15 Best Restaurants in Russia and Its Neighbors
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First came The Daily Meal's 101 Best Restaurants in America, then 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World. Now, The Daily Meal has set its sights on Europe. Each week this fall, The Daily Meal will highlight the best restaurants in various regions in Europe, culminating with the debut of our first list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Europe on Dec. 19.
See 15 Best Restaurants in Russia and Its Neighbors Slideshow
Perennially on the quest to find the best places to eat and dine in cities large and small, The Daily Meal continues its European culinary tour in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia.
The Daily Meal’s list of the 15 Best Restaurants in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia was carefully curated through a two-month-long nomination process; we consulted the Michelin Guide and other trusted sources and gathered recommendations from The Daily Meal’s editors, who have traveled and dined extensively around the world.
Once we compiled a preliminary list of more than 100 restaurants, we reached out to a panel of knowledgeable judges, comprised of restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers, and bloggers with wide restaurant-going experience. They added their own favorites, and then voted for the winners.
Panelists voted in two categories: cuisine and style/décor/service. From innovative menu options to plating and presentation to freshness, quality, and taste, panelists evaluated each restaurant’s cuisine and only voted for the restaurants which they believe are extraordinary. For the second category, panelists evaluated the dining experience, from the restaurant’s interior and dining room ambiance to the service, voting for the restaurants which they believe offer an unrivaled experience. Each restaurant had the chance to be voted on twice during the survey. Finally, the percentage scores from each category were averaged to arrive at the final ranking.
With dozens of restaurants to choose from, it was a culinary challenge to whittle the list down to a select 15. Much has changed in the region in the last two decades, as rigid state-owned restaurants serving just a handful of foodstuffs have begun to give way to avante-garde cuisine. Restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, from classic French to fusion, were considered. We did not discriminate according to location; no town, principality, or island was off the table. The list is populated with restaurants serving cuisine that runs the gamut from molecular gastronomy masterpieces at Chaika in Moscow to traditional Uzbek cuisine at Sato in Riga, Latvia.
Nearly all the restaurants are in capital cities: Moscow, Riga, Tallinn, and Vilnius, but a quartet of restaurants in smaller cities made it on the list: two in Estonia, the seaside OKO, a 30-minute drive from Tallinn in Kaberneeme, and Alexander on Muhu Island off Estonia's northeast coast, and a pair of restaurants in St. Petersburg, the casual café Idiot and Alain Ducasse's miX.
While The Daily Meal’s first list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Europe won’t be revealed until Dec. 19, The Daily Meal 15 Best Restaurants in Russia and Its Neighbors are sure to whet your appetite for more.
Sean Flynn contributed text and research to this story. Sean Flynn is a Junior Writer for The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @Buffaloflynn. Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.
The Best Restaurants In Skopje You Have To Eat At
Like most capitals in the world, Skopje has a rich museum and food scene and many delightful restaurants that are worth visiting. You just have to know where to look.
Macedonia is a country famous for its finger-licking-good food. In this list, we’ll feature some of the best restaurants that serve traditional Macedonian food but also restaurants with unique concepts and unusual and exotic dishes.
So, if you’re traveling to Skopje and wondering where to eat, even if it’s just for a quick weekend break, here are the finest restaurants in Macedonia’s capital that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Shchi is a typical cabbage soup made from either fresh or fermented cabbage. While different recipes call for various ingredients, shchi often contains potatoes, carrots, onions, and possibly some type of meat such as chicken. The cabbage can also be replaced with sauerkraut, which is then called sour shchi.
18 Russian Foods That Will Make You Go Mmmmm&hellip.
Russian food doesn’t exactly top the popularity charts in America, which is a shame, really, because this huge country has a lot to offer besides vodka and caviar.
If you ever find yourself in Moscow, these are the 18 Russian foods you definitely need to dig your teeth into.
What does it taste like: Like a chunky, cold stew eaten straight from the tupperware at 2 in the night to satiate a midnight hunger run. The sour cream balances out the sweetness, and the red of the beet looks incredibly pretty.
2. Beef Stroganoff
What is it: Strips of beef sauteed in a sauce of butter, white wine, sour cream (called ‘smetana’ in Russia), mustard and onions. Eaten either straight or poured over rice or noodles.
What does it taste like: Wholesome and hearty. Although it derives its name from the influential Stroganov family in Russia and you can find variants in fancy restaurants, it still tastes like a no-fuss dish you’d make on a Sunday evening.
3. Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage
What is it: Cabbage cooked in red wine vinegar, applesauce, butter and onions. Diced apples, sugar, bay leaves and cloves added on top.
What does it taste like: Just as the name describes – sweet and sour. The apple and applesauce balances out the sourness of the red wine vinegar and complements the crunch of the cabbage.
4. Solyanka Soup
What is it: A hearty soup made from thick chunks of beef and/or pork, cooked for hours over a low flame with garlic, tomatoes, peppers and carrots.
What does it taste like: This dish was originally from Georgia but can now be found all over Russia. It’s hearty and home-like. Eat it with Georgian lavash bread and it’s a meal by itself.
What is it: Shredded or minced beef wrapped in cabbage and steamed/boiled until cooked. Found all over Eastern Europe, though the Russians like to add some sour cream on top, which really brings out the flavors.
What does it taste like: The boiled cabbage texture can be off-putting for some, but the practice of adding sour cream on top makes up for it. Either way, you either love golubtsy and think it’s the greatest thing on Earth, or you hate it completely. There is no middle path when it comes to golubtsy.
