10 Beautiful Baltic Restaurants – in London
This guest post was contributed by Baltic Travel Company; an gency specialising in Baltic holidays, tours and cruises and travel packages in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
The Baltic Sea is a delightfully scenic part of Europe and the countries whose coasts border it are diverse and fascinating. As a result, the region is very popular with tourists and visitors and cruise ships often explore the different nations which surround the sea.
These nations include Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. One of the attractions of these destinations is their various cuisines, which are now becoming increasingly popular further afield. Restaurants serving Baltic fare are emerging in major cities worldwide, including London. Below are some of the best of these.
Perhaps one of the most well-known and popular Baltic eateries in London is simply called Baltic. It serves food that has its origins in the Baltic states, including soups and stews from Poland and pickled fish and dumplings from Russia.
The restaurant is housed in an old coach builder’s works and the current design is a fantastic mix of the original layout and modern developments. In addition, Baltic offers a great vodka bar which adds to the authentic experience.
In stark contrast to Baltic’s glamorous setting and elaborate menu, Scandinavian Kitchen is an unassuming eatery that combines great food with a bustling atmosphere which makes it a hit with both locals and Scandinavian ex-pats a sure mark of authentic quality.
Open sandwiches on real Swedish bread, served with traditional toppings and the ubiquitous ‘slaw, are a real treat and the attached grocery is also worth exploring.
For those seeking Finnish delicacies, look no further than Nordic, located in the heart of Fitzrovia. All the quintessential classics of Scandinavian cuisine make an appearance, including meatballs, cured fish and Jarlsberg cheese and the desserts are indulgent and truly a wonder to behold and consume. The food isn’t necessarily fancy but it is authentic and of a very high quality.
Exclusive Russian food is truly the domain of Nikita’s and so popular is its fare, as well as its selection of vodkas and lively entertainment in the spirit of true Russian hospitality, that it has become a real hit among the stars. Spending an evening there makes it easy to see why.
The drinks are made with the finest vodka and the food is exemplary, including traditional dishes such as steak tartare and borscht, which is a beetroot soup still made to an old family recipe.
Though not strictly a restaurant, there is nowhere in London that offers quite such an authentic taste of Latvia.
Ran primarily as a base and community focal point for Latvian ex-pats in London, it shows off everything that is great about Latvia, including music, food and a very welcoming and hospitable spirit.
On Fridays and Saturdays, traditional food is cooked by a Latvian chef and often accompanied by music and dancing.
One of the first Lithuanian restaurants to open in London, Smilte has made a name for itself, not only because of the food on offer but also because of the schedule of events that it hosts.
The restaurant is popular with Lithuanians and prides itself on being welcoming to all. The menu includes a wide range of stews utilising lots of meat and vegetables as well as speciality snacks such as pickled fish and crispy pigs’ ears.
Owned and run by an Estonian, Verru is a small restaurant that offers diners an intimate introduction to some of the most spectacular flavours of the Baltic. Fish, mushrooms and potatoes are all central parts of the menu at Verru, which also prides itself on a great wine list. The ingredients in the food are pure and organic, a reflection of a true Estonian culinary tradition which is paramount thanks to the Estonian head chef.
The unassuming exterior belies the wonders of true home-cooked Polish food that is served up inside Patio. Run by a Polish couple for many years, authenticity is a top priority here. Distinctive Polish dishes are combined with a great selection of vodka and occasional live piano accompaniment to the dining experience. Highlights include specialities such as goulash, zrazy and golabki.
German cuisine may not be the most typically Baltic, but it would be a crying shame to miss out on what the food of Germany has to offer in many London restaurants. The sausage, or wurst, is perhaps Germany’s most famous food export and this restaurant showcases the very best, including the beef bratwurst and the spicy treat of currywurst.
This restaurant offers quite a diverse range of Baltic food, with a particular focus on Russian cuisine, though very mindful of the influences from elsewhere in the region.
For a starter, ogurtsy marinovanye is an excellent choice of traditional pickled cucumbers, best served with a little vodka to wash it down. Other features are cooked beef tongue and caviar, both favourites on any Russian dinner table.
Baltic cuisine is diverse, interesting and delicious. With so many great restaurants to choose from, London is an ideal place to explore the food of this great region and familiarise yourself with the wonderful flavours and combinations on offer.
Whether you prefer a rich bratwurst and some malty lager or pickled herring and neat vodka, there is something for everyone in Baltic cuisine.