The Best Restaurants to Try in Tallinn

The historic Old Town has some pretty squares to mooch around in or stop for lunch
The historic Old Town has some pretty squares to mooch around in or stop for lunch | © blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

Editorial Manager

Sitting on Estonia’s northern coast and facing the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is a popular international destination. Its perfectly preserved medieval old town is home to a number of restaurants that reflect Estonia’s culture and tradition. Districts like Telliskivi have seen a recent overhaul and are now home to a series of creative hubs and equally innovative restaurants. From Asian-inspired fusion dishes to freshly caught Baltic herring and succulent wild boar, Tallinn offers some of the most exciting menus in northern Europe.

1. Tuljak

Restaurant, Fusion, Finnish

Tuljak occupies a great location that has undergone a dramatic renovation in recent years. The interiors have a deliberately retro feel and the orange hues you find here are almost purposely chosen to show off the dramatic sunsets you get on clear evenings. The food certainly matches the setting, with lamb dumplings and showcase desserts standing out on the classy menu. Make sure you book a table in advance if you want to get a view of the Baltic Sea to go with your dinner.

2. Chedi

Restaurant, Finnish

Dining at Chedi is like plunging into the diverse and fascinating realm of Asian cuisine. Run in cooperation with Alan Yau, one of the most renowned restaurateurs in London, Chedi won the best restaurant of Tallinn award a decade ago. Just like other cultural restaurants in Estonia, this one has a deep-rooted philosophy underlying its menu. Each element of the image and menu has been meticulously crafted as a result of several years of travel and research into modern Asian cuisine. Duck, venison, seafood and a vast array of exotic spices are just some of the many scrumptious highlights, which add to the enticing and sophisticated atmosphere.

3. Horisont Restaurant & Bar

Hotel Restaurant, Estonian

This name is no coincidence: the stylish Horisont, a five-star restaurant and bar, sits on the top floor of the Tallinn Swissotel, inviting its guests to savour a spectacular panoramic view of Tallinn Old Town and the Baltic Sea. And Horisont offers a menu to match the visual thrills: beef fillet served with edamame and truffles and buttered gnocchi spiced up with apricot and red wine jam are good examples of the kitchen’s inventive style. In fact, all the recipes are based on regional specialties and prepared using locally sourced produce, but given a sky-high twist to match international appetites.

4. Ülo

Restaurant, Estonian

This restaurant, close to the main train station in Tallinn, has an old Estonian name that has fallen out of favour with younger generations. But it’s a deliberately cheeky attempt to subvert the traditional trappings of Estonian cuisine, as the speciality here is vegan dining of the highest order. Don’t worry, there are still some meat and fish dishes, but you’ll really want to try some of the healthier options as they are seriously tasty.

5. Fotografiska Tallinn Restaurant

Restaurant, Estonian, Vegetarian, Healthy, Eco-friendly

Sitting on top of a photographic exhibition space, this zero-waste, sustainable restaurant has been developed by Swedish chef Paul Svensson. The food (and drink) is carefully selected to be as good for the environment as it is for the diner. You’ll find plenty to do in the surrounding Telliskivi creative hub when you finish, so it’s worth making a stop here on your trip to Tallinn.

6. Riviera Palais Brasserie

Bistro, Brasserie, French

This restaurant/brasserie is as much a part of the Estonian History Museum as it is a standalone space. Usually the food you get in attractions like this is simple and overpriced, but this is no ordinary restaurant. Operating since the 1930s, the Riviera Palais offers some of the best French food in Estonia; it also has a great view across Tallinn Bay.

7. Cafe Levier

Cafe, Diner, Estonian, French, Healthy

The Rotermann Quarter, once a factory district that has been converted into a modern shopping district, is the perfect setting for this snazzy café, run by the well-known cookbook author Angeelika Kang. This is one of the best spots in Tallinn for a hearty breakfast and you have to try the energising smoothies if you end up here. A great option if you plan on doing some last-minute shopping as it serves delicious food throughout the day.

8. Tchaikovsky

Restaurant, French, Russian, Fusion, European

As the name suggests, this exclusive fine-dining establishment embodies a mix of French finesse and Russian passion. Tchaikovsky’s chefs make a special effort to reproduce the recipes of acclaimed masters while giving them a unique touch of Estonian character. The restaurant is situated in the Telegraaf hotel and you’ll be wowed by the setting almost as much as you are by the sumptuous food.

9. Cru

Hotel Restaurant, Estonian

Inspired by the historic atmosphere of Tallinn Old Town, Cru is yet another treasure to be discovered in the Estonian capital, tucked away in a building with two main rooms that have been renovated according to the original plans of the 15th-century construction. On the menu, however, patrons will find a harmonious mixture of traditional and contemporary cuisine: Baltic herring, marinated according to the oldest recipe in Tallinn, served with smoked eel from the coastal city of Pärnu and pan-fried black bread.

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