Ai Karamba: (B-3) Pulkveza Brieza 2, a 10 minute walk from the old city, by the International Trade Center; tel. 733-4672. Open:08-24. A very pleasant, nostalgic restaurant with the feel of a 1950s American diner: glass-bottled
Heinz ketchup, the kind you have to pound at the bottom to pour,
red bar stools and plastic placemats doubling as menus. Good omelettes and a range of real-beef burgers. Nice breakfasts. They recently opened a section on the second floor with a more industrial feel.
El Charlitos: (C-4) Blaumana 38/40, tel.
777-0586. Open:11-24; Fri., Sat. 11-01; Sun. 12-24. The widely celebrated
Charlestons has a lovely Tex-Mex wing, it’s in a sturdy tent in their courtyard
(for details see Charlestons
(I-2) Kalku 6, tel. 722-9070; TGIFridays@rostikrestaurants.lv.
Open:12-01. Say what you will about American restaurant chains, but this one will fill the bill for diners looking for a hamburger fix in Europe. In addition to real beef—not the shoe leather that often passes for beef in the Baltic—they offer American-style service, which means you’ll be lavished with attention (too much, some argue) when you step in the door.
Aragats: (B-5) Miera 15, tel. 737-3445.
Open:13-22; closed Mon. An Armenian restaurant with traditional food,
including Armenian breads, cooked up fresh in-house. Friendly service,
with management that will even sit down and chat.
Kert: (A-5) Hospitalu 21, entrance from Zirnu tel. 736-2230. Open:10-til last guest. Good Armenian food outside of the city center,
across the street from a Statoil gas station on Valdemara. They have a standard interior restaurant inside, but it’s the series of private wooden huts outside that distinguish this place. The huts can seat up to 10 people, but are just as good for two. Someone on their own would feel silly here. Live Russian-style techno at night.
Uratu: (B-3) Alberta 13; tel. 703-9213.
Open:12-23. Of all the Caucasian restaurants in Riga, this one has arguably the best interior, set in the basement of one of Riga’s most beautiful Jugendstil complexes; the neighborhood is virtually a museum of the
architectural style which so dominates Riga. This spacious restaurant is perfect for a formal night out.
Hanoja: (B-6) Kr. Barona 93 (entrance from
Tallinas), 10 minutes from the center; tel. 727-2324. Open:11-23.
Reasonably priced. Delivers.
Sanghaija: (J-2) Grecinieku 26, tel.
722-8462. Open:12-22. Service here is this restaurants strongest
point. The ventilation could be better, which you discover when you
walk home smelling like chow mein.
Soho: Lacplesa 41, tel. 724-0250.
Open:12-23. Very good Japanese
sushi and maki, as well as Chinese food. The chef reportedly cooked for the Chinese president when he was in Riga, so you know it can’t be bad.
Soho is hidden in a small office complex and it is not the classiest venue in town. But the food is arguably good enough to be a draw in its own right. Also delivers.
Nataraja: (H-3) Smilsu 17, tel. 722-6662. Open:11-23. A new Indian-owned and run restaurant. A long menu, representing
foods from different regions of India. Pleasant atmosphere, in a vaulted pink-walled basement and lots of Hindu statues and artifacts; a little too brightly lit. All and all, delicious. (Live Indian music and dancing Fri./Sat. nights.)
Sues Indian Raja: (I-3) Vecpilsetas 3, tel. 722-1617. Open:12-23. Raj Chaudhary, a former wing commander in the Indian air force, is responsible for this excellent Indian restaurant. Nestled in a quiet corner of Riga’s gorgeous Hanseatic old city, this basement-level restaurant is a maze of hideaway rooms and cavernous halls, with several private dining areas tucked discreetly into cozy, candle-lit corners. Gentle crooning Indian music, the faint smell of incense and assorted artifacts from the subcontinent make the atmosphere just right. The food, cooked by chefs brought in straight from India, is showstopping: the extensive menu includes spicy Indian soups, garlic
Naan, plus a whole variety of curry and fish entreés. The spicy
Vindaloo chicken is particularly good; for an appetizer, try the chicken
tikka, a kebab-like meat cooked in a tandoor oven. For dessert, sample the wonderful
Kulfi Indian ice cream.
Sue’s Indian Raja also features attentive, friendly service.
