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Treats from Tallinn/Estonia?


Eden
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A good friend is off to Estonia on business next week, and I have two questions on his behalf:

1) what (non-fish) food treats can he bring back that are legal to import into the US?

and

2) I've already done a search for him on eG and found several useful threads, especially this one, but nothing since October '05, so are there any updated suggestions of where he should dine assuming he gets any free time?

Thanks!

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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A good friend is off to Estonia on business next week, and I have two questions on his behalf:

1) what (non-fish) food treats can he bring back that are legal to import into the US? 

and

2) I've already done a search for him on eG and found several useful threads, especially this one, but nothing since October '05, so are there any updated suggestions of where he should dine assuming he gets any free time?

Thanks!

Hi Eden,

your friend can have a quick look at my foodblog, where I have written about various establishments in Tallinn, though mostly about cafes.

How many days is your friend there for? I'd recommend Olde Hansa as well (the medieval restaurant mentioned in the Oct 05 post), as well as the garlic restaurant Balthasar on the Old Town Square/Raekoja plats. Troika is a cheerful Russian place on the Town Hall Square that does really delicious dumplings (I'm addicted to their pelmeni "village style" that come in a wild mushroom sauce under a pie crust).

And last, but not least, the more upmarket ones are Egoist and Gloria and Bocca, but my finances have not yet allowed me to check out these places unfortunately :unsure:

Foodlovers have been eagerly waiting for the opening of our Chef du jour Imre Kose's new restaurant, Vertigo, but now it looks that it won't be open until late April.

Hope that helps. Tallinn is a wonderful town to visit, and April is a good time to do that, as it's usually sunny and warm-ish by then..

Pille, born and bread in Tallinn, now in Edinburgh

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have the pleasure of travelling to Tallinn on business about every other week and spent about a month and a half here at the later part of last year with the fortune of having Estonians show me around. Tallinn is a great city with a lot of little culinary gems just waiting to be discovered at reasonable prices.

Here are a few good things going on in Tallin:

Kuldse Notsu Kõrts (The Little Piggy Inn)

Dunkri 8

This restaurant serves up traditional Estonian food which is hearty, meaty plates. I personally wasn't such a fan of this place. Seemed too cheesy and they had an accordian player which annoyed the hell out of me. The food was decent, but not something that I would repeat.

Elevant

Vene 5

tel. 631-3132

Elevant is an Indian restaurant on the second floor of a building in old town. Food is decent, but not anything near to Indian food in London so don't expect really spicey stuff. It is Estonian Indian food...different, but still edible.

Ö (Island in Swedish)

Mere pst. 6e, tel. 661-6150

Pricey and chic. Menu is nice and the food is quite good.

Balthasar

Raekoja plats 11

The garlic restaurant that always seem to be packed. Make sure to reserve or you won't get in.

Novell

Narva mnt. 7c

Inside the Revell hotel. There is a little bar cafe or you can do a proper meal in the back. Menu selection in the bar is inventive and tasty. Meals in the back are equally as good, but more elaborate. Great cocktails.

Pegasus

Harju 1

tel. 631-4040

Nouveu chic. Trendy place to hang out. Would recommend only going for drinks as I keep hearing hot and cold reports about the service and food.

Sushihouse

Rataskaevu 16

tel. 641-1900

Reportedly in a haunted building which is about the most exciting thing going on at this restaurant. I wouldn't particularly recommend sushi in Tallinn. I ate here a few months back and there were 2 Japanese tourists sitting next to us. When they were presented their food I saw them give each other strange looks and then start laughing. Next thing you know they had the camera out taking photos of the food which presumably meant that the folks back home were going to find this hilarious. Estonian sushi is sort of an oxymoron.

BuonGiorno

Müürivahe 17

tel. 640-6858

A great little Italian restaurant in the basement of a building in old town. The food is really nice - try out the bruschettas by asking for a combo. Real Italians coupled with a few Russians running the place. Cheap and great.

Nevskij

Rataskaevu 7, Hotel St. Petersbourg

Touted as the best Russian restaurant in town with prices to match. Set in a posh living room style complete with a parrot. Blinis and cavier along with some chilled vodka shots are the best here. Also be sure to try out the pickles with sour cream and honey. Fantastic.

Troika

Raekoja plats 15

tel. 627-6245

Less formal thatn Nevskij. More Russian food in the basement floor right in the old town square. Again - get vodka and blinis!

KN

Dunkri 4

tel. 697-7500

Set in the basement of the Merchant House Hotel (the best hotel in Tallinn) is this restaurant. The food is amazing at great prices. Nouveu cuisine.

Bocca

Olevimägi 9,

tel. 641-2610

The Italian hotspot of the moment. Modern interior. Great food. Make sure to reserve.

Must Lammas

Sauna 2

tel. 644-2031

Caucasian food which consists of hearty meats and stews. Great selection of wine. Great food. Across the street from Angel bar so you can go there for post dinner cocktails!

Bestseller Cafe

Viru Shopping Center, fourth floor

A gem of a find! In a strange location this little cafe is great for Tallinn lunch. The food is lovely and cheap. Set in the middle of the bookshop windows overlook the shoppers that are trying to escape the harsh winters. Get the gloogwine if they have it.

Angel Cafe

Sauna 1

tel. 641-6880

Another really nice little place. Set above the gay club Angel is this little cafe that stays open late night. Decor is cozy with a fireplace. Service is great. Food is great. Cocktails are the best. Make sure to try out the Mad Bad Gucci Clad martini!