What is it: Potatoes, pickles, bologna, eggs, and carrots swimming in a bowl of mayo.
What does it taste like: Olivie – or Olivier Salad – is the most quintessential of all Russian salads. Every cook has his own recipe and it’s a staple in every Russian home. It tastes like gooey goodness, especially when the mayo is fresh and homemade.
What is it: Thin, crepe-like pancakces made from unleavened dough, usually topped with savory or sweet toppings such as minced beef, caviar, or apples.
What does it taste like: Like crepes, but only more savory. A Russian favorite is to top blinis with caviar, which makes for very interesting breakfast fare.
8. Potato Okroshka
What is it: A cold soup made from buttermilk, potatoes and onions, garnished with dill.
What does it taste like: Surprisingly delicious, given the simplicity of the recipe. The quality of the potatoes and the freshness of the buttermilk is what makes it. Okroshka soup can also be made from other vegetables, though Russian potatoes work best.
What is it: Mashed potatoes, ground beef, onions and cheese filled inside thick dough pastry and deep fried/baked.
What does it taste like: Like a cross between a calzone and a samosa. It’s stupid simple to make and you can find variants that include everything from fish to olives. A staple throughout Eastern Europe.
What is it: Dumplings of ground beef and cilantro.
What does it taste like: Like Chinese dumplings, except with more Eastern European flavors. The secret of their deliciousness is that the filling is not cooked before being filled into the dumplings. This way, when the filling cooks inside the dumpling, all the juices stay trapped inside.
What is it: Thick, crusty bread shaped like a boat and filled with varieties of melted cheese.
What does it taste like: Freshly baked bread is delicious. Freshly baked bread with 4-5 types of cheese on top is even more delicious. Some people like to throw in an egg on top, which takes the deliciousness level all the way to 11.
What is it: A stew made from beef, potatoes, carrots, parsley, and celery, lightly spiced with garlic, cloves, and dill. Served hot with sour cream.
What does it taste like: Like home. This is a Russian comfort food that is easy to cook and can accommodate tons of different ingredients. You’ll find the zharkoye on dining tables all across the country.
What is it: Dumplings made from thin, unleavened dough and filled with minced meat, onions, mushrooms, and sometimes, turnip.
What does it taste like: Like a particularly Russian variant of the Chinese dumpling. The dough is what makes this special. It’s also pretty flexible and can accommodate any kind of ingredient, which is why it is a favorite among bachelors and students in Russia.
What is it: A kind of shesh kebab made over an open fire. You can use any kind of meat, though Russians prefer pork. The marinade ingredients vary from region to region as well, ranging from red wine to vinegar to pomegranate juice.
What does it taste like: You can’t go wrong with grilled chunks of meat. Russia loves its shashlik and you can’t walk two blocks in Moscow without coming across a shashlychnaya – tiny restaurants that specialize in shashlik. Traditional Russian shashlik is made over a wood fire with herb leaves often tossed in to enhance the flavor.
15. Tula Gingerbread
What is it: Spicy gingerbread made from honey and filled with jam or condensed milk. It is customary to imprint the bread with intricate designs and engravings.
What does it taste like: Spicy, sweet, and wholesome. The Tula Gingerbread is a very Russian take on the classic gingerbread recipe. It occupies a significant enough place in Russian cuisine that Tula even opened a museum dedicated to the bread in
What is it: Pastries filled with potatoes, meat, cabbage or cheese.
What does it taste like: Sweet and savory. The dough is the star and the meat is just the supporting actor in this recipe. Traditional pirozhki is glazed with egg and baked, though it isn’t uncommon to deep fry the pastry.
What is it: Russian ice cream. Creamier and richer than its American counterpart.
What does it taste like: Cold and creamy. Russians love their ice cream as much as they love their vodka. You’ll find little morozhenoe push carts on every corner in Moscow. The ice cream uses a lot of rich dairy and is usually topped with chocolate or strawberries.
What is it: Deep fried balls or little logs of unleavened dough and topped with hot honey syrup. The pile of honey coated dough balls is usually left to harden before eating.
What does it taste like: Deep-fried dough and honey is a combination everyone ought to taste at least once. Chak-Chak is particularly popular among the Tatars, where you can find it being sold in every city and village.
Russia is a huge country and this post doesn’t even begin to cover the variety of its cuisine. But if you ever feel like experimenting with Russian food beyond borscht and vodka, this list is a pretty good place to start!
The earliest mentions of food and agriculture of the Baltic people (Aestii) and related customs comes from Tacitus circa 98 AD: "they cultivate grain and other crops with a perseverance unusual among the indolent Germans." 
The 9th-century traveler Wulfstan attested usage of mead among West Balts: "There is a great deal of honey and fishing. The king and the most powerful men drink mare's milk, the poor men and the slaves drink mead. . There is no ale brewed among the Este but there is plenty of mead." 
In the 14th century, Lithuania almost all today known cereals and legume were grown, but rye was the most popular, since it was easier to grow in the Northern European climate and the crop was more predictable. In the hillfort of Maišiagala in the layer of 13–14th century about 20 sorts of various cereals and legumes were found – winter and summer rye, wheat, barley, oat, millet, buckwheat, lentil, vetches, peas, broad beans. 
