Riga: my addresses

What can be more disappointing for a traveler than tasteless food in a restaurant, horrible service in a hotel, well promoted, crowded and therefore, places without personality, closed doors of museums or incorrect addresses? To make you visit to the Latvian capital pleasant and stressless I am happy to share the addresses of places which I discovered during my short weekend in the city last December.

Book store Valters un Rapa with its three floors is the biggest book shop the Baltics. Mostly Latvian and Russian books, as well as local maps and guides, as well as some literature in English and German. There is a corner with paints, pencils, pastel and other materials for arts, good section with books and toys for kids as well as a nice souvenir shop. I bought almost all my gifts and souvenirs in this shop.

Just the next door to the book store and in a few meters from the National Opera building there is a lovely cafe Emils Gustavs Chocolade. A must-visit address to all lovers of coffee, truffles, hot chocolate and cosy ambiance.

if you come to Riga for parting then do not miss Cuba cafe. This bar is located on the Dome square and it is difficult to miss it. Good cocktails, live music in the evening, international envioronment – a very good spot to start or finish your party.

If you are a wine lover just like me then save the address of wine bar Vinoteka (Troksnu iela (Aldaru iela)). The bar is located on the left side of the Swiss gates and you may easily find it. There are only three tables  in the place. The menu proposes tapas, some cheese and crackers together with the wine. You may find as wine from the big regions, such France, Spain, Italy as new wines  from Chile, US, Australia and Argentina, or even Moldavian and Georgian ones.

Another interesting place for the nightlife experience is Krogs Aptieka. The bar was opened by an American-Latvian Kristaps Krēsliņš. Medieval brick walls, medicinal tinctures and scales, tables embedded with capsules and pills and painted silhouettes of old-fashioned bottles on two floors are a clever combination of old and new and the perfect backdrop for a night of cocktails and beers.

Are you starving? Then why not to try Latvian cuisine, brought on a high level by the chef? If you want to see whether it is possible to put granny’s recipes in a modern envelope then you should go to Valtera restaurant. Light interior in Scandinavian style, simple and cozy, excellent location and the friendly staff make you visit memorable. The chef proposes the contemporary Latvian cuisine based only on Latvian rural products such as milk, vegetables, meat, fish, berries and fruits coming from local farms. The restaurant`s kitchen reflects the Latvian countryside – food is prepared from fresh ingredients which are currently available on the market and is presented not only on plates but also on Latvian wood, ceramic, stone and other natural materials. The chef jokes that the only non-native products here are salt, pepper and coffee.

My pumpkin soup accompanied by a piece of rye bread, soft cheese, red berries, pumpkin and young leaves of beetroot.

Main dish: lake pike perch fillet, Jerusalem artichokes, parsley root puree, cauliflowers, white wine-butter sauce and rustic chicken, mushroom cream, potatoes, fried onions, pearl barley, marrow bone sauceans.

Finally, dessert: caramelized apple cake, camomile ice cream, lingonberry – apple sauce and broken chocolate cake, coffee ice cream, nut biscuits, lingonberries, chocolate.

The restaurant is highly recommended but book in advance!

My another discovery in Riga was the Terrace – a trendy place on the 8th roof floor of Galleria Riga shopping center. 360-degree panorama of Riga, 4 brand bars (Stoli, Martini, Remy Martin, Bacardi, Krusovice) offering different and qualitative cuisine and finest drinks – it should be the place-to-be at summer time.

The domes of Russian cathedral are so close and so shiny!

I would say that this terrace has even better view than the Saint Peter’s cathedral.

It was a big surprise and pleasure to run in to famous Alexander Vassiliev – a Russian historian of style and fashion who was presenting his new book in a bookstore of the Galleria Riga. Now I have his signature on a book, unfortunately not his, since all books in Russian language were sold out, but on a book about Paris, where he now lives.