One of the essential elements of Estonian food lies in the ingredients being local and/or organic. One of your first stops should be the Fotografiska Restaurant above the museum, where the ingredients are locally grown and you can have a great view of the city of Tallinn Here you can experience a zero-waste dinner, where anything unused goes into the garden's compost.
If you want to try something more traditional, then you'll be sure to enjoy the gourmet farm restaurant Ööbiku. Located on a farm in the Estonian countryside, guests come here to enjoy a five-course menu made from products grown and gathered from neighboring farmers as well as the nearby forest.
For a cosy atmosphere and a seasonal menu, try Rado Restaurant. Here all ingredients are raw and the menu changes daily depending on the local harvests. In Viljandi, you'll find some of the best lamb dishes at Fellin Cafe, which comes from the restaurant's own flock!
Today, the new wave in Estonian cuisine is best characterised by putting a twist on a classic and making it something new, unique, and of course delicious. One of the places to immediately see that 'twist' is the Nordic-style bakery RØST. Located in the Rotermann district, you find a wide selection of Scandinavian baked goods made with some Estonia flair.
At Tsunft you can try an Estonian take on French and Italian flavours. Uniquely, Tsunft combines a bakery, a deli shop, a wine shop, a café, a lunch restaurant for part of the week while being an evening restaurant in the second half of the week. And don't forget to try something from the bakery!
Speaking of bakeries, on the Kopli peninsula, you'll find Karjase Sai, one of Tallinn's most beloved bakeries. And in the evening, the bakery turns into Restaurant Barbarea where you can try some of the best pizza in all of Estonia.
When it comes to drinks, Estonia has loads to offer with an emerging craft beer scene, specialist cocktails, and the lesser-known secret of Estonian wine.
If you're in Tallinn and you want to end the day with an intimate atmosphere and great-tasting cocktails, then you're spoiled for choice. You can stop by Botaanik Bar and see the menu of plant-based drinks with ingredients like basil, thyme, peppermint, wild carrot, Iceland moss, and wild strawberry as well as herbal liquor. The cocktail bar Whisper Sister has the ambiance of a 1920s speak-easy coupled with an ever-changing menu.
For those who are more interested in beer, experience the range of breweries. Põhjala is a craft brewery in Tallinn that produces and serves a dozen beers made in-house, often showcasing local Estonian ingredients.
Anyone interested in cider with find places like Jaanihanso Cider House a paradise for the palate. If you want to see the cider-making process up close, try a tour and tasting at Siidrikoda where you can see traditional cider production, as well as several wines.
On that note, take a chance to see the traditions of Estonian wine. Due to the landscape and climate, Estonian wine isn't made from grapes, but from berries and other ingredients, with Northern Estonia being the centre of Estonian winemaking. In the region you can try rhubarb wine at Allikukivi Winery, or fruit-based wine at Mamm&Frukt.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, you have a range of options for sweeter bites like pastries, cakes, and a unique tradition of chocolate. Estonian chocolate goes back centuries and uses marzipan as a base. You can even get a taste of an old marzipan recipe at the longest continually operating cafe in Estonia, Cafe Maiasmokk. You can also stop by an Estonian chocolatier like Kalev which has shops all through the country or Chocolala, which has made a name for itself by using unexpected regional ingredients like buckthorn, and birch juice.
If you want to try something else sweet, there are plenty of bakeries to discover and numerous cafes with cakes, pie, pastries, cookies, and more! In Haapsalu, there is no place for the sweet palate quite like Müüriääre Café and the cakes at Mahedik Cafe are unforgettable.
In Tallinn's old town, the name of Lee restaurant says everything you need to know with "lee" meaning the ancestral hearth full of life and good food shared by the people around the fire. Here, you see and taste the combination of local ingredients with international innovation.
Acting as both a French bakery, a deli, and a restaurant PÄRIS brings French classics to Estonia.
Based on the kitchen of Ranno Paukson, Restaurant Taju aims to combine elegance, seasonal local ingredients, and traditional flavours. The menu includes light international dishes, as well as dishes made directly in the stone oven and on the grill.
Photo by Terje Ugan
Photo by PÄRIS Facebook
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