For a certain group of people, no matter where they go food always takes priority. Not in a sense that they’re struggling with weight issues; more like they’re obsessed with new tasting experiences and sampling unique dishes. They’re the foodies of the world;to them, travel means the excitement of a new culinary culture, with a whole host of mouthwatering meals just waiting to hit their palates. Those travelers looking for an exciting, creative up-and-coming culinary scene would do well to check out Riga, a dynamic new foodie hotspot with a lot to offer the hungry tourist.
Riga is the capital of Latvia, which is situated in top northeast corner of Europe. While it might be off the beaten track of a traditional European bucket list trip, Riga certainly has its charms, especially if you happen to be foodie-inclined. In years past, many of the city’s restaurants served up their own take on foreign dishes; recently, however, local chefs have been discovering the charms of local produce and returning to the roots of traditional Latvian cuisine. This exciting blend of influences results in a flamboyant, invigorating culinary scene, one that any foodie worth their salt and pepper will want to check out immediately. So keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we take you through the ultimate foodie guide to Riga!
Shop and Chow Down at Gallery Istaba Latvians go mad for local crafts and accessories; you can find a ton of them on display at Gallery Istaba, a warm, cosy little venue tucked up in the centre of Riga. This is a ‘home feast’ experience, where you’ll dine in a creative, eccentric environment. The menu is full of local produce, but you won’t spend too long looking at it; Gallery Istaba’s remit is to let you pick your main, then let the chef take care of the rest!
Park Up at MiiT Coffee This little number is certainly unique; you might’ve heard of a gallery eatery, but what about a bike workshop mixed with a top class cafe? Well, us neither, but that’s exactly what MiiT Coffee is. Not that its unusual moonlighting means you shouldn’t take the food seriously; this place features a knockout vegetarian brunch pancake buffet that demands to be sampled. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’ll find plenty to like at Miit. Just not…meat. The coffee ain’t too shabby either!
Sit Courtside at Pagalms Pagalms is one of those gorgeous restaurants that works equally well in the day or night. It’s perfect for a post-stroll bite or a full-on evening feast; whichever you’re in the mood for. This gem is nestled in the middle of Riga’s central park, so it can be a little difficult to track down; once you do, however, you’ll be glad you made the trek. And if you feel like a bit of after-dinner exercise, the restaurant overlooks a tennis court; so bring your racket!
Sample the Traditional at Austra One of the best restaurants in Riga for a mouthwatering brunch, Austra serves up a hearty selection of classic Latvian dishes. For those foodies who really like to roll up their sleeves and get involved with a country’s culinary specialities, this is the place fo you. The menu’s ever-changing, so a repeat visit isn’t necessarily off the cards. The value for money is also exceptional.
Make a Meal of it at Muusu Some have called Muusu the best restaurant in Riga, which is a big claim in a city full of dynamic new eateries and chefs; however, Muusu (meaning ‘ours’) has the ammunition to live up to the hype. Based in a beautiful 18th century in Riga’s historic centre, Muusu’s menu offers up contemporary European cuisine, given a fresh spin by head chef Kaspers Jansons. Despite the prestige and food quality, Muusu isn’t expensive by any means, making it perfect for a spot of lunch or multi-course dinner.
Explore the Riga Food Market Hollowed out into the shell of three old Zeppelin hangars is the Riga Food Market, a bustling foodie hub where visitors can enjoy sampling a huge range of local conceptions. Give yourself a good few hours to wander around this incredible celebration of local products, and enjoy all the variety and freshness on offer. As well as food, there’s also a large selection of local art and crafts on offer, so perusing all the wares the Market has to offer can take some time!
Liquor Up at Labietis One of the best ways to wash down a great meal is with a beer, and Riga is by no means immune to the recent craft beer explosion; a number of delectable brews bottled and on tap can be sampled across the city. One of the best places to kick back with a beer is Labietis, which features over fifteen small batch craft beers on tap, all brewed on site. While there’s an amazing range of flavors on offer, they have one thing in common – they partner exceptionally well with a plate of Labietis’ finest beef jerky.
It might have a burgeoning food scene, but that’s by no means all Riga has to offer an eager ‘DREAMER. The well-known European capitals can certainly be fun, but sometimes a place off the beaten and well-worn tourist track can hit the spot just nicely. If you’re a diehard foodie, make sure to stick Riga down on your BUCKiTDREAM itinerary asap; you won’t be disappointed with its hearty Baltic offerings!