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Cydonia

Restaurants
By Howard Jarvis. 06.12.2011

Cydonia

Save to foursquare Dzirnavu 84
Berga bazārs
, Riga
Phone: 6728 2055
Email: booking@cydonia.lv
Web: www.cydonia.lv
Working hours: Mon-Thu 10:00 - 01:00, Fri 10:00 - 03:00, Sat 11:00 - 03:00, Sun 11:00 - 01:00,

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For a creative spin on eco-cuisine, infiltrate the pleasant little maze of alleyways, eateries and shops that is Berga bazārs, between Elizabetes, Marijas and Dzirnavu streets.

With a lengthy bar dividing the front and back ends of the premises, Cydonia manages to maintain a double guise. It’s simultaneously a pub where you can watch sports in the company of a satisfying brew, but it can also be a romantic candlelit retreat where couples can enjoy an evening of slow food and stimulating conversation.
An excellent selection of beers includes Latvian brews, such as a fine locally made cherry beer, as well as Guinness, Blanche de Bruxelles and beer from the German brewery Paulaner. It’s possible to do a beer tasting session involving a sizeable number of them, preferably in company.
A choice of inexpensive, tapas-like “bite-sized snacks” is available to accompany whatever drinks you order, most of them costing under a lat each. A generous “happy hour” lasting from 6pm to 8pm each working day gives you a snack for free if you buy drink.
Cydonia means “quince” in Latvian, and sure enough, quince cheesecake with chocolate brownies features on the menu. But Cydonia is also well known among amateur astrologers as a region of Mars containing unusual features that appear from NASA images to be star-shaped and face-sculpted pyramids (see lower photo).
While the restaurant doesn’t directly reference the “red planet,” an atmosphere of reflection and calm pervades as customers wait patiently as their slow-cooked eco-dishes are prepared.
To start, the cold and delicately spicy yoghurt soup with shrimps (€4) is a suitably otherworldly place to launch your meal. The shrimps and vegetables are placed in the center, leaving you to mix it up a bit if you wish.
Among the snacks and salads, the impressively rich roasted lamb’s liver (€5.50), sliced and grilled, is medium-done instead of well-cooked, giving it a softer texture. Duck confit (€11.30), a flavorsome delicacy where the legs are slow-cooked in the duck’s fat, is served with a lovely sticky red-cherry sauce.
There’s also a selection of about ten pizzas that feel homemade rather than created for the masses, priced at between €5 and €7.50 for 30cm, less for 20cm. The “cydonia” pizza, for example, is made with Parma ham, parmesan and ruccola.
Cydonia may be located in upscale Berga bazārs, its music mostly a shuffling selection of classy avant-jazz, but it’s a relatively inexpensive little hideaway with personable, simple and delicious dishes.

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