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Siļķītes un dillītes

By Howard Jarvis. 01.10.2013

Siļķītes un dillītes

Save to foursquare Centrāltirgus 1, Riga Mobile: 2961 4012
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Don't expect upscale dining at Siļķītes un dillītes (Herring & Dill). But with its unusual location, inside one of the old zeppelin hangars at the always-fascinating Riga Central Market, and the freshest possible of fishy ingredients, it’s worth a visit for any foodie.

As you draw close to the hangars you’ll be able to smell which one contains the fish and seafood. Marked “Zivju paviljons”, it’s the furthest of the four pavilions.

Like the rest of the sprawling market, this huge space filled with all manner of fresh fish and professional, uniformed salesladies, is worth a tour before heading to Herring & Dill, which is situated at the hangar’s side exit.

Once the market’s accounting office, the bare white walls of this new fish bar were barely altered and still retain original tiles, telephone and piping, together with a display of old Latvian posters. One poster reminds staff: “We will serve our clients in a cultured manner”.

“Fish and chips” (€7), with deep-fried battered cod and almost-English-style chips, is the biggest seller here. But more authentically Latvian is the deep-fried sprats and fried potatoes (€3), served with a little salad and pesto sauce. The rosemary salmon (€10) could arguably be one of the best – and cheapest – salmon dishes in the country.

All the fish, of course, comes direct from the pavilion. Some of the finest morsels of trout, plaice and other species are on ice so you can choose which you want baked (about a 15-20 minute wait).

There’s also traditional Latvian smoked fish including herring and salmon, and a deliciously cheap herring-and-dill bake (€2.50).

Also try the “Baltic shrimps”. These don’t exist, of course, but the cooks use sprats, strip off the bones, fry them in oil, and they curl into crunchy shrimp-like shapes.

Another novel innovation is “fish solyanka”, an aquatic version of the famed Russian and Ukrainian sour soup but with added butter to make it creamier.

Beers are on offer, such as the acclaimed Valmiermuiža and Cesu Unfiltered, or you can do chilled vodka shots. A glass of Riga Champagne costs €2.70, a Riesling, Chablis or Chianti around €3.20.

On your way out, stop at the Uzbek bakers opposite to watch how they spin and bake bread and pastries in traditional open ovens. It adds an exotic twist ending to your fishy meal.


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