Printed from: http://bestriga.com/en/page/expanded/type/places/object/729
2022-08-18 23:58:26

Art & Shok

DINING -> Restaurants
By Howard Jarvis. 16.04.2014

Lāčplēša 14 , Riga Mobile: 2838 7572
Web: www.artishok.eu
Skype: 3
Working hours: Mon-Fri 11.00 - 23.00
Sat-Sun 11.00 - 24.00

This friendly new Italian restaurant was the location for one of the most enjoyable dining experiences we’ve had this year. This friendly new Italian restaurant set within one of Riga’s many gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings, about 10 minutes’ walk from the Old Town, was the location for one of the most enjoyable dining experiences we’ve had this year.

First off – what’s with the name? “And” in Russian as well as a number of other languages is a short “i”, while the word “artichoke” in Russian is pronounced “art i shok”. Art & Shok kind of brings the two together. So be rest assured, there are no unpleasant “shocks” at Art & Shok – only great Italian food, authentic pizza and a welcoming atmosphere.

The 40-seat ristorante is located on busy Lāčplēša Street, close to even busier Brīvības, but inside it’s a picture of serenity. As you walk in baskets of homemade pasta and bread and shelves of Italian cookbooks, citrus fruit and, naturally, preserved artichokes hint at the authenticity to come.

Glasses and cutlery atop checkered tablecloths glint in the natural light, or in the evening reflect candles and flames from the fireplace. Armchair-and-sofa seating underlines the relaxed ambiance. A room at the back can be curtained off for private gatherings. Slow-moving Italian pop and black-and-white photos of Rome add to the atmosphere.

The experienced Italian chef who owns it also has interests in around 30 successful restaurants in Moscow. This is his first venture outside that city, and his aim is to serve genuine Italian food. To assist is a colorful igloo-shaped pizza oven made of stone by the bar. We tested it out, and loved the results.

This is not crowd-pleasing fast food from the street corner. Here, the thickness of the crust varies according to the pizza, but typically it’s wafer-thin and crunchy, emphasizing the combined tastes of the juicy ingredients on top. Prices are surprisingly reasonable, regardless of the 25% discount on all dishes each weekday between noon and 3pm.

We loved the pizza with salami and marinated artichokes (€8.50) and the pizza with gorgonzola and pear (€5). The salami was handcrafted, cured, and full of taste and aroma. And the pear pizza, placed mid-table on a metal stand so everyone could grab a slice, was subtly sweet, crispy and unforgettably creamy.

We can’t wait to return to try more from the menu. Pizzas range from carciofi (€17), which really stresses the artichokes, to dolce (€12), with four kinds of fresh berries, to a “grand assortment” of nine kinds (€21). Tagliolini al tartufo (€13.50) is an experience involving pasta stirred inside a massive parmesan together with lit-up cognac. Devil’s chicken (€17) is a whole juicy bird oven-baked with gentle spicy peppers emerging deliciously crispy and herby. OK, so we’ll be back there tomorrow.