Riga boasts one of the most outstanding cafe scenes in all of Europe, with a dedication to craft coffee and locally-sourced, high-quality food. In my opinion, the Latvian attention to detail rivals that of the Japanese. So it should be no surprise that the capital is also flush with expert patissiers. After much taste-testing, I’ve compiled this list of the best bakeries in Riga. Do you have a favorite?
In a city packed with fantastic bakeries, BakeBerry’s pastries are consistently the best of the bunch. I’m partial to the unrivaled pistachio eclair, but everything I’ve tried here has been great. And the comfortable interior will ensure you’ll want to linger – assuming you can find a seat!
The display cases inside Beze Konditoreja are filled with pretty confections that are surprisingly affordable; I don’t feel the least bit guilty about ordering two at a time! The eclairs aren’t as good as those of BakeBerry mentioned above, but the creamy fruit tarts are wonderful. Cakes and desserts are also available for pre-order should you wish to make your next event a little more special.
Having previously lived in Manhattan, I have fairly high standards when it comes to bagels. Most places don’t come close. So when a bagel cafe opened in Riga, I was skeptical. But Big Bad Bagels nails it! The bagels are dense and chewy while the toppings live up to the Latvian standard of freshness. My favorite sandwich is “Bacon in Mexico,” which comes loaded with cream cheese, guacamole, bacon, and a fried egg. YUM!
A former co-owner of Ze Donats (mentioned below) has opened his own slice of heaven in the form of Crumble Cake cafe. Located on one of the most charming alleys in old town, Crumble Cake is a perfect choice for an afternoon sightseeing break. I was drawn in by the eye-catching interior and stayed for the scrumptious cake and cappuccino.
Those with a serious sweet tooth should check out the vibrant eclairs at Fat Cat bakery. Fat Cat has developed a loyal following since opening in 2017 and it’s easy to see why. The artistically decorated eclairs come in a wide array of flavors like dulce de leche, white chocolate and lavender, and rum-raisin. Good luck deciding which to try first!
A made-up word that roughly translates to “cake place,” Kukotava is renowned for producing the best cakes in Riga. After repeatedly hearing that the gorgeous slice I was enjoying came from none other than Kukotava, I finally stopped by the bakery to see what other treats were on offer. A team of women was busy rolling out dough in the open kitchen while eager customers queued at the counter. I was delighted to find a tantalizing selection of savory piradzini in addition to the traditional sweets.
Famed Latvian bread maker Laci has a shop on Terbatas iela, and the aroma wafting out its doors is irresistible. Inside on the counter, baskets overflow with freshly baked cinnamon buns and savory meat pies. Cases by the door are stacked with pretty pastries and topped with trays of marmalade candy. Sip a latte while enjoying your treats in the back cafe area, then pick up a loaf of bread to go. Whole cheesecakes and tortes are also available.
Favored by locals, Martina churns out high-quality baked goods at affordable prices. Martina is so popular that it can be hard to find a seat in the Old Riga outlet. Take your goodies to go instead and enjoy them on a nearby park bench. I recommend the cabbage piradzini and mixed berry tarts.
Rigensis is the quintessential European bakery. The counter overflows with tantalizing cakes, pies, and pastries while loaves of bread are stacked on shelves. The seating area is surrounded by stone walls with half-timber trim, transporting you to the Middle Ages. Service here can be brusque.
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. The bakery also offers savory treats like spinach and cheese pies.
Another local favorite is Vecriga, a chain specializing in old fashioned pastries like grandma used to make. The star item in their repertoire is abolu kartaina, or apple “puff.” Kind of like a sheet cake, abolu kartaina consists of a cinnamony apple filling between layers of flaky pastry crust. The dish is a classic, and a Latvian friend assured me that Vecriga makes the best.
The wildly colorful donuts at Ze Donats are a big hit with my family. The hazelnut cream donuts (lazduriekstu kremigs) are our favorite, but part of the fun is trying the dozens of creative flavors on offer. Don’t limit yourself to just one!
Which do you think are the best bakeries in Riga?