El Gaucho Sano:(H-3) Pilies 10, tel. 210-7773. Open:12-02. Traditional Argentinean sausage, cajun rice, gazpacho and your choice of chicken, beef or fish with various sauces including chimichurri. Residents are grateful someone brought these exotic tastes to Lithuania, but the beef from Lithuania and local sauces are hardly the real deal. Expensive but fun.
Achtamar:(D-3) Konarskio 1, tel. 233-1344. Open:11-23. The shoddy state of this
odd little restaurant is eclipsed only by its reputation as one of the
best places for Georgian and other Caucasian dishes in the country.
They really know how to cook meat, and not knowing nouvelle cuisine from Pirosmani's elbow, the portions are always
Sorena:(C-4) Islandijos 4, tel. 262-7560 Open:11-23, Fri, Sat, Sun 11-24. Wonderful Azerbaijani cuisine in a laid back, slightly tongue-in-cheek atmosphere. Once again, the meat is cooked to perfection, coming in so many pungent combinations that you'll need to visit a few times to get the best from their menu.
Auksinis Feniksas:(B-3) Gedimino 64, tel. 249-6909. Open:11:30-23; Sun. 12-23. This tiny
hole serves the most expensive Chinese in town, and among the best.
Frequented by businessmen and politicians as it's across the street
from the parliament. It's a good idea to reserve one of the four upper
tables for some privacy as the lower tables running along the wall are
tiny. Hot favorites include spicy white mushroom soup, the Chinese
salad and the pork, bamboo and Xianggu mushrooms.
Ãˆili Kinija: ÃžirmÃ»nÃ¸ 68a, tel. 277-4111. Open:11-24. Fast, democratic and very good Chinese food. Also at Ozo 25 (inside Akropolis), tel. 238-7938. Open:10-24.
Les Amis:(J-3) SaviÃ¨iaus 9-1, tel. 212-3738. Open:10-23. By all accounts a much
welcome addition to Vilnius French restaurant scene, this
humble-looking bistro is full of culinary surprises all exquisitely
stage-managed by an extremely hands-on French owner. The current
favorite among the capital's French expat community, dip into anything
on the menu and feast with friends for the price of a poisson in Paree.
Le Paysage: 20 km from Vilnius on the A2, tel. 273-9600. Open:07-24. Off the Vilnius-Riga highway in the Le Meridien Villonhotel, a 20-minute drive from the city. Even if you are not staying at the hotel, this fine restaurant is worth a trip. French cuisine, a beautiful view of a lake and a birch forest, and waiters and waitresses who know how to take care of you.
S. Metaxa:(H-3) Pilies 5, tel. 652-00330. Open:09-03; Mon. 11-03. Notable not just for the authentic provisions on demand but also for the kind of location you'd sell your mother for, Vilnius' only central Greek taverna turns out to be better as a bar than a place to eat, but is still worth ordering some small tasty side dishes to go with your drinks. The small salon to the right offers the best views but you can end up being forgotten by the staff. You choose.
Sue's Indian Raja:(H-3) Ãv. Mykolo 4, tel. 260-9592. Open:12-23. Sat, Sun 12-24. Superb dining courtesy of one of Vilnius' more colorful characters, Wing Commander Rajinder Chaudhary (Indian Air Force, retired), who uses only the best, hand-picked Indian cooks to provide a range of delicious dishes to suit all tastes. Excellent value and mouth-wateringly good.
Brasserie Astorija: (J-3) DidÃ¾ioji 35/2, tel. 236-0840. Open:12-24. A better than average hotel restaurant that should be applauded for continually playing with the menu, Brasserie Astorijais best known and loved for its legendary Sunday Brunch, which as well as offering good value for money also attracts a fair proportion of Vilnius' expat elite.
Cozy:(I-2) DominikonÃ¸ 2, tel. 261-1137. Where the smart advertising
executives and better class of embassy hooligans go for its utterly
western look and feel and some good and extremely affordable food. This
is just what G-Lounge should be but isn't, and, accordingly, booking a
table in the evening is a wise precaution. It's also a nice place for
daytime coffee and a good book.