In the Middle Ages, hunting was the main way to provide oneself with meat. It is known that Vytautas The Great before the Battle of Žalgiris organized a big hunting in the Baltvyžis forest and prepared barrels of salt-cured meat for the army. Game was also a staple of noblemen: wisents, aurochs, and deer were hunted. Lithuania had long-lasting wars (about 200 years) with Teutonic Order. It also kept diplomatic relationships with it, during which various presents were exchanged - it is known what Teutonic Order sent a rare wine to Anna, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, wife of Vytautas the Great, in 1416. At this time Lithuanian nobleman already imported saffron, cinnamon, rice, pepper, raisins for their needs.  The Congress of Lutsk, hosted by Vytautas the Great, was another example of medieval Lithuanian cuisine. Chronicles report that seven hundred barrels of honey, wine, 700 oxen, 1,400 sheep, hundreds of elk, wild boar, and other dishes were consumed daily.
Traditional Lithuanian hunting and landscape, still existing conflicts between paganism and Christianity was described by Nicolaus Hussovianus in his Latin poem Carmen de statura, feritate ac venatione bisontis (A Song about the Appearance, Savagery and Hunting of the Bison, 1523).
Many culinary innovations came from Italy with Bona Sforza, Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania. Bona Sforza introduced the fork and traditional Italian food – olives, olive oil made wine and wheat flour more popular. Parsnips, cauliflowers, spinach, and even artichokes were introduced and grown. It is assumed that Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania had their own kitchen garden. Daughter of Bona Sforza, Catherine Jagiellon after marrying John III of Sweden introduced the fork and other cultural habits to Sweden.  Son of Bona Sforza Sigismund II Augustus had an Italian chef Sigismondo Fanelli, living in Vilnius, Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
The court account books of Alexander Jagiellon mention court officials also associated with the kitchen: the titles Master of the Kitchen was the magnate Petras Aleknaitis, while the actual functions of the kitchen-master were carried by kitchen senior Raclovas, other Kitchen Master is also mentioned – Mikalojus Jundilaitis and the Carver Butrimas Jokūbaitis Nemiraitis. In the 16th century, a water pipe was built from Vingriai springs straight to the kitchen of Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius. 
In the sale contract made in 1623 by Elisabeth Sophie von Brandenburg, wife of Jonušas Radvila and Jonušas Kiška, she sold a garden in Vilnius. The text of the treaty has very detailed mentionings of the garden plants such as grafted apple trees, pears, plums (prunus domestica), cherries, wild cherries, vitis, hawthorns, dog roses. A garden for Italian vegetables (as they called back then) is also very detailed. That is potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, lamb's lettuce, rucola, garden cress, spinach, melons, beets, rushes, French parsley, Italian onions, lettuce, chicory. And spices and decorative shrubs: anise, peppermints, estragon, dill, true indigo and junipers. Wooden orangerie is also mentioned which was used to grow fig-trees and common walnuts.  In XVI rulers and nobleman of Lithuania consumed grapes, oranges, melons, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and plums, imported ginger, cinnamon, almonds and pepper.
The growing of potatoes in Lithuania is known from the 17th century, but it became more widespread only in the 18th century. 
Archeological finds at the place of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania revealed a lot of information about the food eaten, cutlery and serving of the rulers of Lithuania. 
First explorer of the Lithuanian flora, botanist Jurgis Pabrėža described spicery growing in Lithuania.
In 18th-century and 19th-century recipes à la Lithuanienne appeared in the French culinary books. The romantic image of Lithuania was associated with lush forests and game – no wonder the recipes à la Lithuanienne were mostly dishes prepared from moose, bear, or grey partridge. La Cuisine classique by Urbain Dubois and Émile Bernard, published in 1856 contained Lithuanian recipes of goose soup and souce. A culinary book by Alphonse Petit La gastronomie en Russie, published in 1900 included eight Lithuanian recipes.  
In the twentieth century in interwar Lithuania, many girls attended Amatų mokykla (The Trade School), where young women were trained to prepare various types of dishes and learned various recipes, proper table manners, economy and running the household. These schools led to spreading of similar recipes throughout the country.
During the past years, restaurants in Lithuania emerged which specialize in historic Lithuanian cuisine, culinary heritage and its interpretations.
Part of Olaus Magnus' map depicting Lithuania: Lithuanian type of crop trade ships (naves frumentarie) – vytinė is seen close to Vilnius, also beehives protection from the bears(on the right side)
Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius. Many European novelties and fashions like opera and Italian or French cuisine reached Lithuania through this Palace.
Logo of the Lithuanian Culinary Heritage Foundation used to mark the food produced using traditional Lithuanian way.
One of the oldest and most fundamental Lithuanian food products was and is rye bread. Rye bread is eaten every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bread played an important role in family rituals and agrarian ceremonies.  Traditionally, the centerpiece of Lithuanian cuisine is dark rye bread (ruginė duona) which is used more often than light wheat breads. The archeological finds reveal that bread in the 9th - 14th centuries in Lithuania was very similar to the current rye bread.  The dough is usually based on a sourdough starter, and includes some wheat flour to lighten the finished product. Traditionally each home had its own sourdough yeast – raugas, which also had symbolical meaning of the home. Rye bread is often eaten as an open-faced sandwich, buttered or spread with cheese. It is sometimes flavored with caraway, or with some onion. Traditional bread is baked on sweet flag leaves. Bread baking was considered an important ritual.  Bread was baked in a special oven for bread - duonkepė krosnis. Lithuanian proverb says - Be aukso apsieis, be duonos ne (One can manage without gold, but not without bread).
Some varieties of Lithuanian bread contain whole seeds of rye and wheat this type of bread is referred to as grūdėtoji, i.e. "seeded" bread.