Bellevue: (E-1) Slokas 1, across the river,
in the excellent Maritim Park Hotel; tel. 706-9000. Open:18-23. A very
good, high-end restaurant with spectacular views of Riga from its 11th
floor perch. Some mark this down as one of the finest restaurants of
them all in the Latvian capital. Try the Park Restaurant downstairs,
Charlestons: (C-4) Blaumana 38/40, tel.
777-0573. Open:12-24. An exceptional restaurant. Charlestons is classy
and warm, with admirable attention to detail, down to the wrought-iron
coat hangers. As youd expect at a place named Charlestons, jazz and
blues is the background music of choice. Food quality is very, very
good. The pancakes with salmon and Caesar salad were great, and the
carrot- and orange-cream soup show-stopping. Charlestons offers a
delightful range of flavored coffee, espresso and cappuccino. They
have a new Tex-Mex wing El Charlitos.
Dome Steak House: (H-2) Smilsu 2, tel. 732-0037. Open:11:30-23. This restaurant, recently called
Valby, has redone the interior with more pleasant, earthy colors; it now feels more Scandinavian than anything else. The Swedish cook adds to that perception, no doubt. This place offers some of the best-prepared steaks in
town prepared by a Swedish chef.
Esplanade: (C-4) Elizabetes 55, tel.
777-2222. Open:06:30-10:30; 12-23; Sat., Sun. 07-11; 12-23. This is Reval Hotel Latvijas main
restaurant, on the ground floor. This is a vast, breezy hotel
restaurant that achieves a very high standard. All the big things are
right (i.e. the food), as are all the small things (i.e. the fresh
flowers on the tables, candle light). The menu includes fish to
Mexican with a buffet option thats almost always available. They
offer a reasonably priced menu for children too—a rarity in Riga.
Fabrikas Restorans: (B-2) Balasta dambis 70, tel. 787-3804. On the vanguard of the gentrification of Kipsala Island in the Daugava is this restaurant. Great views of Riga’s old city. Block them with your car, though, and the staff will very diplomatically ask you to park elsewhere. Excellent service and food. Prices reasonable for Riga—which means higher than the other Baltic cities.
Hedonia 55: (C-4) Dzirnavu 55, not far from the
Reval Hotel Latvija; tel. 724-2855. Open:12-24; Fri., Sat. 10-04. Hedonia takes the
novel approach of appearing to do everything humanly possible to keep
you from ever getting through the door. One of their slogans is:
‘Try to get in!’ But this marketing ploy and effort at
establishing an air of exclusivity belies this good-humor,
service-friendly restaurant/club. The restaurant offers an array of
food styles, often changing by the week; recently they featured
Mexican dishes. The whole place transforms into a disco on
weekends—sometimes spinning Latino music, sometimes jungle or house,
sometimes plain old pop.
Juffin’s 12: (H-2) Aldaru 10, tel. 722-4271. Open:11-23. A neat little café on one of Old Riga’s most quiet and beautiful streets. They do good value lunch specials like steak sandwiches for 2.50 Ls, and their international menu of meat, fish and pasta gets good reviews.
Hotel Bergs Restaurant: (C-4) Elizabetes 83/85, tel. 777-0900. Open:12-24. A classy restaurant
in the breathtaking Hotel Bergs. The chef comes from the excellent
Vincents restaurant, so the food and the atmosphere are a sure thing.
Kalku varti: (H-3) Kalku 11a, tel. 721-2575.
popular place with purposely dark windows that allow you to people
Kapteina Enriko Pulkstenis: (B-3) Antonijas 13, tel. 733-8973. Open:11-24. That translates as Captain Enrico’s Watch. Go here for excellent burritos (this is no awful Santa Maria-spiced fake joint) and good pasta. The music is often a little loud which always makes an older diner wonder if he’s cool enough to be in a place. The Captain’s is also known around town for its good business lunch. Recommended.
Krogs: (H-2) Jekaba 3/5, tel.
721-1451. Open:11-23. A self-described garlic
restaurant. Garlic in, on and around everything-including your
breath for at least several days after eating here. But it’s worth
Lidojosa Varde (The Flying Frog): (B-3)
Elizabetes 31a, about a 10-minute walk from the old city; tel.
732-1184. Open:10-24. This is a place where you can look at frogs
hanging from the walls and flying off the bar. This restaurant/bar
shows good taste all around, including lovely Art Nouveau windows.
