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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Local food and drink in Estonia

Estonian cuisine, from traditional farmhouse fare to modern classics, is world class. Earlier this year, over 30 restaurants (from Tallinn to Tartu, and from Mäeküla to Kloogaranna,) were recognised by MICHELIN, and two (Põhjaka Manor in in Mäeküla and Fotografiska in Tallinn) were awarded a MICHELIN Green Star for their commitment to sustainable gastronomy.

With forestland dominating the country’s geography, many of the new crop of ambitious young chefs are taking inspiration from what grows in the nearby landscape, making the most of local produce in their menus. From the beginning of July until the end of October, the forests are overflowing with mushrooms, nuts, herbs and berries that are subsequently found on menus across the country.

As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Estonia, here's a selection of just some of the wonderful places to find local food and drink in Estonia where you can feast on seasonal ingredients, including the local fisherman’s catch, taste internationally award-winning cheese and the nation’s wine and spirits. What they all have in common is that they celebrate the best of Estonian cuisine whether that’s in the traditional sense or the contemporary equivalent, in some stunning settings.

Google map: shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Estonia:

Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities

Ööbiku Gastronomy Farm

Less than an hour’s drive from Tallinn, but it feels like another world. Feast on a five-course set menu of fine dining at this charming farm in the heart of the countryside. Owner and head chef Ants Uustalu is passionate about sourcing his ingredients from local farmers and seasonal forest fare (berries, mushrooms and wild animals), creating imaginative dishes using traditional methods that he pairs with wines. If the taste and experience inspires you to learn more, join a full day’s cookery course led by Ants.

Tori Cider Farm

Learn how to cultivate fruit trees into cider as well as fruit and berry wine using techniques developed over generations at this historic organic farm among the bogs and rivers of Soomaa national park. The owners are on a zero-waste mission to eliminate production residues. Don’t miss seeing the old feral apple tree whose golden apples are used to make the unique Tori Cider Farm cider.

Cafe Taarka Tarõ

Come here to experience Seto culture [link to] whose land is between southeast Estonia and the northwest Pskov Oblast of the Russian federation. Cafe hosts, Rieka and Aare Hõrn, are long-standing Seto cultural leaders, and provide genuine Seto food (such as onion pie and sõir - a fresh pressed curd cheese) plus a selection of Finno-Ugric and Ukrainian dishes.

red, orange and black berries on plates on a table
Berries are often used in Estonian food. Photo: Karl Ander Adami/Visit Estonia

Murimäe winery

Taste five craft wines made in Estonia and match them with local food at this lovely back-to-nature vineyard in the heart of Otepää. Tour the vineyard and wine cellar while learn the principles of pairing artisanal wine with food. Stay overnight in the guesthouse (for up to 5) and in the summer, there’s the choice of staying in one of two bell tents on the shores of beautiful Lake Nahajärv.

Restaurant Fotografiska

Within a sumptuous light-filled room in the eponymous international photography museum close to Tallinn’s main railway station, Fotografiska pioneering zero-waste food and beverage is based on the idea of "Sustainable Pleasure". Sourbread is brought to you on plates made from the baking trays of a former bread factory, cabbage paste (instead of butter) is served on a cut-out section of a wine bottle, and any minimal food waste that is generated is composted within 24 hours. It was awarded a MICHELIN green star in 2022 for its commitment to sustainable gastronomy, but lest you think sustainability means a compromise on taste, the restaurant was awarded 2nd place in the Master Class of Estonian restaurants White Guide 2022. The menu contains mainly vegetarian food, buy you can add the meat or fish of the day. In the summer, you can sit outside on the terrace with splendid views of how the city is fast developing.

Restaurant Kaerajaan

Book a table as this characterful restaurant in the heart of Tallinn for a modern take on traditional Estonian cuisine. An example of a starter is smoked tongue, cheese, hummus, pickled cucumber, pickled pumpkin, ribs, pickled herring, while for main course you might be offered crispy duck breast with farm beetroot, cinema and Põltsamaa red wine sauce and

oatmeal salmon burger with guacamole and roasted sweet potatoes.

man preparing food in the wild
Wild cooking in northern Estonia. Photo: Renee Altrov/Visit Estonia

Restaurant Ungru Open in the summer only, this homely, rustic but cosy seaside restaurant on the north shore of Hiiumaa specialises in providing modern flavours of local traditional food from the island, including vegan options. It’s particularly popular with yachties who can moor their boats right outside the restaurant.

Lee restaurant In the Old Town of Tallinn, the stylish Lee restaurant, expertly run by ‘professional foodies’ Janno and Kristjan, provides an international-inspired menu using local ingredients from Estonian farms and forests, including vegan options. There’s a commitment to reducing food waste and the restaurant is powered entirely by solar, wind, and hydro energy. ‘Lee’ is a word used to describe life around the ancient Estonian communal fireplace around – “a place to prepare and share delicious meals together”.

Põhjaka Manor Popular with travellers heading along the Tallinn-Tartu road (the beautiful manor dates back to the 19th Century), the focus here is on classic Estonia food using local ingredients, in an effort to reduce the restaurant’s ecological footprint. Awarded a MICHELIN green star in 2022 for its commitment to sustainable gastronomy.

plate and fork with berries
One of the beautifully presented dishes served at Põhjaka Manor. Photo: Hans Markus Antson/Visit Estonia

Kihnu Gurmee A remarkable cultural culinary experience on the island of Kihnu whose ‘Cultural Space’ was included in UNESCO's list of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Choose up to five courses of high-quality local food, including vegan options. For those who want to stay here (it’s just 500m to a beach), there are several options for accommodation, including a lovely guesthouse with 6 double rooms, a old barn with two rooms, and two camping houses for up to 4 beds each. Don’t miss the sauna, built in an old fishing boat.

Peninuki distillery The first distillery in southern Estonia (in the heart of Tartu), Peninuki is the brainchild of a small group of friends with a love of real ciders, meads, rum, gin and ‘new age whiskey’ created using traditional craftmanship combined with modern methods. See the craftsmanship in action in the smart Widget Factory.

Andre Cheese Farm On the border of Tartu County, discover how internationally award-winning Estonian cheese is made at this farm that dates back to the owner’s grandfather. You can also feed the cows (there are 180) and taste the delicious cheese in the onsite farm shop.

Local Heritage Café of Juulamõis A family-run health food café (with lots of vegetarian choices, soups and salads, and local products) in Juula village, Vooremaa that’s handy if you’re en route to the Ice Age Centre, Elistvere Animal Park or Vudila Playland.

Lümanda Tavern Classic Saaremaa farm food served in a former church school, close to the glorious Viidumäe Nature Reserve, Pilguse Manor and Mihkli Farm Museum Vikil. Feast on the local fisherman’s latest catch, while the organic vegetables are grown in the surrounding fields.

Pädaste Manor This restaurant, in the north west of Muhu island, is within a luxury spa hotel in an impressive manor that dates back to the 15th Century. Chef de Cuisine Fahri Çetinyürek specialise in seasonal innovative Nordic Islands’ Cuisine, making use of local ingredients sourced from the sea, forests, meadows and neighbouring islands, while many of the salads and herbs are grown in the manor’s own gardens and green houses.

Exterior of manor house
Pädaste Manor. Photo: Priidu Saart/Visit Estonia


For nearby places to stay, and local places of interest and low impact activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Estonia

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