Estonia is often considered to be one of Europe’s best kept secrets, offering beautiful scenery, rich heritage and culture, and friendly locals. Estonia is also a delight for anyone looking for a romantic destination, as it offers some of the best cafés and restaurants that combine a number of local and internationally inspired cuisines.
Even as the country grows in popularity as a travel destination, it’s still nowhere near as crowded as some of the largest cities in Europe. This makes it the perfect place to visit with your friends or special Valentine in 2018. The culture and restaurants will amaze you, and it’s a real experience to explore one of Europe’s most fascinating regions without all of the bustle that you would find in the usual tourist traps.
When it comes to dining with someone special or having a meal and a few drinks with friends, these are the ten best Valentine’s Day destinations that you need to try at least once in your lifetime.
Antonius – Tartu, Estonia
Behind Tallinn, Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia. It’s also a city of remarkable beauty where historical and modern architecture is combined to create a completely unique experience. Tartu is sometimes referred to as the intellectual center of Estonia, due to it being the location of the country’s oldest and most prestigious university.
In Tartu you’ll find Antonius, one of our top picks for dining on Valentine’s Day. The restaurant is located in one of the historical districts of the city, right next to the University of Tartu. Service is some of the best that you’ll find anywhere in the world, with menu options that will be the highlight of a magical day in a mesmerizing city.
Valentine’s Day also calls for an exquisite glass of wine to go along with your meal, and you’ll find plenty of options to share with your Valentine or amongst friends. The wine list includes an extensive selection of old world wines from throughout Europe, including some from France’s best wine producing regions.
Bordoo – Tallinn, Estonia
Bordoo offers an experience that you would expect from the most luxurious old world restaurants. The menu is inspired by fresh ingredients, including seasonal produce from Estonia. Valentine’s Day calls for something special and we can recommend the selections in the Chef’s Tasting Menu, including 4-course and 6-course options. Recommended wines can be included to provide the perfect pairing for your meal, which is absolutely essential if you want to bring out the best flavors from the selection of dishes.
If you want to create your own meal, then you can of course choose from the extensive menu of starters, main courses, and desserts. The Crab Soup is an umami delight, providing savory flavors along with rich ripe tomatoes. The Surf & Turf Tartar is another excellent option for lovers of fresh beef and seafood, and includes salmon caviar as well as tuna and beef. If you’d like to continue the rich flavor adventure over to your main, then the marbled beef, potato, and shitake mushroom main course is an absolute must-try. Adventurous eaters could try the horse tenderloin for something outside of the ordinary.
The drinks menu is extensive allowing you to create your own pairings. French Champagne and sparkling wines are perfect for a celebration, and there’s a variety of high-end reds including Pinot Noir and Bordeaux varieties. If you are looking for something sweet to top off your dessert, then ask for a class of the Chateau de Mauvin, Sauternes.
The décor and atmosphere in Bordoo is perfect for an intimate meal between two.
Cher Ami – Keila Joa Castle, Estonia
The Keila Joa Castle Manor is a neo-gothic style masterpiece that dates back to 1833, and it’s also the location for Cher Ami restaurant. Visiting this historic site nestled amongst the picturesque woods would make for the perfect Valentine’s date, and the restaurant is also suitable for group dining.
The luxury décor is perfectly complemented by the luxury menu options found at Cher Ami. The restaurant is not just located within the historic castle, but it is inspired by the tradition found within the walls. Everything from the architecture to the interior décor is absolutely authentic, and will make you feel as though you’re quite literally stepping into the past. This restaurant receives consistent high ratings for atmosphere, food, and service, yet it is still reasonably priced making it an essential spot to visit while you’re in Estonia.
Starters like the Prosciutto Crudo Ham with Melon and Rucola will give you a small taste of the excellent quality and flavor that you’ll find with the main courses. Luxurious offerings ranging from Veal Cheek to Duck Fillet will provide a dining experience like you’ve never had before. The sweet desserts combine tradition with modern innovation, and the Lavender Crème Brûlée is one unique menu offering that should not be missed.
As with all of Estonia’s best restaurants, you’ll find an extensive wine list and helpful serving staff who will assist you with pairing recommendations for whatever dishes you choose to order.
Dominic – Tallinn, Estonia
Within the capital and largest City of Estonia you will find the heart of history in the region. Spectacular grand architecture from centuries past comes together with a modern populace with a strong finance industry. Tallinn is a thriving city that combines elements of the eastern and western European cultures, and it’s home to many of the country’s best restaurants. Dominic is one option that deserves its place on any Top-10 list.
Dominic has a historical charm with lavish furnishings and architecture that nods back to the past. Pure white tablecloth dining and floral upholstered chairs are the first indicator that this restaurant will be a place to remember. It’s a romantic location for two on Valentine’s Day, and would also be suited for a group of friends or family members who will be spending this special day together.
Dominic claims to have the best wine list in Estonia, and it’s a claim that you’ll believe when you see what’s on offer. From vintage reserve Rieslings to Spanish, French, and Chilean Reds, you won’t find this much diversity at any other restaurant in the city.
Of course, no wine list would be worth the trouble if you didn’t have the gastronomical delights to pair. The menu designed by Chef Allar Oeselg includes main choices like Duck, Veal, and Deer Fillet, or there’s even Lamb Chops for those who love the richer taste of a variety of meat that is not as commonly eaten as it once was. Fresh produce is used in the meals with creativity that never compromises flavor. The Sturgeon Fish with Burned Broccoli and Parsnip is one particularly interesting option that turns out to be a journey of flavor.
