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Vīna studija

By Anatol Steven. 11.06.2014

Vina studija

Save to foursquare Stabu 30
(Stabu-Tērbatas crossroads)
, Riga
Phone: 6727 6010
Working hours: Mon-Thu 11.00 - 24.00, Fri-Sat 11.00 - 01.00, Sun 11.00 - 22.00,



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One of the pleasantest ways to spend a summer evening in Riga is at any of the growing number of the city’s wine bars. Best-known among these is Vīna studija.

It's a friendly and classy space decorated with colorful paintings, wines of the day chalked up on the board, and a range of beautifully composed dishes to complement the wines. We walked in the other day to sample the summer menu and enjoy a few glasses of whatever took our fancy.

A smiling waitress came over immediately to investigate our preferences and make some recommendations. We wanted rosé on this summer’s day, something a little different but not too pricey. Of the ones she suggested we went for a bottle of the pink Argentinean Sottano Malbec Rosé (€15.60) from that country’s biggest wine region Mendoza, which tasted crisp and refreshing, very fruity, almost tropically sweet.

Vīna studija’s seating consists mainly of a soft extended sofa stretching beneath streetside windows, with chunky tables, running parallel to a long bar. The design means you can quickly attract the attention of a waiter or waitress. The board behind the bar is visible to all, listing 11 or 12 wines at roughly €3 to €6 per glass.

A well-stocked shop stands to the left of the entrance, and it’s possible to buy and uncork anything from there that grabs your eye, for a small fee. We saw several boxes of Chateau Montaud rosé new in from Provence (€11.50) and, on the shelves, a large variety ranging from – for example under “Italy” – whites from Lugana that are so full-bodied they could almost be reds, and the much heavier Lo Zoccolaio from Piemonte.

There are also plentiful whiskies in this little side-store, more varieties of grappa than you can count, lots of champagnes and sparkling wines, dates from Israel, almonds from the US, even candles for a romantic wine night in.

Vīna studija’s casual homey atmosphere is perfect for reserving a table for an intimate gathering of friends or family. It attracts everyone from the young and super-trendy to more mature gents and ladies bearing flower bouquets for private celebrations. The choice of gentle and often out-of-the-ordinary music ranges from Tom Waits ballads to classic crooners.

Whatever company you’re with, if you have a bottle on the table, room temperature or chilled, the waitress will always keep your glass topped up. Some suited businessmen come in alone, calling in after work and pulling up a stool by the bar.

We really enjoyed the food on this visit, prepared by Canadian-Latvian chef Elmārs Tannis and his team. We were just in time to catch the lunch menu, which lists three starters, three mains and a couple of desserts. Two courses (€6.40) or three (€8.50) come with freshly homemade bread and a carafe of water.

The watermelon salad is a tumble of leaves, ricotta, roasted pumpkin seeds, halves of big, rich kalamata olives, three giant chunks of red and juicy watermelon and a tangy orange-flavored balsamic sauce. It’s a fantastic taste combination, sweet and savory and everything in between.

The fried homemade cheese was also wonderful, the caraway seed-inflected Latvian cheese bearing the crisscross mark of the griddle pan and far lighter than it looked, its creaminess matching the ruby-red strawberries, red and green tomatoes, seasonal leaves and cucumber pieces. We’ll definitely visit Vīna studija again before the summer’s up.


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