The countryside's tasty hidden treasures

Source: Mart Vares, Visit Estonia

The countryside's tasty hidden treasures

It is said that Estonia is a small country with a big heart. When looking at the diversity of Estonia's regional cuisines, perhaps we should say it's a small country with a large stomach, as well! There are hidden treats to be found outside the major cities for visitors willing to venture off the beaten path.

However, they may not stay secret for long. Estonia is the first Baltic country to be featured in the world-renowned MICHELIN Guide, and undercover inspectors are making the rounds as you read this! Get a head start and see for yourself what the countryside has to offer.

Setomaa food

Visitors can purchase Seto food to try at festivals in Setomaa.

Photo by: Mart Vares

Regional specialities

Mulgimaa cuisine in Southern Estonia is known for its famous signature dish mulgikapsad, sauerkraut braised with barley groats and pork. For dessert try mulgi korp, a sweet cottage cheese Danish, a must-have and not-so-guilty pleasure. 

When heading to the far corner of southeastern Estonia to the home of the Setos, you'll have the chance to savour some delicious sõir, a fortified cheese flavoured with poppy seeds and served with a side of honey and jam. Located nearby Lake Peipsi, you will find it difficult to pass up on the smoked freshwater fish. If that didn't get your mouth watering, then think of the warm potato pastries straight out of the oven to be enjoyed while looking out over old-fashioned cottages and green fields.

If you're looking to try something even more exotic and have a taste for onions, visit the Old Believers by the shore of Lake Peipsi. This orthodox community serves up some very original dishes, both hearty and healthy.

Countryside dishes

Fresh, seasonal ingredients are often grown right beside the restaurant.

Photo by: Mart Vares

Gourmet restaurants in the countryside

In addition to village markets, cafes and taverns, Estonia's forests and villages also hide some of the best gourmet restaurants in Estonia.

Located in a rustic mansion, Põhjaka restaurant grows most of its food on-premise and serves up dishes cooked over an open fire. Their rustic yet refined cuisine has given them a MICHELIN Green Star and a spot on White Guide Nordic's list of the best restaurants in Estonia. 

For barn-turned-restaurants and other fine dining spots in the countryside, look up Tammuri and Ööbiku cottages, Kaheksa Jalga at Kõue Mansion, and Luscher & Matiesen Muhu Winehouse, a must-visit for any true foodie.

For a true five-star experience, stop by Pädaste Manor on Muhu Island before you head over to the foodie haven of Saaremaa. The manor's restaurant, Alexander, offers Nordic Island cuisine inspired by the cooking traditions of Muhu and the surrounding coastal areas. White Guide Nordic ranks Restaurant Alexander as one of the top five restaurants in Estonia. 

Last updated : 29.11.2022

In category: South Estonia, Food & Drink & Nightlife