Ãˆingischanas:(C-3) BasanaviÃ¨iaus 8, tel. 212-1178. Open:11-24; Sat., Sun. 12-24. A
multitude of variations on the so-called Middle Asian theme, this
slightly clinical two-floor restaurant has enough pertinent
paraphernalia scattered around to keep you more than amused when
tucking into your Turp Gazak (a delicious radish salad with brynza
cheese) and plate of steaming mutant ravioliesque mantyin carrot sauce. The service isn't great, especially if they're
entertaining the local housing estate royalty who seem to like it here,
and although rich Slavic types do patronize the place from time to
time, the only bubbly hookahs here are the green ones used for smoking
by the bar.
Erotic CafÃ©: Rudininku str 14, tel: +370 5 2121349. Open: 17-24. Closed
Sun. This new cafÃ© is a wonderful place for foreigners and local
entertainment lovers. A place to be enjoyed by people in love, both male
and female groups participating in parties and for cheerful people with
a sense of humor. After entering the doors of "Erotic cafe" you will be
greeted by pretty topless waitresses dressed in only short skirts. The
girls are offering meals and drinks and every 20 minutes are dancing
topless for all the cafÃ© guests. www.eroticcafe.lt
Freskos:(J-3) DidÃ¾ioji 31, tel. 261-8133. Open:11-24. At this fine, thespian-themed restaurant, you savor painstakingly-prepared dishes in a delightful interior, which something of a cross between a Hungarian beer hall and backstage at a small Parisian theater. A cobalt-blue fresco in the middle room has been carefully restored and ornate, bejeweled costumes and colorful sketches donated by the National Opera grace the walls Main dishes ride out of the kitchen on a pair of Brobdingnagian plates, with meat and veggies separated.
Grasas:(J-2) Vokieciu 2, tel. 212-2031. Open:10-02, Fri, Sat 10-06. Ignore the daft-looking gnomes in the window and follow the steps down into one of the best-looking locations in Vilnius, where an extensive menu of local and international dishes entice. Truly a masterpiece of old meets new, Gras'asis highly recommended at least for the atmosphere, and can be treated as a bar as well as a restaurant by the way. Booking a table in the evening is a wise precaution.
Hazienda: (I-4) Maironio 13 (inside the Mabre Residence hotel), tel. 212-2087. Open:12-24. This German-run steakhouse is set in a simple but cozy vaulted room. Good atmosphere and tasty food, though a little pricey.
La Provence:(D-5) VokieÃ¨iÃ¸ 22, 261-6573. Open:11-24. Exquisite Mediterranean cuisine served in an atmosphere that combines elegance and rusticity to resemble the French countryside. Start with delicately seasoned salads, Gazpacho, or escargot. The sophisticated meat and fish entrees include rabbit balls in a mustard sauce, venison with spinach ravioli, Roebuck filet with cherry sauce and game pate, or Monkfish with ratatouille. The lime sorbet, served in a frozen lemon shell, might be the best desert in town.
Markus ir Ko:(I-2) Antokolskio 11, tel. 262-3185. Open:12-24. Has the feel of an upmarket college pub and has been the favored haunt of many visitors and residents for years. Essentially a better than average steak house, the menu does offer other international dishes as well.
Medininkai: (D-5) AuÃ°ros VartÃ¸ 8, next to Europa Imperialhotel; tel. 266-0771. Open:12-23. Having made the successful transition from traditional Lithuanian to something more international without losing too much of its Lithuanian-ness, this die-hard favorite cellar restaurant of the first order attracts a mixed crowd of diners from the older generation locals who've been eating here since Soviet times to romantic youngsters looking to impress. Ask for one of their big steaks and a bottle of red wine, but don't forget to leave some space for one of their special desserts.
