Flavours of Estonia

Tallinn for foodies

Estonia
Restaurant News
Travel Essentials

Tallinn is rich in culinary delights, and Falstaff reveals those must-visit spots for gourmets and what to expect from Estonian cuisine.

From the famous Pavlova dessert to avocado-trout burgers, the capital of Estonia has a lot to offer travellers with great taste.

Before setting off

Every foodie knows that only a well-prepared hunt for new flavours yields the best results, and it is no different in the case of Tallinn. If you want to visit the best restaurants here, make a reservation well in advance of your trip.

The two best restaurants in Tallinn and in all of Estonia are NOA Chef's Hall and 180 Degrees by Matthias Diether. Both have one Michelin star, and there are currently no other starred restaurants in Estonia; also, according to the local restaurant guide, White Guide Nordic, these are the best places to eat in Estonia. Both are fine dining restaurants and offer attractively-priced tasting menus: Matthias Diether came to Estonia from Germany, where his signature kitchen first earned a Michelin star many years ago; NOA Chef's Hall is the flagship of local culinary art.

Dish in NOA Chef's Hall.
Flavours of Estoniahb
Dish in NOA Chef's Hall.

If you are not looking for Michelin-starred cuisine and you have a bigger appetite, these three restaurants offer a good cross-section of Tallinn’s restaurant scene (it is also better to reserve a table in advance).

  • ANNO. The owners of the small home restaurant are foodies themselves, whose love of food became their daily work. Very tasty food and excellent wine selection.
ANNO, Tallinn.
Flavours of Estonia
ANNO, Tallinn.
  • Lee Resto. Nordic cuisine with Japanese additions.
  • Barbarea. Organic food and natural wine.

After arrival

The first place you could walk into in Tallinn right after your arrival is Food Street of Viru Keskus, where you’ll find 16 cafes, restaurants and bars, and you can taste everything from oysters and champagne to pilaf from Uzbekistan, while Paper Mill offers the best coffee in Estonia. You can also try the world-famous Pavlova from the café of the same name, while F. Burger’s avocado-trout burger and Stereo Street Food’s South American-inspired dishes are unique here.

Tallinn is a small city with less than half a million inhabitants, and you can go almost everywhere on foot or by electric scooter. The city transport is also well organised, and for a foodie in Tallinn, one district, Vanalinn, and two quarters, Noblessner and Telliskivi, are mandatory.

Must visit quarters

The Old Town starts right next to Viru Keskus and until ten years ago, it was the only place in the city where all the good restaurants were located. This is no longer the case, but without visiting the Old Town, the gastronomic experience of Tallinn remains incomplete.

The authentic atmosphere of the Old Town is offered by the tiny restaurant V with just ten tables, This is the best vegetarian restaurant in Estonia and the eco-food restaurant Peet Ruut is located right next door. Meanwhile, restaurant Rado offers the most seasonal flavours straight from the market.

Vegan Restaurant V
Flavours of Estonia
Vegan Restaurant V

During the last year, many Ukrainians have come to Estonia, which is why you can now find many restaurants offering Ukrainian cuisine. However, the best restaurant with Ukrainian cuisine in the city is still Odessa, which has been operating here for ten years.

Telliskivi Creative City is located in the area of the former factory buildings located right next to the city centre. Here, lively and creative life boils from dawn to dusk. The gin factory Junimperium is located here with its own bar, their gin is the best known and most awarded in Estonia. You can also find the unique Literaat restaurant, which is both a restaurant and... a bookstore. Not some coffee corner at the edge of a bookstore, but a large award-winning restaurant with a wide selection of books.

Literaat
Flavours of Estonia
Literaat

Balti Jaama market is located right next to Literaat, and is Tallinn's most diverse and modern market, which stands up to comparison with the most famous markets in European cities.

Only 1.5km from here is the quarter of Noblessner, also a former factory area but, unlike Telliskivi, all the buildings are new. It is worth coming here to drink beer and eat food that goes well with the various brews at Põhjala Tap Room, which is located directly above the brewery on the second floor. You can also find one of Finland’s most famous chefs, Kim Mikkola, who recently settled in Estonia, working at the restaurant Kampai by Kim Mikkola, or even enjoy unforgettable summer sunsets with cocktails from the KaiF bar.

Põhjala Tap Room
Flavours of Estonia
Põhjala Tap Room

Estonian cuisine: what is it?

Since Estonia is so small, nothing grows in the country that wouldn’t grow elsewhere, with Estonian food more of a method of cooking; creatively, the food is made from the gifts of Nordic nature, using the most modern cooking techniques influenced by the food traditions of Estonia’s nearest larger neighbours.

A sandwich of rye bread and spiced baltic sprats is the first thing an Estonian puts into his mouth after returning home. Rye bread and the different ways of making it are the pride of Estonian cuisine, with almost every restaurant making their own versions, each variety slightly different from others. To take home, we recommend Tsunft rye bread. Spiced chips are obtained by seasoning the chips with a mixture of different spices, while tins of spiced baltic sprats are available in a wide selection of grocery stores.

Rye bread and spiced Bbaltic sprat.
Piret Hanson / photo provided
Rye bread and spiced Bbaltic sprat.

There is no Estonian party table without aspic or meat jelly. It is so deeply traditional that Estonians call all kinds of celebrations, aspic parties. Estonians like to eat simple but tasty food, which is prepared in its own way in every home.

Three foodie-friendly hotels in Tallinn

What kind of accommodation is suitable for a short food trip? The quality of Tallinn hotels is high, and there is also a large selection of various rental apartments.

Aivar Hanson
Aivar Hanson
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