An absolute gem of a restaurant. Mekk stands for 'moodne eesti koogikunst' which means 'modern Estonian cooking art'.
Modern Estonian cuisine in the restaurant of the Savoy Boutique hotel.
Very friendly service with wonderful food. Desserts were superb.
Good cheap food and beer. While centrally located, this is popular with locals and tourists alike.
At the moment there is a series of pictures of Tallinn on the walls which clearly show how the city has changed in the last decade.
Situated in the heart of the old town, this is a great pub with a more local clientele than the pubs around it.
Drink is great value as is the food. I got a whole joint of pork (no kidding!) with potatoes and sauerkraut for only €6.40.
A beautiful courtyard in the Old Town housing several artisans' shops and a small cafe/chocolaterie. Go there if you feel tired of hustle and bustle of the usual tourist routes and would like to view and buy truly unique stuff made from wood, glass, etc.
Vene street, 6
Just a few steps away from the Town Hall square is the Beer House, Tallinn’s only microbrewery.
The bricked walled beer hall is large and quite cavernous, a little like a converted warehouse, but doesn't feel empty, its stone floors filled with wooden tables which, in turn, fill up with people sampling the beer and food that is on offer.
A lot of effort has gone into creating a convivial, bier Keller atmosphere, from the helpful costumed waiting staff to the toe-tapping, thigh-slapping music. Although the latter is something of an acquired taste and there were a few moments of surrealness when we realised we were listening to an oompah band rendition of "Viva Espania" followed by "Roll Out the Barrel".
The home produced beer is excellent and comes in three varieties, a light golden easy to drink Pilsner, a wheaty Marzen Spezial and the thicker, dark Dunkles. What makes the beer particularly good, however, is that it is un-pasteurised and has none of the slightly chemical aftertaste you can get with other commercially produced beers and lagers.
The Beer House also serves a good range of simple but filling food such as chicken wings, herrings and big lumps of roast meat.
Lunchtimes are quieter, it's a good place to stop for a beer and a light-ish snack, evenings busier and more lively.
The heart of Tallinn's Old Town is the Raekoja plats, or Old Town Square. Surrounded by elegant pastel hued buildings and the creamy limestone facade of the Town Hall, the square has been used as a marketplace, meeting place and also a place of execution.
It is still somewhere to meet up, perhaps in one of the restaurants that overlook it or, during the warmer months, one of the outdoor cafes that are set up on its cobblestones. There is also a reminder of its commercial past with handicraft stalls during summer and its Christmas Market. Indeed you get the sense that this is not a square that has been frozen in aspic - beautiful but untouchable - but a place that is still much in use by locals and visitors alike. There is also an intimate feel about the square, but without it seeming small, and an openness about it without it feeling bare and exposed.
As an introduction to Tallinn's Old Town you can't do worse, and as a place to visit in and for itself you can't do worse either.
In a lovely cellar entered from Raekoja plats is Troika, one of Tallinn's Russian restaurants.
The setting is great, like a recreation of an Imperial Russian dining room, and the service excellent. The menu runs through Russian staples such as blinis, dumplings, stroganoff and pancakes. There is a good selection of fish and vegetarian options and, for meat lovers, plenty of choice, including bear! And as an accompaniment? What else but vodka! Though there are plenty of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic options for those who want a clearer head the next morning!
It's a lively, popular and busy place, underscored when we were there by live Russian folk music, so booking is advisable.
One word of warning though, it is not an overly expensive restaurant (we paid about £55.00, £60.00 with a tip, for both of us and there was more than we could really eat, even with trying) and indeed very good value for the quality of both the food and the whole experience, however, it is easy to rack up the price. For instance, as we sat down and before we were given the menu we were asked if we wanted to start our meal in true Russian style with vodka, pickles, honey and sour cream. Who could say no! It was a fantastic way to open the meal, and the evening, but was also one of the most expensive items on our bill and as we hadn't seen a menu at that point we weren't aware of how much it cost. Now we would probably have still gone ahead and ordered this anyway, it was fun to see the vodka being poured from a height of two or three feet into the glasses and the combination of all the tastes was great, but for anyone on a budget or watching what they spend the cost may have come as a nasty shock.
That is only a minor criticism, however, as we had such a good evening at Troika, excellent food, excellent atmosphere and great fun. And I didn't even mind the vodka hangover the next day!
Raekoja plats 15;
tel: 372 627 6245;
There is a danger that in describing somewhere as a "garlic restaurant" it is made to sound rather gimmicky and that somehow the gimmick will surpass the cooking. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth with Balthasar, Tallinn's garlic restaurant.
Firstly the setting is fantastic, the restaurant is situated on the first floor above Raeapteek with lovely views over the square and towards the town hall. It is rather like being in a country manor dining room, wooden beams and floor, ornate chairs, fresh white linen, subdued and subtle lighting. There were very few people in the restaurant when we visited, reflective of it being a freezing Sunday night in winter rather than the standard of the restaurant, so the atmosphere was quiet and intimate. Service too was very good, attentive and helpful but without being overbearing.
As to the food, which reflects an international cuisine, it was excellent. On the menu each dish is given a bulb rating - 3 or above and you better not have any vampire blood in you! There is a good selection of starters, soup, meat and fish dishes plus a vegetarian option. You can also order garlic side dishes including the wonderful "garlic assortment", a pile of cloves in 4 different marinades, pesto, chilli, vinegar and spice. Also, don't leave before trying the garlic ice cream, which comes in a crisp almond basket and chocolate sauce. Like the creamiest ice cream you've ever had but with a hint of sweet garlic - sounds strange, tastes delicious.
Raekoja plats 11;
tel: 372 50 29 077;
A medieval-themed restaurant serving all types of medieval dishes and honey beer. All staff wear servants’ clothing and lighting is provided by candles on the tables.
Vana turg 1, near the Old Square; www.oldehansa.com
The translation of Mookkala is swordfish and the menu here includes not only that fish but many of its sea-going compatriots.
The décor in the restaurant is lovely: blue walls, unusual but striking pictures, eclectic table settings, padded chairs and sofas. It creates a comfortable, interesting and relaxing atmosphere. Service too, is very good, friendly yet understated and happy to offer advice about the dishes on the menu.
As for the food, well, it was excellent. There is a choice of hot and cold starters plus soup and salads encompassing such things as oysters, crab legs, salmon and lamprey. For a main course as well as the signature dish of swordfish you can sample pike-perch, eel, salmon and sardines. The dessert menu is small, however, you may find that after a fish feast - portions are generous – that you may not have room for much else! There is also a good selection of wines, spirits, beers and other drinks.
There are so many fine restaurants in Tallinn and Mookkala is up there with the best of them. Delicious food and at approximately £40.00 for two courses each, one dessert, drinks, coffee and tip it’s not bad value either.
tel: 372 644 8930
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