide range of sandwiches and freshly-baked pastries. Owner Bernard Larané’s pastries are so good, he now supplies the airlines. (Airplane food never tasted so good.) Cadets de Gascogne is also a favorite among nearby embassy staffs who like to dash in for take-away lunches. Offers a good selection of magazines and newspapers in French, English, and Latvian.  

Café Opera: Aspazijas 3, inside the National Opera House; tel. 721-1236. Open:17-22. The interior is consistent with the rest of the opera house: classy, classy, classy; marble floor, a spacious wood-paneled room. Show-stopping cakes. Closes at 18:00 if there is no concert.

Charlestons Cappuccino Bar: (C-4) Blaumana 38/40, tel. 777-0573, in the foyer of the fine Charlestons restaurant. Open:08-23. Good pastries, excellent coffee selection.

Emihla Gustava Shokolahde: (C-4) Marijas 13, in the Berga Bazars, tel. 728-3959. Open:10-22; Sun. 10-20. An extraordinarily charming, Vienna-style café. Its forte is the amazingly wide range of stunningly good chocolates, truffles and pralines. The chocolate, that comes in an imaginative variety of shapes and tastes, is made on the premises; you can watch them whipping it all up through a large glass window separating the main room from the kitchen. Also at Aspazijas 24. Open:09-23; Sun. 10-20. 

House of the Blackheads' Café: Ratslaukums 7, tel. 704-4362. Open:09-21. Located in Riga's most-talked-about restored medieval buildings, next to the Tourist Information Office. Spacious and elegant; good coffee and snacks. 

Iguana: (B-3) Elizabetes 85A, tel. 728-5004. A tropical-themed café with potted palms and lizard and cacti paintings on large windows. The food is good and the portions generous. Despite its pleasantly short menu, Iguana offers everything from pasta to milkshakes.

Ice Queen: (B-4) Gertrudes 20, tel. 727-3062. Open:10-22. Ice cream by the scoop, bowl, cone or lover cups. They also serve snacks and salads.

Lotoss: (I-3) Skarnu 7, old city, tel. 721-2665. Open:10-23; Sat. 11-24. A refined café with bay windows looking towards St. Peter’s Cathedral; a fine place to wile away an afternoon over coffee and sweets. They do a to-die-for banana split and serve a variety of meat and salads; there’s also a breakfast menu with eggs and Russian-style kasha, a porridge that locals spice up with cinnamon or jam. Cozy interior, with wicker chairs and couches in the back.

Monte Kristo: (I-3) Kaleju 18/20, in the old city; tel. 722-7443. Open:08-21; Sat. 09-22; Sun. 10-20. Monte Kristo is set in what feels like a vast, 19th century warehouse: the walls are yellow-bricked, and there’s one table set inside a 1902 vault. They have a range of good flavored coffees, cakes and sub sandwiches. Good, varied background music, from Irish reels to Spanish flamenco to the Crash Test Dummies.  

Tea Houses

Apsara Tea House: (C-4) Vermanes garden, Terbatas 2, tel. 721-2436. Open:09-23. A delightful, hut-sized tea house with a strong Turkish-Russian feel. It’s in a white-pine shack with a loft-like veranda upstairs that is flooded exclusively with pillows. This place is laid back with a capital L; there’s almost a ‘60s, Haight-Ashbury quality to the place; you can even partake in smoking a Turkish water pipe. There’s a terrific selection of non-bag tea, from Jasmin to Pina Colada flavor. They have a nice assortment of exotic cookies and cakes. Also at (H-2) Skunu 10. Open:10-20.

Zen: (B-4) Stabu 6, tel. 731-6521. Open:12-24. A relaxing, meditative Chinese tea house—where customers take off their shoes and sit on pillows strewn across the floor, their tables separated by bamboo curtains. Waiters and waitresses not only serve but also lecture you on ancient tea customs; the various teas on offer are said to do everything from repairing your nervous system to boosting your sex drive, or both. They have Turkish water pipes on offer as well, filled with water or wine. 

Cyber Cafés

Delat: (C-4) Baznicas 4a , tel. 722-0510. Open 24h.

Dualnet: (J-2) Peldu 17, tel. 781-4440; on the edge of the old city, next to the Ainavas hotel. Open 24h. Clean, adequate. More like a cyber bar, with a full range of drinks.

Elik Internet Café: (I-2) Kalku 11. Open: 24h.

Planeta: (I-4) Valnu 41, tel. 722-0030. Open 24h.

You may be able to log on at the University of Latvia, Raina 19 (G-4), or at the Nordic Information Office, Basteja 14 (H-3).

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