My Favorite Cafes in Riga

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Having lived in Riga for over eight months now, I’ve gotten to know the city pretty well. As I’ve walked around admiring the stunning architecture, I’ve also taken frequent breaks in the many cafes that line my path and beckon me with display cases full of tempting treats.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but it includes what I’ve found to be the best cafes in Riga so far; I fully expect to write part two later this year. But for now, here are my favorites:

Art Cafe Sienna

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The standout of Riga’s cafe scene is tucked away in the Quiet Center, a few steps from the magnificent Art Nouveau buildings on Albert Street. Sienna exudes old world charm, with its abundance of antique furnishings and chivalrous waitstaff. The windowsills are stacked high with vintage art books and, should you wish to flip through one, white gloves are on hand. The sumptuous quiches and tarts come from Vincents, one of the finest restaurants in town. This is a place I could – and often do – linger for hours.

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All Cappuccino

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I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker before moving to Europe, but that has certainly changed. The reason? All Cappuccino. This tiny espresso bar was recommended by nearly everyone I met, and is always packed even late into the night. And once I tried one of their cappuccinos, it was easy to see why. The smooth, rich coffee is topped with towering peaks of foam, making it as fun to drink as it is delicious. I don’t even need to add sugar! (For someone who never used to drink coffee, that’s really saying something.)

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Rigensis  

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A visiting friend recently said that Rigensis “felt like Europe,” and I completely agree. As Americans, we have an idealized vision of the European cafe and Rigensis fits the bill. The counter overflows with scrumptious cakes, pies, and pastries while loaves of bread cover shelves on the wall. The rustic interior is barn-chic and the cappuccino topped with chocolate shavings is one of the best I’ve tasted – think caffeinated chocolate milk. Yes, please!

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Safie Turkish Bakery 

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I was not expecting to find an authentic Turkish bakery in Riga, but am thankful for small miracles. Safie has the best baklava this side of the Bosporous! Try the chocolate version – you won’t be sorry. And the cappuccinos are (much) better than those we had in Istanbul.

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KD Konditoreja

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I popped into this unassuming place near the Powder Tower by chance and it was love at first bite. KD Konditoreja offers a delectable array of baked goods, made fresh daily, and reasonably-priced breakfast and lunch dishes such as omelettes and potato pancakes. The custard- and strawberry-filled croissant is the stuff of dreams!

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Index Cafe

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A Latvian friend described Index Cafe to me as Riga’s only “American style” restaurant. I don’t know if that’s true, but it is one of the few places where you can get a simple, pre-made sandwich or wrap for lunch. It’s also a great spot to try the Riga “business lunch” special of two courses for a set price. The menu changes daily, but always includes a soup, sandwich, entree and vegetarian option. I’ll be dedicating a separate post to the best business lunches in town. This is a phenomenon the world needs to know more about. As for Index’s coffee? I need to add sugar.

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V. Kuze

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In 1910, Vilhelms Kuze opened a confection shop in Riga and soon became one of the city’s largest chocolate producers. While the unfortunate Kuze died in a Soviet labor camp in 1941, his name – and his chocolate – lives on at V. Kuze cafe. Here you can sample chocolate truffles and assorted cakes and pastries in true 1930s style. V. Kuze also has the best hot chocolate in Riga!

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Pietura

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Not really convenient to anything, Pietura is a neighborhood cafe well-worth seeking out. I was first taken there by a Latvian food blogger and we were both impressed by the fresh food and large portion sizes. Bonus: the staff often have the TV turned to Animal Planet, my favorite channel.

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Latvian honey cake

Latvian honey cake, a local speciallty.

Aspara Tea House

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Blink and you’ll miss this cozy tea cafe hidden away in the corner of a quiet park. Housed in a two-story Chinese-style building with floor-to-ceiling windows, this is the perfect place to indulge your inner emperor. Simply choose your tea from the dozens on offer and recline on pillows strewn about the floor. The staff will bring the tea to you!

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What are your favorite cafes in Riga? Tell me which spots I should try next!

Art Cafe Sienna
Address: Strelnieku iela 3, City Center, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €€€ 

All Cappuccino
Address: Antonijas iela 11, City Center, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €€

Rigensis
Address: Tirgou iela 8, Old Town, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €

Safie
Address: Gertrudes 37, City Center, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €

KD Konditoreja
Address: Smilsu iela 20, Old Town, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €
Index Cafe
Address: There are locations all over town. Click here to find the one nearest you.
Pricing: €€

V. Kuze
Address: Jekaba iela 20/22, Old Town, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €

Pietura
Address: Krisjana Valdemara 67, City Center, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €

Aspara Tea House
Address: Kr. Barona iela 2a, City Center, Riga, Latvia
Pricing: €

37 thoughts on “My Favorite Cafes in Riga

    • Yes, the guide books for Latvia are sorely lacking in cafe and restaurant recommendations. I’ve made it my personal mission to try out as many places as possible. Blogging is hard work 🙂

  1. You’ve got some of my favourites in this list – I love to sit outside of Aspara in the summer and All Cappuccino is just so cute and cosy! I’ll keep in mind to check out some others from this list next time I’m in Riga. 🙂
    My all time favourite, though, not only in Riga but in the whole wide world is Innocent Cafe in Blaumana iela 34. My “home cafe” last summer was Žanna in Tomsona 2 (just the perfect quiet corner, although I didn’t like their coffee so much :/), I used to spend hours there working as I didn’t really have wifi at home. Other than that I also love some of the places in the “embassy district” if you know where that is. So many great lunch spots, such as MiiT, Caffee Pasedet and Trusis Kafe (there are more but I can’t remember all the names). Plus they post their lunch offers on Facebook every day so I would just pick out my meal at work and run when I had the time.
    I miss Riga so much! :'( 😀
    Piret recently posted…semester-end thoughts on erasmusMy Profile

    • Wow, Innocent Cafe is your favorite in the whole world? That’s some praise! I’ll definitely have to check that place out, along with the others you’ve mentioned. I have been to Trusis to try their coffee, which someone else recommended, but I was turned off by the complete lack of baked goods. I can’t drink coffee with out some sort of cake or pastry. I still need to try their lunch offerings. I’ve also been to Miit, but only for their pancake brunch. There’s too many places from which to choose!

