Riga holidays

Riga eating out

TravelSavvy travel guide to Riga restaurants

Did you know?

Between the wars Riga was known as the 'Paris of the Baltics'

Dumplings and pancakes are very popular dishes in Latvia

Expect high prices in restaurants around the Doma Laukums in the Old Town

All major hotels and restaurants accept credit cards

Pizzas are the most popular non-Latvian fast food

Eating out on a Riga city break

Eating out in Riga has undergone a revolution in recent years. Whatever your taste or budget you're bound to find a restaurant or cafe to suit.

You won't have to look very far to find a coffee shop, tea house or snack bar either - a new one seems to open every day.

Most of the top quality Riga restaurants are found in hotels with the food there served to a very high standard.

Prices have been low by UK standards but Latvian inflation has brought recent price rises. Wine is available in restaurants but it's all imported and certainly not cheap.

Eating out in Riga

Riga has a wide range of good restaurants and most nationalities are catered for, notably Asian, Italian, Ukrainian, Russian and of course, Latvian. Vegetarians are well catered for too. You don't need to book unless you want to be sure of a table in the summer season. Menus are invariably in English and a 10% tip is reasonable for good service.

Among the middle range restaurants is the Lido chain, where staff dress in mock folk costume and offer a modern take on traditional Latvian cuisine.

International fast food chains are refreshingly few in Riga. Maybe it's because Latvia's own take on fast food is even more heart stoppingly rich, with dozens of snack bars serving up dumplings, pastries and pancakes.

The calorie-laden treats include deep fried meat dumplings (pelmei). The most popular fast food outlets tend to be pizza parlours and pancake houses.

Latvian food

Given centuries of occupation by Germans and Russians, it's not surprising that Latvian cuisine is highly flavoured by these countries. Latvian meals, while tasty, are not for the weight conscious.

Standard items include lots of bread, potatoes and sauerkraut. Local breakfast favourites are bacon-stuffed piragi, pie that's baked overnight, and apple bread.

Other Riga delicacies are:
Skaba putra: Cold soup of barley, buttermilk and sour cream.
Piragi: Small pies filled with cabbage and boiled egg.
Cukas galerts: Pork in aspic with vinegar and mustard.
Klingeris: Saffron bread covered in raisins and almonds.
Kisels: Rich soup of fresh fruit often served with caramel cream.

Drinking in Riga

For a small country Latvia has a very high number of breweries and many cafes and restaurants serve their own brand of beer.

The best known Latvian beer, Aldaris, tastes much the same as other big brands so for something different try Baukas, Piebalgas or Rigas which all have a more distinctive taste.

In summer Riga's beer gardens open - all day and often well into the night. The Piebalga in Livu Laukums is a favourite, though you need to book, and the nearby Capri attracts more up-market crowds.

A tourist favourite is the Konvents Seta on Janu Seta and for a quieter retreat there is Labais Krasts on Anglikanu. Irish pubs are also a favourite in Old Riga, usually packed with young football fans, or just about anyone for Irish festival holidays.

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TravelSavvy city breaks in Riga