The most commonly used vegetable in Lithuanian recipes is the potato in its simplest forms, it is boiled, baked, or sauteed, often garnished with dill, but a tremendous [ citation needed ] variety of potato recipes exist. Potatoes were introduced into Lithuania in the late 18th century, were found to prosper in its climate, and soon became indispensable.
Cucumbers, dill pickles, radishes and greens are quite popular. Beets (burokai) are grown more widely than in other areas of the world and are often used for making borscht and side dishes. Cabbage is another popular vegetable, used as a basis for soups, or wrapped around fillings (balandėliai). Tomatoes are now available year-round in stores, but those home-grown in family greenhouses are still considered superior. Sorrel is grown in the gardens for soup and salad.
Lithuanian herbs and seasonings include mustard seed, horseradish (krienai), dill (krapai), caraway seed (kmynai), garlic, coriander, oregano, bay leaf, juniper berries (kadagio uogos), hemp seeds and fruit essences. Vanilla and pepper were scarce during the Soviet occupation, but were welcomed back again after restitution of the independence. The cuisine is relatively mild.
Pickling is a popular way to prepare vegetables for winter or just to give them a particular flavour. Cucumbers, beets, dills, homegrown tomatoes, onions, garlic is pickled and available all year round.
One of the prides of Lithuanian cuisine is its wide use of wild berries and mushrooms and this foraging tradition is pretty much alive to this day.
Mushrooming is a popular pastime from mid-summer to autumn. As a staple, mushrooms are usually harvested in the forest occasionally they are purchased at roadside markets, especially on the road in the Dzūkija region from Druskininkai to Vilnius the purchasing of mushrooms in shops is rare. Despite its status as a delicacy, mushrooms are thought of by many Lithuanians as hard to digest. Dried mushrooms being used as a seasoning. A number of mushroom species are harvested from the wild, including:
- Baravykas – king bolete
- Voveraitė (literally, little squirrel), lepeška (in Dzūkija region) – chanterelle
- Gudukas, vokietukas, kalpokas, vištelė – gypsy mushroom.
Baravykas is the most valued and sought-after species the primary usages are drying and marinating. Dried baravykas has a strong pleasant scent and is used as a seasoning in soups and sauces. Voveraitė is often used fresh as a seasoning in soups or sauteed. Most common dish of this mushroom is voveraitė sauteed with chopped bulb onions and potatoes. Gudukas, arguably the most locally abundant of edible mushrooms due to its lower popularity, is usually marinated. Other edible mushrooms, such as lepšė (Leccinum scabrum), raudonviršis or raudonikis (literally, "red-topped") (Leccinum aurantiacum), makavykas (Suillus variegatus), šilbaravykis (Xerocomus badius), are more rare, but are also gathered and may be used in the same ways as baravykas.
Wild berries are also gathered or, even more frequently than mushrooms, purchased at roadside markets or shops. Bilberries (mėlynės) and lingonberries (bruknės) are the two most abundant species of wild berries. Cranberries (spanguolės) are valued, but their cultivation is limited to certain boggy areas, such as those adjacent to Čepkeliai Marsh. Sour cranberry or lingonberry jam and sweet bilberry jam are all considered excellent sauces for pancakes (blynai). Lingonberry jam is occasionally used as a dressing for fried chicken or turkey or as a sauce for other savory dishes. Fresh bilberries may be put into a cold milk soup. Wild strawberries (žemuogės) are relatively scarce and are usually gathered for immediate consumption.
Boletus, the "King of Mushrooms"
Chanterelles are popular mushrooms in Lithuania
Glyceria fluitans (paprastoji monažolė). The seeds were used for food and mentioned as nature goods of Lithuania Minor along with beeswax, honey, amber and timber. 
Pastinaca sativa (paprastasis pastarnokas). Was a popular food before the appearance of potatoes. K.Donelaitis in his poem The Seasons promoted growing of parsnips.
Apples, plums, and pears, which grow well in Lithuania, are the most commonly used fruit. [ citation needed ] Because they cannot tolerate frost, tropical fruit such as citrus, bananas and pineapples must be imported, and hence were used less often in the past however, these fruits are now becoming more typical and are widely consumed. During the autumn harvest, fruit is often simmered and spiced to create fruit stews (kompots). Gooseberries (agrastai) and currants (serbentai) are widely cultivated they are sweetened, made into jams and baked goods, and provide a piquant touch to desserts. Small local producers make fine fruit wines from raspberries, and especially blackcurrants apple icewine is also produced. Apple cheese which is considered a dessert is very popular in autumn. Oldest apple cheese recipe in Lithuania was found in the book of Radvila family chef from the 17th century. Sea buckthorn is used for juice and as a garnish.
The most frequently used meat is pork, followed by beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and duck [ citation needed ] for immediate consumption it is often grilled, or dusted with breadcrumbs and sauteed, in a dish similar to schnitzel. [ citation needed ] For bigger gatherings, oven roasts are prepared. [ citation needed ] The need for meat preservation no longer presents the urgency that it did during the Soviet occupation or previous times of trouble, but many favorite techniques survive, include brining, salting, drying, and smoking. There are many varieties of smoked pork, including ham and a soft sausage with a large-grained filling these are served as a main course or thinly sliced in sandwiches. Skilandis is a popular Lithuanian sausage added to the list of EU's Protected Designations of Origin. The art of meat smoking has long traditions in Lithuania – the right choice of woods, heat or distance from fire required a mastery. Skilandis was smoked for four weeks in a special room – kaminas – which was used for cooking. Smoking, curing and other meat preparation techniques differ in Lithuanian regions.
