The Official Development Agency of the City of Vilnius

Traces of Jewish Cuisine in Vilnius

Some traditional Lithuanian dishes have so much in common with Jewish cuisine it’s sometimes impossible to trace their origin. Lithuanians bake potato pancakes, Jews make latkes. Stuffed cabbage rolls, meatloaf and potato dishes are all commonplace on the tables of both Lithuanian and Litvak homes.

Today, however, other Jewish dishes popular in Israel have found their way to Vilnius. Bagels, falafels, shakshuka, and hummus are all easy to find in the city’s cafes. Traditionally, Jews prepare their meals following kosher dietary regulations, which you can taste in Vilnius too.

History of the first vegetarian restaurant in Vilnius

In the 1940s, Dieta-Jarska Jadlodajnia, a restaurant owned by Faina Lewand and her husband Lazar Lewand, became the first vegetarian restaurant in the city when it opened its door on Vokiečių St. 14. Even famous artist Marc Chagall dined there and left his greeting in the restaurant’s guestbook. In 1938, Faina Lewando published a book entitled The Great Book of Vegetables: over 400 delicious recipes. The book had disappeared for decades and was not published again until 1995, when someone discovered it and donated it to the Jewish YIVO Institute in New York. Now, everyone can cook recipes from the past at home using the cookbook, which has been published in various languages.

Where to taste kosher food in Vilnius?

Beigelių krautuvėlė

This project is a way for the Lithuanian Jewish Community to promote tolerance. Every day except Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath, this quaint eatery bakes fresh kosher bagels and loaves of bread. Baked goods aside, Beigeliu krautuvele is also the best place to taste traditional Jewish spreads, soups, and shakshuka.

Location: Pylimo 4
Website: www.lzb.lt 

Rishon

The first and only kosher restaurant in Vilnius, Rishon serves traditional Litvak and Israeli cuisine in a charming and modern setting. Try the traditional beef, chicken, and fish dishes, salads and snacks, as well as a selection of kosher wine. You can also choose a kosher Jewish breakfast menu or even order a lunch delivery. Rishon also offers a special course where you learn how to cook Jewish dishes yourself.

Location: Šv. Stepono 22
Website: www.rishon.lt

Where to sample Jewish cuisine?

Fire Place

The shakshuka from the wood-burning oven in the morning will make your day. For a light snack, order a hummus platter or a Sabich sandwich stuffed with fried eggplants, vegetables, greens and a hard-boiled egg seasoned with sesame seeds.

Location: Šeimyniškių 17
Facebook: @pitarijafireplace

ZATAR Falafel & Hummus

There are just too many ways to eat falafels: with a couscous salad, fries, pita or lavash, hummus or exotic sauces.

Location: Vokiečių 9
Facebook: @zatarfalafel

Beigelistai

Fresh bagels with a variety of toppings – from classic with cream cheese and salmon, to vegan versions or even sweet ones.

Location: Pylimo 58 & Literatų 7
Facebook: @Beigelistai

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