Like so many other places in Riga, The Flying Frog gets the mix of
colors, lighting and music just right. Much of the food on the menu is
standard, but they do frog legssix dollars a shot, or leg, or
whatever. For dessert, try the rye-bread cake with cranberry sauce.
Man-Tess: (I-3) Teatra 6; tel. 721-6056.
Open:12-23. A very cozy restaurant with a select menu and high quality
food. Fanciful interior; birds singing in surrounding cages.
Mauricius: (C-3) Alunana 2, tel. 703-5773.
Open:10-24; Fri. 10-04; Sat., Sun.12-24. This is most definitely a theme
restaurant, its just not clear which theme. Could be a Mayan-temple
theme or maybe an African-mud-hut theme; there is salsa music, South
African jimbo drums hanging from the ceiling, chili-pepper lampshades
and what could be Indian love carvings near the toiletsnone of
which settles the question. A waiter said its an African place,
which the international menu belies. Mauricius is comfortable and has
a respectable upmarket feel; prices arent too exorbitant, either.
Transforms into a nightclub on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Melnie Muki (Black Monks): (I-3) Jana
1, in a former medieval cloister in the old city; tel. 721-5006.
Open:12-02. This old city restaurant feels more like a familys
living roomin the very best sense of the word. There is a warmer,
more intimate feel to the place than at many other Riga restaurants.
If such things as lighting are important to you (and maybe theyre
not) the lighting here is exemplary: well-thought-out, indirect light
supplemented by table candles. On a recent evening, the live acoustic
guitar music added to the soothing ambiance. The menu seems a tad
unfocused and/or eclectic, however you choose to see it: pumpkin and
almond soup, Turkish kebabs and quail with fettuccine; for dessert,
try the brownies or white-chocolate truffles.
Nostalgija: (H-3) Kalku 22, tel. 722-2338.
Open:10-02; Thu.-Sat. 10-05. In an intentionally overdone, opulent
style once in vogue in the U.S.S.R.; you can picture Lenin having a
real ball in this kind of place. Pleasant and unique.
Osiris: (C-4) Barona 31, about a 10-minute
walk from the old city; tel. 724-3002. Open:08-24; Sat., Sun. 10-24.
How many ways can you say class? However you say it, this place has
it. Everything from the food to the general atmosphere to the
background music meets a very high standard. Osiris, which is a
favorite hangout of artistically-inclined locals, isnt located in
the flashiest-looking building in Riga. But the whole place breathes
class, and the wonderfully eclectic menu makes Osiris perfect for any
time of the day.
Otto Schwarz: (H-3) Kaïíu 28, on the top floor of the Hotel de Rome; tel. 708-7623. Open:07-23. On the 7th floor of the
Hotel de Rome, Otto Schwarz offers a seasonal menu using fresh, local ingredients. The background music, service, decor, not to mention the food, are very good. Note what are possibly the coolest salt and pepper shakers in the hemisphere.
Otto Schwarz is expensive by regional standards, but it’s worth it.
Palete: (I-3) Gleznotaju 12/14, tel.
721-6037. Open: 12-24. The restaurant is shaped like a palette, with a
small garden at the entrance. Cajun to lasagna; even
ostrich from time to time.
Panorama: (D-2) in the Radisson Hotel across the river, Kugu 24, tel. 706-1281. Open:07-23. A first-class restaurant with tall windows framing picture-perfect views of the old city.
Piramida: (F-4) Reimersa 1, facing the
Esplanade park; tel. 732-4433. Open:07-23. Located inside the
spectacularly good Park Hotel Ridzene, this pyramid-shaped restaurant
has caused a stir in Riga restaurateur circlespegged by some as one
of the best high-end restaurants around. A forewarning is that a full
meal here is expensive: escaping with a bill under 50 dollars is a
feat. To splurge on three or four guests, count on spending 150 or 200
dollars, easy. But the ambiance here is class, class, class: soft
lighting, live piano music, and the waiters wearing black bow ties.
The atmosphereparticularly if youre an adherent of pyramid
poweris hard to beat. The excellent menu includes great soups and
salads, and the likes of pepper-backed salmon, carpaccio of deer, and
elk with grape sauce. On weekdays they serve an excellent lunch buffet
for about 12 lats, and Saturdays and Sundays they have a brunch for 9
Rozengrâls: (I-1) Rozena 1; tel. 722-4748. Open:12-24. Riga’s first medieval restaurant has a fantastic atmosphere. The premises were used as a wine cellar back in 1293, and the candle-lit interior includes fragments of 13th century city fortifications. The food is also authentic, but very expensive.
