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October - November 2014

Maps Events Restaurants Cafés Nightlife Sightseeing Shopping Hotels
Discover Riga’s best
wooden architecture
Riga 2014
The Culture Capital’s
best autumn events
October - November 2014 5
Foreword 8
Gossip and rants from the editor
Arrival & Getting Around 9
How to get to your hotel
Riga Basics 14
Getting to grips with Riga
Culture & Events 16
Concerts, festivals and events
Restaurants & Cafés 24
From pork knuckle to sushi
Nightlife 46
Bars, pubs and clubs
Sightseeing 54
Museums, churches and the like
Shopping 62
Boutiques, souvenir shops and shopping centres
Sports & Leisure 68
Bowling alleys, swimming pools and much more
Health & Lifestyle 70
Spas, doctors and other useful information
Hotels 72
Beds for backpackers and business executives
List of small features
Latvian cuisine 42
Our favourites 51
Canal boats 54
The Age of Amber 56
Latvia’s Constructivist 56
Staro Rīga Light Festival 58
In Search of Future Art 59
The Book 1514 - 2014 60
French icon Orlan 60
KGB building 61
Kalnciema Fair 62
What to buy in Latvia 66
Food & Curio bazaar 67
Hockey: Dynamo Riga 68
Independence Day 70
Explore Latvia 71
Riga for kids 77
Maps & Index
Old Riga map 79
Riga city centre map 80
Venue index 82
Old Riga street register 82
Visit a typical late 19th-century blue-collar neighbourhood. Experi-
ence the Riga of the 1905 Revolution amid narrow cobble stone
streets and, in some instances, ornately decorated wooden houses.
Read more on p.15. Photo by M.Zaprauskis
Although Riga’s year as Culture Capital of Europe is winding down,
there are still plenty of events and exhibitions to see and experience
in October and November. Read all about them in the Sightseeing
chapter of the guide on p.54 - 61.
8 Riga In Your Pocket
Autumn will kick off with a bang in Riga as parliamentary
elections will take place on October 4, but the circus sur-
rounding the event will hardly affect your trip to the Latvian
capital. Thankfully, Riga is still the Culture Capital of Europe
for another few months, so there are still loads of things to
do here. Take in one of dozens of special exhibitions by local
and international artists at Riga’s museums and galleries or
plan accordingly and visit when the city will literally shine
at the Staro Rīga Light Festival in mid- November. You can
also do as the Latvians do and attend a Dynamo Riga ice
hockey game at Arena Riga, which is part gladiatorial spec-
tacle and part fraternity beer bash. After you’ve seen Old
Riga’s medieval structures and the city centre’s art nouveau
edifices, we urge you to visit the quiet neighbourhood of
Grīziņkalns for outstanding 19th-century wooden architec-
ture (see p.15). The darkness and the chill are fast approach-
ing, so enjoy the last rays of sunshine in the city while you
can with Riga In Your Pocket.
This issue’s cover photo was
taken just opposite Bastion Hill,
a manmade pile of debris from
Riga’s old city walls that was
fashioned into a wonderful park
in the 19th century. Today it’s the
perfect place for a casual stroll
surrounded by fall foliage and
picturesque vistas on all sides.
Take the pedestrian bridge across
the canal to enter Old Riga. Naturally, the statue of the
three naked dancers is also worth a look.
©SIA “Latvijas ceļveži”
Laipu 8 - 9a, LV-1050 Riga, Latvia
ISSN 1407-2335
Company Office & Accounts
Tel. (+371) 67 22 05 80,,
Riga In Your Pocket is printed by Microdot six times per year
Editor Mārtiņš Zaprauskis
Layout & Design Mārtiņš Zaprauskis
Photography Mārtiņš Zaprauskis, unless otherwise noted.
Events and culture photos courtesy of various media groups
and concert organisers.
Cover Mārtiņš Zaprauskis
Sales & Circulation
Ģirts Upenieks, tel. (+371) 67 22 05 80,
Copyright notice
Text and photos copyright SIA “Latvijas ceļveži”. Maps copyright
SIA “Karšu izdevniecība Jāņa sēta”. All rights reserved. No part of
this publication may be reproduced in any form, except brief
extracts for the purpose of review, without written permission
from the publisher and copyright owner. The brand name In
Your Pocket is used under license from UAB In Your Pocket (Ber-
nardinu 9-4, Vilnius, Lithuania tel. (+370-5) 212 29 76).
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October - November 2014 9
Arriving & Getting Around
The Live Riga information centre offers a wide range
of information in a variety of languages. The friendly
staff can assist with hotel bookings, tours and other
useful services. QI-2, Rātslaukums 6, tel. (+371) 67
03 79 00,, Open
10:00 - 18:00. Also at H-2, Kaļķu 16, tel. (+371) 67
22 74 44; J-3, Prāgas 1 (Bus station), (+371) 67 22
05 55. A
Arriving in Riga is fairly simple these days. The bus and train
stations are located right on the edge of Old Riga and the
airport is only a short cab or bus ride away. Money can be
changed wherever you land, but rates at banks and ex-
change booths will no doubt be better in Old Riga and the
city centre.
