Top 8 Restaurants / Bars To Eat & Drink In Riga

If you haven’t taken a shot of Black Balsam, then you haven’t been to Latvia at all.

To eat well in Riga equates to expanding your palate to heavy duty flavors, and they’re often derived from the sea. Cold herrings with baked potatoes, garlic rye bread with sour pickles, smoked meat and pelmeni (dumplings) are surely not to be missed.

To drink well in Riga equates to handling heavy duty liquor. Besides a plethora of local draft beers and homemade kvass, you’ll want to discover Black Balsam. It’s been said that, if you haven’t taken a shot of Black Balsam, then you haven’t been to Latvia at all. But be careful with it, it’s exceedingly strong so don’t kid around. Love a moonshine? How about flavors like garlic or horseradish?

Here’s a list of top restaurants and bars in Riga. Remember to try everything! If not, what’s the fun of traveling?

3 pavāru restorāns “Tam labam būs augt”

Jacob's Barracks, Torņa iela 4, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

One of the most creative meals in Riga is right next to Jacob’s Barracks, called: 3 pavāru restorāns “Tam labam būs augt,” which translates to 3-cook restaurant “It will be good to grow.” The delightful meal begins with the wait staff arriving at the table, splattering colorful sauces on top of a placemat. The table essentially transforms into a canvas of vibrant stripes, or a creative dipping sauce for the bread. The six-course menu highlights modern Latvian cuisine, opt for a refreshing beet salad followed by a rich ostrich tartare. The drink menu also showcases Latvian ciders, this is simply the best meal in the city.

3 pavāru restorāns
Bread dip. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
3 pavāru restorāns wine
Latvian white wine. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
3 pavāru restorāns Beet Salad
Beet Salad. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
3 pavāru restorāns Ostrich Tartare
Ostrich Tartare. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
3 pavāru restorāns dessert
3 pavāru restorāns dessert. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Chef’s Corner

Jeruzalemes iela 5, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

For the best steak and fries in Riga, head over to Chef’s Corner – a chophouse serving dry-aged gourmet meat cuts. Opened in 2019, this busy restaurant has often been included on the list of The Best Restaurants in Latvia, hailed for both its New Latvian style and drinks. Its steaks are ultra tasty as it only uses premium dry-aged beef, making each choice particularly tender and nutty. Both the fries and sauce that come with the steak are equally delicious. Who can resist a Caramelized Foie Gras with Cream Roquefort?

Chef's Corner interior
Chef’s Corner interior space. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Chef's Corner's Madonas
Chef’s Corner’s Madonas. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Chef's Corner
Chef’s Corner. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Chef's Corner steak and fries
Chef’s Corner steak and fries. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Ala Pagrabs

Peldu iela 19, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Ala Pagrabs is a cavern showcasing the largest selection of Latvian beers. There’s quite a few unique blends of moonshine. For the adventurous drinkers, try garlic flavor, or horseradish is quite lovely as well. It’s also a restaurant serving traditional Latvian foods like smoked ham, cheeses, garlic rye bread, kotletes (meatballs,) pork and pearl barley stew…and many more dishes that you can typically only find in the countryside. On certain nights, there’s folk dancing for tourists.

Ala Pagrabs
Rye bread. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Black Balsam
Black Balsam. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Ala Pagrabs Riga
Draft beers at Ala Pagrabs. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Ala Pagrabs beer
Beer at Ala Pagrabs. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Ala Pagrabs Riga
Smoked ham & pickles. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Tēvocis Vaņa (Uncle Vanya, restorāns)

Smilšu iela 16, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Best Russian food in Riga has got to be Tēvocis Vaņa where steamy dumplings await. Both pork and beef are delectable choices at Uncle Vanya’s restaurant, embellished with cozy décor. Lamps, books, floral wallpaper that transport a traveler back to a Russian grandmother’s kitchen. Don’t forget to pair your dumplings with homemade kvass!

Tēvocis Vaņa dumplings
Tēvocis Vaņa dumplings. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Cynic Bar

Baznīcas iela 1/3, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

Cynic Bar is one of the cheekiest cocktail lounges in Riga, with a friendly staff and a list of drinks that round up the theme of movies. For film fanatics, the menu is categorized in various genres: Comedy, Horror, Rom-Com…etc. Both the idea and the taste of drinks are inventive and stylish. The downstairs walk-up is reminiscent of 1980’s arcade fun, whil the second floor oozes industrial neon. This is a great spot to either start or end your night, it always helps with a shot of homemade vodka infused with candies.

Cynic Bar
Cynic Bar. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Cynic Bar cocktail
Cynic Bar cocktail. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

A’Drop

Antonijas iela 12, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

Despite that the cocktail scene in Riga is still developing, there’s a pretty good list of go-to’s and A’Drop is definitely one of them. The stylish bar makes a mean Strawberry Balsamic Negroni, it’s both original and flavorful. Other options on the menu are based off of fine champagnes. Situated on the posh side of the city, A’Drop evidently caters to a Latvia’s chic crowd. Fortunately, it definitely lives up to the expectation. The fish tank on the polished bar table is certainly a humorous touch to a sophisticated ambiance.

A'Drop
Strawberry Balsamic Negroni. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Riga Central Market

Nēģu iela 7, Latgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Europe’s largest market happens to be in Latvia. Riga Central Market is a feast for the eyes and stomach. A foodie haven to eat, browse and shop. There are 5 pavilions that cover 72,300 square meters (778,000 sq ft) of space by the sea and it hosts the livelihood of more than 3,000 traders. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the market’s structures also boast both Neoclassicism design and Art Deco style.

Here, you can sample glorious amounts of fish, particularly herring. Want to bring home some caviar? You’ve come to the right spot!

Riga Central Market's fish
Riga Central Market’s fish. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Riga Central Market kvass
Riga Central Market kvass. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Riga Central Market herring and potatoes
Riga Central Market herring and potatoes. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

A22 Hotel

Ausekļa iela 22, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

Following the narration of Kennedy throughout the hotel, A22’s highly recommended restaurant is appropriately named JOHN, after the president who stayed here numerous decades ago. The 40-seat dining restaurant is where guests can order breakfast items from its tastefully curated à la carte menu which illustrates both Latvian and international flavors. But its lunch and dinner dishes are the buzzworthy items that attract foodies visiting the capital of Latvia.

A22 FOOD
Delectable tasting. PHOTO A22

Headed by a chef trained at Copenhagen’s NOMA, JOHN depicts changing seasons of the land. The Norwegian Arctic Cod, for instance, is often on the menu solely during springtime, meanwhile fishes migrating from the Barents Sea to Norway’s Lofoten and Vesterålen islands are always available to guests during winter months. This allows dining at JOHN not only a delightful experience but also one that celebrates the tastes of Latvia.