Sarkans (Red): (B-4) Stabu 10, tel. 727-2286. Open:10-24;
Fri. 12-04. Another trendy new bar/restaurant in Riga.
Sarkans has become a favorite of area professionals with more refined tastes. The downstairs bar is drenched in fashionable neon lights. The upstairs is a comfortable à la carte restaurant with a creative menu: yogurt marinated beef, Hot Bloody Mary soup, glazed trout and also a range of breakfast food.
Seasons/Orangerie: (H-1) Pils 12, tel. 704-4000.
Orangerie is open 07-15; Seasons is open 19-23, Sun. closed. Fine restaurants in one of the Baltics’ highest class hotels, the Grand Palace, which is considered a monument of good taste in the Baltics. At
Orangerie, dine in a greenhouse-like atrium that even on the grayest of days in Latvia is flooded with natural light. Especially good for lunch, with reasonably priced specials. Dinner restaurant
Seasons is consistent with Grand Palace’s deserved reputation and offers a top international menu and refined service to
match for dinner. www.schlossle-hotels.com
Steiku Haoss: (H-3) Meistaru 25, tel. 722-2428.
The Middle Ages meet Texas in this fun-filled steakhouse in a two-tiered medieval building. Wait-staff dons cowboy clothes, there are saddles on bar stools and animal skins on the walls. Mouth-watering smells smack you in the nostrils as you enter; steaks sizzle on a grill before your eyes. It’s carnivore heaven!
Tower Scandinavian Restaurant: (H-2) Smilsu 7, old city; tel. 721-6155.
Open from11 til last guest. An old-time favorite has gone in for a major image change, evolving from something of an English pub into a high-class, highly refined Scandinavian restaurant that, if it were picked up and dropped into the Swedish capital, would not seem out of place among better Stockholm establishments. Tower has retained its laid-back, welcoming feel: soft light, tasteful background music and enlarged windows that face the cobblestone street front. The diverse menu recently included tacos, pickled herring, snails, reindeer, chocolate parfait and Finnish blueberry pie. This place is a sure thing if ever there was one in Riga.
Vairak Saules (More Sun): (C-4) Dzirnavu 60, tel. 728-2878. Open:12-02; Fri., Sat. 12-04. This simple and casual restaurant/bar offers Italian-inspired dishes at reasonable prices. Well suited for families with kids. Also at Audèju 8, tel. 781-4960. Open:09-24.
Vincents: (B-3) Elizabetes 19, tel. 733-2830. Open:11-24.
Vincents, as in Vincent van Gogh, has been a CITY PAPER favorite for many years—but it only gets better and classier year after year. The interior was
recently changed to give the place a lighter, more cutting-edge feel, but it remains eminently inviting. While there is no longer the dearth of fine restaurants there was when
Vincents first opened right after Latvia regained independence, this place remains one of the standards for upscale restaurants in the whole of the Baltics. The service is spectacularly attentive and inventive; top opera singers are a fixture in the evening and break into song when least expected. The food is shockingly good and one has to search far and wide for other Baltic restaurants that can even come close. The likes of Prince Charles, Elton John, Montserrat Caballé and B.B. King have all discovered this for themselves, having been among the clients.
Vincents uses organic products when possible and has a wonderfully eclectic menu that changes regularly. Over the years, they have served the likes of goat cheese and thyme soufflé, avocado and shrimp salad, roasted rabbit and lamb in herb crust; but the menu changes frequently. All the dishes are artistically presented with a loving touch. Most dishes are refreshingly light and don’t leave you feeling like you just ate a horse.
1739: (I-3) Skarnu iela 6, in the old city;
tel. 721-1398. Open:12-23. Located in one of the quaintest buildings in Riga. This
restaurant offers good Italian food..
Bella Italia: (I-3) Vagnera 16, old city;
tel. 722-3587. Open:12-24. This new restaurant is just a stone’s
throw from the Italian embassy in Riga, which may (or may not) account
for the fine Italian food. Bella Italia is split into two, with
a pizzeria in one half of the building and a more formal restaurant in
the other half. The atmosphere is good enough, if not anything to
write home to Naples about. But it does have the mark of authenticity
when it comes to the food, including pizzas that are done up in a
wood-burning oven. Friendly staff, too.
