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2023-01-30 19:32:47


DINING -> Restaurants
By Howard Jarvis. 05.12.2011

Maskavas 12
Spīķeri , Riga Phone: 2027 2827
Working hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 - 23:00
Fri 11:00 - 02:00
Sat 11:00 - 23:00

Restaurants that express a passion for food and preparation without any stuffy attitudes are taking off in Riga. Like Kitchen. Casual fine dining is big in the States and most of Western Europe, and now it’s catching on in Latvia. Restaurants that express a passion for food and preparation without the stuffy attitudes of exclusivity are becoming more popular in Riga, competing with all the highbrow dining.

One of the best of these new restaurants is Kitchen, located just the other side of Riga Central Market from the Old Town. Follow the tram lines south either along the river or past the central bus station, and then past the huge market pavilions selling fish, meat and fresh vegetables, and you’ll see a set of recently converted brick warehouses and industrial buildings on Maskavas Street.
Not so long ago a no-go zone for tourists, this area known as Spīķeri is now a fashionable location for dining, shopping, art-spotting and theater-going. In this hip new neighborhood there’s a concert hall dedicated to music played by Sinfonietta Riga, the underground vibes of the Dirty Deal Café and its contemporary theater and art cinema, Riga Ghetto Museum at Maskavas 14a, and a range of art galleries and shops.
Hidden slightly from the street, Kitchen has an atmosphere that’s in keeping with the rest of Spīķeri – there’s a minimalist decor, the original concrete floor has been kept intact, the lampshades are made from inverted photographs, and there are artsy serving mats.
The idea, say Kitchen’s creators, is to bring friends or family together round a table and give them great food that changes on a daily basis. The young but well-qualified American-Latvian chef says he’s spoilt rotten by the proximity of the 24-hour central market and goes there every morning to forage for the best fresh and organically grown produce. Around 60 percent of Kitchen’s ingredients come from there, he adds.
It’s because of this informal approach that there are no Bible-sized menus at Kitchen – just a sheet with a handful of dishes. But visitors are encouraged to go up to the open kitchen, describe their favorite kind of dish, and negotiate with the chef or his assistant over what they can rustle up using the ingredients they have to hand.
Then again, guests may well prefer the stuff on the menu. Tempting menu dishes might be, for example, cauliflower and coconut curry cream soup with black pepper steak and ruccola salad. This was on offer when we last visited, for about €3.30. A fine cheeseburger could also be prepared quickly with caramelized onion and beetroot chutney (€5). Breads and pasta are made in-house.
Two to four desserts are available at a time, such as apple crumble, raw plum cheesecake, zucchini and walnut cake, and chocolate date and cashew-nut pudding. It’s clear that the chef loves to play around with the ingredients, adding a touch of confusion with the combination of flavors.
But it’s all done in the homiest of ways. Kitchen is perfect for hanging out with friends and enjoying drinks and original food with an interactive approach.