The first thing you’ll notice upon arrival at the bus terminal
or autoosta (open 05:00 - 24:00) are the impressive han-
gars of the Central Market to your right. Inside, LuxExpress
and Ecolines offices are located to your left as well as an
ATM, baggage room (€0.60 for the first hour, €0.30 each
additional hour) and toilets for €0.30 (ask for paper). To
your right is the waiting room. A bar/cafeteria and a baby-
changing station are available upstairs. At the far end of
the hall is a bus information centre (open 08:00 - 21:00),
currency exchange and pharmacy. Outside you’ll find a
ticket machine where you can buy public transport tickets.
Getting to town: trams N°7 or 9 stop in front of the bus
station; ride it one stop into the centre (buy a €1.20 ticket
from the driver or a much cheaper €0.60 ticket at the Nar-
vesen newsstand outside). To get there on foot, turn left,
walk through the underpass and follow the signs ‘Vecrīga-
Vaļņu iela’ into Old Riga. The cabs outside are notoriously
dodgy, so either order a taxi by phone (see p.15) or use
public transport. QJ-3, Prāgas 1,
Latvia is part of the Schengen zone of European nations
and no longer operates passport checkpoints on its land
borders with Estonia and Lithuania. Just drive across the
border. The Russian and Belarusian borders still require
time and patience. Happy trails! Q
The ferry terminal and yacht harbour lie less than 1km north
of Old Riga. A bank machine and café (09:00 - 18:30) are
available as well as a Tallink ticket office and a souvenir/al-
cohol shop. Getting to town: go right across the parking
lot in the direction of the ugly grey skyscraper. Old Riga is
just beyond it. Taxis are also available. QB-2, Eksporta 3a.
The airport (lidosta) is some 10km southwest of the Riga
city centre. Once you’ve got your bags and you’ve cleared
customs you can rent a car, change money, have a drink
at the Costa Coffee or visit the airport welcome centre in
the arrivals hall for information. A 24-hour baggage room
(€1.42/half day) is available as well as ATMs and a post of-
fice (open 08:30 - 13:00; 14:00 - 17:00; closed Sat, Sun). If
you’ve departed from a non-Schengen country such as
Ireland, the UK, the US or Uzbekistan, you will arrive in a
different terminal at the north end of the airport build-
ing. Car rental and currency exchange are available here,
but you might want to leave the terminal, make a right
and then enter the Schengen arrival hall as it offers more
services. Getting to town: A queue of eager taxis will be
waiting for you outside the arrivals hall. A typical ride to
Old Riga or the city centre should cost no more than €15.
The Airport Express shuttle stops at 10 different locations
throughout the city, including Old Riga, the bus station,
the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija and the Albert Hotel, for €5
every 30 minutes between 04:25 - 00:35. Bus N°22 (get
off at Grēcinieku iela for Old Riga or at Stockmann for the
city centre) costs €0.60 (€1.20 if you buy a ticket from the
driver) and departs for the city centre roughly every 10 -
20 minutes. Exit the airport arrivals hall and walk across
the parking lot to find the bus stop and ticket machine.
The train station (centrālā stacija) has a spacious central
hall and many shopping and eating options. International
trains arrive at platform 2. Follow signs down to the Cen-
tral Hall (Centrālā zāle), under which are renovated pay
toilets (€0.21 - ask for paper from the surly cashier) and a
baggage room (€0.71 - 2.13/day), open 04:30 - 24:00. Ex-
change money at the currency exchanges (valūtas maiņas)
in tunnels A and B, at the Citadele bank to the right of the
Central Hall when coming from the platforms, or at the
Swedbank to the left. There are several bank machines in
the terminal. The train information office is open 08:00 -
20:00. Getting to town: you are right beside Old Riga.
Turn left when leaving the station and head toward the
spire of St. Peter’s Church, then walk through the under-
pass and follow the signs ‘13. janvāra iela’ and turn right
onto Aspazijas bulvāris. QD-4, Stacijas laukums.
Tourists looking for a good deal can purchase the Riga
Card, which provides free use of public transport, free
admission or discounts at museums, specials on car
rental, discounts at restaurants, souvenir shops and
much more. The Riga Card also comes with a free copy
of Riga In Your Pocket and is available at major hotels,
tourist info centres, travel agencies and the airport.
Prices: €17/24hrs, €20/48hrs, €26/72hrs. Children un-
der 16 half price. RC establishments in this guide are
given the following symbol:
Q Riga Card Ofce, tel./fax (+371) 67 21 72 17, info@,
10 Riga In Your Pocket
Arriving & Getting Around
Looking for cheap flights in Europe? Need to know how
much a tram or trolleybus costs? Want to know what time a
bus leaves for Tallinn or when to catch an overnight train to
St. Petersburg? Read on.
