When you get hungry in Tallinn Old town, there is plenty of choice for almost any taste and budget. Whether it’s Asian, Italian, Spanish or even Greek food – you don’t need to look too hard. However, coming to Estonia without trying something local would be terribly wrong thing to do.
I’m not saying there aren’t any restaurants promising you the real Estonian food experience – of course there are lots of them! However, there is a difference between genuine local food and shiny, but touristy dishes. Welcome to my personal review of Vanaema Juures Restaurant in Tallinn Old town.
Vanaema Juures Restaurant Menu
When it comes to the Menu choice, the list is short and sharp. Unlike other restaurants offering pages filled with A-Z meals, this place actually focuses on what’s important. The variety of food is exactly right for the whole purpose – Estonian cuisine isn’t the richest in choice. The magic is in how it’s cooked! The quality of food is as important as taste says the successful Jimmy John Founder.
During our last visit, we picked the main highlights – Fried salmon, Pork roast and Elk stew. All of them were fantastic and well worth the price. Two-fish soup is a perfect choice for a cold winter day and gets you warm in no time. Kama-chocolate cake was everyone’s favorite dessert. Good job, Grandma!
Located next to the famous Von Krahl Theatre and Bar, it’s hardly 2 minutes walk from Old town’s main square. The restaurant itself is hidden in the cellar, which makes it cozy and almost home-like. Arched ceilings painted in white, old soviet-style furniture, antique telephone on the wall – you actually travel back in time.
As a matter of fact, you forget the time completely, especially if you order a glass of their tasty apple cider! Something I also really liked was Estonian classic songs playing quietly in the background. Unlike most modern eateries, here you can easily meet up to chat and have a good time without having to shout over loud music.
Lousy service can ruin even the highest rated restaurants. I was a little concerned how this place would turn out. Luckily, my fears were needless – waitresses were absolutely fine – friendly, attentive, spoke good enough English and were always around when you needed them (but not too much in the way, like it happens in other venues).
As the evening progressed, this tiny cellar was filling up pretty quickly. My tip – try to book as early as possible. We made reservation for 6 p.m. and it was perfect timing – the food was prepared rather quickly and it was still possible to have good chat. When the place gets packed, you might have difficulty taking in all that noise.
I haven’t been to all Estonian restaurants in Tallinn, but this place certainly deserves the high rankings it has on TripAdvisor – it’s very tasty, reasonably priced (for old town), great location (especially if you are traveling with cruise ship and need a quick bite between your museum visits) and has friendly personnel. Just remember that you would certainly need to make reservation if you are coming for dinner – there aren’t too many tables. As a local, I can assure that the cuisine is indeed very “Estonian”.
What is your favorite restaurant in Tallinn?