Freshwater fish with exception of herring was the most popular fish in Lithuania. Fish, such as pike, zander or perch, are often baked whole or stuffed. Herring is marinated, baked, fried, or served in aspic. Since the 19th century, herring was imported to Lithuania from Norway, Stavanger.  Salmon is also a popular dish often served with a cream sauce, vegetables, and rice. Before building dams after Soviet occupation, salmon was quite abundant fish in Lithuanian rivers.
Smoked fish such as eel or bream are popular entrees and appetizers in areas near the Baltic Sea, especially in Neringa.
Crayfish are also popular and are usually eaten in the summertime as a delicacy and a side dish served with beer.
Lithuania is known for quality dairy products. Dairy products play an important role in Lithuanian cuisine curd cheese (similar to cottage cheese) may be sweet, sour, seasoned with caraway, fresh, or cured until semi-soft. Lithuanian butter and cream are unusually rich. Sour cream is so prominent in Lithuanian cuisine, that it is eaten with everything - meat, fish, pancakes, soups, desserts, salads, and so on. Lithuanian curd snacks called sūreliai are popular too. Also, a big variety of different soured milk products are available in the supermarkets, though some people still prefer making their own soured milk. A Milk road route was created which leads through important objects of milk production in Lithuania. [ citation needed ]
Milk and milk derivatives Edit
Variety of milk is large – milk, buttermilk, soured milk, kefir, cream, yogurt. Most traditional are buttermilk and soured milk, eaten with boiled potatoes. [ citation needed ]
Traditional Lithuanian curd cheese has a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) label.  The most popular way of eating Lithuanian non-fermented white cheese is with fresh honey it can also be cooked with spices and enjoyed with tea. Food historians estimate that the curd cheese was known for 4-6 thousands of years.  Lithuanians started fermenting hard cheese around the 16th century in the region of Samogitia. Across Samogitian borders, this cheese was known as Lithuanian cheese. Historically there were not many varieties of cheese in Lithuania, due to low levels of lactose intolerance. [ citation needed ] Milk products were usually consumed fresh, or slightly fermented. Semi-hard cheese Liliputas in 2015 was included in EU Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication product lists.  Hard cheese Džiugas ripens for at least 12 months, is popular among gourmets and being used as to flavour recipes. Džiugas in 2019 included in the EU Protected Designation of Origin list. In the interwar period Šėta was famous for its cheese, which was made in sūrinė (cheese house). Small family farms throughout Lithuania also producing various types of artisan cheeses being sold in eco and farmer markets, restaurants. [ citation needed ]
Lithuania consists of five regions: Lithuania Minor (Mažoji Lietuva), Samogitia (Žemaitija), Aukštaitija, Suvalkija, Dzūkija.
Lithuania minor was famous for its fish, mainly freshwater – it was smoked, salted, roasted, dried. The best fish-soup, in Lithuania, similar to Bouillabaisse is also prepared in Lithuania Minor. Samogitia is known for its abundant varieties of porridge, crayfish, kastinis and a herring-onion soup cibulinė. Aukštaitija is known for potato dishes and vėdarai Northern Aukštaitija is best known as a beer region of Lithuania. Suvalkija is known for quality smoked meat produce – variety of woods being used to gain subtle taste, some produce being smoked up to one month. Dzūkija, the most forested region is famous for mushrooms, berries, buckwheat dishes such as buckwheat cake (grikinė boba) and boletus soup. Meat curing by smoking is not practiced in Dzûkija. Instead, the salted cuts of meat remain in brine or are hung and air-dried.
Different types of woods were used for smoking the meat - in Samogitia and Aukštaitija alder tree with combination of juniper was used, in Suvalkija - only alder.
A structure of a Lithuanian meal in its full form, usually performed during festivities.
Slices of meat charcuterie, small types of salad, herring will be offered. The meal is usually cold, not warm. Several types of various cold dishes will be served to choose from. It could be accompanied with some appetizer such as bitter liquor.
Soup is very important part of Lithuania cuisine. Although it does not get much attention as the main dish its purpose to be pleasant and revitalizing.
Main dish is served hot. It could be roasted chicken, beef or a type of main dish which the host is the most proud to present to the guests. Beer or wine will be offered with the main dish.
Dessert is served after some time after the main dish. It could be some sort of cake or curd with berries or jam.
Coffee or tea could be served along with dessert or separately.
If guests are spending time at the table having interesting conversations digestive or more coffee or tea will be offered.
The meal structure of the day is also influenced by the ancient life in the farm or village. Usual workday was split into three parts - the work from the early morning till breakfast (pusryčiai), work before breakfast and dinner (pietūs) and work between dinner and evening meal (vakarienė).  Breakfast was considered the most filling meal, dinner was considered a lighter meal and the evening meal was the lightest. In the summer then the workday was the longest, light meal before breakfast (priešpusryčiai) and the meal before dinner and evening meal - pavakariai was provided. Up tp this day Lithuanians eat quite filling breakfast and really light evening meals.
Starters and side dishes Edit
- Kepta duona (garlic bread) – black bread fried in oil and rubbed with garlic, often served with beer or an alcoholic beverage of some sort. Is a distant cousin of French pain à l'ail.
- Įdaryti kiaušiniai – hard-boiled eggs are split, stuffed and garnished similar to deviled eggs.
- Įdaryti pomidorai – tomatoes are cut in half and filled with a savory stuffing.
- Piršteliai prie alaus – these "little fingers" are thin, rolled-up puff pastries served with beer.
