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Old City Boutique Hotel Restaurant

Restaurants
By Howard Jarvis. 13.02.2013

Old City Boutique Hotel

Save to foursquare Teatra 10, Riga Phone: 6735 6060
Fax: 6735 6061
Email: reservations@oldcityhotel.lv
Web: www.oldcityhotel.lv
Working hours: Mon-Sun 12.00 - 24.00,

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Often the finest dining experiences are not where you’d immediately expect to find them. Hotel restaurants tend to be unadventurous affairs at best, but some really make an effort to compete with the best dining in town.

Tucked down a narrow cobblestone lane near the Latvian National Opera is the four-star Old City Boutique Hotel, with its long triangular roof and glassy façade. Less well known is the fact that its restaurant offers some of the most satisfying dining in the city. So when they recently jazzed up their menu, we thought we’d go and try it out.

The interior has altered a bit since we were last here. The golden pillars, sparkly chandeliers and mirrors along the walls to make the space feel bigger are all still in evidence. But, right along the far wall where the kitchen sits, is a larger-than-life black-and-white photograph of a jazz band in an elaborate Cold War-era club, one of the musicians wearing Kissinger glasses. It adds just the right touch to the décor, suiting the cocktail-bar music.

After being directed to a white-cloth table by the smartly attired multilingual waiter, we made our selections from the menu. We needed warming up from the freezing winter’s day, but rather than vodka the waiter recommended a shot of “sivuha” (€14) – expensive limited-edition homemade vodka from Poland, with a taste so smooth it resembles a smoky whisky. It hit the spot.

A basket of delicious breads baked in-house was brought to the table, including tiny spongy muffins made with sundried tomatoes and sesame-seed and cheese breadsticks.

There are 19 appetizers, soups and salads on the menu, ranging from lightly salted peppered tuna fillet with avocado-tomato salsa and apple julienne (€9.50) to smoked chicken liver and brandy mousse with dried cranberries and pistachios (€5.50). We opted for spicy cream of coconut soup with chicken, mushrooms, egg noodles and chili oil (€6.50).

The mildly spicy soup arrived thick and creamy with plenty to chew on – including virtually an entire breast of tender bite-sized chicken pieces, chanterelles and oyster mushrooms and a pile of al dente noodles.

The main-dish section of the menu also made for a salivating read – beef fillet medallions wrapped in bacon, grilled lamb chops, fried sea bass in a creamy brandy and mushroom sauce… We plumped for salmon, spinach and brie wonton with caponata of vegetables and tomato-basil sauce (€11.70).

You may have tried Russian or Latvian pelmeni, but you’ve never tried dumplings as sumptuous as these. Presented in a warmed-up long-thin dish, the wafer-thin coverings held packages of the salmon-spinach-brie filling, with two or three huge deep-green deep-fried basil leaves balancing on top, adding to the dish’s delicate nature. The combination of flavors was delectable.

The wow factor continued to dessert: green tea crème brûlée with black sesame-maple syrup ice cream, marzipan cake and fresh berries (€5.50). Served as a diagonal line on a square transparent plate, the two triangular pieces of cake were placed centrally, with the duskily flavored ice cream and crème brûlée – scorched but dishless and surrounded by berries – in opposite corners. This appeared to suggest the best textures for eating – to combine cake with either ice cream or crème brûlée, but not ice cream with crème brûlée. Neither too filling nor too small, this was a magnificent finish to a hugely enjoyable meal.

The Old City Boutique Hotel Restaurant is livelier on Friday and Saturday evenings. At other times it’s not necessary to reserve a table. Indeed, this is the ideal location for a secluded business conversation or a romantic tryst. It’s also possible to eat in the bar by the hotel lobby where there’s a TV and sofa seating. Wherever you choose to sit, the food is truly memorable.

wUGXrrWzbrZowDKJ 06.03.2013 02:16

Hotel c0xel has boutique (or used to!). It's rellay near from Gaudi's buildings and the shopping areas are not very far
either.No idea about relative pricing, I suppose boutique hotels are more expensive than average in general.BTW it's a
straight-friendly hotel, so they expect their customers to be openminded and non homophobic.

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