Tallinn, Estonia is filled with fantastic restaurants. Here is where to eat in Tallinn, Estonia…
We were incredibly impressed by the food in Tallinn. Estonia’s capital city is filled diverse mix of restaurants, cafes, and bars. We ate a wide range of foods including a medieval meal, savory pancakes, and a garlic themed dinner. Overall, the food in Tallinn draws influence from hearty Nordic food and Russian cuisine while incorporating current culinary trends. Tallinn’s restaurants are welcoming, casual, and unpretentious. We did notice that most restaurants indicated their vegetarian and gluten free offerings on their menus, and we passed a couple vegan restaurants.
I want to give a mention to Hotel Telegraaf (pictured above), which served a wonderful breakfast each morning in their gorgeous restaurant, Tchaikovsky.
Here are our recommendations for where to eat in Tallinn:
Where to Eat:
This popular restaurant serves a selection of 29 sweet and savory pancakes. The pancakes are a bit more crepe-like than what we get in the states. I had a pancake that came with chicken and a creamy cheese folded up inside. Tourists and locals alike dine at Kompressor and don’t be surprised if there is a line.
Charles insisted that we go to this simple medieval themed restaurant right in Old Town Square. There is almost always a line to get in, but it moves pretty quickly. The menu at III Draakon is simple, they have soup, sausages, meat pies, vegetable pie, and beer. The soup comes in a bowl with handles so you can sip it – to stay on theme the restaurant didn’t seem to have spoons. The beer comes in a massive clay jug. Once you get your food you grab a seat at a simple wooden table. If you want, you can fish a pickle or two out of the giant barrel – they come free with your meal.
This restaurant appears on many lists of the best restaurants in Tallinn and is a great place for dinner. If you are familiar with the Soho House restaurants, Frank gives off a similar vibe. The food at Frank pulls more from trends than locality. Expect to find things like hommos, salads, and burgers on the menu.
The best meal we had was at this restaurant in the Kalamajar district, which is the hipster district in Tallinn. The place is definitely a hipster hangout, but the food is more on par with fine dining. I had fantastic beef cheeks with puréed and roasted cauliflower and Charles warmed up with some ramen.
We dined at this garlic themed restaurant in Old Town on our first night in Tallinn. The menu features hearty steak and potatoes style meals. The restaurant is located in what was the home of a famed medieval era writer, and it overlooks Old Town Square.
A cafe in Old town where we stopped for coffee and discovered the most amazing cookies! The cafe has been open since 1864 and is known for making marzipan which was invented in Tallinn in the Middle Ages. The cookies were not listed on the online menu, but the picture above gives tells you what to look for. These are delicate crisp buttery cookies with a light whipped chocolate frosting that tasted a bit like buttercream, mousse, and nutella combined. If anyone have any information on these cookies – please tell me in the comments!
Where to Drink:
We came across this bar/lounge in Old Town after hearing the Prime Minster speak and watching the fireworks in Freedom Square on New Years Eve. (Definitely a cool combination of events). Must Puudel is located between Freedom Square and Old Town Square and it is a bar and lounge with several rooms. Must Puudel is the type of place that doesn’t really exist in America. Back home bars, cafés, and clubs are strictly defined and are very separate things. In Europe, many places combine all three providing places filled with music, drinks, lively conversations, and perhaps some dancing. You can split a bottle of wine with friends and find a quiet spot chat or dance next to the DJ. We loved Must Puudel because we struck up conversations with notoriously reserved Estonians and Finns. First a local recommended and exceptionally good local beer, and then we met three Finns who gave us a list of things to do in Helsinki.
This restaurant in hipster neighborhood, Kalamajar, specializes in gluten free food (seriously, the entire menu is gluten free), but we went there for beers. I am not sure if the beer was gluten free… In addition to the menu being gluten free, casein free, laces free, and vegan menu items are marked.
This café in Old Town Square had been open since the 17th century! They sell coffee by day, and cocktails by night. (Why don’t these places exist in America?) We might have been the only tourists in the café, we were surrounded by locals playing board games and cards.
This chic cocktail lounge is right next to Frank and we loved it. The cocktail menu features a mix of classics and their own creations. The atmosphere oozes effortless coolness. It’s the type of place where you can hang out with friends without needing to scream over each other. I would become a regular if it was in Chicago.
Overall, we ate very well in Tallinn. The food was better than we had expected, and I was very impressed with how many gluten free/vegan/vegetarian friendly the restaurants are. English is widely spoken by young people in Tallinn, so you won’t have any trouble communicating any dietary needs.