The cobbled streets of the lively and charming capital of Lithuania hide a surprising variety of high- end restaurants, modern eateries and laid-back cafes. From traditional hearty Lithuanian meals to Gallic fare, the rapidly transforming restaurant scene caters for every taste and budget, ranging from luxurious restaurants to quick bites at local bistros. In an update to our previous gourmet guide, we bring you 10 more of the best places to eat in Vilnius.
Situated in the historic building of 15th century, once built as the home and shop of the local merchant, sophisticated and elegant Lokys restaurant features traditional Baltic cuisine. Spread over several floors, with a charming gothic cellars and open-air inner courtyard open during summer months, the restaurant offers both a la carte dining options and set menus for larger groups. From juicy slabs of wild boar, delicious beaver stew with spinach and horseradish, to quail served with cowberry-wine sauce and venison meat roasted with apples, the restaurant serves seemingly medieval yet mouth-watering game. To conclude the meal, the guests are invited to try kvass, a traditional and non-alcoholic drink made from black rye bread and caraway seed.
A simple and relaxed family-owned restaurant, Bistro 18 is considered to be one of the best dining options in Vilnius. A winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for several years in a row, the bistro offers a large selection of contemporary international cuisine, ranging from classics like warm goat’s cheese salad and chanterelles with cream and bacon, to more adventurous dishes such as scallops with green pea puree, and Indian-style red curry with vegetables and basmati rice. The simple and spacious interior, with wooden flooring, white walls and exposed brick vaults flanked by shelves of wine bottles, ensures a cosy and laid-back atmosphere.
In the heart of old town, the cosy and charming French restaurant Balzac welcomes its guests with the warm and intimate ambience of a traditional French farmhouse. Named after the famous French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac, the restaurant serves a variety of classic Gallic dishes. A typical three course meal will include a classic dish of French onion soup or oven-baked Burgundy snails for starters, a juicy rabbit in a mustard sauce or duck confit with cowberry sauce for the main course, and tarte au citron and crème brûlée for dessert, all accompanied with great selection of French wines. Booking in advance is well advised.
Restaurant Balzac, Savičiaus street 7, Vilnius, Lithuania, + 370 61489223
Named after the Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte, the restaurant Rene is a true gem. The funky interior is decorated with black and white chessboard flooring, colourful posters of Magritte paintings, and white tablecloths on which guests are invited to explore their creativity and draw, with pencils provided by the restaurant. The Belgian theme extends to the meal, with high-quality traditional Belgian cuisine and the wide choice of Belgian wine and beer served. The restaurant offers various seasonal specialties, including classic Belgian dishes of savoury mussels a la provençale with French fries and crispy waffles. Over the weekend booking in advance is recommended as the restaurant gets particularly busy.
Trendy and lively Lauro Lapas, translated as ‘the bay leaf’, offers a contemporary take on traditional Lithuanian cuisine. The menu includes a limited choice of adventurous a la carte options such as beef, beetroot and chicken liver, or asparagus soup with quail egg, as well as daily offering, changing according to the season and the availability of local produce. The eclectic modern interior showcasing wooden wine boxes, cookbooks and fresh herbs provides a delightful background from which to admire the beautifully presented meal and focus on what truly matters – the food . The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday and is the great option for a quick lunch or a relaxed Saturday dinner.
A small and folk-themed restaurant, Senoji Trobele, or ‘old hut’, is the best choice to explore traditionally hearty Lithuanian cuisine in Vilnius. Tucked away from the old town, the venue is well-known for its folk-themed and rustic interior and simple, unpretentious yet delicious traditional Lithuanian dishes, including a variety of hefty meat and fish main courses such as marinated herring or potato pancakes with chicken. The experience of a traditional Lithuanian meal can not be complete without a glass of local beer or sweet mead, a local alcoholic beverage produced from the local honey and herbs. During the summer months, the restaurant opens its outside terrace, creating a welcome rest spot for good meal and laid-back people-watching.
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