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Dārzs

Restaurants
By Andra Kunstberga. 12.02.2014

Darzs

Save to foursquare Maskavas 4
Spīķeri
, Riga
Phone: 2788 7771
Email: info@restoransdarzs.lv
Web: www.restoransdarzs.lv
Working hours: Mon-Fri 12.00 - 23.00, Sat 11.00 - 00.00, Sun 11.00 - 23.00,

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“Garden”, as it would be translated in English, used to be located prominently on one of the Old Town’s most bustling streets. So its relocation to the small and artsy Spīķeri district of renovated warehouses behind Riga Central Market is a brave one.

Several eateries have opened and closed there in recent years, while the area’s tiny stores are often empty. But give it time. Spring and summer are coming, which will push wanderers back again, and Dārzs will be an additional incentive to go and explore.

To reach it, try walking through each of the huge market pavilions to get a flavor of the fresh food products being sold, from side door to side door – they’re all connected. At the far end, turn left, and Dārzs is just across the tram tracks.

The earlier Dārzs was known for its quirky interior, satisfying food and cozy seating, and the new version is no different. Some of the furniture has relocated, but since these are bigger premises a lot more has been installed to fill the space.

It’s set over two floors of one of the restored red-brick warehouses. Pass the bar and a couple of conventional tables and head directly upstairs to choose your seating.

This space is magnificent – original crisscrossing struts and beams, some of them propping up piles of books, tree-trunk tables and bales of hay used as partitions, sofas fashioned out of crates and soft covers, plump bright-red padded chairs, wicker lampshades and lights shaded by autumn leaves and white roses, hammock-style chairs supported from the ceiling, neon lighting in greens and purples, a massive oddly warped mirror, potted flowers and blooms that are real and unreal…

In one corner it’s possible to curtain off one section for cozy private gatherings. On the other side speakers and a DJ station await action.

A daily selection of business lunches consisting of soup, main dish and “complimentary” juice (€5, or €6 including dessert, the latter a euro cheaper than at the last location) is available on weekdays between 12.00 and 16.00.

A basket of doughy bread baked in-house is brought to the table. The soup might be, for example, a thick beet soup tasting of bacon and with a scattering of pork pieces at the center. The juice is sometimes a glass of homemade kompot – sweetened water flavored with berries, citrus-fruit wedges and other fruit, which you can eat straight from the glass after draining the liquid.

On our visit we had a tasty fillet of salmon served on a long rectangular plate with strips of carrots and zucchini stacked in little piles on the side. This was followed by a slice of warm apple strudel with a ball of ice cream and three tiny mounds of chopped bitter fruit each topped with a bite of soft chocolate.

Combine a visit to the new Dārzs with a look at Riga’s amazing market. Stop for coffee or something stronger, plus a tour of the eclectic and eccentric interior.

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