Having lived in Riga for a few years, I’ve tried my fair share of the city’s restaurants. Some became fast favorites to which I return again and again, while others make for a nice splurge on special occasions. The following are what I feel to be the best restaurants in Riga. Yes, a few of them can be expensive depending on what you order, but many are very reasonably priced – no matter what the elaborate plating in the photos may suggest. Riga’s chefs continually impress with meticulous attention to detail and masterful presentations that go well beyond what one would expect of mid-range restaurants. Latvians take great pride in their work, and it shows. Food of this caliber wouldn’t be out of place in Paris or New York, but it would probably cost twice as much.
I like many of these restaurants equally, so rather than provide a ranking, I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. You can browse through to see the variety available, or use this menu to jump ahead to read a specific review. Addresses and pricing information can be found at the bottom of this post.
For even more of my restaurant recommendations including budget friendly and vegetarian options, click here.
Of all the restaurants on this list, 1221 probably serves up the most traditional Latvian food; beaver, elk, venison, and sturgeon all show up on the menu. But don’t let that scare you! We’ve taken friends here to introduce them to the local cuisine and received rave reviews. Classic beet-red borscht gets an update with salmon and sturgeon, while simple mashed potatoes are elevated with truffles and Parmesan cheese. I’ve yet to try 1221’s desserts, as I’m always too full by the end of the meal, but one of these days…
3 Pavaru Restorans
The food at Three Chefs Restaurant is almost too pretty to eat. Meals begin with one of the three head chefs creating a beautiful appetizer literally on your table, drizzling various sauces and dips on the white paper tablecloth for you to mop up with bread. Afterwards you’ll have a tough time deciding among the scrumptious dishes on the always-changing menu, as all feature locally-sourced seasonal ingredients cooked at the slowest temperature possible to protect the food’s flavor and nutrients. The deconstructed presentation might be a bit too fancy for some, but I’m a big fan of these edible works of art!
Whether it’s drinks with friends or a romantic dinner, Biblioteka is a reliable choice. The service is impeccable, the sommeliers are attentive and knowledgeable, and the atmosphere remains library-quiet even when the restaurant is fully booked. In addition to the expertly prepared dishes (which are what I would call “modern Latvian with a twist”), the chef sends out amuse-bouches and between-course palette cleansers with his compliments. Biblioteka is first class all the way. The seven-course tasting menu is an excellent value at €60 per person.
COD – Robata Grill Bar
For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, robata is a traditional cooking technique whereby foods are grilled over a charcoal fire. Sleek new restaurant COD has introduced the first robata grill in Riga. Plates feature the freshest ingredients prepared to perfection, whether it’s grilled salmon or a simple sushi roll. I was wowed, quite frankly, and can’t wait to go back. The set lunch menu is an absolute steal considering how much food is included.
Considering Domini Canes is located between the churches of St. Peter and St. John and the museums of porcelain and the applied arts, you might expect it to be a tourist trap with dubious, over-priced food, but thankfully that isn’t the case. The menu changes seasonally, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the fish or chicken dishes. Domini Canes also has some of the tastiest desserts in town!
The definition of cozy, Istaba (Latvia for “room”) features a limited number of tables with colorfully mismatched furniture arranged as if in a room of a house. There is no menu per se; rather, diners choose from the meat and fish options of the day (given as beef, duck, salmon, etc.) and the chef does the rest. While the proteins are being prepared, the feast begins. First comes house-made bread with assorted dips and spreads, then a leafy-green salad with generous shavings of cheese. The vegetable-heavy sides come next, meant to accompany the meat dishes and be shared by the table. You’d think after all that food, one would be too full for dessert, but there is always “room” for Istaba’s fabulous marzipan cake!
The kitchen and dining area are located in a loft above Galerija Istaba, a shop of Latvian handicrafts. The space is small, so reservations are recommendations, even on weeknights.
Housed in a historic building between the Freedom Monument and Opera House, Kolonade seeks to tell the story of a modern-yet-traditional Latvia through food. The talented team in the kitchen transforms the country’s farm-fresh produce into a visual feast. Sometimes they miss the mark, but generally the dishes are successful. My favorite part of dining at Kolonade, though, is the view.
Le Dome Fish Restaurant
If you have a hankering for seafood, Le Dome Fish Restaurant should be your top choice. The chef – who trained in Michelin-starred kitchens around the world – creates dishes that are both healthful and delicious. Most of the fish is delivered weekly from local fishermen, so you are assured of absolute freshness. In the warmer months, a rooftop terrace offers a lovely view over Old Riga.
Tucked into the ground floor of Neiburgs hotel, the eponymous restaurant is fittingly chic with clean lines and contemporary decor. I would describe the food as Latvian fusion, with traditional Baltic ingredients given a global twist. (Think roasted duck breast with mashed sweet potatoes, saffron pears, and foie gras sauce.) Neiburgs also offers an affordable business lunch menu.