Riga International Airport, known throughout the world as
RIX, lies some 10km southwest of the city. The Airport Ex-
press shuttle stops at 10 different hotels (including Radis-
son Blu Hotel Latvija, Albert Hotel and Monika Centrum
Hotel) in the city centre and the left bank of the river (Is-
lande Hotel and Maritim) every 30 minutes between 04:25
- 00:35. The trip costs €5. Bus N°22 leaving from Grēcinieku
iela will take you there for €0.60 (€1.20 if you buy a ticket
from the driver). For departure times visit www.rigassa-
The airport has undergone major improvements over
the years including a new terminal for low cost airlines. A
TGIFriday’s is available at the far right of the airport and a
LIDO Latvian restaurant is open on the top floor of the main
terminal for those who want a last sip of a local beer or
who just can’t stand airplane food. A sushi restaurant, a piz-
zeria and some local cafés are available on the other side of
the security checkpoint as well as a variety of duty free and
paid shops, including Victoria’s Secret and Furla. For more
information visit its comprehensive website.Qtel. (+371)
1817 (toll call)/(+371) 29 31 18 17 (toll call from abroad),
The Latvian national airline flies to dozens of destinations
throughout Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.QA-
irport, tel. (+371) 90 00 11 00 (toll call)/(+371) 67 00 60
06 (from abroad), Open 05:00 - 23:00.
Direct flights to Minsk.QAirport, tel. (+371) 67 32 03 14,
Direct flights to Helsinki.QAirport, tel. (+371) 67 20 70 10,
Direct flights to Warsaw.QAirport, tel. (+371) 67 20 71 13,
Direct flights to Frankfurt.QAirport, tel. (+371) 67 50 77
Norway’s low cost airline offers cheap direct flights to Oslo
and Trondheim as well as Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Europe’s leading budget airline now offers cheap direct
flights between Riga and Bremen, Dublin, Dusseldorf
(Weese), East Midlands (UK), Frankfurt (Hahn), Glasgow
(Prestwick), Leeds (Bradford), London (Stansted), Man-
chester, Milan (Bergamo) and Oslo (Rygge).Qwww.
*chargeable call
(+371) 29 311 817 calls from foreign countries,
October - November 2014 11
Arriving & Getting Around
Direct flights to Istanbul and Antalya.QG-3, Merķeļa 21,
tel. (+371) 67 35 94 44, Open
09:00 - 18:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Also at the airport, tel.
(+371) 67 21 00 94.
Direct flights to Moscow (Vnukovo) and Kyiv (Zhuljani).
Qtel. (+371) 67 30 30 77,,
Direct flights to New York (JFK) and Tashkent.QB-3, Eliza-
betes 11, tel. (+371) 67 32 45 63,
Open 09:00 - 18:00, Fri 09:00 - 17:00. Closed Sat, Sun.
Flights to and from Barcelona, Bergen, Dortmund, Eind-
hoven (the Netherlands), London (Luton), Oslo (Torp), Paris
Only €30 - 50/day and an English-speaking driver can also
be hired if you don’t feel like sitting at the wheel. It also
offers 24-hour reservation, unlimited mileage and free
delivery to any Riga address.Qtel. (+371) 29 58 04 48,, Open 24hrs.
This company specialises in Chrysler mini-vans with up to
nine seats, but it also offers cars , all of which can be de-
livered to any address in Riga. Rentals cost from as little as
€20/day and baby seats are free of charge. AutoRental also
offers guide/driver services if you don’t feel like taking the
wheel yourself.QĶeguma 4, tel. (+371) 20 01 51 87, info@, A
Avis rents all kinds of premium sedans including Audis,
Volkswagens, Opels and Toyotas as well as SUVs and mini-
vans.QRiga Airport, tel. (+371) 67 20 73 53,, Open 08:30 - 20:30, Sat 09:30 - 19:30, Sun
09:30 - 20:30. Also at I-2, 11. novembra krastmala 29,
tel. (+371) 67 22 58 76. Open 08:30 - 17:30. Closed Sat,
Sun. A
This car hire company specialises in Volvos including Volvo
S80s starting at as low as €27 per day. Free delivery to any
destination in Riga.Qtel. (+371) 29 53 10 44, fax (+371) 63
02 63 39, Open 24hrs. A
QH-2, Torņa 4 - IIIC - 102, tel. (+371) 67 22 26 37, www. Also at the airport, tel. (+371) 67 20 78 25.
Petrol stations with shops and toilets.QG-1, Eksporta 1c,
tel. (+371) 67 32 50 66, Open 24hrs. Also
at A-5, K.Valdemāra 104, tel. (+371) 67 36 08 13; A-6,
Brīvības 176a, tel. (+371) 67 31 69 48; D-5, Kurbada 8,
tel. (+371) 67 24 42 63. A
12 Riga In Your Pocket
Arriving & Getting Around
Dep. Arr. CITY Dep. Arr.
