Tallinn, Estonia was surprising to say the least. In our next short stop on our European adventure (see my previous post
), we decided to take a peek at one of the Baltic States’ capitals. I knew little to nothing about Tallinn, except that it had only recently been liberated from Russia’s hold (1991), was extremely Eastern European, and was really close to Helsinki and Stockholm, as we took an overnight ferry from Stockholm to get there (right across the Baltic Sea); however, I was excited to taste a bit of culture (at Tallinn’s Rataskaevu 16) in a city I knew little to nothing about.
So, when we arrived at one of the most charming old towns I had ever seen, complete with a almost intact surrounding wall, tiny cobblestone streets, and amazing churches, I was really exciting to see what else this city had to offer.
But, when my husband mentioned there was a really popular restaurant here (Tallinn’s Rataskaevu 16) with incredible reviews, I was obviously even more excited to see what the city had to hold (for my stomach).
And this is how we ended up at Rataskaevu 16 in Tallinn. Named after its address (and with some funny secrets), I climbed in line and waited, hoping beyond hope that we would get a seat. As I was the only one waiting in line (my husband and friends were still on a walking tour, which we would HIGHLY recommend anywhere in Eastern Europe), I was nervous they wouldn’t accept me because my whole party wasn’t there. Luckily, they were more than happy to help me up to a beautiful section of the old, 15th century home, to a table that had a wonderful view of the city.
Now, the one thing I will impress upon you is the service here was amazing. I sat down, and our server came over immediately with water and chatted with me until my husband and friends arrived. Throughout the meal, he continued to take care of us, making sure that our every needs were met and even telling us a ghost story about the building! If you want to hear about the ghost story we were told, here’s
a link to the one we heard–it’s spooky!
Now, on to the food! One of my favorite things about this restaurant was the presentation … I mean, can you even handle it? It was a gorgeous representation of Tallinn’s strength, creativity, and talent. With their signature black bread (rye bread), topped with small “welcome treats” with local goat cheese, we had a lovely reminder of the uniqueness 0f the local cuisine.
We each decided to get a different menu item, including a deliciously smooth pumpkin soup with mozzarella and pumpkin seeds, chicken breast with mini broccoli, pak choi, and green tomatoes in a red wine sauce, and a slow-roasted duck leg with hulled barley, leeks, and a cherry sauce. Each of the mains were delectable, with a wonderfully thoughtful presentation.
But, the best part by far was the finishing touch: the warm chocolate cake. With vanilla ice cream, touched with lime zest, and a raspberry-lime sauce (two of my very favorite things), this chocolate cake was a sight to behold. And, once the warm chocolate-y goodness rushed out of the center, it was as if a symphony had crescendoed and finished on the highest note with thundering applause!
Though a lot of the menu items were typical menu items, (chicken breast, chocolate cake, duck leg, etc.) the difference was Tallinn’s Rataskaevu 16 took these menu items to a whole new level–turning something ordinary into something extra-ordinary. Be sure to check out this restaurant as a destination or simply as an addition to an adventure in the must-see Baltic states.
(Rataskaevu 16, Tallinn, Estonia // 372.642.4025)