- Lašiniai (lard) – (smoked non-rendered pork underskin fat with a small layer of meat of or without it) is a popular appetizer in villages where it is produced locally, and is usually consumed in the form of a sandwich with unbuttered dark rye bread and bulb onions, horseradish or other vegetables and condiments. Spirgai (cracklings) are made from lard for various sauces similar to gravy. One can find various types of lašiniai in every butcher shop or shop mall in Lithuania.
Soups and main dishes Edit
- Bulvinių kukulių sriuba – minced potatoes formed into small balls, and boiled in milk. These are usually made from the same potato mixture used in cepelinai. soup flavored with carrots, ham, onions, sauerkraut or all of these and boiled with lard. – the broth is pureed with cucumbers and sweet or sour cream, often garnished with dill.
- Juka – blood soup from the southern region of Lithuania.
- Lapienė – greens such as sorrel or spinach are braised and added to a creamy broth.
- Kankolienė, zacirka – milk soup with dough balls made from flour or potato. soup – often seasoned with pork, carrots, onions, and bay leaves.
- Barščiai – hot borscht (beet soup) it is served uncreamed or blended with sour cream or buttermilk sometimes chopped Boletus mushrooms are added.
- Šaltibarščiai – cold summer soup based on beets and milk kefir or sour milk, colored a shocking pink. It is made with cooked or pickled shredded beets and various other chopped vegetables, such as cucumber, dill, or green onions. Hot boiled potatoes, cold sour cream, and diced hard-boiled eggs are often served alongside to add color, texture, and thermal contrast. The older traditional version of šaltibarščiai was simply white without beets.
- Vištienos sultinys – chicken broth is always popular, especially for the elderly and ill.
- Maltiniai or Frikadėlės (Frikadeller) – soft minced meat and onion patties, often served with potatoes, sliced cucumber, dill pickle and/or grated beats and a sauce.
- Manų Putra/Košė – Semolina wheat porridge/pudding topped with butter, cinnamon, sugar and/or berries. It is common as a breakfast dish or as a dessert.
- Šaltiena or košeliena (aspic or meat jelly) – many savory foodstuffs are presented in gelatin molds horseradish is often served as a condiment.
- Blynai or Lietiniai, Sklindžiai – although blynai is often translated as pancakes, they are usually more similar to crepes. They are either wafer-thin, as crepes are, or made from a yeast-risen batter, often mixed with grated apple or potato.
- Kėdainių blynai – grated raw potato pancakes, similar to latkes.
- Žemaičių blynai – similar to Kėdainių blynai, made from boiled potatoes and filled with chopped cooked meat
- Lietiniai – large, usually square thin crepes filled with minced meat, curd with cinnamon, or minced sauteed mushrooms.
- Buckwheat pancakes – traditional dish in Dzūkija
- Balandėliai (little doves) – cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and braised.
- Dešra – sausages are made in many different ways: they may be smoked or fresh, and include pork, beef, potatoes, or barley in rural areas, blood may be added.
- Didžkukuliai or Cepelinai (zeppelins) – potato dumplings stuffed with meat, mushrooms, or cheese, often garnished with spirgai, fried minced onion and bacon or sour cream.
- Kastinys – sour cream "butter" sour cream is kneaded and washed until it forms a soft spread. A traditional dish in Samogitia.
- Kibinai – pastry with mutton and onions, a Karaite dish.
- Kukuliai - Potato dumplings similar to gnocchi.
- Koldūnai, virtiniai, Auselės – these are various kinds of dumplings, filled with minced meat, sausage, cottage cheese, or mushrooms, usually garnished with crumbled fried bacon. They are similar to Polish pierogi or kołduny, but are usually smaller. Koldūnai were introduced to Lithuania with Tatars, who were invited to settle by Vytautas the Great.
- Šaltanosiai - literally "cold nose ones". Similar to koldūnai or virtiniai - they are being eaten lukewarm or cold with blueberry jam. Lithuanian name šaltanosiais was borrowed in Polish, German and Belarussian languages.
- Kugelis (also bulvių plokštainis, the lexically correct non-foreign name, literally "flat potato dish" or banda - this usage predominates in the Dzūkija region) - potato pudding made with grated potatoes and eggs. It is usually served with sour cream or spirgai. Also served with diced bacon and diced onion cooked in the bacon fat.
- Šaltnosiukai (cold little noses) – dumplings filled with lingonberries, not found anywhere outside Lithuania.
- Skilandis or Kindziukas – pig stomach stuffed with meat and garlic and cold-smoked.
- Suktiniai (beef birds) – beef or pork is pounded until very thin, filled and rolled up, and braised. An example of this is zrazai, which are Lithuanian beef rolls.  See image at right.
- Švilpikai - an oven-baked potato snaps.
- Šiupinys (Hodge-Podge) – a stew made from a variety of ingredients - groats, peas, beans, potatoes, meat, rye flour. Various different combinations are preferred in different regions of Lithuania.
- Troškinti rauginti kopūstai – a stew made with sauerkraut and the cook's choice of meats and vegetables.
- Vėdarai – large intestine of a domestic pig stuffed with grated potato mash.
Lithuanian-style cakes (pyragas) are often baked in a rectangular pan and sometimes have an apple, plum, apricot, or other fruit baked in they are less frequently iced than is customary in the United States. These cakes are cut into squares for serving. Poppy seed is sometimes used as a swirl filling in dessert bread (Poppy seed roll and šimtalapis) and as a flavoring in other pastries.
