Similarly to all previous years, the last year also brought about many significant changes for Estonian restaurants. The quietude that had been prevalent among fine dining restaurants for years came to an end.
Only one restaurant in the category closed its doors for good, but many others lost their attraction to customers. It no longer suffices to serve dishes made of costly raw material in an expensive and festive interior. A fine dining restaurant needs to be very special or not be there at all.
In addition, the migration of chefs from one location to another had its effect on the restaurants in the category. It became clear that there were more restaurants thinking they were excellent than there were excellent chefs to work in them. As a result, only six restaurants instead of the ten of the previous year made it to the list. But the six are indeed very fine.
This year’s rankings of the restaurants in Tallinn are special. We are finally ready to acknowledge the good even if it’s not of local origin. One third of the rankings is occupied by newcomers. For the first time, one restaurant has returned to the rankings which has never happened before.
It’s as if the rankings have come alive. Belonging here is a sign of the restaurant’s quality and level. Making it into the rankings becomes more and more difficult by every year because the number of good eateries is fortunately growing and growing!
Last year was a year of soul-searching for the restaurants in Tallinn. It’s pointless to run a restaurant as a hobby or an investment. A good eating establishment – that means vast amounts of work and full dedication, meagre profit and no free time. Running a good restaurant has become a lifestyle and that’s how it’s going to stay.
3. La Bottega
19. Fish & Wine
22. Villa Thai
Just like in two previous years, the Tartu list underwent a considerable transformation this time as well. No new restaurants sprung into action, but none of the more important dining places terminated their activities either. Once again, the favourites of the people of Tartu changed.
Simplicity and authenticity clearly dominated the preferences of this year. The genuine Italian restaurant La Dolce Vita almost rose to the top. The Georgian restaurant Gruusia Saatkond that has served people for ten years finally achieved a well-deserved spot among the best.
The only place that arose in the category of Genuinely Estonian as a storm in a teacup in terms of the most important culinary news of Tartu was the café Anna Edasi. Tartu is a calm and peace-loving town. In everything.
6. Gruusia Saatkond
Estonia used to be famous for its qualitative agricultural products. Now it is time to return to the past, because different Estonian diners frequently offer food the only aim of which is to stick to your ribs.
If the food does not give people the slightest idea of their whereabouts, there is no reason to stop by. And for those, who do not have the local roots and pride, Estonia is small enough to drive to places that are worth visiting without stopping on one's way.
Fortunately, there are always pleasant exceptions that deserve visiting, no matter where their location is. The best of them are listed below. Travelling around Estonia is definitely worthwhile, even if the sole purpose is to enjoy the food.