We had a chance to eat at several restaurants while in Riga Latvia:
- 1221. We ate at an outside table in the heart of the Old Down, where we made a dinner of three very good appetizers. First a sampler of smoked local fish and cheese (where we especially enjoyed the seabass, sardines and not-at-all greasy cold-smoked salmon, but not the mackerel). The cheese, which was all cow’s milk, were alright, was nothing special. Our favorite dish was venison fillet carpaccio with passion fruit vinaigrette with cedar nuts and parmesan cheese—wonderful. Nor could Tom resist a second chance to sample beaver—hot smoked with cedar nuts and pineapple vinaigrette. Much better than the first time he had it. While it was a bit tough, it was tasty and not at all gamey. The beaver called for a Merlot-forward Bordeuax—a 2008 Chateau La Tour de By Cru.
- Kolonade. We had two very good dishes. Sea trout with prawn, mashed leeks, burnt chicory and a avocado sauce; and roasted duck breast with asparagus, beet and pearl barley risotto and duck stock sauce. The restaurant had a nice selection of chilled wines by the glass. We had a gruner veltliner with the trout and chianti classic reserve with the duck.
- 3 Chefs. Dinner began with a bread serving, where the server artistically drizzled four different taste and color dipping sauces (black current, pesto, strawberry and hempseed oil) on white paper placement, and then added a small pile of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin and hemp) next to them. While there was nothing special about the bread, the experience was more than worth the calories. Then came three dishes: a somewhat overcooked pan-fried foie gras with bacon bits and apple puree; ostrich tartare with duck egg yolk, lingonberry and beer sauce; and seabass fillet with cauliflower, kale and mussel veloute. We had two wonderful wines. With the foie, we had glasses of 2009 Anselmann silvaner icewine from Germany. With dinner, a 2012 New Zealand 2012 Wild Rock, Cupid’s Arrow pinot from Central Otaga.
- Neiburgs, where we took another, more successful shot at pan-fried foie gras (with sweet potato puree and white wine with poached pear and applesauce). Our entrees were an okay grilled king tiger prawns with parmesan and pistachio risotto, dried wakame and prawn and lime sauce; and a much better rack of lamb with shitake and Swiss chard salad, blue mashed potatoes and red wine and rosemary sauce. We had a nice glass of Sauterne with the foie and a 2010 Bindella Vino Nobile de Montapulciano with our entrees.
We stayed at the Hotel Neiburgs, in the heart of Old Riga. It was on a quiet street and had many restaurants nearby. It was a short walk to most of the areas we wanted to visit.