November 9, 2022

Vilnius Awarded Its Restaurant Ecosystem With Real Stars in Sky

When it comes to food culture, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has a gastro scene worthy of international recognition. Talented modern chefs combine traditional cuisine with contemporary trends to create the ultimate dining experience. Vilnius’ culinary talents check all the boxes for a prestigious Michelin Guide award, given to only 138 restaurants worldwide, and it’s just a matter of time before they are awarded that title. Meanwhile, the city already deems its restaurants worthy of the highest ratings and has given them three real stars in the sky as a gift in celebration of Lithuanian gastronomy week.

“Locals and visitors, who crave uniquely delicious experiences, love to indulge in Vilnius’ gastro scene. We believe its top-level culinary talents are worthy of all Michelin stars for their ingenuity, constant striving for unexpected flavors or combinations, and boldness in all of their creations,” said Inga Romanovskienė, Director at Go Vilnius, the official tourism and business development agency of Vilnius. “The stars are a gift of appreciation from the city to restaurants who make Vilnius proud of its unique multicultural culinary heritage with a modern flair. The initiative also shows the world that Vilnius has top-notch restaurants that astound even the most demanding experts.”

The stars are a part of the constellation Fornax visible in autumn and winter and are located 46.43, 177.99, and 371.05 lightyears away. The three purchased and registered stars—which can be seen on the Night Sky Guide app—are named “G’Astronomic Vilnius” and are intended “For restaurants that make up Vilnius’ gastronomic ecosystem, which shine so bright they’re worthy of real stars.” 

The certificate confirming the registration of the stars on the Star Registration website has been presented to Evalda Šiškauskienė, President of the Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association, and Jaroslav Orševski, President of the Lithuanian Chefs and Confectioners Association. The presented constellation was also brought down to Earth in a form more accessible to food and star enthusiasts—a light artist Kotryna Čalkaitė rendered its imagery in an installation displayed on the MO Museum terrace, which is located in a favored gastro district.

“Vilnius’ history, multiculturalism, and present life are a source of inspiration for our capital’s restaurants. Our younger generation of culinarians is extremely driven, traveling the world, studying in prestigious schools, picking up new trends, and passing them on through local products and heritage that beckons gourmets from all over the world. Therefore this acknowledgment is significant to us in portraying the level of culinary expertise that local talents have and how it compares to the global standard,” added Mrs. Šiškauskienė.

Fine dining stems from farmland roots

Over its rich, nearly 700-year history, Vilnius has become famous for its historically multicultural fusion cuisine of Jews, Poles, and Lithuanian nobles. The contemporary cuisine incorporates flavors from Lebanon, Japan, India, Nepal, France, Germany, Italy, and Mexico, along with traditional Lithuanian dishes like bright pink cold beetroot soup, potato dumplings, fried bread, and other unique delicacies that are available almost anywhere, including canteens, traditional cuisine restaurants, and beer pubs. 

Over the last decade, fine dining has blossomed in Vilnius. It is built by a diverse new generation of chefs who actively travel, study, and intern abroad, finally returning home to showcase new skills in Vilnius gastro culture. International travelers like Robert Makłowicz, a Polish food critic, journalist, and TV personality, have also appreciated the new age of foodie culture, and the city’s gastronomic scene was featured on the VICE Munchies channel this fall.

Vilnius believes its many chefs deserve the Michelin Guide award for their ability to impress even the pickiest foodies. For instance, one of the most famous culinary talents in the country is the award-winning chef Deivydas Praspaliauskas, who is also the owner of the highly successful Scandinavian/Baltic haute cuisine restaurant Amandus, which is located in the bohemian Užupis District. Mr. Praspaliauskas has wowed the restaurant’s patrons with creations like a beef donut, beetroot-licorice bread, and pumpkin broth with rabbit and hazelnuts. 

Liutauras Čeprackas is another star of Vilnius’ culinary scene and the executive chef of Gastronomika restaurant, which has made it to Lithuania’s top restaurant lists. The restaurant boasts an innovative tasting menu and a more traditional à la carte menu worthy of a true gourmet: kingfish tartare, wagyu steak with ultra fries and Padrón pepper, and foie gras with chestnut soup and shimeji mushrooms.

Vilnius’ chefs also work closely with local farmers to provide guests with an exceptional dining experience that blends fresh farm-to-table produce, sustainably sourced and home-grown ingredients, and seasonal delicacies. For example, The Senators' Passage is a tightly-knit community of shops that sell products from a sustainable organic farm Farmers Circle, local farmers’ delicacies, wine, baked goods, flowers, and interior design items, as well as two fine dining restaurants Nineteen18 and 14horses. The Senators’ Passage concept may be compared to that of Noma—a Michelin-starred Danish restaurant with a similar cuisine philosophy, where the outside is an urban farm that produces fresh food for the restaurant’s meals.

While Vilnius’ chefs continue to stun the foodies with exquisite delicacies in anticipation of the Michelin recognition, the capital’s varied culinary scene is one of the draws for international travelers looking for a gastronomical vacation.