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2022-01-18 16:14:12

Alberta 1221

DINING -> Restaurants
By Howard Jarvis. 16.04.2013

Antonijas 13
(entrance from Alberta) , Riga Phone: 6733 6500
Skype: 1
Working hours: Mon-Sun 11.00 - 23.00

Small but elegant, a new restaurant has opened on Riga's most famous Art Nouveau street. But is it any good? Taking its name in part from Riga’s most famous street of Art Nouveau buildings – some renovated, some crumbling elegantly – and in part from the year the city’s merchant citizenry first adopted a constitution, Alberta 1221 has opened on the site of an earlier restaurant in time to cash in on the coming tourist season.

A pretty restaurant by the name of 1221 already serves up Latvian cuisine on Jauniela in the Old Town, and this version is ideally placed to cater to wanderers wanting to rest their craning necks and indulge in some upmarket Latvian dishes. But it has some work to do to match nearby competitors, such as the bright, airy and well-established Riviera around the corner.

The décor at Alberta 1221 by contrast is two-tone, all dark brown and cream. The heavy dark-wood furniture and elaborate lampshades dominate the splashes of beige in the immaculate tablecloths, chair seats and napkins. The owners have obviously invested to provide quality retro dishware and cutlery. Shelves showcase wines with multifarious labels.

We’d called in for lunch. After the suave waiter welcomed us at the door, showed us to a table, and handed over the embossed leather-bound menu, we ordered soup.

What arrived was a wide bowl of warming, deeply savory, healthy, filling sauerkraut soup with pork pieces and barley (€5.50). Complimentary to the dish was the ideal accompaniment – a thin pancake folded and flecked with herbs and a little pot of sour cream.

Suitably revived, we briefly considered ordering something else. Venison steak with potato, chestnut and truffle-oil puree, seabuckthorn sauce and grapes boiled in red wine (€28) sounded mouthwatering, while other main dishes included oven-baked trout, catfish steak, pheasant, and “duck shin”. The sturgeon and salmon borsch is apparently made according to a recipe from the tsar’s court kitchen. But this was just a lunch stop – we promised ourselves we’d return soon to this aromatic corner of the Art Nouveau world.