For special occasions, torte may be prepared they often consist of 10 to 20 layers, filled with jam and vanilla, chocolate, mocha, or rum buttercreams they are lavishly decorated. Lithuanian coffeehouses (kavinė) serve a variety of tortes and pastries to attract evening strollers.
- Žagarėliai (also known as krustai or chrustai) – Twisted, thin deep-fried pastries dusted with powdered sugar identical to Scandinavian Klejner cookies, similar to Mexican buñuelo.
- Kūčiukai or šližikai – very small rolls are baked and served with poppyseed milk this is a traditional Kūčios' (Christmas Eve) dish.
- Ledai - ice cream is served everywhere in the summer.
- Spurgos – a Lithuanian variant of doughnuts, sometimes filled with preserves. The main difference from doughnuts or berliners is that the Lithuanian version uses curd as a basis. Therefore, they often called varškės spurgos – curd doughnuts.
- Šakotis (also called raguotis) – is essentially a pound cake grilled layer by layer, with a very distinctive branching form. It is a Lithuanian variant of a spit cake which is a distant cousin of the German Baumkuchen, the French gâteau à la broche, the Swedish spättekaka. Some sources attribute its invention to Yotvingians - ancient, now extinct Baltic tribe.  Šakotis is a frequent accent of Lithuanian weddings and bigger festivities.
- Šimtalapis (one hundred sheets) – introduced to Lithuania with Tatars brought by Vytautas the Great and modified locally, is made from laminated dough which is separated with layers of melted butter – the principle is very similar to that of croissants.
- Tinginys – prepared with biscuits or crackers, cocoa, butter, sugar and solidified milk
- Skruzdėlynas (anthill) – consists of individual pastries stacked on top of one another, sprinkled with poppy seeds and glazed with honey and nuts.
- Fresh cucumbers with honey – typical summer dessert, especially on the countryside.
Alus (beer) is extremely popular throughout the country, especially again since the restoration of the Independence in 1990. Several Lithuanian beers have won international awards. Local breweries are enjoying a renaissance. Beer is the most common alcoholic beverage. Lithuania has a long farmhouse beer tradition, first mentioned in 11th-century chronicles. Beer was brewed for ancient Baltic festivities and rituals.  Ancient Lithuanian god for brewing beer and mead was Ragutis or Rūgutis. 21 September was known as the festive Alutinis, Koštuvės or Ragautuvės - the first beer was made using the harvest of the running year.  Lithuania is not very well known for its beer worldwide, but it is one of the few countries in Europe to have an independent beer tradition in which breweries do not simply brew beers in styles developed elsewhere. Traditional farmhouse brewing has survived into the present day in Lithuania, and during Soviet times such brewing started to be expanded to a larger scale. After independence, this process gathered speed and soon there were more than 200 breweries in the country. Many of these have since gone out of business, but Lithuania still has about 80 breweries, of which perhaps 60-70 produce beers in styles unknown in the rest of the world. Some of these are very close to the traditional brews made by farmers, while others have developed out of that tradition as a consequence of the growth of the traditional brewers into reasonably large regional breweries.
Farmhouse brewing survived to a greater extent in Lithuania than anywhere else, and through accidents of history the Lithuanians then developed a commercial brewing culture from their unique farmhouse traditions.  Lithuania is top 5 by consumption of beer per capita in Europe in 2015, counting 75 active breweries, 32 of them are microbreweries. 
The microbrewery scene in Lithuania has been growing in later years, with a number of bars focusing on these beers popping up in Vilnius and also in other parts of the country. Local beers have started to attract international attention after beer bloggers discovered the country, inspiring a major feature article in Beer Connoisseur magazine, prompting the New York Times to list Lithuania as one of the 42 places to visit in 2013 on the strength of the village beers. Beer routes are organized through the main breweries in northern Lithuania.
Midus is said to be the most ancient Lithuanian alcoholic beverage it is a variety of mead made from honey. Baltic people were making midus for thousands of years. One of the first mentionings of Balts and mead was by the 9th-century traveller Wulfstan of Hedeby, who visited Prussians. Old Lithuanian mead was made from a solution of honey and water simmered with various spices, such as thyme, lemon, cinnamon, cherries, linden blossoms, juniper berries, and hops.  Oldest recipe of Lithuanian midus was recorded in a book by Olaus Magnus Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, published in Rome in 1555.  Midus was considered a drink of nobleman and gentry. Since 16th century midus started to compete with imported vine, but it was known and was still very popular in Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.  Today Midus is produced by several companies and is to be found in the majority of liquor shops. Craft mead producing is also becoming popular. Traditional Lithuanian midus Stakliškės, fermented up to 90 days has a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) label. 
World's 50 Best Restaurants 2019, Mirazur at the top - The full list
Mirazur in Menton, France has been announced as the number one restaurant at the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in Singapore.
Speaking on stage just after receiving the highly contended accolade, chef Mauro Colagreco said: “Wow, wow, wow, wow… What a crazy year, three Michelin stars and number one in the world, all in the same year. It’s a year I will remember forever.”
“Today we are celebrating France and its value: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. France has allowed me to express myself, Argentina to my memories from my childhood, to Brazil who has offered me the love of my life and to Italy where more than half of my team are coming from.”
“Cuisine is able to close all kinds of borders. I would like to express to all the chefs in the world my love and gratitude.” He finished with a poetic line: “Borders? I’ve never seen one, but I have heard they exist in the mind of some people.”
Number two on the list went to Noma.2 in Copenhagen, a new entry that excited the crowd and showed just how influential Rene Redzepi is to the gastronomy world, the third spot was awarded to Asador Etxebarri in San Sebastian.
