Estonian cuisine is heavily influenced by Scandinavian and German cooking and many dishes resemble Russian fare. One example is hapukoor (sour milk salad dressing), which is known as smetana in Russia. If there was such a thing as a national dish, verivorst, a black pudding served with mulgikapsad (sauerkraut stew) would be the main candidate. The old city in Tallinn (especially around Raekoja plats) has some of the best restaurants bathed in the charm of medieval splendor. Nightlife is very exciting, typical of a thriving European capital.
Bars and Pubbing in Estonia
The lovely city of Parnu has its share of cafés and cocktail lounges, ideal for quieter and more laidback nights out. Ranna Café (Ranna Puiestee 1d South Parnu) is one of the most ambient places to sip drinks while enjoying great views of the beach. The 3-story building boasts terraces that are a great place to view the sunset. Kuursaal (Mere Puiestee 22, Parnu) is a beer hall that was transformed into a 20th century spa with a beautiful outdoor area with the occasional rock show.
Tartu, the famed university town, is teeming with trendy bar complete with large dance floors and techno music. Hansa Tall (Aleksandri 46 City South, Tartu) is a lively pub with a rather old-fashioned tavern ambience, making it excellent for warming up before hitting the louder spots nearby. Moku (Ruutli 18, Tartu) is a popular venue for students and foreigners alike, along with Atlantis (Narva maantee 2 City East, Tartu), on the riverside. Club Tallinn (Narva maantee 27 City East, Tartu) is one of the best nightclubs in Tartu, hosting rotating DJs. For a more laid-back evening, Vanemuine Theatre (Vanemuise tanav 6 City South, Tartu), is one of the most prominent venues in Estonia and hosts a range of classical and alternative performances.
The capital has no shortage of night spots either, especially in the heart of the old town. Beer House (Dunkri tanav 5, old town Tallinn), is known for its fresh drafts (it is also a microbrewery) and stimulating music. Drink Baar (Vaike Karja 8, Tallinn) is a modern English-style pub, offering a wide selection of booze, comedy and trvia nights, and the best fish and chips in town. Texas Honky Tonk and Cantina (Pikk 43, Tallinn) is ideal for those craving an American night out, capped off with a frozen margarita and wild tequila fight.
Dining and Cuisine in Estonia
You will never run out of places to dine in Estonia and every city has its own mix of restaurants, cafés and bistros offering traditional local cuisines and tasty fare from across the globe. Olde Hansa (Vana Turg 1, old town Tallin) is the place to overindulge in food, ambience and entertainment, the spot is best known for its bear meat. Kuldse Notsu Korts (Dunkri 8, Tallinn) is near the main square and serves excellent Estonian cuisine like blood sausage and pork knuckle paired with house beer. If you’re craving Asian, try Chedi (Olevimagi 11, old town Tallinn), which has a distinct Singaporean ambiance. Those in search of quality Russian cooking may want to try Troika (Raekoja plats 15, Tallinn).
Following Tartu’s café and bar tradition, there are plenty of places to enjoy a light meal in the city. Café Wilde (Vallikraavi tanav 4, Tartu) has a pub upstairs and is one of the best spots for good coffee, sandwiches and homemade cakes in Estonia. La Dolce Vita (Kompanii 10, Tartu) pizzeria specializes in thin crust pies cooked in a traditional wood-burning oven. This charming joint is also an excellent place for classic pastas and salads, which can be enjoyed on the patio. University Café (Ulikooli tanav 20, Tartu) is excellent for a casual buffet dinner with an old world ambiance and elegant wooden floors. The beautiful patio is an excellent spot for quick meals and coffee dates.
Restaurant Central (Karja tanav 21 old town, Haapsalu) in Haapsalu is a good place for hearty dining in a pleasant outdoor terrace setting with a lively bar downstairs. Haapsalu Kuursaal (Promenaadi 1, Haapsalu) has a beautiful seaside location complete with a lovely rose garden. It is located inside an old spa hall and hosts live performances and concerts from time to time. Altja Korts (Altja, Lahemaa National Park) offers delectable home cooked fare set in a friendly wooden farmhouse on the main road to Altja.