White Guide Nordic: the best restaurants in Estonia

Source: La Boulangerie, Lauri Laan

White Guide Nordic: the best restaurants in Estonia

The key to Estonia's recent culinary success lies in the fact that chefs celebrate seasonal ingredients and local traditions. Culinary customs — picking berries, pressing juice, salting and marinating cucumbers and mushrooms, smoking wild game and fish — flourish within the framework of four distinct seasons. Here are the top restaurants recognized by White Guide Nordic.

On this year's list, you'll find some overlap with the first-ever MICHELIN Guide Estonia. But as you look over the recommendations, you'll see there is something for everyone, and the critics have found top-notch dining at a variety of price points. For example, you can find classics such as Saaremaa Veski in Kuuresaare and Tallinn neighborhood favorites such as Viru Burger in Kalamaja and Karjase Sai bakery in the hip Põhja Tehas area. 

White Guide Nordic recommendations by region

Tallinn

Are you a visiting foodie and want to know where to start your culinary tour of Estonia? Tallinn has the most restaurants mentioned in the White Guide Nordic, fitting as it's the country's capital and home to the only two Global Master Level restaurants in Estonia. Both were also recent recipients of a coveted MICHELIN Star.

Global Master Level

Master Level

Tartu and South Estonia

Southern Estonia is good at maintaining old traditions, but traditional doesn't mean stationary. Estonian food culture is constantly moving forward, mixing ingredients of old with new techniques. Plus, the region is home to several ethnic groups with their own culinary traditions that add a special twist to the region's gastronomy.

Master Level

GMP Pühajärve

Photo by: Lauri Laan

Very Fine Level

Saaremaa and Haapsalu

These two picturesque coastal areas are foodie hotspots thanks to the restaurants recommended here by White Guide Nordic. Alexander, at Pädaste Manor on Muhu Island, is one of only five Master Level restaurants located outside of Tallinn.

Master Level

Very Fine Level

North and Central Estonia

This area of Estonia is known for its wild, untouched nature, so it makes sense that some of the best restaurants are located in beautiful seaside locales or off the beaten path, surrounded by forest. 

Master Level

Very Fine Level

Pärnu

The Pärnu restaurant scene is making strides to catch up with the other top culinary destinations in the country. Now you can relax by the beach during the day and treat yourself to a gourmet dinner in the evening. 

Very Fine Level

View all of the White Guide Nordic's restaurant recommendations here.

Where else can you find great Estonian food?

Appreciation of local produce comes hand-in-hand with the collaboration between the chef and the farmer. Food fairs and regional markets, where you can meet the farmers and sample their products have become increasingly popular. The golden autumn brings out the best opportunities for tasting something exceptional, like the jam and preserves fair in Olustvere, the Lindora fair in the Seto region, the Paunvere exhibition near Tartu, and Bread Day at the Open Air Museum in Tallinn. Onion growing thrives along the Lake Peipus coast where the locals braid onions into golden-yellow chains that look like the rich braids of Russian tsarinas from fairy tales. 

This is just a glimpse of Estonia's ongoing journey toward culinary excellence. Once you've had a try and been astonished once, you're likely to return for more!

Last updated : 21.11.2022

In category: Food & Drink & Nightlife