If you want to impress on a valentine’s date then this is one of the very best places to do it, and the fact that you’ll be dining in one of the oldest residential houses in Tallinn is a bonus on top!
Platz – Tallinn, Estonia
Looking for a place that is slightly more relaxed but that still offers a premiere dining experience? Platz could be exactly what you’re looking for. Friendly and professional service is never pretentious, and you’ll be able to sample Estonian cuisine made with the freshest ingredients and local produce. You could consider this restaurant to be comfort food taken up to the next level, with every dish being creative and absolutely delicious.
Although Platz is not as intimate as some of the previously mentioned restaurants, this does make it perfect for couples who want something more casual, or for groups who just want great conversations and food on this upcoming Valentine’s Day. Try the Blue Mussels, Duck, Poultry and Pasta dishes. If you want your Valentine’s Day to extend beyond the meal, then you’ll be impressed by the extensive drinks menu that includes premium wines, domestic and international beers, and a designer cocktail menu that will help you to relax and wind down at the end of the day.
Lusikas – Tallinn, Estonia
Still in the capital city of Tallinn, you’ll find the always popular Lusikas. This restaurant incorporates a modern style and décor with an innovative menu that blends classic and modern concepts. The prices here may surprise you as they’re more than reasonable, even for high quality options like the Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto, or the Pan Fried Duck Breast and Quail. If you love the taste of Lamb and can appreciate a rich and unorthodox sauce, then you’ll enjoy the Slow-Roasted Lamb Shank with Carrot Puree, Shallot Jam, and a Port Reduction. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Lusikas can become your prime spot for an evening Valentine’s meal, and with delicious desserts and a full wine and drinks list you won’t be missing out on anything when dining here.
Spot – Tallinn, Estonia
Spot is another of Tallinn’s high quality restaurants, offering a menu that has been inspired by both traditional and modern fusion cooking methods. The atmosphere is classy and modern, with a small menu that focuses on quality rather than extensive options.
Choose spot if you want excellent food but don’t want to be bogged down by extensive selections. The appetizers make for the perfect start to your night, and the main courses cover off all of the ideal proteins that you would expect from a high end restaurant. Lamb, Beef, Duck, Chicken, and Tuna, are all covered on the menu. You can even sample a very special dish featuring Local Moose and Black Lentil, which is definitely something that foreign visitors or expats will want to sample.
If you or your Valentine are vegetarian, then both the Lasagna Salad and Chickpea (Garbanzo) Salad offer perfectly balanced flavors. The Tuna with wasabi-potato puree is a fusion meal that combines regional catch with Japanese tradition, and is another highly recommended menu item.
Villa Ammende - Pärnu, Estonia
In Southwestern Estonia, the city of Pärnu offers beauty that combines more of the classical architecture that Estonia is well known for. The city is also home to Villa Ammende, a restaurant headed by executive chef Mihkel Heinmets. His menu includes fine selections like Oxtain Agnolotti, made with a creamy sparkling wine sauce, as well as a Smoked Rack of Lamb that is served with Couscous, Nuts, and Apricots. Any meal you look at on the menu is made from premium ingredients that are perfect for a very special Valentine’s meal. The Beef Tenderloin is served with Roasted Foie Gras and Truffle, and is an excellent choice for someone who loves steak but wants to try something of the highest quality.
Villa Ammende is highly rated by visitors, not only for its food, but for its picturesque location and quintessential Estonian design. In a city where the river meets the sea, there’s lots to see and do and a visit to Villa Ammende is something that you need to add to your list.
Enoteca Lucca – Tallinn, Estonia
Estonia’s rich history and inspiring architecture cannot be ignored, but there are still restaurants that instead choose an ultra-modern aesthetic. Enoteca Lucca is one of these restaurants, offering a contemporary dining atmosphere which could be perfect for Valentine’s couples who would be more comfortable dining somewhere that feels more modern and familiar.
The menu is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cuisine, with hints of Middle Eastern and Old World flavors to be found. The wine list is extensive and bottles are sourced from smaller producers who are focused on quality rather than production numbers. For couples that want to try new things, Enoteca Lucca is recommended.
Kalevi Jahtklubi – Tallinn, Estonia
With a bright central fireplace that brings warmth and atmosphere, Kalevi Jahtklubi Resto is by far the homeliest restaurant on this list. Rounding out the top ten, it’s a destination for a low-key dining experience between friends or Valentine’s lovers. The atmosphere is relaxed and feels more like a home than a full service restaurant. There’s a strong maritime theme, and that makes it perfect for anyone who loves to spend time on the coast or out on the ocean.
Menu choices are extensive, but the quality is ever-present throughout every dish. Try the Wild Boar Rib, or maybe the Oven Baked Cod if you want something authentic from the ocean. Wines are extensive, as are Beers and Ciders. If you aren’t looking for a full meal but rather just a casual romantic outing with your Valentine or group of close friends, then you could enjoy cheese and wine platters with selections including Parma Ham, various Cheeses, Olives, and a special Cloudberry Jam.
Even if you can’t get to Estonia on Valentine’s day, all of these locations are perfect for visiting at any time of year. Whether you prefer intimate indoor dining, or al fresco dining with a view, you’ll find something that appeals with a menu that you will love.
Vabalaud is the best place find information about local restaurants, you can make bookings online, and you can even purchase gift cards for friends or loved ones to use on Valentine’s Day or at any time of the year. This is your portal to discover the perfect restaurant destinations for your next trip to one of Europe’s most beautiful and romantic cities.
META: Find the best restaurants in Estonia for Valentine’s Day 2018. Discover ten of the best restaurants from around the country for great food, wine, and company.
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