My Favorite Restaurants in Vilnius
Since I've been here eight months now (eight!?), it feels like a good time to think back on my favorite restaurants in Vilnius - and I'm going to be very honest with you: this list wasn't easy to make. Why? I still constantly miss Texas's breakfast tacos, chips, and queso. I still miss Ethiopian food - but that was going to be the case in every city we considered moving to. Still, I've done my best to stay open to Lithuania's unique food culture and international options (Georgian food! Turkish food! Šakotis!). And right up front, if you have any suggestions after reading this post, send me a message because I'm all ears!
Let's get into it! Here's my current top five:
Šnekutis - Alright, Šnekutis gets the coveted top spot on my list because it's somehow both homey and has a grungy Lithuanian dive bar feel. They have my favorite keptą duoną su sūriu (fried bread with cheese) in town - and that's saying something. Their menu is a freaking novel, but it isn't one of those cases where too many options equals unsavory food. Everything is... just right. And y'all know I'm not a huge beer drinker, but hey, I only hear good things. I just love the vibe. It's a weird spot - like, it's almost Austin weird. Rating: 8/10
Panama Food Garden - We went here back in August, and I was immediately drawn in by the fairy lights (shocking), foliage (shocking), and Otis Redding (shocking). Overall, an incredibly romantic vibe in the Žvėrynas neighborhood. And bonus points: they have the best lava cake in town. Seriously, that counts for a lot in my book. Rating: 10/10
Amandus - I had the opportunity to dine here three weeks ago, and it really was a fine dining experience. ... But somehow, they managed to also make it friendly and relaxed. The staff was clearly happy, well-treated, knowledgeable, professional, and conversational.Their menu rotates from month to month, and I'm already curious to know what they've got on their April menu. I guess what I'm saying is: I already want to go back. Rating: 13/10
Paupio Turgus - Okay, Paupio Turgus isn't one restaurant, per se, since it houses multiple restaurants and shops. But! This Užupis hotspot does have my favorite ramen (Ramenas ir Pagaliukai) as well as my beloved Sugamour (although I like their Vokiečių g. location better). Plus, one of their specialty shops, Ekomarket, has Baltu ice cream (cedar and cannabis ice cream!?), so listen, I just like this place, okay? Watch as I slowly make my way through every restaurant, ha. Rating: 8/10
Holigans - I honestly wasn't sure what to expect here; there are so many ways to be vegetarian. Well, it turns out this one had my name written all over it because it's inspired by one of my favorite colorful Indian festivals, Holi. (Here I was, thinking it was a typo of Hooligans!) Here's what I loved: fresh Indian fusion food, a quiet vibe, spicy ginger tea. They won me over with that ginger tea, y'all. Rating: 8/10
And of course, while I cook at home every weeknight, I've made my way through a ton of Vilnius restaurants, so some deserve sincerely honorable mentions. I'm a fan of Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant that slightly resembles one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in Texas (Tan My). Detroito Sesės is the closest I'll get to Via 313, while Piano Piano has my favorite pizza in the area. (They had me at fig jam!) A fellow Member of the Tribe took me to a great Georgian restaurant (the other Georgia!) aptly named Georgian House, and I've been waiting for an opportunity to go back. One of our favorite spices stores, Meze, has their own Turkish restaurant that I love, and by the way, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this to my European friends:
(Y'ALL REALLY LOVE KEBABS, YOU KNOW THAT?)
You say kebabs, I say chips and queso. It all comes out in the wash.
Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian food I'd never tried until I moved to Lithuania
Besides the fact that McDonald's actually does taste better here (thanks, EU!), there are some places I still really want to check out (Termeh Persian Buffet, Sakwa, RoseHip Vegan Bistro, Radharanė), etc. So, they're on the list. You know, The List.
Like I mentioned at the top of my post, if you have any recommendations, feel free to send them my way. I'll try just about anything once, which is probably why my weekday meal plans are so varied and prolific. #GeminiProblems So many Lithuanians and expat friends have told me that I know more about Baltic culture than themselves or people who have lived in Lithuania their whole lives. (Is this their way of calling me a nerd for this type of stuff? I'll take it! Ha) That's a huge compliment, but let's extend it to food, shall we!?
I think I'm already on my way.
Until next time, from beautiful Druskininkai, see you soon! Viso gero!