Da Sergio: (B-5) Terbatas 65, a few
minutes walk away from the old city; tel. 731-2777. Open:11-23.
Another of the ever- increasing Italian options in Riga. The atmosphere
here is very warm and cozyvery, well, Italian. The pizza and other
Italian delicacies are very good; admirably, the bread is cooked up
fresh in the restaurant.
Fellini: (D-4) Marijas 13, tel. 728-4801. Open:12-24. An excellent Italian restaurant in the posh Berga Bazars shopping area with, surprise
surprise, a Federico Fellini/movie director theme. This light and breezy upscale Italian-owned restaurant, is decked out with directors’ chairs—with Fellini written on the back—is very well-suited for formal occasions. Great food. Their pasta, made in-house, melts in your mouth like butter. Many ingredients are imported straight from Italy. They also have an excellent wine list and a vinotheque in the front. Impeccable service. Live Italian guitar music some nights.
Il Patio: (H-3) Kalku 6, old city; tel.
722-0755. Open:12-24. Another restaurant at Stacijas laukums 2, in the Origo shopping center, (D-4); tel.707-3907. This place is owned by the same people who do the
excellent TGI Friday, so quality here is a given. Patio Pizza is
in a charming cavernous basement, and there’s a true Italian feel
blended into the red-bricks of the vaulted cellar. The pizza’s simply
terrific, made in a real wood-burning oven as Italians meant it to
be. There’s also a menu of other traditional Italian dishes. Take-out,
Monterosso: (H-3) Valnu 9, in the old city; tel. 722-2071. Open:10-24. It’s like something out of a Godfather movie and verges on gaudy. But
Monterosso, by most accounts, serves some of the finest Italian food in Riga.
Pomodoro: (J-3) Vecpilsetas 8a, tel. 721-1044. Open:11-24. This spacious
pizzeria/trattoria is located in a quaint medieval warehouse, with a good mix of medieval and new interior design. Pizza, pasta and other Italian specialties at very reasonable prices. Italian-owned.
Roma: (B-3) Pulkveza Brieza 6, tel. 733-4170. Open:11-22;
Sun.11:30-21. An Italian restaurant, with the feel of a neighborhood establishment in, well, a Rome suburb. The Italian owner does most of the cooking, so how could you go wrong? Pizzas taste like the real thing and are pegged by some as the best in Riga. Friendly wait staff, too.
Talavera: (D-2) in the fine Radisson SAS
Daugava Hotel across the river, Kugu 24, tel. 706-1111.
Open:18-23; Sun., Mon. closed. Some of the finest
Mediterranean food in Riga. They offer a wide selection of Italian
dishes, plus a very good array of wines.
Tiramisu: (C-4) Gertrudes 32, tel. 731-2218.
Open:08-23; Sat. 11-23; Sun. 12-24. This small restaurant feels very Italian and it offers a wide range of tasty Italian dishes, pizza and pastries all prepared by an Italian chef. There’s also a good wine list. Run by the same group who does the good-quality
Un Momento: (C-5) Caka 58, tel. 727-8870. Open:09-22, Fri. 09-24, Sat.11-24, Sun.11-22. A casual Italian-owned pizzeria/trattoria; suited for breakfast and lunch. Good pizza and pasta. Everything is reasonably priced.
Kabuki: (C-5) Terbatas 46; entrance from Martas, tel. 784-2728; open:12-22:30; also at (D-4) Barona 14, entrance from Elizabetes; tel. 728-2052. Open:12-24. A place for sushi at a reasonable price. They also do fusion cooking—like Italian sushi. Strange, but it works. Minimalist Japanese-style interior. Owned by the same people who do the excellent Sumo restaurant in the old city.
Sumo: (J-3) Kungu 8, in the old city tel. 750-3244.
Open:12-24. Rigas first Japanese restaurant. In a fashionable,
brightly-lit old town buildingwith the feel more of New World Japan
than Old. The food is very nice, and has tended to get the big thumbs up
from most clientele. Sumo is certainly a welcome change of pace in the
Latvian capital. If your hearts set on coming here, you should
probably make a reservation in advance.
Planet Sushi: (H-2) Skunu 6. Open:12-24. Sushi, what else? By the same people who do the excellent
TGI Friday. This place has become the hottest sushi stop in town, hands down. They also serve Japanese whiskey and beer. Spacious, with big windows facing old town streets and pleasant indirect lighting; pictures of cherry trees on the walls and tasteful wooden separators; tables and also comfortable couches with pillows. Exemplary service by waitresses wearing kimonos. To top it all off, surprisingly affordable prices.