23:15 07:50 KALININGRAD** 22:30 07:15
13:00 16:50 KAUNAS** 15:05 18:50
18:00 23:45 KAUNAS** 05:30 11:45
22:25 07:20 MINSK** 22:30 07:14
19:15 10:15 MOSCOW** 20:00 09:45
09:00 11:35 PÄRNU* 08:50 11:25
16:00 18:25 PÄRNU* 17:50 20:25
18:30 21:05 PÄRNU* 18:55 21:25
08:00 10:30 PÄRNU** 09:50 12:25
14:15 16:50 PÄRNU** 18:20 21:00
08:40 20:15 ST. PETERSBURG* 11:55 21:35
18:45 06:15 ST. PETERSBURG* 21:40 07:00
09:15 21:00 ST. PETERSBURG** 06:45 17:55
17:00 06:00 ST. PETERSBURG** 10:00 21:00
20:00 07:00 ST. PETERSBURG** 20:30 06:00
22:00 09:00 ST. PETERSBURG** 22:30 10:45
09:00 13:25 TALLINN* 07:00 11:25
12:30 16:55 TALLINN* 08:30 12:55
16:00 20:25 TALLINN* 12:45 17:10
18:30 22:55 TALLINN* 16:00 20:25
02:30 06:50 TALLINN** 06:30 10:35
08:00 12:15 TALLINN** 08:00 12:25
09:15 13:35 TALLINN** 13:15 17:55
12:00 16:30 TALLINN** 16:15 21:00
17:00 21:20 TALLINN** 19:00 23:15
19:00 23:45 TALLINN** 22:00 02:20
08:40 12:35 TARTU* 06:20 10:15
19:00 22:55 TARTU** 06:30 10:30
22:00 01:35 TARTU** 02:10 06:00
07:00 10:55 VILNIUS* 08:00 12:15
10:35 15:00 VILNIUS* 12:30 17:00
12:30 17:00 VILNIUS* 16:10 20:30
18:15 22:15 VILNIUS* 18:30 22:25
02:30 06:50 VILNIUS** 03:20 07:15
07:30 11:15 VILNIUS** 07:30 11:45
09:00 13:00 VILNIUS** 12:00 15:45
11:00 15:05 VILNIUS** 14:45 18:45
18:00 22:05 VILNIUS** 18:00 21:55
* Lux Express ** ECOLINES
Local buses depart frequently to cities throughout
Latvia ( Schedule subject to change.
If you’re travelling to Riga with Tallink from Stockholm then
you’ll arrive here.QB-3, Eksporta 3a, tel. (+371) 67 32 62
Regular passenger and cargo ferries from Ventspils and
Liepāja to Travemünde, Germany and from Ventspils to
Nynäshamn, Sweden (60km from Stockholm).Qtel. (+371)
67 79 69 00,
Tallink Silja Line provides regular ferry service between
Riga and Stockholm with two modern ships.QB-2,
Eksporta 3a, tel. (+371) 67 09 97 00, www.tallinksilja.
com. Open 09:00 - 19:00. Also at D-4, Stacijas laukums
2 (Train station - Tunnel A). Open 09:00 - 21:00. A
The bus station is open from 05:00 - 24:00. For information
try the info centre (08:00 - 21:00) . Riga is linked to major
European cities in the East and West. The bus is quicker
and cheaper than the train but they often fill up quickly,
especially during the summer. Ticket counters 1 - 9 sell
tickets to all local destinations. For buses to Kyiv, Moscow
and Western Europe visit the international ticket office or
starptautiskā kase next to the waiting room or contact the
following that also have offices on the ground floor:QJ-3,
Prāgas 1, tel. (+371) 90 00 00 09,
As its name suggests, this company has been providing
affordable bus service to hundreds of cities in 18 European
countries since 1993. You can purchase a ticket at its service
centres at the Riga Bus Terminal and in the city centre on
Čaka iela or save some time and receive a substantial dis-
count by ordering a ticket online at Most
buses offer free coffee or tea onboard as well as electrical
sockets for recharging devices and free wi-fi.QJ-3, Prāgas
1 (Bus station), tel. (+371) 67 21 45 12,
Open 07:00 - 21:00. Also at C-5, Čaka 45, tel. (+371) 67 27
44 44. Open 09:00 - 18:00. Closed Sat, Sun. AW
Try its luxury express buses to Tallinn and Vilnius that in-
clude free wi-fi, coffee and tea, toilet and a lounge in the
back of the bus. Also operate routes to other cities in the
Baltics, Poland and Russia.QJ-3, Prāgas 1 (Bus station),
tel. (+371) 67 78 13 50, Open
06:40 - 22:00. AW
A jolly, English-speaking Latvian man will drive you any-
where in Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia with a car or van for as
long as you like. Make your own itinerary and drive! Avail-
able day or night. Recommended.Qtel. (+371) 29 58 04
October - November 2014 13
Arriving & Getting Around
Riga has nine tram lines, 19 trol-
leybus routes and 52 bus routes
that operate from as early as
05:00 to as late as 01:00, de-
pending on the route. You can
buy €0.60 tickets at designated
Riga Transport (Rīgas Satiksme) ticket offices, at public
transport ticket machines or at Narvesen newsstands, post
offices and Rimi supermarkets. You can also buy a ticket
from the driver but it will cost you €1.20. Passengers have
a wide variety of ticket options including tickets for one
(€0.60), two (€1.20), four (€2.40), five (€3), 10 (€5.70) and 20
(€10.80) rides or tickets good for one (€2.50), three (€7) or
five (€8) days of travel.
