The food in Latvia was so good! I went for dinner twice in Riga to absolute fantastic meals. Really high standard and my critic is at a very high level. Check out my posts on Restaurant 3 and Valtera restaurant to see what I mean.
Around the country it was a mix of hit and miss with the overall impression of hit. The food was always fresh, the vegetables really taste of something here. If you like pickled herring or any other kind of fish you will be in absolute heaven. So much was great that I want to give you a little tour. So stay with me and we go almost around the country. Yours, Pollybert
The food tour of Riga was really worth my time. Not only did it open my eyes for typical Latvian food but I also spotted it later more easily. Best of all was the tasting table within one of the halls. Check out all the good stuff.
I stopped for a small lunch on top of the Krimulda and had solyanka (I tried that at the Ukrainian restaurant Elvira’s). Since I always have to try something new I got a very typical dish called ‘grey peas’. They are more brown than grey and come with bacon and lard. The dish is heavy and the peas are hard-ish. That is not something I will ever order again. The soup on the other hand was delicious and tasted refreshingly of lemon.
While walking through the old town on my first morning I was looking for a bakery for breakfast. I didn’t get lucky and settled eventually on an uninviting place for a quick coffee. While on the food tour though our guide pointed out one or two places. The best Danish I had finally in the central market where I bought a rhubarb pastry with crumble. This was heavenly. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of that but I do have one of my Danish before going to Sigulda. See, even the bus station pastries look appealing.
My most memorable dish on this trip except for the ‘red beet trilogy‘ I had at the camping site in Cape Kolka. It’s a long bus drive from Riga with a bit of a walk after to get to the actual cape. Maybe the fresh sea air and sunshine did the rest but the herring with potatoes and cottage cheese was perfect. The fish was tender and tasty while the potatoes had some butter on top. Together with the cabbage and the cottage cheese this was an outstanding meal. Simple but marvelous!
One of the few misses happened in Roja. This small seaside town doesn’t offer a lot of choice. The one place I went for dinner, the Hotel Mare, is stuck in the 90s kitchenwise. The use of balsamic is still the height of sophistication and enhanced the dishes exactly to nowhere. The fish soup was good though, let’s be fair here. A good amount of fish and a tasty broth.
Their special herring variety was a big flop though. The fish was fried and served with a shrimp sauce on the side, boring steamed vegetables, and potatoes which got balsamic on top. The most interesting bit on the plate was the red cabbage salad.
My home for that night in Roja, the Guest House Pilava, made up for everything the next day. The charming hostess served a breakfast which would do a five-star hotel justice. From omelette, to pancakes, fresh salmon, fruits, a ham and cheese plate to home-made jams and a variety of cereals everything was available. I spent more than an hour at this table and some more later when I came back from the beach and saw the leftovers hadn’t been cleared.
Fish is a staple in Latvia and I tried to eat it as often as possible. In Jurmala, a popular seaside resort, the fish soup was tomato based and looked enticing. It was also tasty but in hindsight I preferred the balsamic version.
The potato pancakes with salmon were good. What’s not to look with crispy potatoes and fresh salmon?
My final taste of Lativa was in the end something. It was tea time after all. I went for coffee instead and tried a kind of rolled Pavlova with lots of whipped cream and berries. Ah, that was good when I first tasted it. But after two bites I noticed it was too rich and too sweet. I did finish it though, what can I say.