Food, glorious food! Gone are the days when restaurants were either for the rich or the culinary challenged.
Eating out on a regular basis is now the cultural norm all over Europe, and nowadays dining out at restaurants in Riga is an adventure into the world of food. Check out our Top 5 Riga restaurants.
Traditionally, Latvian Cuisine has been influenced by German food and the cuisine of Russia and the former Soviet republics such as Armenia and Georgia. Latvian Cuisineoffers good, hearty, no-nonsense food usually provided for in huge, tasty portions. There is no finer example of decent Latvian food than the LIDO Restaurant chain, with its most famous Riga restaurant housed in the largest log cabin in northern Europe.
But, in an increasingly globalised world, Riga's restaurants now offer food and dining options that cover all four corners of the world's cuisine. While new influences in Riga's restaurants include Japanese Sushi and Turkish Kebabs, the newly acquired culinary tastes of Latvians returning from years spent living and working in countries like Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom have also added to the culinary cooking pot of food now on offer in the Riga dining scene.
Indeed, due to the cosmopolitan nature of Riga, the Latvian capital now offers a wider variety of dining options in its Riga restaurants than many other major European cities. In 2010, Riga restaurants offer more than 30 different types of international cuisine, with Riga dining options, many of which can be found in the Old Town, including food from all of the world's continents.
For a sense of the wonderful dining options available in Riga's restaurants consider the choice of the following:
American, Armenian, Asian, Belgian, Chinese, Cypriot, Czech, English, French, Georgian, German, Gourmet, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Latvian, Lebanese, Medieval, Mexican, New Zealand, Russian, Seafood, Steak House, Spanish, Tajik, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uzbek.
As well as this incredible choice of international food in Latvia, visitors to Riga will also discover all-night cafes, bakeries, beer gardens, beer halls, breakfast restaurants, buffet restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, fast food outlets, pizzerias, restaurant chains, riverside restaurants, rooftop restaurants, sandwich shops, soup restaurants, and dedicated vegetarian restaurants.
We have put together a fully up-to-date restaurant directory with reviews and information about the very best restaurants and take away joints in Riga. Just click above on the type of cuisine that takes your culinary fancy... and begin your journey into the exciting world of Riga's restaurants.
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FOOD THAT TICKLES YOUR FANCY
Pretty much no matter where you go in this country, you’re guaranteed a good meal.
Riga’s restaurant scene has grown in quantity as well as quality over the past years, especially when one considers that, during the Soviet period, there really were no restaurants to speak of. Whether it’s local Latvian food or Indian, international fare or Japanese that you crave, Riga’s restaurants cater for every taste.
This month, The Baltic Guide takes you through some favourites, near and far, old and new.
Columbine One of Riga’s oldest institutions, and certainly one of its finest dining venues. The menu is constantly updated to reflect the changing seasons, offering the freshest food that is always in season. Hotel Metropole, 36/38 Aspazijas bulv.
Restaurant "Ambience" Ambience is what they promise, and is certainly what you’ll get at Latvia’s first boutique hotel. Enjoy a wide variety of international cuisine, with a select assortment of wines and champagnes. They also offer cigar, tea ritual and winetasting evenings. Ainivas Hotel, 23 Peldu
FOR MEAT LOVERS
Red Fred It only looks like a firehouse, but the flames inside indeed are real. Health lovers will revel in this grillfest, where meats, fish, and even shrimp are cooked up on the barbie. After the meal is done they offer a wide variety of beers to put the fire out. 62 Dzirnavu, 14 Audeju
Steiku Haoss The name means "steak chaos," but there’s nothing chaotic about the massive portions of steak they serve up here. The atmosphere will make you feel like you’re back in the Wild West. 25 Meistaru, 2 Audeju, 41/43 Terbatas
Mivatna veji The name means Mivatna’s winds, which you might just feel out here on Riga’s highest terrace, where they serve a variety of grilled foods (even grilled soup!) and drinks with the best view of Riga’s skyline. Islande Hotel, 20 Kipsalas
Kabuki, 46 Possibly Riga’s best Japanese, with various locations throughout the city. The food is always tasty and fresh, and it is the closest you’ll come to real Japanese this far from the Far East! Tērbatas, 14 Audeju
Indian Raja Amazingly enough, Riga can boast a truly authentic Indian restaurant, where the 3-star rating for spiciness is a real 3-stars, not a "Latvian" 3-stars, meant for Latvian palettes, which are not as used to the spices. 3 Vecpilsetas
Del Popolo Low prices and high quality don’t often go hand in hand, but this place is one exception. Great and authentic Italian food in an elegant atmosphere. And the freshly baked bread and table water for free make this place unique. 8 Jana
Macaroni Noodle Bar It’s not macaroni and cheese as you might think! They offer a bunch of homemade pastas, Thai noodles, and even sushi. Stick around after your meal is done, as the extensive cocktail list will make you want to linger. 17 Barona, 14 Audeju
Kapteina Enriko Pulkstenis Captain Enrico’s Watch takes its name from a classic Latvian film from the 1960s. Inside it’s an eclectic mix of motorcycles and nostalgia, and a vast menu of salads, pastas and soups, and a great selection of breakfast choices. 13 Antonijas
Paddy Whelan’s A Latvian classic; the city’s first real Irish Bar, and pretty much the last one still standing. Ample space to rest your weary bones or take in the footie, a generous menu of food and snacks, and a wide variety of beers on tap and in the bottle to whet your whistle.
ENTERTAINMENT AND DINING COMBINED
City Jazz club Guaranteed good eats and good tunes, what with master chef Steve Celico managing the kitchen, which serves up food that is only local, only fresh, and Latvia’s premier jazz musician Arnis Mednis making sure you’re properly entertained with great live jazz music. 34 Gertrudes
Misisipi (Peldosais restorans) Kill two birds with one stone, and do your sightseeing while you dine. The boat known as Misisipi (Mississippi) offers twohour evening boat cruises with dinner included. Leaves daily from the dock near the Akmens Bridge, across from the Occupation Museum.
DaDa The modern art movement that is the restaurant’s namesake was all about chance and putting random things together. That is both the culinary and decorative theme of this eatery, where you choose which meats and veggies you’d like, and the chefs fry them up for you! 16 Audeju
LIDO No trip to Latvia is complete without a trip to Lido, which has several branches throughout the capital and the country. The vast buffet has a variety of options, for veggie and carnivore alike, from shishkebabs (shashlik) and cutlets, to pancakes and a massive salad bar. 76 Krasta, other locations
Rigamunde One of the latest additions to the Riga dining scene invites you to their homely locale to sample homecooked freshly prepared Latvian fare. The modest interior and modest prices make the place worth stopping by. 12 Marstalu
OUT OF TOWN
Sunset Hotel Restaurant After a day at this beach, this is the place where you’ll want to be for fresh seafood and a variety of other choice dishes. In summer relax out on the terrace and watch the sunset, which is the venue’s namesake; in winter opt for dining by the fireplace in their cosy atmosphere. 7/9 Pilsonu iela, Majori (Jurmala)
My Life (Jurmala) An exciting new restaurant venture in Bulduri, offering a warm, homely interior and traditional food to match. Dishes from all over the world in a crosscultural menu fusion. The perfect break from the standard beachfront fare! Meza prospekts 49 (Bulduri)
Metropole Hotel Restaurant Enjoy fresh fish caught the same day in a local lake or fresh game from a nearby farm. If country living is your thing, then the Metropole Restaurant will serve you up a taste of that and more, in an elegant dining atmosphere. 11 Baznicas iela, Kuldiga