INTRODUCING THE DINING SCENE IN RIGA
When I started researching Riga as a city break destination, I was totally unaware of the dining scene and what to expect but I was absolutely blown away by the numerous eating and drinking establishments serving fine dining affairs. Apart from my extraordinary experience at the Baltics second best restaurant, Vincent’s, I have rounded up my very best of exploring the dining scene in Riga.
Bibliotēka No 1 Restorāns
This elegant restaurant is located in the Park Vērmanas dārz, on the edge of Old Town Riga. Its positioned well to make use of its outdoor terrace surrounded by beautiful gardens and a green.
Bibliotēka restaurant itself is themed around a library with many book displays incorporated into the indoor dining area. Classics are served up with a seasonal and modern addition, in what I would call sophisticated and grown up surroundings. Bibliotēka No 1 is most definitely the place for a special night out and represents the higher end of the dining scene in Riga
Our drinks of choice were a classic London Gin and Tonic followed by a chef’s special appetiser of blue cheese with apple and watermelon. A small morsel that delivered all the flavour of each ingredient.
To start we went for the Burrata served with tomato and aubergine chutney, raisins, toasted hazelnuts, arugula and basil. A light refreshing dish with the softest delicate Burrata I’ve ever tasted.
For mains, I had the fish of the day, stone bass with cauliflower cream, seared broccoli, white wine sauce, pomelo and dill oil.
Dr C kept to the fish theme and had his favourite Tuna steak with pak choi, mushrooms, pickled daikon, pepper caramel sauce with a ponzo marinated tapioca.
We agreed both mains were cooked and plated beautifully
We ended the meal with a dessert to share and Dr C also had a very grown up Port! Dessert was named Liselotte, which included a hazelnut sponge, crispy praline layer, soft caramel, milk chocolate namelaka and a chocolate mousse. This was all quite simply in the centre of a plate, making it look both minimalist but worth diving into.
Dr C opted for the Calem ten years port, which he confirmed was very smooth and warming following our meal.
Bibliotēka No 1 Restorāns
Tērbatas iela 2
Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia
Tel +371 20 225 000
Riviera restaurant is situated in the heart of the Art Noveau district of Riga and definitely has a flair of French sophistication to it in terms of both the menu and restaurant styling.
However, the restaurant leans more towards Mediterranean cuisine, featuring foods from Spain, France, Greece and Italian locales. The menu has been created by Head Chef and owner Jānis Sokolovskis and sommelier, Eduards Jakuševskis, who also own the restaurant to bring you some fantastic wines and dishes.
Post amuse bouche, we headed straight for the main course after consuming some of their olive oil and tomato infused breads.
I chose the Mediterranean sea bass, which was accompanied by sautéed vegetables, sweet potato mash and white wine, tomato and olive sauce.
Dr C had the grilled yellowfin tuna steak, which was served with green asparagus, eggplant and pepper mash, white wine and a tomato and olive sauce.
Both dishes were cooked to taste, however as the sea bass was served whole it did contain a few bones left over from filleting but that’s just a very minor thing, which wouldn’t deter me from recommending to anyone.
We ended our meal with a couple of fantastic desserts, Pavlova with fresh berries in strawberry and orange liqueur syrup and also a classic Tiramisu featuring Valhorn chocolate for Dr C.
We had an obligatory coffee, which came with the beautiful added touch of crunchie Amoretti biscuits!
A perfect end to a Mediterranean themed evening but in the Baltics!
Due to the location of Riviera being in the quite affluent Art Nouveau district, I would have to say that it is representative of the higher end of the dining scene in Riga.
Riviera Mediterranean Restaurant
Dzirnavu Street 31
Tel +371 26605930
Domini Canes had to be by far one of my favourite lunch spots. It’s positioned in the Old Town cobbled streets of Riga between the churches of St Peter and St John.
It has an outdoor terrace, which serves as a perfect suntrap, however we chose to dine inside in a quiet corner spot. The décor is simple with dark wood accents and pretty wall hangings including clocks and wrought iron bird cages. The dishes comprise contemporary twists on local ingredients.
The menu is based on seasonally available local products, the riches that the Latvian fields and forests provide, featuring vegetables grown on small Latvian farms and mushrooms and berries picked in the woods.
I tried a pasta dish, which was made with aubergines, onions, tomatoes, covered with hard cheese, as they were out of Avocado I couldn’t have my first choice of oven baked avocado filled with onion marmalade. Dr C was a little more adventurous and tried the Latvia Elk Burger.
Domni Canes is pretty casual, the service is fantastic and provides a relaxing environment amongst a busy mornings sightseeing. It’s a restaurant that tourists and locals frequent in so feels a lot more authentic and is also more in keeping with the mid-range dining scene in Riga
Skārņu street 18/20
Tel +371 22314122
Skyline Bar at Radisson Blu Riga
One of the best ways to take in the views of Riga is from the Skyline bar at The Radisson Blu Hotel. The bar is located on the twenty sixth floor and as well as being able to have brunch here on selected days there is a tapas/snack menu which is just perfect for a lunch.
If you would like a guaranteed window table facing the old town of Riga then you have to book with a deposit of 50 Euros per person will be requested to secure a table. This is not refundable so bare in mind to make sure you consume food and beverages to cover this.
We tried a number of drinks including the Espresso Martini, Raspberry Gin Sour, Dry Martinis, a hot winter in Latvia (made of Riga Black Balsam, which is a famous local drink with blackcurrant juice and cinnamon), A candy Crush (Chambord raspberry liqueur, yoghurt liqueur, watermelon syrup, aloe vera juice and orange juice. The glass is coated in a technicolour of hundreds and thousands!)
In between the myriad of drinks and taking in the fantastic views on a clear sunny day we ordered a few items from the menu including pickled mushrooms with egg plant, shiso and truffle dressing, crispy fried rice with Kimchi, cheese, smoked bacon and spicy mayo, Panko pork belly with Kimchi apple salad and and spicy tofu.
We finished with a simple chocolate dessert called Elements of chocolate, which incorporated several styles of tempering chocolate to create a very grown up, sophisticated chocolate dessert!
I actually found the Skyline Bar did end up being good value for money with what we ordered but if you’re not too fussed about having a window seat, you can always walk in take your chances for a table, where you would not necessarily need to pay to reserve. I would say its more mid-high end on the dining scene in Riga.
Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & SPA Hotel
Elizabetes Str 55
Tel +371 67772288
Have you ever been to Riga and what would you recommend as part of the dining scene in Riga?