The tickets are valid for trams, trolleybuses and city
buses. Press the ticket against the electronic ticket readers
on the bus or tram as soon as you board the vehicle. The
green light will flash and the display will show you how
many more rides are left on the card (e.g. Atlikums: 7).
You can also take a mikroautbuss or mikriņš, passenger
vans that list their destinations and route numbers on their
windscreens. They are a scourge to urban transit as they’ll
basically stop anywhere along their routes to pick up or
drop off passengers causing delays and traffic jams. Pay the
driver the fare, which varies depending on the route.
Read more about routes and exact departure times in
English on the Riga Transport Authority’s website www.
Run by the national airline airBaltic, this company is among
the most reliable in Riga.Qtel. (+371) 20 00 85 00, www. Open 24hrs. A
Most of its pink cabs are driven by female drivers.Qtel.
(+371) 27 80 09 00, Open 24hrs. A
Tickets for immediate departures have to be bought in
the main ticket hall on the right side of the main entrance,
counters N°1 to 13. Tickets for international trains are sold
at counters N°1 to 6. For overnight trips to Minsk or St.
Petersburg choose the more luxurious coupe, four-bunk
compartments or, on the train to Moscow, the first class
SV, two-bunk compartments, with video and on-board
service. Do not confuse perons (the platform) and ceļš (the
track). They are numbered separately in Latvia and can be
quite confusing. Pietur means stops and nepietur means
doesn’t stop, so if you see a train schedule with a list of
towns and cities in the margin, it is best to check whether
the train stops there or not.QD-4, Stacijas laukums, tel.
(+371) 1181. Open 05:00 - 24:00.
QD-4, Gogoļa 3, tel. (+371) 1181/(+371) 67 23 11 81
(from abroad),
14 Riga In Your Pocket
Riga Basics
For a while Latvia had the dubious honour of holding the
record for the world’s drunkest person. In the summer
of 2012, a vagrant was found unconscious by police and
rushed to hospital where his blood test revealed an as-
tounding 8.89 parts per mille of alcohol. Although we don’t
suggest you attempt to break any records, we do hope you
enjoy a local drink in moderation while in Riga. Užavas,
Lāčplesis, Tērvetes, Bauskas and Valmiermuižas are among
the nation’s best beers and the infamous Riga Black Balsam
is a potent liquor that Latvians enjoy inflicting on tourists.
Bars are open at all hours, but alcoholic beverages are only
sold in shops from 08:00 - 22:00.
Although Latvia was once an involuntary Soviet republic,
visitors should not come to Riga with high hopes of seeing
grand statues of Lenin and other objects from that bygone
era. Most of these monuments, which are viewed as sym-
bols of oppression by Latvians, have been removed. A red
granite monument, once dedicated to the Latvian riflemen
who protected Lenin after the Revolution of 1917, still ex-
ists on Strēlnieku laukums, but now honours all of the rifle-
men - Whites and Reds. Another monument, dedicated to
the Soviet ‘liberation’ of Riga, is located on the other side of
the Daugava. Hammers and sickles can also be seen on the
wrought iron fence on A-B dambis near the Radisson Blu
Daugava Hotel.
As of January 1, 2014, the Latvian national currency is the
euro. One euro contains 100 euro cents. There are 1, 2, 5,
10, 20 and 50 euro cent coins as well as 1 and 2 euro coins.
Banknotes are available with the following values: 5, 10, 20,
50, 100, 200 and 500. There are currency exchange booths
and ATMs everywhere. Most hotels, restaurants and shops
take credit and bank cards and we’ve marked the establish-
ments that accept them.
Nearly 800 years of foreign occupation by Germans, Poles,
Swedes and Russians haven’t given Latvians much cause
for celebration. There are, however, several national days of
remembrance that mark days of Latvian tragedies.
