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Old City Boutique Hotel Restaurant

Restaurants
By Andra Kunstberga. 12.02.2014

Old City Boutique Hotel

Save to foursquare Phone: 6735 6060
Email: reservations@oldcityhotel.lv
Web: www.oldcityhotel.lv
Working hours: Mon-Sun 12.00 - 00.00,

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There are few more delightfully secluded hideaways with white-tablecloth dining in Riga than this. Located on one of Old Riga’s quieter cobblestone lanes not far from the Opera House, this fine-dining sanctuary boasts experienced chefs who prepare exquisite dishes in a romantic environment, for hungry hotel guests and non-guests alike.

Enter the main door of this 4-star hotel and turn immediately right. You’ll pass through the hotel’s elegant and softly lit bar, where you can order pre-dinner drinks, and even have the whole meal if you prefer.

At the end, descend a few stairs to reach the restaurant itself. Despite essentially being a mezzanine room, it makes use of natural light on one side while glitzy golden pillars, sparkly chandeliers and a rose on each table add to the romance.

Along the far wall the entrance to the kitchen is masked by a blown-up black-and-white photograph of a jazz band, perhaps from the sixties. It adds just the right touch to the décor, suiting the cool and classy atmosphere and laid-back jazz lounge sounds.

A friendly, well-dressed, English-speaking waiter or waitress accompanies you to a table. If you can, sit on the right beneath the skylight. Look up from here and you can see this 17th century building’s unusual steep-roofed shape.

Originally a warehouse constructed for a prosperous merchant named Johann Reitern it was nicknamed the Elephant because of its huge storage capacity. In 1909, it was converted into the Moulin Rouge cinema theater and in the Soviet period it was a sports complex before partly collapsing in the early nineties. Extensive renovation has given it a new life as a hotel.

The a la carte menu is full of tempting dishes that inventively match mouthwatering combinations, such as smoked eel fillet with daikon salad, crunchy rye bread and sour cream-vodka sauce, or Russian-style fish solyanka soup with salmon caviar.

Sturgeon caviar, Kamchatka crab meat, duck, ostrich, lamb and beef adorn the menu together fine wines and an assortment of cocktails. There’s a midday business-lunch option too.

Once you make your order, a basket of homemade bread is brought to your table, including tiny spongy muffins made with sundried tomatoes and sesame-seed and cheese breadsticks.

There are around 20 appetizers, soups and salads on the menu, ranging from lightly salted peppered tuna fillet to smoked chicken liver and brandy mousse.

But we always love a seafood bisque, and here (€10.67) it arrived with lots of delicate, wafer-thin dumplings filled with crayfish and ginger, adding a gentle touch of spice, as well as tiny soft balls of melon and pearl tapioca. Mop up the last of the creamy orange-colored bisque with the bread. Delicious.

There is an extensive wine list, but we were not feeling fussy and the waitress recommended a glass of full-bodied Malbec (€4.27), which went down very nicely.

The menu’s main dishes also make for a salivating read – beef fillet medallions wrapped in bacon, grilled lamb chops, fried sea bass in creamy brandy and mushroom sauce… We plumped for fried salmon fillet with glazed seasonal vegetables, herb salad and green-pea mint sauce (€11.38).

It arrived beautifully arranged around an oval dish, the chunk of salmon at the center in a pool of sauce with little mounds of vegetable pieces – baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mange tout, white asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini – so that each mouthful had a different taste combination.

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 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, it was a fine finish to a very 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 getaway. It’s also possible to enjoy the bar’s sofa seating. Wherever you choose to sit, the food is truly memorable.




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