      Any plans to return to Riga?

      • I won’t be up north until the second half of this year but when there I always make an excuse to go on a weekend getaway to Riga. I’ll just see where life brings me. Also I’d love to spend new year’s there!
        By the way, I remembered a couple more. Check out Piens (also a nice nightlife spot for some sangria) and the Valmiermuiža beer store/bar for some nice Latvian beer.
        Piret recently posted…semester-end thoughts on erasmusMy Profile

        • I’ve been to the Valmiermuiza place – great food in the restaurant and interesting craft beers! I’ll add Piens to my list of places to try soon 🙂

  2. Ooh, I’m definitely bookmarking this post! We might (fingers crossed) be going to Riga this summer and I’d love to try these places out, especially Aspara Tea House – looks like my kind of joint! Lovely. Thanks for this compilation!
    Sam recently posted…Lisbon: First ImpressionsMy Profile

    • Ooh, I do hope you visit! I’d happily enjoy some tea with you at Aspara! Keep me posted on your plans 🙂

  3. Rigensis was my favorite. I think we were there three times. The peanut desert I got was to die for! I will come back to Riga just for that desert 🙂 I remember Index Cafe, and a place in Old Town where we got chocolate cheesecake. That place was very good but I guess it’s considered a restaurant and not a cafe. Riga has such a wide selection. Here, I think we have one or two and they are not very good. I love Europe!!!!

    • I love that tea house, such great people watching from those big windows 🙂

      I’ve just learned about a new vegan restaurant that is supposed to be amazing. I’ll be sure to include it in my next cafe round-up!

  4. Thank you for this post 🙂 It’s very helpful indeed , sienna caffee is on my wish list , just waiting for the summer when I am back home in Rīga 🙂
    All cappuccino is amazing , I went there by a chance and every time when I am in Rīga It’s one of the places I am looking forward to sip a cup of delicious latte 🙂
    http://ellinelledaydreams.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/arbooz-kafe-in-riga-and-sneak-peak-into.html

    Also you should try fazenda bazaar http://ellinelledaydreams.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/fazenda-bazaar-in-riga.html
    I loved it 🙂

  5. Very impressive list, Heather! All of these places look and sound wonderful. My week in Riga last year was far too short, and sadly did not include any of these cafes. I have been to Fazenda for a late night after-theater snack and drink, so cannot say anything about their coffee. If you have any visitors who need to avoid gluten, then do pick up something from ‘Tira Maize’ (http://www.tiramaize.lv/?lang=en). Although not convenient for you, nor a place to hang out, for anyone who cannot eat gluten-free, it’s a fantastic place.
    Daina recently posted…Snow melt and Sunset on the PotomacMy Profile

    • You’ll just have to come back, Daina! 😉

      Thanks for the gluten-free tip. I’ve also learned about a new vegan place that I need to try. It would be nice to include some alternative options in my next round up!

  6. Caffienated chocolate milk?! Yes please! I LOVE this post, these cafes are all so gorgeous, and it looks like you really experimented with new foods and beverages at each one! Hard to believe you weren’t much of a coffee drinker before going to Europe!;-)
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted…4 Cliché NYC Dates You Should TryMy Profile

  7. I love this! I am so glad you put this list together. I can’t wait to try some of these!

    • I’d love to meet up, but will be in Sweden on those days. Are those the only two days you’ll be here? And I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions 🙂

  8. Hi there – I am so glad I found your page!! I am doing a 10 day tour of the Baltics with my mother next month and we are doing Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin and Riga, found your website very informative as I am so much into food, architecture and the cultural aspects of travel. I have been to 40 countries so far, and I am planning of also starting a blog, along with my soon to be Holistic Nutrition site – however as you say its a lot of work!! Only started instagram so far….. I was also wondering if you have a restaurant guide for Riga? Thank you, Jacqui

    • Hi Jacqui, I’m so excited for you! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Baltics and think they are a perfect destination for anyone who loves architecture, history and food! I’ve received several requests for Riga restaurant recommendations lately so am planning to share a blog post in the next few weeks, just in time for your trip! If you enter your email address in the “subscribe” box on my website, you’ll receive the new posts in your inbox. (I never send ANY spam or anything other than new blog posts.) Otherwise, be sure to check back before your trip! And definitely let me know if you have any questions about Riga or Tallinn. – Heather

  9. Hi, thank you for a great blog!

    I am going to Riga on holiday in late July and was wondering if you have any restaurant recommendations? I’m going with my inlaws so Im trying to find some really nice restaurants 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Hi Christian, I’ve gotten several requests for a Riga restaurant guide so am planning to put one up on the blog in the next few weeks. So definitely check back before your trip! You can also enter your email address in the “subscribe” box and receive new posts in your inbox. (No spam, ever.) I hope you enjoy your trip!

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