Skonis ir Kvapas:(C-4) TrakÃ¸ 8, tel. 212-2803. Open:08:30-23; Sat., Sun. 09:30-23. Head under the arch and enter the threshold marked with Roman numerals. Inside, there are lovely tapestries, faded wall paintings and dainty Elizabethan furniture. The extravagantly framed classical paintings, while hardly Caravaggio, do add to the scene. The music here is easy listening, the choice of tasty coffee is extensive, and there are also 30 types of tea. Portions of food are small but good. the beef with plums is just as good as every irresistible dessert here. Needless to say, the place is packed to the rafters with women.
Tores:(C-5) UÃ¾upio 40, tel. 262-9309. Open:11-24. It's a wine cellar, gallery and restaurant with a view. This is the place to take a break if you are touring around Vilnius' Bohemian neighborhood, UÃ¾upis. It's also one of hottest places to convene for after work drinks and new-style Lithuanian food. The underground cellar feels like a mazey cave but is brightened with tropical fish tanks and surreal, Dali-like art. Alternatively hang out in the large bar at the back overlooking Old Town. The choice is yours.
Da Antonio I:(C-4) Vilniaus 23, tel. 262-0109. Open:11-23. There are over 30
varieties of pizza to choose from here. Service here is quick and
friendly, but it's the overall ambience of the place that should keep
Da Antonio in the money. Two artistically decapitated Corinthian
columns mark the doorway, and the high, off-white walls are modestly
decorated with Roman trimmings. The plush booths are also cozy without
Da Antonio Trattoria:(C-5) Pilies 20, tel. 261-8341. Open:09-24. A proletariat- friendly bistro with an earthy atmosphere complete with the prerequisite checkered table cloths and Chianti bottles. It works well, even though the menu is limited.
Rossini: (G-2) L. Stuokos-GuceviÃ¨iaus 3, tel. 210-7466. Open:11-24. A good Italian restaurant inside the Citypark hotel. Perfect location with a splendid view of the Cathedral. www.citypark.lt
Sorrento:(C-4) Pylimo 21, tel. 264-4737. Open:07-23; Sun. 12-23. A bit of an anomaly when it arrived, this place has surpassed all expectations, and despite being located next to a busy bus stop remains calm and collected. Very popular with groups and Italians.
St. Valentino:(I-1) TrakÃ¸ 18, tel. 231-4198. Open:07:30-23. Relaxed atmosphere, with a TV over the bar and further seating down a corridor. Pizza and some other Italian dishes. Banquet rooms.
Kabuki:(I-3) DidÃ¾ioji 28, tel. 260-9020. Open:12-24. A good Japanese
restaurant that's kept up its standards and much favored by the local
BMW-driving Bling When You're Winning set and their lady friends, not
least because, for Vilnius at least, the place is damned expensive. One
of the best sushi options in the city, meaning booking ahead is more
than advisable. A good choice if you don't want to stuff yourself silly
before visiting the equally bling club in the same building.
Tokyo:(B-4) Vienuolio 4, tel. (700) 55-599. Open:12-24; Fri., Sat. 12-01. The only Japanese chefs in Vilnius don't disappoint in this brilliant restaurant, and if you can't stomach Maki Sushi then the noodle dishes are some of the best outside the city the place was named after. Try the excellent Tempura Udon or if you're not feeling so flush go for the business lunch. For 6 Lt extra you can have it brought to your door too.
Ãˆili Kaimas:(J-2) VokieÃ¨iÃ¸ 8, tel. 231-2536. Open:10-24. Fri, Sat 10-02. The
extremely successful Lithuanian restaurant chain's latest spin-off
focuses on traditional dishes in a fun atmosphere for good prices. Too
Disney for some, but recommended all the same. Also at (B-5) ÃžirmunÃ¸ 2
(inside IKI Minskas), tel. 273-5473; and UkmergÃ«s 282 (inside Maxima),
tel. 238-8384. Open:10-24.
