Six Ways to Taste Lithuanian Cuisine

What makes a dish authentically Lithuanian? Well, it’s largely the work of centuries of different cultures creating an array of dishes. What would you like today? The country’s famous potato dumplings with meat called cepelinai, fancy food reminiscent of a noble feast, modern Lithuanian cuisine, or the staples that every Lithuanian grandmother has perfected over the years? The options are impressive and the flavours might surprise you, even if you’re a true foodie who thinks they’ve tasted it all.

Embrace the country’s recent culinary heritage

Even though potato dumplings (cepelinai) were first made in Lithuania just a little over a century ago, locals still call it the most popular traditional dish. If you want to try this local star, head to Stikliai Tavern, which is a part of the prestigious Stikliai complex. Ertlio Namas – unique space where refined historical Lithuanian cuisine gracefully meets modern culture and technology. Lithuanian historical cuisine is characterised by seasonality – people would serve the goods that could be picked in the kitchen-garden, hunted in the woods, caught in the river or lake.  If you’re hungry at night and want to satisfy a craving for something Lithuanian, visit Amatininkai, which is located right next to the Town Hall. 

For a more rustic experience, head to the heart of the Old Town to the Old Green House to taste some traditional potato dishes, ribs or snacks with beer. If you’re into taking a walk after dinner, visit Belmontas to try traditional dishes in a restored authentic inn and finish things off by exploring the Pavilniai Regional Park afterwards. 

Feast like a noble

Traditional Lithuanian cuisine is more than just potatoes, and the variety you can find will have you celebrating everyday with a feast! Dine like nobility while tasting authentic game dishes at Lokys, one of the oldest restaurants in Vilnius. The chef at Ertlio Namas will delight you with a tasting menu of historical cuisine from the 13th to 19th centuries. Their menu is put together with the help of historians and changes every two months. Mykolo 4 is a restaurant known for its stuffed quail, lamb fore shank, and mead – all prepared according to recipes developed in the 19th-century kitchens of Vilnius.

Award-winning modern Lithuanian cuisine

Džiaugsmas has been crowned the best restaurant in Lithuania for the last two years and is definitely worth a try. Chef Martynas Praškevičius offers a simple yet spectacular array of dishes that will impress with their ability to bring different flavours out of some of the most common Lithuanian ingredients. Another option is to take on the tasting menu at one of the best restaurants in Lithuania: Nineteen18. The plates are filled with modern meals that pay homage to Lithuania’s culinary heritage and are made using the slow food philosophy.

Imagine visiting your long-lost Lithuanian grandmother

Lithuanian grandmothers are like any other; they’ll stuff you with food until you can’t move. Drop by the legendary Sultiniai to get some stuffed buns or try their Chicken Kiev. For lunch on a budget visit one of the canteens that will take you back in time; Montuotojas in Naujamiestis is one of the most famous. Be sure to bring some cash with you because bank cards are not accepted. For a super filling dinner, go to Šnekutis – it’ll feel like you’re visiting the entire family at once.

Sample some mead

Tasting mead, the oldest Lithuanian drink enjoyed by the Grand Dukes, is a must when passing through Vilnius. Even though it probably won’t be served in a horn like it used to, it certainly tastes like a drink made for the gods. There are a number of different styles of mead to try at the bar Girta Bitė, and the aromas will surely transport you to the meadows of Lithuania. If alcohol isn’t your thing, you can opt for the non-alcoholic mead nectar instead.

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