TOP30 restaurants of Lithuania
Falstaff went to Vilnius and picked its favourites.
Michelin's restaurant guide for Latvia will be unveiled in November. That would leave Lithuania as the only one of the three Baltic countries not to have an international food guidebook. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a guide to the best restaurants in Lithuania. The top 30 Lithuanian restaurants are recommended by the local Academy of Good Food.
Falstaff went to Vilnius and picked its favourites.
The designation of a restaurant named after chef-owner Gaspar Fernandes as the best in Lithuania has sparked controversy in the country's hospitality industry. In a small restaurant, the ambition to compete for the title of best chef is nowhere to be seen. But that doesn't mean the restaurant doesn't deserve the title.
The chef, who was born in India but has Portuguese roots, offers a signature cuisine in his restaurant, where he boldly combines the flavours of his home countries with the local ones. To accompany his dishes, he first recommends Portuguese wines. This is a concept that is unique in Lithuania. This is definitely the first restaurant that everyone should visit on their next trip to Vilnius.
In second place this time is the winner of the last TOP30. Once again, there is no sign of ambition to be better than the others. Instead, there is a willingness to showcase his creative approach to cooking. The everyday black bread with lardo, which is on every Lithuanians' menu, offers an incredible taste experience. The food is mostly prepared with local ingredients, always in a cheerful mood and with a creative attitude. You'll find yourself wanting to come back before you leave.
If you are in Vilnius for a very short period of time and have only one place to eat, this is where to come. Here is a snapshot of the best that Vilnius has to offer at the moment. There are two restaurants at Arcade. Nineteen18 for fine dining and 14Horses for casual dining. The former is ranked 4th in the TOP30. The latter is ranked 27th. There is also a butchery, bakery, farm shop and wine store. All of them have on-site dining facilities. The butcher's burger is considered the best in Vilnius. Ingredients sold in the shops are used to cook in the restaurants. Niels Pretzmann, a Dane who came up with the idea for the shopping arcade, calls it the Farmers' Circle. He says that by having a clearly identifiable producer behind every food item on offer, he has healed a circle that had broken down.
If you believe that good food should be enjoyed in an environment worthy of it, these three restaurants stand out from the rest with their particularly impressive interiors. It is like entering a sanctuary when you enter the courtyard where Gastronomika is located. It is the best fine-dining restaurant in Lithuania, ranking third in the TOP 30. The ambition to improve Lithuanian gastronomy and to lead the way for others is evident from every inch of the restaurant. A visit to Gastronomika is impressive in every way. It is an experience you will remember for a long time.
The interior of the newly opened barbecue restaurant Proteviai is decorated in the theme of burned trees and invites you to snap a photo and share it with others. It's worth noting that the food and drink here is also remarkably good, aside from the diligent recording of your stay.
Telegrafas is the restaurant of one of the most prestigious hotels in Vilnius, the Kempinski Hotel. It offers a panoramic view of the city's central square through floor-to-ceiling windows. This makes you feel as if you are sitting on the square too. Eating at Telegrafas gives an overwhelming feeling. Everything here is top notch.
Life on the Lithuanian gastronomic scene is in full swing. While elsewhere people talk about the need to return to pre-Covidian levels, Lithuania has already surpassed them. Pas Mus and Babble are both new restaurants in Vilnius. Because of their renowned chefs and our respect for what they have done so far, we decided to visit both. By the time of our arrival at the restaurants, both chefs were already on their way to new challenges. However, both restaurants did not disappoint. Both serve honest, pure food and represent Scandinavian minimalism. Both are charming in their expertise. For those who consider themselves fermentation experts, the kitchen of Pas Mus has much to teach. MOMO Grill has arrived in its third city in Lithuania with its simple concept of preparing straightforward food. In Vilnius they may be less prominent, but in Kaunas and Klaipeda they are the place to go in the city.
This restaurant has many dining rooms and is a must for those who love food history. Each dish served here has a specific historical background. This is explained in detail to all guests.
The Lithuanian TOP30 restaurant list gives a good overview of Lithuanian gastronomy. There is always space for discussion about who should be higher and who should be lower. But it doesn't really matter. What is important is the recognition that is given to all the restaurants in this table. The different restaurants sometimes offer incomparable experiences and inspiration. Failure to visit even one of these restaurants would have meant missing out on an important aspect of Lithuanian gastronomy.