Narrow cobbled alleyways, medieval church spires, and incredibly well-preserved Hanseatic architecture make Tallinn’s Old Town a breathtaking sight, well-deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status. With some of the Estonian capital’s finest restaurants and cafes, it is also full of treasures for gourmands. In this guide we explore the Old Town’s top 10 restaurants, with cuisine ranging from medieval to vegan.
As Tallin’s highest-rated restaurant on Tripadvisor, Rataskaevu 16 doesn’t even need a name to attract locals and travelers, using its address only. It truly deserves the recognition it’s getting; it offers delicious Estonian food such as fried herring fillets or elk roast, and boasts warm, friendly service. There are plenty of options for vegetarians too. In the summer, you can have your meal on its patio, situated on one of the most charming streets of the Old Town.
This may be a vegan restaurant, but even carnivores love it; in fact, it’s so popular that more often than not booking is essential. Dishes like spicy tofu with quinoa or potato and kale casserole with seitan provide a very filling meal. The menu is small but everything is of very high quality. Like most establishments in the Old Town, Vegan Restoran V is located in a beautiful old building, but it stands out thanks to to its colorful façade and slightly rustic interior decoration.
Also located on Rataskaevu Street (decidedly the place to be for great food), Von Krahli Aed offers a varied range of food for very affordable prices. Here too, vegetarians will find plenty they to eat, though most of the menu consists of Estonian meat-based dishes like venison stew. This restaurant is actually owned by the Von Krahl Theater next door, so is the perfect place to have dinner before or after a play. It nevertheless stands as a fine establishment of its own, and there are no intrusive advertisements for the theater’s productions and events.
One of the Old Town’s classic cafe- restaurants, Kompressor specializes in sweet and savory pancakes so huge you’ll have trouble finishing just one, despite their offering of almost thirty different variations. A simple and unassuming look with sparse decoration, Kompressor can be easy to overlook, especially since it is almost next door to many excellent dining spots, but its tasty food and great prices make it legendary among locals—so much so that it can be difficult to find a table.
If you want something a little more unusual, head to Olde Hansa on the Town Hall Square. This restaurant’s theme is the Hanseatic League, a confederation of merchant guilds that dominated the Northern Coast of Europe from the 13th to the 17th century. To recreate this epoch’s atmosphere, Olde Hansa puts on medieval musical performances for guests, and all members of staff wear period-appropriate costumes. The food too harks back to Tallinn’s golden age with venison dishes with names like “Bürgermeister’s game fillet” or “The finest elk fillet in honor and glory of the noble Master of the Order”.
Known as “The Golden Piglet Inn” in English, Kuldse Notsu Kõrts is all about making diners discover true Estonian dishes: highlights include the ‘sausage feast’ (variation of sausages, oven baked potatoes, sauerkraut) and the traditional pork roast. In addition, all food is prepared with fresh products from local farms. The interior is picturesque and cozy, calling to mind a rustic village house or farm, with simple wooden tables, Estonian sayings written on the walls, and a fireplace to warm up the room in the winter.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town by sitting down in Leib‘s lovely Scottish garden and enjoying a seasonal menu based on simple fresh Estonian ingredients, like the black bread (leib) that the restaurant is named after. The menu is minimal and changes frequently depending on what ingredients are in season: in the summer it offers meat and fish dishes such as Estonian beef fillet with roasted onion cream, and pan-fried pike perch with roasted parsnip cream and leek sauce – but there is also always a vegetarian option. Sitting in the garden is a real pleasure.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.