January 1 New Year’s Day (Jaungads)
April 3, 2015 Good Friday (Lielā piektdiena)
April 5, 2015 Easter Sunday (Lieldienas)
April 6, 2015 Easter Monday (Otrās Lieldienas)
May 1 Labour Day (Strādnieku diena)
May 4 Independence day in 1990
June 23 - 24 Midsummer’s Eve (Līgo & Jāņi)
November 18 Independence day in 1918
Dec 24 - 26 Christmas (Ziemassvētki)
Dec 31 New Year’s Eve (Vecgada vakars)
Send postcards, letters and packages, buy stamps and
public transport tickets or do what most locals do here
(hence the queues) and pay your utility bills. Take a num-
ber and have a seat.QH-3, Brīvības bulv. 32, tel. (+371) 67
50 28 15/(+371) 67 00 80 01, Open 07:30 -
19:00, Sat 09:00 - 15:00. Closed Sun. Also at D-4, Stacijas
laukums 2, tel. (+371) 67 07 39 00. Open 07:00 - 21:00,
Sat 09:00 - 20:00, Sun 10:00 - 20:00. A
Latvia has some of the world’s worst drivers. It’s not that
they can’t steer or press the break pedal, it’s most likely a
reckless streak that allows grown men and women to act
like children behind the wheel. Passing on blind curves is
shockingly common, BMWs often choose to ignore red
lights and pedestrians on crosswalks tend to become tar-
gets for wannabe F1 drivers in tricked out Mercedes jeeps. If
you enjoy operating an automobile while intoxicated, you
should bear in mind that all perpetrators, including foreign-
ers, face a mandatory ten-day jail sentence and a huge fine.
The speed limit is 50km/h in towns, 90km/h on the open
road and it is strictly enforced. Speed traps are prevalent
and bribes are not recommended. Traffic police regularly
check parked cars in Riga so make sure you’ve paid at one
of the automatic ticket machines on city streets and don’t
forget to place the receipt on your dashboard.
While most barss are happy to welcome tourists, there are
some rotten apples that want to steal your money. Strip
clubs, nightclubs and late night bars seem to be the big-
gest culprits often taking advantage of already inebriated
patrons. Be wary of young attractive girls on Līvu Square
asking you to join them for a drink in a nearby bar. You’ll be
shocked to discover later that the barely palatable bottle
of wine you bought them costs €700 or more. If you refuse
the bouncers will pummel you until you give them your PIN
code. Other scams include taking your credit card informa-
tion and buying stuff online or charging your card for much
more than you purchased. Avoid seedy bars and try to al-
ways pay in cash at nightclubs, even if they seem reputable.
Latvians love to smoke and until the mid-2000s you could
see them lighting up almost anywhere, from barstools to
hospital beds. However, smoking is now banned in most
public places including restaurants, clubs and government
buildings. The few establishments which have built com-
pletely separate smoking sections with proper ventilation
systems have been assigned a smoking symbol X in this
guide. The government has largely ignored the root causes
of smoking, but new taxes on cigarettes have brought the
price of a pack of Marlboros up to a little over €3.
October - November 2014 15
Typical street in Grīziņkalns with St. Paul’s in the background MZ
Visit a typical late 19th-century blue-collar neighbourhood.
Experience the Riga of the 1905 Revolution and of the
writer Aleksandrs Čaks amid narrow cobble stone streets
and, in some instances, ornately carved wooden houses. To
be on the safe side and to avoid unwanted attention we
recommend a visit during daylight hours.
Once called 1905 Revolution Park due to its perceived con-
nection to the failed uprising, this natural sand dune of-
ficially became a park in 1902 when a local beer magnate
built a restaurant, theatre and amusement park here. It
became particularly popular with the local factory work-
ers and their families who lived in the surrounding area.
Sadly, retreating Russian troops razed all of its buildings,
save one, in 1917, but the park was rebuilt in a different
style in the late 1920s only to be destroyed again during
WWII. The occupying Nazis even used part of the park as
a POW camp for Soviet troops and the Soviets later built
a top secret military bunker here. Today it’s a good place
for a walk and it’s also home to a skatepark and basketball
courts. A monument to 1905 revolutionaries can be found
at the corner of Pērnavas and Jāņa Asara streets.QB-6, Be-
tween Pērnavas, Ata and Jāņa Asara.
The Ghetto Family, a local group of youth culture and
sport activists, have created a safe environment in the
Grīziņkalns Park where inline skaters, skateboarders and
BMX riders can hone their craft for free on a number of dif-
ferent outdoor ramps and slides. Basketball courts are also
available.QB-6, Grīziņkalns Park (between Pērnavas,
Ata and Jāņa Asara),
Construction of St. Paul’s Church began in 1885 and when
its chief architect Gustav Hilbig died two years later his
son Hermann picked up the reigns and completed the
job. Designed in English neo-Gothic style, the impressive
building is still an eye-catcher today as it occupies a green
patch of land not far from the Grīziņkalns Park. Part of one
of the Soviet Union’s most celebrated spy thrillers, Seven-
teen Moments of Spring, was also filmed here in the early
1970s.QC-6, Deglava 1, tel. (+371) 67 29 56 89, www.