The One to Watch award went to Lido84 on Lake Garda in Italy, the Highest Climber on the list was Azurmendi in Spain and the Best Female Chef title was given to Daniela Soto-Innes from Cosme in New York. Humanitarian chef José Andrés collected the inaugural American Express Icon Award.
The World’s Best Pastry Chef went to Jessica Prealpato from Paris and The Sustainability Award went to Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland by chef Andreas Caminada. The Chef’s Choice Award, voted for by all the chefs on the list, went to Alain Passard. The Art of Hospitality Award 2019 went to Den in Tokyo, Japan with chef Zaiyu Hasegawa.
2019 saw a big change in the overall organization of the list with previous winners, Massimo Bottura, Daniel Humm, Ferran Adria, The Roca Brothers, Thomas Keller, Rene Redzepi and Heston Blumenthal, included in a new Best of The Best list. Noma.2 was ranked 2nd on the list because it’s a new restaurant in a new location.
Below you can see a full list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
If semi-raw marinated fish doesn’t suit your tastes, these roasted meats and fish on skewers are hard not to like. As the name suggests, this dish is a form of shish kebab, although the Russian version is served with chunkier portions of lamb, beef, chicken or salmon, and served with an unleavened bread, Russian pickles and a sometimes spicy tomato sauce. If your travels take you to Moscow’s Izmailovsky flea market (and it’s certainly a top 10 thing to see), you’ll find a range of market stalls serving shashlik sticks right off the grill.
Make your own:
- Learn to marinate and grill shashlik with this recipe.
- Experiment with a range of marinates and meats with this guide.
- Add a dab of Russian ‘ketchup’ as well.
Tajik food from Kyrgyzstan
Tajikistan has a large Kyrgyz minority, especially in the Pamirs. It’s probably the Kyrgyz nomads that introduced fermented milk products and horse meat in Tajik cuisine.
These small pocket-sized balls of hard white cheese made from sour milk or yoghurt are central asia’s favourite dairy snacks. Nomads used them for long journeys, but nowadays young and old nibble away when they feel like.
Kurut has an intense salty taste that is hard to digest for those not used to it. I have had many instances in local buses and shared taxis where I was offered kurut and where I had to politely try to eat them without looking too disgusted.
Horse meat is a popular delicacy in Tajikistan. However, it doesn’t come cheap and is therefore not eaten every day. In bazaars look out for the horse meat sausage Kazy.
Lagman is an Uyghur dish that the Uyghurs brought with them to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It’s basic recipe has noodles, meat and vegetables.
Over the years it has become a central asian classic that exists in different varieties. First of all, the noodles can be served with or without a broth and second of all there are different types of noodles. Bozo laghman comes with fried noodles and gyozo laghman with boiled noodles.
Not one laghman is the same and if you order it in a restaurant it can be very hit and miss. I have had terrible laghmans with chewy noodles and bland vegetables. However, I had some delicious ones too, mostly at homestays.
The 15 best restaurants in Bristol you need to try
March 2021: Fingers crossed, it won&rsquot be long until Bristol&rsquos restaurants can swing open their doors again. Under the current lockdown exit strategy UK restaurants will be able to reopen from April 12 at the earliest, but only for outdoor meals, and from May 17 restaurants will be allowed to open indoors again, subject to social-distancing rules. In anticipation of being able to eat delicious dishes without having to do the washing up afterwards, we&rsquove updated our list of the best restaurants in Bristol. From Michelin-starred restaurants to fun festival food joints, here are the hottest tables in Bristol we think you should book once lockdown lifts.
Frankly, there&rsquos nowhere better than Bristol for an unpretentious and delicious dining experience &ndash even the higher-brow restaurants we list here share a sense of fun when it comes to their food. This city&rsquos predilection for only the most &lsquoauthentic&rsquo restaurant offerings also means the turnover of eating establishments is fast and furious, and that the spots that make it past the one-year mark really have proved themselves something special. So whether it&rsquos burgers , brunch or bar snacks you&rsquore after, here&rsquos a tantalising slice of the packed dining scene the South West is enjoying right now.
Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. You can find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants here .
Best kefir recipes
Water kefir limeade
It’s the second ferment when the limes get involved in this recipe, leaving you with a zingy and refreshing drink that’s full of probiotic goodness and is great served over ice with a slice of fresh lime.
Chocolate-chai kefir cake
We’ve added milky kefir to this glossy, indulgent chocolate cake to help keep it extra moist. A great alternative way to use up that homemade kefir.
Cucumber kefir and falafel salad
Whisk up kefir with dill, mint, lime and olive oil and then toss through shallot and cucumber for a dressing that will take your falafel to a whole new level.
Kefir smoothie with banana, almonds and frozen berries.
Full of plenty of good bacteria as well as lots of fruity nutrients, this smoothie, made with milky kefir, is a great on-the-go breakfast idea.
Kefir soda bread with kefir salted butter
Kefir goes into not only the soda bread itself here (along with spring onions, coriander seeds and turmeric) but also the salted butter that it’s best served with lashings of.
Kale and broccoli salad with kefir dressing
Crisp and crunchy, this low-calorie salad with creamy kefir dressing would make a quick and easy healthy dinner idea. The toasted walnuts add a satisfying bite to the greens, and the kefir brings lots of probiotic goodness.
Cod cheeks, pickled cucumber and kefir
This impressive starter idea comes from chef Dean Parker, it’s a great way to start using kefir. The fermented milk and tangy pickled cucumber make for ideal platefellows for juicy cod cheeks.