Café Lechaim: (C-4) Skolas 6, entrance from Dzirnavu, tel. 728-0235. Open:10-22, Sat. closed. A tiny, no-frills cafeteria in a corner basement of the main Jewish community center in Riga. The food is simple and completely unadorned, but it is one of the only public places for meticulously kosher food. On the menu:
falafel, stuffed fish, whipped egg with matzoth, schnitzels, fish balls and more. The food, to boot, is extremely cheap by Riga standards.
Shalom: (B-5) A. Briana 10, about a five minute drive to the
northeast of the old city; tel. 736-4911. Open:12-23. This is Rigas
only Jewish restaurant, which recently moved from its more hectic
location on Brivibas street. The newer version is more fashionable and
distinctive, beginning with the blue neon stars of David in the
street-front windows. Light blue is also the dominant color inside
this cottage-sized restaurant, which faces a 19th century factory
across the road; theres occasional live music. There are no kosher
dishes on the otherwise varied menu, which does include a nice stuffed
mushroom, carp fillet, red borch and eggplant, plus honey cake boiled
in honey and a Jewish baklava for dessert.
Soraksans: (H-1) Miesnieku 12, in the old city; tel.
722-9068. Open:12-24. An extremely pleasant Korean restaurant with a
bright-wood interior and charming oriental decorations. It’s a
comfortable place to unwind and enjoy authentic-tasting cuisine
prepared by Korean chefs. Try the distinctly Korean specialties, like
the fiery-hot Kimchi, cabbage heads seasoned with ginger, garlic and
red pepper. As far as spices go, be sure to ask the multi-lingual
waitresses what’s hot and what’s not. Unlike at other Asian
restaurants in Riga, you can dine here without significantly
lightening your wallet: no main course costs more than five dollars.
On weekdays there’s good self-service buffet until 17:00.
Alus Seta (Lido Group): (I-2) Tirgonu 6, just off Dome
Square, in the old city; tel. 722-2431. Open:11-01. This homey,
exquisitely designed Latvian beer hall now cooks Latvian dishes, ribs
and shish kebabs on open grills, giving it an American-barbecue
feelthough far classier.
Dzirnavas (Lido Group): (C-4) Dzirnavu 76, tel.
728-6204. Open:08-23. A wonderfully vast kingdom of a restaurant,
something between an old Latvia theme park and a Swedish smorgasbord.
The food, mostly Latvian country specialties, is all pre-prepared and
you go through a cafeteria-style line. The food is hardly high class,
but thats obviously not the main point of this fun-loving place. It
all feels like the inside of an old Latvian farmhouse; theres a
stream running through the middle of the restaurant, and Latvian folk
music um-pah-pahs in the background. The place is very popular and
Lauku Pagrabs: (B-3) Antonijas 9, tel. 733-4176. Open:11-23. A sprawling basement restaurant that has a Latvian farm-house feel. Latvian specialties at reasonable prices.
Lido Recreation Center: Krasta 76, a 10-minute drive southeast of the old city; tel. 750-4420. Open:10-23. A cross between Disneyland and a Latvian country inn. Everything, from the cottage knick-knacks to the beams seem to be two or three times real scale, giving the place the feel of a roadside inn on steroids. Traditional Latvian food is served here cafeteria-style; you take a tray and wander around wanting to grab almost everything. There’s a wide variety of pork, chicken, pancake dishes and desserts, including wonderful waffles smothered in honey. Outside the massive stone building is a park with huge glass displays with animated animals and toys, clearly targeting the kids. Also rides and assorted outdoor fairs and concerts in the summer, and skating rink in winter which in summer is used for in-line skating.
Salmu Krogs (Thatch Pub): (D-4) Dzirnavu
107, tel. 728-5238. Open:10-23; Sun. 11-22. Not so different from the Lido chain, Salmu Krogs
offers the same fare at approximately the same price. They have
restaurants at the Spice shopping center and a thatched restaurant on
the way to the airport.
Staburags (Lido Group): (C-5) A. Caka 55, tel. 729-9787.
Open:12-24. A popular labyrinth of a restaurant with a genuine Latvian
feel. It is made to look like a village with rooms divided into little
farmhouses. Waitresses in national dress. They do the food like its
done down on the farm.
