Estonian Cuisine

Estonia offers an interesting variety of cuisine. Below you will find out what culinary delights to expect on your plate in Estonia.

Estonia’s economic growth of recent years has brought with it many international restaurateurs, especially to Tallinn Old Town where there are literally dozens of Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai and other restaurants. The influence from Russia (and its former republics) is mostly seen in the shaslõk or kebab restaurants. Traditional wood-fired barbeques roast the pork skewer to a delicacy.

Tallinn’s most famous restaurant, offering traditional Estonian food in an authentic, medieval atmosphere is the “Olde Hansa” restaurant in the centre of the Old Town. Global fast food chains such as McDonalds and the Finnish “Hessburger” are also on the increase.

The Estonian traditional kitchen originates in the countryside and consists mainly of potatoes, pork and garden vegetables. Cuisine is strongly influenced by Germany and Russia due to their past lengthy occupations of Estonia.

Typical foods

Leib - or black bread. Leib is almost taken on a sacred quality. It’s so prized; some Estonians refer to meat as simply “something to go with the bread.” One Estonian version of ‘bon appetit’ is ‘jätku leiba’, which literally means “may your bread last.”

Kartulid - or potatoes, were introduced here in the 1700s. They’re now part and parcel of virtually all genuine Estonian meals. They come either boiled or oven roasted.

Kotlet - hamburger with onions

Verivorst - blood sausage

Sült - jellied meat, similar to the Scottish haggis

Kohupiim - cottage cheese-style dairy product, often used in cakes and pastries

Kringel - a sweet, German-style bread, knotted and sprinkled with nuts and raisins, standard at Estonian birthdays.

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