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By Howard Jarvis. 09.02.2012


Save to foursquare Aldaru 10, Riga Phone: 67224696
Working hours: Mon-Fri 09:00 - 24:00, Sat 09:00 - 02:00, Sun 11:00 - 23:00,



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Sandwiched between two brick walls off a narrow cobblestone lane in Old Riga little changed over the centuries, Garaža has a curiously glitzy interior. But the food rustled up behind the scenes is surprisingly good, and the cocktails thrown together at the bar are potent.

This little alcove of a bar-restaurant not far from the 300-year-old Swedish Gate and old city wall has been decked up inside to resemble the interior of a seventies campervan. Or a personal jet designed by Herbie Hancock. Or a hippie love bus created for travel to Mars. Or… well, it depends how many glasses of the bearded barman’s powerful Long Island Iced Tea (€7) you’ve been drinking.
Cunningly arranged so that glass walls divide the main tables, adding a kind of see-through semi-privacy, Garaža is small and informal enough to feel comfortable for all age groups. Relaxing massage-parlor music soothes the varied clientele’s collective brow.
The focal point of this friendly hideaway is the bar, whose bricked arch shelters all kinds of alcoholic treasures.  The restaurant’s chairs and tables appear to have been chopped out of vehicles of various kinds, including leather swivel chairs from Colonel Gaddafi’s private jet.
There are lots of nice touches that make pop art out of low-cost materials – print designs on the tables, the classy image of a seventies car on the wall, handmade candleholders, an illuminated portal to reach the WC. A flat-screen TV above the bar can show cartoons for the kids or the BBC for the more mature patron.
The meals are also presented with a certain post-grad student artistry, with the oven-roasted pork fillet with fried celery root and carrots (€9), doused in a delicious Roquefort cheese sauce, being a particular delight. The grilled beef steak with vegetable salad (€15.50) is even more filling. You’ll have to pay extra for fries, if you need them.
When we last visited, the exotic scent of basmati rice greeted us as we entered. That comes with the vegetable ragout with mozzarella cheese (€6). Meat lovers will inhale jealously.
For lunch or breakfast there’s a selection of toasts, sandwiches, salads, omelets and pancakes. For cold evenings choose from 11 different hot cocktails. There are also five different Long Island Iced Teas, the most complex of them costing €50. Just don’t have them all at once.

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