Arbat: (H-3) Vagnera 3, tel. 721-4056. Open:12-24. This richly-decorated restaurant has an upscale, bojar house feel. A long menu of high-class Russian dishes.
Peterburgs: (C-4) Dzirnavu 31, tel.733-1465. Open:12-23. An elaborately decorated upscale Russian restaurant. Live music on weekends.
Russkij Dvor: Kengaraga 3, off Maskavas
street; tel. 713-4930. Open:10-23; Sun. 11-23. A Russian place with the feel of a
theme park imagined by Walt Disney; it’s actually a homegrown
establishment, done by the same savvy entrepreneurs who do the
similarly fun-filled Latvian-food restaurant Lido. All and all,
Russkij Dvor is excellent, highly distinctive and probably a
must visit for tourists. It’s built as a vast, idealized version of
a Russian village, with bright-red paintings of fairy-tale figures
along the inside walls. The traditional Russian food, from blini to
pancakes to pork and solyanka soup, is served cafeteria style,
so, if you need to, you can get in and out fast. There’s a
playground for the kids and frequent live Russian music. Perfect for
Slavu: (C-4) Blaumana 9, a short walk east
of the old city; tel. 728-3974. Open:12-23. Slavu seems to be shooting
for a mid-range clientele, possibly locals and tourists looking for
more affordable Russian food. The interior has just a hint of a
Russian inn, with a few samovars scattered here and there, and a few
wooden beams; the waiters and waitresses also wear something
resembling a potato sack with a hole cut through the top. The menu has
pretty much what youd expect from a Russian restaurant: borsch,
bliny, solyanka, etc. The food is good, though maybe not as good as it
is at Traktieris.
Traktieris: (B-4) Antonijas 8, tel.
733-2455, in a Jugendstil neighborhood. Open:11-23. With its
oak-paneled floors, samovars and carved wooden bears, Traktieris has
the pleasant air of a Russian country inn, far from the tacky feel of
most other so-called Russian restaurants in the Baltics. For
background music, they play real Russian folk, not the cheap, tin-can
techno preferred by many other Russian-run venues. The food here is
well-priced by Riga standards, less than 15 dollars for a meal for
two. They recently opened a buffet for faster lunch service. Food
quality here is quite high; everything tastes home-made, from the
borsch to an array of bliny. A favorite spot for Russian diplomats who
walk from their embassy just around the corner.
Divi Lasi (Two Salmon): (I-2) Tirgonu 8, in
the old city; tel. 721-3470. Open:11-01. A seafood joint with a
self-service smorgasbord of fish dishes, plus salads and soups. This
is not a high-class seafood restaurant; its not meant to be. But
Two Salmon serves its purpose: it gives fish lovers a place to go when
their hands start to shake and they have to have it NOW!
Zivju Restorans: (H-3) R. Vagnera 4, in the
old city; tel. 721-6713. Open:12-24. Rigas best seafood place; a
favorite of local businessmen. Its one of the few places in the
Baltics where you can get lobster plucked live out of glass tanks.
Managers have worked hard in recent years on improving the interior
and, in general, improving standards of the food and service.
El Primero: (H-2) Smilsu 6 (entrance from
Aldaru), the old city, tel. 732-3664. Open:11-23. A new Spanish
restaurant a hop, skip and a jump from the Latvian parliament. Classy
if a streamlined, no-nonsense interior, with heavy black oak chairs,
candlelight and posters of bull fighters on. Good Spanish wine
selection (surprise, surprise) and lots of heavy meat dishes.
Alpenrose: (I-2) Jauniela 16, tel. 722-0402.
Open:11-23. In a lovely medieval-era house that’s been imbued with
Swiss ambiance, though with heavy, lovely doses of modern Latvian
design. There’s a country-inn feel to the place with the requisite
cow bells and Swiss-German music; it’s very classy but also very
cozy. The mouthwatering menu includes the likes of meat-filled hot
apples, pickled veal and, most delightfully of all, a range of
fondues, from classic Swiss-cheese fondue to sweet-pepper fondue. For
dessert, try the beer dough fried with cinnamon and served with ice
Lavanda: Vienibas 78, tel. 728-2097. Open:10-22, Sun.:10-19. Good food at very reasonable prices.
Spotikatcs: (I-2) Antonijas 12, tel. 750-5955.
