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Expat Favorites

By 27.07.2015

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In the latest in a series of articles looking at expats’ personal recommendations in Riga, French ambassador sEM stéphane Visconti reveals his favorite haunts.


Based in riga for more than two years, French ambassador sEm stéphane visconti heads a professional team that takes a leading role in diplomatic and cultural life in the latvian capital. Here he recommends everything from dining to a wide range of outdoor experiences. For more details on the restaurants he suggests, check our dining listings further on in this magazine.


Here at a residencein the embassy. there’s a nice view and it’s very close to the old town, but it’s also very quiet and relaxing. I feel very fortunate as this is one of riga’s prime locations, close to the cultural centers and the parks.


I walk a lot, even in winter. I know riga intimately and walk everywhere, even off the beaten tracks. 



Cuba [Jauniela 15], especially on the outdoor terrace on a warm summer’s day. or there’s the unusual location of the top-floor bars and restaurants at the Galleria riga shop- ping mall [dzirnavu 67]. You can take friends there for the beautiful views across the city. and i like the vinas- tudija wine bar on Elizabetes [Elizabetes 10] for a glass of wine from the loire valley or from Burgundy. 



There’s an almost mediterranean atmosphere at the riverside aqua luna, where i enjoy the quality of the fish dishes and the space to be able to discuss anything. it’s informal but smart, casual but elegant.
also 36.line on the beach in Jurmala is a favorite of mine, as it is for many ambassadors,where the chef knows how to prepare delicacies and cre- ate dishes that are fresh and original. 


There are direct views of the beach and forest and not many people. Biblioteka no.1 and Fish restaurant le dome do modern interpretations of latvian cuisine. the French are demanding with regard to fresh fish, we can be picky, so we feel very fortunate to have these restaurants in latvia. 



There are some fine antique shops in old riga, selling the highly rated riga porcelain and 19 th-century paintings. For contemporary art, the arsenals gallery is always fun to stroll around. 


One hour from riga towards the town of sigulda is ungurmuiža, a wooden manor house that dates back to the 1730s. It’s very authentic and the park is a pleasure to stroll around in any season. You can even spend the night there. It’s a journey back into the past, to feel what life was like at that time. It’s very touching, simple but magnificent. 



The latvian national opera, of course, or the riga russian theater that both propose a wonderful repertoire. At the Great Gild recently i enjoyed a con- cert of mendelssohn’s Elijah oratorio, which was really very nice. I should also mention the Kalnciema quarter across the river, its ecological market where you can experience the unique taste of latvian strawberries if they’re in season, evoking the best memories of childhood. Try the local cheeses too, straight from a latvian farm. 



Stockmann near the railway station or, for suits and clothing, Podium [Brīvības 201]. You should look out for clothing by ogres trikotāža, whose sweaters i’ve bought. For such high quality in other countries you’d pay a fortune. 



Riga Zoo with my young son. there is a nice farm with baby animals. You can see a lemur and also rare animals from the latvian forest like the lynx. I also go swimming at the olympic sports Center, in its 50-meter competitive pool which is not overcrowded. 



Anywhere in the wide open latvian countryside, or northwards up the beautiful coastline towards Estonia. 

soIV66KV9Pt 20.12.2015 18:18

It was so nice to read that you were born in Riga :) I am from Poland, but Riga means a lot to me. I lived there for the
short time, but what is the most important I met there love of my life :)Every time I go back to LV I relaly enjoy being



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