Find your new favorite dish in Vilnius by heading to one of these top 5 restaurants. Each one serves up a treat!
The Vilnius dining scene is relatively small yet vibrant. Diners can find everything from traditional classics with a modern twist, to French haute cuisine, in the city's lively bistros, cafés and pubs.
1. Senoji Trobelė
Tucked away in Vilnius’s Old Town, Senoji Trobelė is one of the best places to sample the simple flavors of traditional Lithuanian cuisine. With a rustic, folksy interior and quaint garden patio, this cozy restaurant is always welcoming to guests, who are greeted with the aroma of freshly baked corn bread as they walk in the door. Don’t miss the chance to try Lithuanian cepelinai – the Lithuanian word for 'zeppelin', these potato dumplings are stuffed with meat, cheese, mushrooms, or spinach and are so-called due to their resemblance to the famous airship. Wash your meal down with a glass of locally produced mead, crafted from naturally fermented honey and herbs. There’s also an extensive list of local beers, a natural fit for the hearty fare.
Delve further into multifaceted Lithuanian cuisine with a visit to Neringa. To this day, the restaurant retains the same ornate interior it had when it first opened in 1959. Diners are entertained by daily live music, while admiring the colorful frescoes and mosaics that have helped earn the building a place on the list of State Protected Monuments of Lithuanian Architecture. The menu hasn't changed much over the past 50 years either, and features a selection of national dishes, including homemade turkey-stuffed dumplings, as well as international classics like Neringa chicken Kiev and stewed duck leg confit.
3. Brasserie de Verres en Vers
© Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius
Locals and visitors alike flock to Brasserie de Verres en Vers at the Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius for fine French cuisine in elegant surroundings. Start your meal with a farm-fresh ratatouille and end it with a plate of locally sourced cheese. The Brasserie is known for offering the largest collection of wines and champagnes in the city, with a knowledgeable sommelier on hand to help you find the perfect pairing for your creamy moules marinières or succulent rack of lamb. The lush veranda and outdoor terrace are ideal locations for people watching, and between October and May the restaurant springs into life on the first Sunday of each month, when it hosts a Royal Sunday Brunch with live music and entertainment.
4. 7 Elephants
Hard to find but worth it once you do, 7 Elephants was once a dimly lit bar but reinvented itself as a gourmet pub with a unique angle. The menu features a range of dishes, all of which feature an unusual delicacy: bison. From bison burgers and carpaccio, to bison tartare, the venue is the first place in the Baltics to exclusively sell the meat. Each free range bison is sourced from a farm near the small town of Kelmė too, so you can be assured of its quality. All dishes are beautifully presented, decorated with plentiful garnishes and accompaniments that include leafy salads, balsamic caramelized onions and hand-cut fries.
Lithuanian cuisine might be quite meat-centered, but Vilnius restaurants like Vegafe also cater to vegetarians. Hidden on the second floor of an Ashtanga yoga center in the Old Town, Vegafe is well worth seeking out for its tranquil atmosphere and seasonal menu. Diners can sit on pillows or at spare wooden tables, with a no-shoes policy in place throughout. The restaurant adheres to Ayurvedic cooking principles, which means no artificial flavorings, onions or garlic. Despite this seemingly strict framework, you’ll find a surprisingly varied menu, including a selection of soups, salads and curries.
These restaurants are just a small taster of what's available in Vilnius. With the dining scene changing as rapidly as it does, the best way to discover a new treasure is to spend a weekend exploring the Old Town – you never know what you might stumble upon.
Top image: © Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius