With a thriving and exciting culinary scene, MICHELIN has announced the first guide to Estonia, making it the first Baltic country to receive this recognition. Here we cover some of the best restaurants in Estonia.
Located in the Gulf of Finland, in the heart of the Baltic region, Estonia connects the cultural dots between Scandinavia, Central Europe and Eastern Europe. Estonia’s UNESCO World Heritage capital Tallinn – which boasts one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe – along with its forests and marshes that cover three-quarters of the country and its 2,222 islands, 3,800 kilometres of coastline and numerous lakes, together offer a tremendous amount of charm and history and have helped to shape an effervescent and deliciously creative culinary scene. The quest for variety, artisan products, and local ingredients also strongly influences the Estonian kitchen and its ambitious young chefs.
The inaugural MICHELIN Guide Estonia 2022 was launched last month. It features 31 restaurants spread across the country, from Tallinn to Tartu, and includes two restaurants honoured with One Michelin Star, five restaurants awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, and two restaurants highlighted with a Michelin Green Star for sustainability.
Michelin Stars Restaurants in Estonia
Two of the best restaurants in Estonia have been awarded a prestigious Michelin Star for their outstanding cuisine.
NOA CHEF’S HALL: Backdropped by stunning views of Tallinn Bay and the Gulf of Finland, this exceptional restaurant in Tallinn is set within a striking, modern building that also houses the NOA restaurant. Constructed from wood and with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the beautiful dining space boasts stunning sea views and the most perfect sunset to watch while dining. The open-plan kitchen adds to the atmosphere and visual intrigue.
Chefs Tõnis Siigur and Roman Sidorov have turned to the past to take their menu forward. Expect cutting-edge food rooted in local heritage using ancient techniques and locally sourced ingredients. Inventive and mind-blowingly delicious, the culinary creations are being crafted into theatrical showstoppers. The concept for the menu was born out of smoke and fire, two elements that provide the chefs with seemingly endless inspiration. The exciting tasting menu features complex, highly original dishes packed full of complementary flavours and layers of texture. Doused in rendered pork fat, beef and venison turn infinitely tender within seconds. This is elevated dining at its finest.
180° BY MATTHIAS DIETHER: 180° is a fine dining restaurant located in the historical Port Noblessner, a waterfront area in Tallinn. The open-plan kitchen flanked by counters for diners in the centre of the stylish dining area is the heart of the room. The elegant white-tablecloth tables are positioned near large windows overlooking the sea. Dining here sets the stage for the celebration of artistry on a plate.
After finding inspiration in Estonia’s unique regional cuisine, the famous Berlin chef Matthias Diether moved to Tallinn. Chef Diether and his team creatively combine international influences with exceptional food quality and perfection of craftsmanship. Innovative techniques and the best produce from Estonia and the world celebrate the intensity of flavours, never forgetting its classical roots. Modern European cuisine is served with exquisite attention to detail and immaculate presentation. Diners can choose between two menus where ambitious, show-stopping masterpieces exhibit great attention to detail and display an array of contrasting flavours and textures. 180°always succeeds in surprising its guests with inspiring and sophisticated culinary creations. Eating here is truly a feast for the senses
Michelin Bib Gourmands Restaurants in Estonia
The Michelin Bib Gourmand award highlights good quality cooking at a great price. Five restaurants join the Estonia selection with this distinction.
FELLIN: A welcoming café-cum-bistro with a bohemian vibe, set on the edge of the Old Town of Viljandi. Traditional European dishes are brimming with freshness and flavour.
HÄRG: This buzzy, stylish all-day brasserie with stone walls and beautiful copper chandeliers serves reasonably priced modern dishes. The emphasis here is to cook on real fire as most dishes are cooked over hot charcoal, and some even inside the charcoal. One of the restaurant’s signatory dishes is the ‘dirty steak’, where the meat is cooked directly in the charcoal.
LORE BISTROO: This modern bistro sits a vast warehouse overlooking the harbour at Port Noblessner in Tallinn. Steel girders, hoists and concrete pillars provide the backdrop and an open kitchen adds to the buzz. The bistro offers a tempting and eclectic menu, featuring good old comfort-food classics with a new twist.
MANTEL JA KORSTEN: A clapboard house in Tallinn with a picture-postcard look and vibrant furnishings. The Mediterranean-inspired cuisine is accompanied by organic, biodynamic wines.
NOA: Fresh fish takes centre stage at this cosy restaurant in Tallinn, where full-length windows offer stunning views over the city and the sea.
Michelin Green Stars Restaurants in Estonia
The Michelin Green Star recognises restaurants that are at the forefront of the industry in terms of sustainable practices. The awarded restaurants demonstrate a clear and ongoing commitment to high ethical and environmental standards and work with sustainable producers and suppliers to eliminate waste and reduce non-recyclable materials from their supply chain.
Offering dining experiences that combine culinary brilliance with remarkable environmental initiatives, these restaurants are a source of inspiration for both serious foodies and the hospitality industry in general.
Two Estonian restaurants have been awarded Michelin Green Stars for 2022: Fotografiska in Tallinn and Põhjaka Manor in Mäeküla both receive the award.
FOTOGRAFISKA: Above the Fotografiska photo gallery sits a restaurant with picture-perfect views across the Old Town. Showcasing organic, sustainably farmed ingredients at their best, the Nordic dishes are assured, well-balanced and burst with freshness.
Fotografiska uses creative cooking methods, wastes no raw materials and has a zero-waste approach. Everything, from flower to root or nose to tail, finds a use – in the kitchen as well as in the bar. The restaurant grows herbs and keeps bees in its rooftop garden. The minimal food scraps generated in the restaurant are put into the compost bin and transformed into compost within 24 hours. This, in turn, circulates back to the fields and allotments.
PÕHJAKA MANOR: Surrounded by beautiful woodland, the early 19th-century manor house serves as a blank canvas for this wonderful restaurant. The daily changing, hyper-seasonal menu showcases fresh Estonian farm produce. Põhjaka Manor follows a farm-to-fork philosophy and has built strong relationships with local farmers. The restaurant grows herbs and vegetables, as well as flowers for the tables. It also forages for ingredients. Põhjaka Manor’s scraps feed its chickens, pigs, sheep and goats, or are turned into compost for the garden.
Because Estonia’s landscape is dominated by forests, many chefs are inspired by what grows and incorporate local produce into their menus. From July through October, the forests are brimming with mushrooms, nuts, herbs and berries, all found on menus across the country. A new generation of Estonian chefs is leading the way in the country’s burgeoning culinary scene, transforming the products gathered into an inventive and modern cuisine. They combine centuries-old techniques and traditional seasonal ingredients with contemporary European methods to create fusion cuisine spectacularly.