The stunning Art Nouveau Hotel Neiburgs was originally built in 1903 as the family home of Ludvigs Neiburgs. During the post-WWII Soviet Occupation of Latvia, the home was confiscated and converted into a communal dwelling, with 22 families living in 13 flats. The Neiburgs family regained ownership of the property in 2003 and a few years later opened the current restaurant and hotel. If I were visiting Riga as a tourist, this is where I would stay. (And I’m not getting anything from the hotel to say that.)
This upscale Italian restaurant is an elegant hideaway in Riga’s Art Nouveau district. My entire meal was excellent, from the black bean dip accompanying the artisan bread to the thoughtfully plated dessert. The wait staff made me feel welcome the second I entered, and didn’t bat an eye when I asked for my fish to be filleted rather than served whole. Portofino came recommended to me by several blog readers and now I fully understand why!
Restaurant 3 is a sister of the Three Chefs Restaurant mentioned above and has a similar passion for regional produce. But Restaurant 3 goes further, ensuring that its ingredients are farmed and fished in a responsible, sustainable way. Nature takes center stage, though table-side techniques like dry ice and blow torches add dramatic flair to the presentation. I was happy with just about everything I ordered off the a la carte “EARTH” menu, particularly the flounder with baked oyster. Five- and seven-course tasting menus are also available. Vegetarians should notify the restaurant in advance for the best experience.
Honestly, I was too intimidated to dine at Riviera for a long time. Its clientele is always impeccably dressed and its curb packed with fancy sports cars. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I went to see what all the fuss is about. Turns out, the Mediterranean-inspired food is scrumptious and service is exceptionally attentive. We were offered the chance to sample wines before ordering full glasses (not a common practice in Latvia) and given refreshing palate cleansers. I recommend ordering the seared scallops and the steak.
I adore Valter’s Restaurant. Just about everything here is sourced in Latvia, from the farm-fresh produce and dairy to the tableware and artworks adorning the walls. (The paintings are for sale – ask your waiter for a price list.) Valtera’s menu is dictated by what’s available from local farms as well as the current hunting and fishing season. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for weekly business lunch options.
If you are looking to impress an important guest or splash out for a special occasion, this is the place to do it. Vincents has been a Riga institution since 1994 and counts Elton John, Prince Charles, and the Emperor of Japan among its preeminent guests. Celebrity chef Martins Ritins may no longer be at the helm, but the cooking philosophy remains the same: to create an exquisite dining experience that highlights the very best of Latvia’s organic, seasonal ingredients.
The five-course tasting menu (€115 per person) is a culinary adventure of epic proportions. At the time of my visit, it featured such treats as foie gras ravioli, Baltic Sea flounder, and grilled rack of lamb. I visited when Chef Martins Ritins was still there, and his playful sense of humor was present throughout the meal. First I found a “Danger! Thin Ice!” sign stuck atop my pastry-covered fish stew. Then he hand-delivered a tin of sprats and gleefully opened it to reveal a spectacular salmon tartar hidden within. In addition to everything just mentioned, we were given an inventive selection of amuse-bouches, an array of cheeses, and our choice of house-made chocolates from a literal jewel box that was rolled up to our table. As we were leaving, Chef Ritins greeted us with little boxes filled with pistachio-dusted meringues he called “kisses from the chef.”
Meals at Uncle Vanya’s start off with a bang – a complimentary amuse-bouche and shot of cold horseradish vodka – surprisingly delicious, I might add! It was everything you would expect from one of Riga’s finest Russian restaurants. The menu features classic pre-revolution Russian dishes just like great grandma used to make. I like to start with the “hiking snack,” or slices of marinated eggplant topped with tomatoes and cheese. But the thing that keeps me coming back to Uncle Vanya’s is a dynamite rendition of beef stroganoff with potato pancakes and pickles. Service here is also consistently warm and gracious.
What do you think are the best restaurants in Riga?
1221 Restorans Address: Jauniela 16, Old Town, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ 3 Pavaru Restorans Address: Torna iela 4, Old Town, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ Biblioteka No.1 Address: Terbatas iela 2, Vermanes Park, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ Cod - Robata Grill Bar Address: Terbatas iela 45, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ Domini Canes Address: Skarnu iela 18/20, Old Town, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€ Istaba Address: Krisjana Barona iela 31A, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€ Kolonade Address: Brivibas bulvaris 26, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€ Le Dome Fish Restaurant Address: Miesnieku iela 4, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€ Neiburgs Address: Jauniela 25, Old Town, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€ Portofino Address: Ausekla iela 7, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ Restaurant 3 Address: Kaleju iela 3, Center, Rīga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ Riviera Address: Antonijas iela 13, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€ Valtera Restorans Address: Miesnieku iela 8, Old Town, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€ Vincents Address: Elizabetes iela 19, Center, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€€€ Tevocis Vana Address: Smilsu iela 16, Old Town, Riga, Latvia Pricing: €€