One thing that continually impresses me about Riga is its well-developed cafe scene. First-time visitors to the city might be surprised to find expertly-brewed coffee, delectable pastries, and free WiFi at nearly every turn. Many cafes offer affordable business lunch sets of two or three courses for less than 10 euros, without sacrificing quality. But with so many outstanding options, how can you choose? After eating my way across the city, these are what I consider to be the best cafes in Riga.
Don’t see you favorite mentioned below? It’s probably on my list of Riga’s best bakeries.
I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker before moving to Europe, but that has certainly changed. The reason? A.L.L. 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.
The queen of Riga’s cafe scene is tucked away in the Art Nouveau district a few steps from the magnificent buildings on Albert Street. Art Cafe Sienna exudes old world charm, with its elegant antique furnishings and courteous waitstaff. The windowsills are stacked high with vintage art books and white gloves are available should you wish to flip through one. Sienna’s mouthwatering quiches and tarts come from Vincents, one of the best restaurants in town. Prices here are a little high, but it’s a lovely way to treat yourself.
There are two locations of this cozy tea house tucked within Riga’s leafy parks. Both feature expansive windows to maximize the view, making them the perfect place to rest and recharge. 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!
A swath of central Riga between Gertrudes and Stabu iela has become packed with dining options in the last few years. Cafeterius Riga beckons customers with its cozy window nooks and keeps them happy with outstanding service and tasty treats. I followed the advice of the friendly gal behind the counter and tried their homemade Riga Black Balsam Currant cake. I encourage everyone to do the same – it’s fabulous! Quiches, salads, and sandwiches are also available.
With its rustic atmosphere and mismatched antiques, Fazenda feels as welcoming as Grandma’s house. The extensive menu of soups, salads, and salads makes this one of my favorite spots for lunch in Riga. And I always end the meal with a slice of marzipan ice cream cake. It’s the best dessert in town!
Index Cafe is a dependably choice if you want a simple pre-made sandwich or wrap. If you want to pair a sandwich with soup at lunchtime, you can do so for the bargain price of €4.60. A more robust business lunch menu is also available.
According to online reviews, Innocent Cafe has the best coffee in Riga because it serves the Illy brand. While I prefer the brews at some of the other places on this list, I am a big fan of Innocent’s hearty two-course Latvian lunch specials. If cold beet soup is on the menu, order it! Innocent Cafe also boasts an ample breakfast buffet every day of the week.
I popped into this unassuming place near the Powder Tower by chance and it was love at first bite. KD Konditoreja offers an array of freshly baked pastries, like the strawberry and custard croissant pictured below that had me swooning. The cafe also offers affordably-priced breakfast and lunch dishes like omelettes and potato pancakes.
Come twelve o’clock, in-the-know Rigans flock to La Kanna for its excellent-value business lunch and well-stocked bar. The Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired menu is a light and healthy alternative to some of the stodgier local fare. I’m a big fan of La Kanna’s risottos!
Makonis (which means “cloud” in Latvian) is the cornerstone of the Stabu iela food scene. I stop by often to partake of the tasty lunch specials and outrageously delicious cheesecake. On weekends, Makonis causes a sensation with all-you-can-eat waffles and it’s fun brunch cocktails. The cafe is so popular, a second location has opened in the newly trendy Teika neighborhood.
Vegetarians and vegans take note! Miit serves up healthful and creative fare seven days a week, though is particularly popular for its all-you-can-eat pancake brunches on Saturdays and Sundays.There is an endless supply of crepes in a variety of flavors (plain, beet, carrot, chocolate, etc) along with hot and cold salads, dips, veggies, and fruit. Everything is so plentiful and filling, even carnivores will leave sated. Promise!
The menu at Mr. Fox proves that food can be both healthy and delicious. Salads and Buddha bowls feature whole grains, organic produce, and I like that you can customize most dishes to suit your tastes. Vegan and gluten-free options are plentiful, though you can also add chicken, fish, and eggs. This is my new favorite place for breakfast in Riga.
Housed in a formerly derelict sports building next to some tennis courts, Pagalms is a surprisingly chic cafe. Pagalms has become a peaceful spot to while away an afternoon over coffee or lunch, especially when the weather is warm enough to sit outside on the terrace. I’m a fan of the cafe’s wholesome lunch sets and weekend brunch plates.
Parunasim bills itself as “the most romantic cafe in Riga.” I don’t know if that’s true, but Parunasim does have one of the best locations. The cafe is hidden within an alcove of St. Jacob’s Church, which dates to the Middle Ages. Pricing, though, is definitely 21st century. The creamy fruit pies here are delightful, and go equally well with coffee or wine.
Caffee Pasedet immediately grabs your attention thanks to its quaint half-timber facade. The interior is just as striking, with brightly colored retro decor. In addition to an excellent value business lunch set (two courses and a soda for €5.30), Pasedet serves a variety of soups, salads, and pastas.
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.
Since its grand opening in 2015, Rocket Bean has skyrocketed (see what I did there?) to number one cafe status thanks to its fantastic coffee and bright convivial atmosphere. During the week Rocket Bean dishes up business lunch sets and breakfast on weekends. But the real draw is the coffee, which is sourced directly from growers around the world and roasted on site. According to Rocket Bean’s owner, Martins, “coffee is like bread: it’s better when it’s fresh out of the oven.” Couldn’t agree more! A second more-convenient location has opened on Dzirnavu iela.
Rocket Bean finally has a worthy competitor in the coffee brewing game. Strada roasts its beans on site and knowledgeable baristas can make recommendations based on your tastes and mood. Even better are Strada’s desserts – the strawberry cake was so good I considered having another slice!
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 the charming V. Kuze cafe. Here you can sample chocolate truffles, marzipan figures, assorted cakes, and pastries in vintage 1930s style. V. Kuze also has the best hot chocolate in Riga!
Which do you think are the best cafes in Riga?