Open:11-23. Ukrainian food doesn’t get frequent mention by the likes
of Condé Nast Traveler’s magazine or other notable culinary class.
This alone is probably good enough reason to come to this new proudly
self-described Ukrainian restaurant. Fine service, fine food, fine
Kamala: (I-2) Jauniela 14, in the old city;
tel. 721-1332, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open:12-23; Sun. 12-22. This cozy, tight-fitting den is easily the most
comfortable of the vegetarian restaurants in the Baltic states. Its
scattered with Indian-design pillows, theres a depiction of the
wife of Vishnu on one wall, and the place is permeated with the lovely
smell of incense. For a vegetarian restaurant, the food (and the
prices) are more upper scale than other similar establishments; a meal
for two will run you about 30 dollars. Try the brushcetta with
goats cheese, the red lentil zucchini soup, tofu curry or vegetable
ragout with couscous; desserts feature apple rice, carrot paste and
lemon pie with a cinnamon filling.
Rama: (C-5) K. Barona 56, tel. 727-2490. Open:09-21. A
10-minute walk from the old city. Atmospheric, with pictures of Hindu
gods on the walls, incense and tambourine music. Serves vegetarian
dishes and oriental sweets in what is primarily a Hare Krishna center.
Its relaxed here and nobody tries to convert you as you delve into
your rice and lentils. Meals seem to be sold at cost: cheap, cheap,
cheap. Also duck into the cellar shop for Krishna jewelry and
Ai Karamba: (B-3) tel. 733-4672. Open: 08-23. Excellent real-beef burgers.
Èili Pica: Brîvîbas 372, at the Alfa shopping center; tel. 707-6501; (E-4) Krasta 46, at the Mols shopping center; tel. 703-0215, and also at 13 Janvara 8, at Stockmann; tel. 722-0189. Open:10-24. A Lithuanian-based pizza chain. Tasty pizza.
Kebabs Fix: tel. 728-2811. Open:10-24; Fri., Sat. 10-02.
Lido: tel. 722-1318. Open:10-21. A wide selection of very good pizzas, as well as some other dishes.
Pelmeni Centrs: (I-4) Valnu 16. Open:08-21; Sat., Sun. 10-21. Same owners and same concept as
Pelmeni XL, which serves inexpensive Russian food fast. The interior here is classier than at
Pelmeni XL: spacious, modern and minimalist interior with huge windows overlooking a busy old-city street. Popular for lunch.
Pelmeni XL: (I-3) Kalku 7, old city; tel. 722-2728. Open:09-04. A very good, Russian version of a fast-food sandwich shop. The focus is on traditional Russian pelmeni, a doughy bread stuffed with assorted meats. This has hints of a greasy-spoon cafeteria: still, this is an ideal choice when you don’t have much time (or money), but need to fill up fast and high-tail it outta there. Open into the early morning hours, so perfect for late-night party animals with the munchies. Also at (I-4) Audçju 16. Open:08-21, Sat., Sun. 10-21.
Pizza Jazz: (H-2) Ðkunu 19, off Dome Square; at (B-5) Brîvîbas 76; and at (G-4)
Raina blv. 15, tel. 721-1237. Open:10-24. Ask someone who has been to Pizza Jazz and they’ll most likely tell you how cost effective eating here was. Not that the pizza is terrible, but the pizza is just not what you’ll go away remembering.
Pizza Lulû: (A-5) K. Valdemâra 145/2, (C-4) Gertrûdes 27, at the Spice shopping mall, Lielirbes 29. Open:10-21. They also have a 24h outlet at Krasta 44, and a take-out along the highway to Jûrmala by the Viada gas station. A quaint, very popular pizza place run by enterprising Latvian-Canadians. Laid-back, college-deli feel. Lulû serves some of the best pizza in Riga. You can buy it whole or by the slice. You can also order pizza via its web site,
www.lulu.lv, or by phone at 800-5858, 24-hours a day with free delivery.
Sievasmâtes pîrâdzini: (I-3) Kalku 10, in the old city. Open:09-21, Sat., Sun. 10-21. This homey place selling traditional Latvian pastries is the best value in Old Riga. Stuff yourself for under 1 lats.
Soho: tel. 724-0250. Open:12-22. Very good Japanese and Chinese food.
British Caucasian Chinese Fast Food Indian International
Latvian Russian Seafood
Spanish Swiss Ukrainian
Deliveries in Riga
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