For centuries Latvia has been at the crossroads of Eastern and Western culture, hence its national cuisine is a rich mixture of Latvian, German, Russian, Swedish and Polish tastes and products. Moreover, Riga is the city of the Hanseatic League, the longstanding trading alliance, where travellers from near and far not only brought oversees goods but also their idea of delicious food. Hence it is only natural that Riga has a lot of surprises for a gourmet.
For Eastern guests Riga's restaurants will serve as a learning base for the food philosophy of Western Europe, as you can find rich German meals, exquisite French food, the democratic Italian pizza, pasta and tiramisu as well as the traditional and contemporary Latvian cuisine.
Western tourists in their turn should use the possibilities offered by the tasty neighbourly relations with Russia and friendship with Transcaucasian and Central Asian countries. Although there aren't a lot of specialized Russian restaurants in Riga, many restaurants offer Slavic food like the excellent Russian soups as solanka, schi, okroshka, Ukrainian borscht, Siberian pelmeni, blini with sour cream, red caviar and a glass of ice cold vodka and even a stuffed sturgeon or pike.
If you feel like getting acquainted with the taste of the traditional Transcaucasian and Central Asian food, certainly look for an Armenian, Georgian or Uzbek restaurant! Their kitchens are usually run by experts in the gastronomy of their country, which means that you can try a real Armenian hash and dolma, grilled meat, Georgian khachapuri and Uzbek pilaf.
Riga also has several medieval restaurants offering the opportunity to dine as the wealthy medieval merchants. Last but not least there is also the traditional Latvian cuisine offering the Latvian beloved cumin cheese, which is now made not only from cow's but also goat's milk, rye-bread and sourdough bread baked on maple leafs in a bread oven, hemp butter, barley porridge which is stylishly called the barley risotto, different products from fermented milk, grey peas, heather or lime-blossom honey, groat sausages, candied quince, beer, birch juice and even gooseberry or guelder rose wine. A meal in Latvian restaurants will certainly not let you down as a year ago the best Latvian chefs, restaurant specialists and gourmet journalists similarly as the Scandinavians started a movement and signed the manifest of Contemporary Latvian cuisine supporting good taste, food quality and care for healthy food. The principles declared in the manifest are supported by the owners and chefs of the best Latvian restaurants, hence choosing to dine in hotel "Bergs" restaurant, restaurant "Vincents", "Kalku varti", "Hotel de Rome" restaurant "Otto Schwarz" and other restaurants you can be sure - you are served by the best!