Other notable places that I haven't tried because the locals aren't really into the fanfare of going to a medevil feast. Olde Hansa and Peppersack. I hear that they serve bear and deer and all kinds of interesting wild game. Should be a pretty fun time to try out while you are in town.

Enjoy and message me if you have any questions - I'll do my best to help you out.

Stephanie - The Nerdgirl

http://www.nerdgirl.com

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you both, I sent him a pile of suggestsions from this list & from Pille's blog.

I asked him to bring me back a kama 'chocolate' bar, but he couldn't find them anywhere, so I got a bottle of Vana Tallinn instead. It's very interesting, lots of vanilla of course, but also this almost root-beer flavor to it - presumably from the citrus & spices. [When mixed with half & half it's very reminiscent of my home-made eggnog.]

Yumm!

Oh and he said that Tallin was just amazing & I have to go someday. Actually what he said was "everybody should go to Estonia at least once before they die!" :biggrin:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Thank you both, I sent him a pile of suggestsions from this list & from Pille's blog. 

I asked him to bring me back a kama 'chocolate' bar, but he couldn't find them anywhere, so I got a bottle of Vana Tallinn instead.  It's very interesting, lots of vanilla of course, but also this almost root-beer flavor to it - presumably from the citrus & spices.  [When mixed with half & half it's very reminiscent of my home-made eggnog.] 

Yumm!

Oh and he said that Tallin was just amazing & I have to go someday.  Actually what he said was "everybody should go to Estonia at least once before they die!"  :biggrin:

Eden - I'm so glad your friend enjoyed my home town :rolleyes: Tallinn is a beautiful city, and Estonia is definitely worth a visit (I'm biased, obviously).

I could send you a bar of kama 'chocolate', if you wish? pm me. Kalev also makes a wondeful white chocolate bar with dried blueberries and rice krispies - a friend brought me five 100 gram bars yesterday!!

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I asked him to bring me back a kama 'chocolate' bar, but he couldn't find them anywhere, so I got a bottle of Vana Tallinn instead.

What a coincidence, I finally opened the bar of Kamatavel I brought back from Tallinn just two days ago. It' has an interesting taste, definitely different from anything I have had before, very rich in nutty and tasted aromas and with a clear coffee note. Worth trying I think, though it won't be replacing my dark chocolate cru bars :smile: .

I agree with Pille on the rest of Kalev's products, both the chocolates, marzipan and the "candy" (Russian toffee?) are very nice. I also tried the white chocolate with blueberries: although I'm not a big fan of white chocolate in general I found the pairing quite successful. I was only puzzled at the intensity of the blueberry aroma: either Estonia produces the most aromatic berries ever, or Kalev uses quite a lot of added aroma.

Since I haven't had a chance to report from my trip I'll use the chance now. Tallinn is definitely worth a visit. It is a charming and beautiful city, in particular the center. I enjoyed just walking around the little streets without a map and letting the next touristic attraction surprise me.

Food was also nice, at least in the three places we visited. Pille advised me to visit Maiasmokk to try some Estonian food, unfortunately there was a misunderstanding with our reservation so we ended up at Eesti Maja, which also serves Estonian fare, but, as far as I can tell, prepared in a more conservative style. Nothing breathtaking, apart the blood sausages maybe, but good solid dishes. The impression I got was of a cuisine with strong north German influences, which is maybe unsurprising given Tallinn's past as Hanseatic town, but also a cuisine with a few unique and original dishes. Not a light cuisine, and big portions: exactly what you'd expect, given the local winters.

The next evening we headed for the Russian restaurant Trojka. It serves very good Pelmeni: we tried bot the mutton and country style ones, both good. The only slightly negative note was the service: friendly, yet I found the insistent offers for vodka a bit annoying. The vodka might seem cheap, but if you order as much as the waiters would like you to drink it will come up more expensive than the food.

On our last evening we dined at Olde Hansa. I was very curious about this place, because all the supposedly medieval places I had tried till now had been a total disappointment. Not so Olde Hansa. The menu seems to make a real effort to bring you the real thing (although dishes come from different centuries and countries). Both our mixed appetizers and mains (game sausages for me, smoked fillet mignon for my wife) were well prepared and very intriguing taste-wise. Personally I found everything a bit too much on the sweet side, but it is just my taste: I would go back if I visited Tallinn again.

I was also impressed by the level of cakes and savory pastries sold by the local cafes, which are a great option for a quick lunch. On top of that many cafes are lovely, so you can just sit back and turn into a bar-fly :smile: .

Edited by albiston (log)
Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Kuldse Notsu Kõrts (The Little Piggy Inn)

Dunkri 8

This restaurant serves up traditional Estonian food which is hearty, meaty plates.  I personally wasn't such a fan of this place.  Seemed too cheesy and they had an accordian player which annoyed the hell out of me.  The food was decent, but not something that I would repeat.

I think the accordion gave the wrong impression. I've been several times, and this place is solid quality.I'd try it again, on the musician's night off. Almost all restaurants in old Tallinn inevitably suffer from made-for-tourists romanticized "traditional cuisine." Some are better done, others worse. This is one of the better ones.

Gloria, on the other hand, felt like eating in somebody's grandmother's boudoir. Horrible Saturday lunch there.

My favorite treat from Tallinn are the old soviet-era toy cars for my nephew's Hot Wheels collection. The secondhand market is a great source, and not at all meant for tourists. There are the usual Lenin watches and mugs as well, but a lot of the military stuff is fake.

Estonians are often embarrased by Vana Tallinn. It's too syrupy for me, but next time I'll try it in cream.

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