Restaurants Bar&Cafés Entertainment
Riga is firmly establishing itself as a city of gastronomic delight, and in keeping with an increasing international presence, restaurants representing local and exotic cuisine, cafes and themed bars have opened in and around the centre.
Real ethnic establishments, genuine sushi and traditional Latvian fare can be expected at prices that vary from cosmopolitan excess to down to earth goodness. Tipping has become more expected - 10% is reasonable. Latvian dishes are a must try, and the more adventurous diner would do well to follow the example of local.
Beyond the cabbage and peas typical of the region, other treats include grilled pork ribs, smoked fish, piragi which is pastry filled with bacon and onions and Sorrel soup with pork, onions, potatoes and barley. And these are just
the hors d’oeuvres.
Desserts include the delicious Alexander Torte which is made from pastry strips filled with raspberry or cranberry.
Dairy products are also extremely popular and Latvian cheeses, while they might not be quite as famous as those from other European countries, are definitely worth sampling.
To wash all of this down, try the local beers which are well known for their potency. Some of the darker beers include Bauskas Tumsais and Porteris while the more common pale beers are Bauskas Gaisais, Aldara Zelta and Aldara Luksusa.
Another traditional Latvian tipple is Riga’s Melnais Balzams or Black Balsam. This is a thick, black alcoholic liquid which supposedly cured Catherine the Great of fever when she visited the country.
Nobody knows how it’s made because the Latvians refuse to disclose the recipe but if you are sampling it, try it in your tea or coffee first as it is quite strong.
Strangely enough it’s also quite an effective hangover cure which is always good to know. Follow our restaurant links for a peak at venues, menus and prices.