Kristina Lupp: My favourite restaurants and cafés where to eat out in Tallinn

Kristina Lupp, a Tallinn-based Estonian-Canadian food and travel writer, lists some of her favourite places where to eat out in the Estonian capital.

A few people have asked, where to eat in Tallinn this summer. Here is a list of my favourite restaurants and cafés, in no particular order.

Salt

This is a fabulous little bistro, and when I say little, I mean little. You’ll certainly need a reservation. They have a little bit of everything, which is inspired by the owner’s extensive world travels, and they change their menu weekly.

Salt bistro (Facebook).

The Põhjala Tap Room

Põhjala is one of Estonia’s best-known craft brewers. The Tap Room has a huge selection of their own beers and others on tap. The small menu focuses mainly on BBQ – but indeed, offers some of the best BBQ I’ve had in Tallinn. Well worth a detour.

The Põhjala Tap Room (Põhjala Brewery).

Attimo

Cheap and cheerful Italian food – pizza, pasta and so on. Be sure to check the opening hours before going.

Attimo (Facebook).

Pulcinella

A great Italian restaurant located in a medieval cellar. Nothing fancy, just nice and simple food, reasonable prices – especially for the Old Town. The house wine is not bad either.

Pulcinella (Facebook).

Indian food

Try Chakra or Maharaja. I was a huge fan of Chakra for years, but recently had a fabulous meal at Maharaja. Don’t let its Town Hall Square location dissuade you.

Chakra (Facebook).

Hell Hunt

This is one of Tallinn’s longest-running pubs. Nothing fancy here, but they do have Guinness on tap (my favourite beer) and selection of their own brews. I always order the spicy cheese balls as a snack.

Hell Hunt (Facebook).

Breakfast/brunch

Brunch is still a new concept here in Tallinn, but more and more places are starting to offer it (the Põhjala Tap Room included, and it is fabulous). Try August or NOP or ROST Bakery that has THE BEST coffee and pastries around, as well as yummy sourdough bread. Nordic Design Home also has great coffee and fabulous sandwiches.

Rost Bakery. Photo by Sander Allmere.

Nok Nok

Superb Thai food that doesn’t skimp on the chilies.

Nok Nok. Photo by Marek Metslaid.

Tai Boh

This place has a bit of every type of Asian cuisine you could imagine. I’m suggesting, not for the food (the dishes are ok, order with caution), but they do make fabulous cocktails and the atmosphere is, well, unique.

Tai Boh (Facebook).

Goodwin

Great, but expensive steak.

Goodwin (Facebook).

Rae Meierei

This huge restaurant is located above the Beer House on Dunkri, so unless you know what you’re looking for, you might miss it. Come here just for the cheese! They make their own fresh mozzarella, burrata and so on. You can also buy some to take home with you. Also, they sometime have their goats (yes, real, live goats) wandering through the restaurant.

Rae Meierei (Facebook).

Haku

The best Japanese food in Tallinn.

Haku’s terrace (Facebook).

KOMA

Casual fine dining with a focus on craft beer. The young chef at this place is very talented and serves Nordic-inspired dishes.

KOMA (Facebook).

Mon Repos

Casual fine dining in a stunning villa.

Mon Repos.

Mantel & Korsten

Casual fine dining in a beautiful little cottage where you can request a table in the old hearth.

Mantel & Korsten. Photo by Lauri Laan.

Dao Hua

The best Chinese food in Tallinn. Do not attempt to go anywhere else for Chinese but here!

Dao Hua (Facebook).

Frenchy

A fun French bistro located in Telliskivi Creative City.

Frenchy (Facebook).

Ribe

Great fine dining in the Old Town.

Ribe (Facebook).

Leib Resto & Aed

A great place for locally inspired Estonian food with a modern twist.

Leib Resto & Aed (Facebook).

Medieval experience

All of the guidebooks will tell you to go to Olde Hansa for a medieval experience. My suggestion: go for a drink on the main level, so you can soak in the atmosphere, but eat elsewhere. A place called III Draakon is located just around the corner and has great pies and elk soup at a much more reasonable cost!

Olde Hansa (Facebook).

Street food & the Balti Jaam (Baltic Station) market

Check out the Balti Jaam market, there’s a bit of everything there. In particular – Baojaam, NuFace (Chinese). Behind the market there are also a bunch of street food vendors in shipping containers. I don’t really have a favourite, it’s just about what you’re in the mood for. Eugenio’s has pasta and pizza takeaway, and also burrata.

Baltic Station market (Facebook).

Fruit and vegetables – I usually buy what looks good, but if you really want to save, the first indoor vegetable vendor has a side table with discounted items (mainly because they’re a little bruised). Also, the Italian fruit and vegetable vendors at the other end are excellent.

Papa Joe’s

Great falafel.

Papa Joe’s.

Pizza

Jahu Tänanavagurmee makes great burgers and fabulous sourdough pizzas; they are generous with the toppings.

Kaja Pizza offers great sourdough pizzas, but they usually sell out within a few hours of opening. Be sure to call ahead.

Kaja Pizza (Facebook).

If you’re craving that American-style Domino’s type pizza, then Dodo Pizza (delivery) is as close as you’re going to get. You can call or place your order online and even watch them make your pizza online!

The opinions in this article are those of the author.  Cover: A mix of people at Kaja Pizza in Pelgulinn.