Two restored wooden buildings in the Grīziņkalns neigh-
bourhood make up the Wooden Riga restoration centre,
which is part community hub and part museum. Enter
the landscaped courtyard to visit the main hall, which
is also a conference room and exhibition hall that dis-
plays some excellent examples of wooden architecture
throughout Latvia via photos and artefacts including a
two-storey section of a wooden façade. Next door you’ll
find a number of apartments restored to how they would
have looked during the tsarist, Soviet and pre-WWII eras
of Latvian history. Guided tours can also be arranged if
you call ahead.QC-6, Krāsotāju 12, tel. (+371) 29 23 36
98, Open 10:00 - 16:00, Sat 10:00 -
15:00. Closed Sun.
Hemmed in by a number of streets including Riga’s
main artery Čaka iela, this park was created in the sec-
ond half of the 1930s. Several old buildings were de-
molished to make room for this 6.4h plot of land that is
now home to rows of linden trees, decorative hedges,
pedestrian walkways, a fountain, a playground and a
monument dedicated to writer Aleksandrs Čaks. Al-
though you’ll see plenty of mothers and grannies push-
ing prams here during the day, it’s probably not the
safest place to visit after dark.QC-5/6, Between Čaka,
Matīsa and Artilērijas.
Located opposite the Grīziņkalns skatepark and basketball
courts, the aptly named Ghetto Burger has a stylish inte-
rior that includes plenty of exposed brick, lots of potted
plants, jet black tables and chairs and a mural of a hip and
happy Jesus chowing down on a big burger. Half a dozen
tasty burgers can be had here for under €3, but we rec-
ommend you upgrade your sandwich with an extra meat
patty for a small fee. The joint is manned by youngsters,
so service is hit or miss, but the food is good and a daily
special is also available.QB-6, Pērnavas 42, tel. (+371) 20
20 44 64, Open 11:00 - 23:00.
(€3 - 4). SW
Although nowhere near the old town, if you’ve come to
the Grīziņkalns neighbourhood to check out its unique
19th-century wooden architecture, then this is the place
to have lunch or dinner. The Fire Fighter is dripping in au-
thentic antique fire-fighting equipment and memorabilia
from old black and white photos and axes to helmets and
even framed fire insurance policies from the 1930s. The
menu covers Latvian classics and international dishes for
fairly cheap prices. Old-fashioned service from a gregari-
ous bartender in a white shirt and black vest is part of the
experience.QC-6, Avotu 75 (entrance from Lienes), tel.
(+371) 67 31 47 67, Open 12:00 - 23:00.
Closed Sat, Sun. (3 - 6Ls). ADWRC
16 Riga In Your Pocket
Culture & Events
Date Time Event Venue
6 19:30
Trentemøller - Lost Tour
2014. Danish electronic
music. €32
7 21:00
Poino (UK) and Staer
(Norway). Noise rock, post
punk concert. €5
10 -
Skaņu mežs Festival for
Adventurous Music featur-
ing Marissa Nadler, Blixa
Bargeld, If Bwana, Ok-
kyung Lee, Innode, Insect
Ark, Xeno & Oaklander and
many more. €20 - 30
17 18:30
David Guetta World Tour.
€39 - 59
17 19:00
Jonathan Kreisberg Group
(USA). Contemorary jazz
and experimental music.
€5 - 25
17 19:00
The London Royal Phil-
harmonic Orchestra (UK)
and the Alexander Army
Choir & Orchestra (Russia)
perform the Beatles
17 22:00
DMX. The American rapper
live in Riga
19 19:00
The Parov Stellar Band
(Austria). DJ Marcus
Füreder and his group.
€35 - 50
21 20:00
Entomed AD and Grave.
Swedish death metal. €17
24 20:00
Latvian Blues Band and
29 19:30
Peruquois (Australia). The
new age diva live. €16 - 37
30 20:00
Skillet (USA). American
Christian rock. €32
1 18:00
Eivør Pálsdóttir (Faroe
Islands). Singer. €15 - 20
1 20:30
DakhaBrakha (Ukraine).
World music quartet.
€15 - 20
2 19:30
Kylie Minogue. Kiss Me
Once Tour
4 19:30 Lisa Stansfeld. €30 - 70 AR
Pop diva Kylie Minogue will perform at Arena Riga on November 2.
Photo courtesy of FBI -
Perhaps the best aspect of Riga’s cultural life is that world-
class performances are very affordable. Locals hold the op-
era and theatre in the highest esteem and make it a point
to attend often.
Forum Cinemas is the second largest cinema complex
in Northern Europe. 14 viewing halls with 3200 seats are
available to film-goers not to mention the largest movie
screen in the Baltic-Scandinavian region.QI-3, 13. janvāra
8, Open 10:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat
10:00 - 24:00. (€3 - 6). A
It often imports foreign DJs from around Europe and its
stage is also graced by local musicians, rappers and the
like.QC-4, Tērbatas 2, tel. (+371) 29 43 06 93, www. Open Thu, Fri, Sat 22:00 - 06:00.
An outdoor summer venue for concerts and events on the
top floor terrace of the Triangula Bastions shopping centre.
Q11. Novembra krastmala 17, tel. (+371) 26 04 51 21.
