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By Anatol Steven. 14.03.2013


Save to foursquare Aspazijas bulvāris 32, Riga Phone: 6722 7270
Working hours: Mon-Fri 09.30 - 24.00, Sat-Sun 11.00 - 24.00,



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Fortas takes its brand name and inspiration from a chain of mass-appeal restaurants that has been hugely commercially successful in Lithuania.

Fortas replaces Foody, which its Lithuanian owners thought a little too elitist to succeed at this busy location at the edge of the Old Town. The design remains much the same, with seating divided into two rooms. The space in front of the bar is still the more attractive, with options of low sofas or comfy stools set around tables of different sizes. The windowless lounge at the back is bright and pleasantly decorated but a little claustrophobic. It’s also sometimes off limits during the day when there’s a staff meeting.

The now crowd-pleasing menu is glossy and picturesque with snapshots of the most colorful dishes. The prices have come down too, in an effort to lure in students, mature patrons, and just about anybody.

It seems to be working. It’s starting to get busy especially as the late afternoon draws in, and what Fortas lacks in storefront attention-grabbing will soon be compensated for by outdoor seating at the side of this busy boulevard.

The owners have been careful not to dress down too much. There isn’t much of the thigh-slapping rustic cuisine that populates the Fortas menus in Lithuania. Get a plate of aromatic blue mussels (€5.70) or sea bass steamed in white wine with onions slow-cooked in butter, potatoes, green peas, and olives (€10). Fortas also does a decent pepper steak with brandy sauce (€11.50) as well as beef stroganoff and fries (€8.50).

This being a quick lunchtime visit, we opted for soups – a surprisingly filling gingery chicken soup (€4) with coconut milk, shrimps, bamboo sprouts, mushrooms and eastern spices, and a “Spanish-style” clear fish soup (€2) with a few pieces of white fish and a couple of mussels in their shells. Initial service was fast enough, but it took a while for the soups to arrive, and we had to ask for bread.

All-in-all, it was cheap and tasty and gone in a flash. We’ll return one summer’s evening for a more laid-back occasion. The beer prices are enough to bring us back, at less than two euros for a half-liter of the local Tērvetes brew and less than three for a Leffe Blonde.

John 27.03.2013 16:11

Cool place



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