Stikliai AludÃ«:(I-2) Gaono 7, tel. 262-4501. Open:11-24. The food is expensive but very tasty, from jacket potatoes to a great goulash. There is frequently live Lithuanian folk music in the beer hall, and, be warned, the performers sometimes ask customers to join in. The wine cellar downstairs is quaint and quieter.
ÃžemaiÃ¨iÃ¸ SmuklÃ«:(J-2) VokieÃ¨iÃ¸ 24, tel. 261-6573. Open:11-24. A superb selection of Samogitian and other Lithuanian specialties. People in the know say it is the place to try cepelinai for the first time. A half portion will probably do though. Diners can choose from one of the myriad of traditionally decorated cellar rooms or sit upstairs in the bar. Local beer is served in clay jugs and there is an extensive and well considered wine list. The game menu is excellent.
Ãˆagino:(C-3) BasanaviÃ¨iaus 11, tel. 261-5555. Open:12-24. Authentic Russian
cuisine amidst photos of historic Vilnius. The old-world cellar
atmosphere clashes nicely with the posh decor. Named after a
19th-century Russian architect who moved to Vilnius and built various
St. Peterburgas:(A-6) Antakalnio 39, tel. 234-6650. Open:11-21, Sat., Sun. 12-21. Don't let the absence of an English menu put you off, make sure you come on a Friday or Saturday evening (booking a table is recommended) and you'll be more than happy you did. What most of us only do at weddings many Russians do whenever they can, which in this case comprises of eating lots, drinking even more, and then dancing the night away, preferably in pairs, to the sound of a live cabaret act. A refreshing break from the pretensions of Old Town, St. Peterburgasoffers plenty of cheese and an enormous amount of fun. Highly recommended, especially for a group looking to celebrate in a unique and unforgettable environment.
Helios Steakhouse:(J-3) DidÃ¾ioji 28, tel. 260-9009. Open:08-24. Sat, Sun 12-24. Damn fine steaks and other quality international dishes in a professional setting, popular with locals and expats alike, Helios offers daytime and evening menus to suit all tastes and tastebuds. The food really is very good indeed, and includes some fine fish dishes as well. Book a table in the evening to avoid disappointment. www.steakhouse.lt
Ukrainos Vakarai:(C-4) Algirdo 5, tel. 265-0302. Open:11-22; Sat.-Sun. 11-24. Ukrainian food that consists of various stews, roasts and other combinations of heavy meats and potatoes. This traditional restaurant offers Ukrainian borsch (with garlic and cabbage, tasty dumplings and a delicious Ukrainian vodka called Nemiroff, which is made from peppers and honey). They play Ukrainian music.
Balti Drambliai:(C-4) Vilniaus 41, tel. 262-0875, edge of the Old Town. Open:11-24; Sat., Sun. 12-24. White Elephants, as you'd expect, is decorated with elephant parts; a trunk and tusks hang above the bar. This place is endeavoring to be fashionable but not quite hitting the nail on the head; it has a bit of a musty, cellar feel to it. The food is above average, though, and it's also relatively cheap, hence its popularity with area students. Fill up on potato pancakes with your choice of curd, cranberry and horseradish sauces.
Ãˆili Pica:Lithuania's hugely successful pizza chain sells good pizza and other
dishes at good prices in a number of locations throughout the city.
(C-4) Gedimino 23, tel. 261-9071; (D-4) Mindaugo 11, tel. 213-3388;
(A-6) ÃžirmÃ»nÃ¸ 64, tel. 278-8628; Ozo 25 (Akropolis), tel. 238-7927;
(D-4) Ãopeno 1/17, tel. 210-5237; (C-3) Jasinskio 16, tel. 278-6228;
(I-3) DidÃ¾ioji 5, tel. 231-2462. Delivery: tel. 233-3555. www.cili.lt
Ãˆili Kinija: tel. 277-8899. Chinese food.
Fortas: tel. 212-2000. Good pizza.
Rytu Perlas: tel. 212-1473. Excellent and reasonably priced Chinese food.