Underground club that’s a venue for indie, industrial and
experimental groups as wells as alternative, metal, punk,
ska and garage bands.QI-2, Vaļņu 32, tel. (+371) 67 22 01
This outdoor museum hosts a number of eventsthrough-
out the year. Take bus N°1 from the corner of Merķeļa and
Tērbatas to the Brīvdabas muzejs stop.QBrīvības gatve
440, tel. (+371) 67 99 45 15,
Open 10:00 - 17:00. LK
The new building of the Latvian National Library hosts a
number of exhibitions.QE-3, Mūkusalas 3,
The only club in Riga dedicated to heavy metal music is
located within the brick walls of an old factory next to
the VEF Bridge. Take tram N°6 from Barona to the VEF
stop.QBrīvības 193c, tel. (+371) 29 87 94 75, www.
October - November 2014 17
Culture & Events
5 19:00
Stefano Di Battista Jazz
Quartet (Italy). €7 - 50
5 19:00
Mega Disco featuring
London Beat. €15 - 50
7 20:00
The True Mayhem (Norway).
Black metal concert. €18
7 19:00
Astro'n'Out. Latvian pop/
rock band. €15 - 20
8 18:00
Catch-Pop String-Strong
(Austria). Classical, folk &
pop. €15 - 20
8 19:30
Prem Joshua & Band (In-
dia). World music. €15 - 20
Martin's Day folk celebra-
tions at the Ethnographic
9 19:00
Stanley Jordan (USA).
The electric-fusion guitar
legend in Riga. €15 - 30
10 19:30
Alessandro Safna. The
Italian tenor will perform
with members of the Lat-
vian National Symphony
Orchestra. €50 - 150
12 19:30
One Republic - Native
World Tour. €15 - 150
15 20:00
GusGus (Iceland). Alterna-
tive electronic music. €24
16 19:00
Iyeoka (USA). American-
Nigerian soul, jazz and
R&B singer. €15 - 30
18 18:00
Cirque Eloize (Canada).
Cirkopolis. €7 - 30
18 20:00
tUnE-yArDs (Merrill Gar-
bus). American singer and
percussionist. €15
23 19:00
Sarah Brightman and her
symphonic orchestra. The
pop-opera diva. €35 - 129
24 19:00
Fado singer Ana Moura
(Portugal) and her ensem-
ble. €10 - 100
27 20:00
SOHN (UK). The London-
based producer and musi-
cian live in Riga. €15
28 19:00
James Morrison. The
trumpetist and the Latvian
Radio Big Band. €5 - 30
20 Riga In Your Pocket
Culture & Events
Cirque Éloize of Canada will perform their renowned show Cirkopolis
at Arena Riga on November 18, so get ready for an evening of jug-
glers and acrobats. Photo courtesy of
More info at www.
Date Event Venue
The Book 1514 - 2014. An
exhibition of rare books
to illustrate the 500-year
development of the book
Gustvas Klucis. Anatomy
of an experiment. Latvia’s
best constructivist. On
display until October 26
In Search of Future Art.
Voldemārs Matvejs and
non-European (African,
Pacifc, North Asian) Art. On
display until October 26
The Age of Amber. Amber
in the minds of Latvians
for the past century. On
display until October 26
Potato Opera. The Latvian
National Theatre follows
the spud’s jouney from the
Americas to Europe from
October 24
Hyperbolic Planes and
Sustainability Networks.
Social-networking project
Mariss Jansons and the
Bavarian Radio Orchestra
French contemporary art
icon ORLAN. Plan du Film
and other scenarios
14 -
Staro Riga light festival -
This is a student favourite that regularly hosts ska, rock
and punk music concerts.QH-2, Z.A. Meierovica bulv. 12,
Built in 1888, the Riga Circus is one of the oldest institu-
tions of its kind in Europe and is the only permanent
circus in the Baltics. Both young and old are entertained
here year round with exciting shows that include world-
class performers from clowns, jugglers and magicians to
illusionists, acrobats and animal acts. See its website for
upcoming events.QC-4, Merķeļa 4, tel. (+371) 67 21 34
79, Box ofce open 10:00 - 19:00.
A venue for both sporting events like the Continental
Hockey League and large concerts. Performers have in-
cluded Placebo, Muse and the Sex Pistols.QA-4, Skanstes
21, tel. (+371) 67 38 82 00,
A former cinema is now a venue for Latvian concerts.QC-
4, Barona 31, tel. (+371) 67 96 98 54,
Home of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra.QH-2,
Amatu 6, tel. (+371) 67 22 48 50,
A large venue for trade fairs and concerts.QC-2, Ķīpsalas
8, tel. (+371) 67 06 50 00,
A former cinema has been converted into a concert hall
by the same people who organise the annual Positivus
Festival.QC-4/5, Marijas 21 (entrance from Pērses), tel.
(+371) 67 28 45 16,
The destination for world-class organ concerts. Tickets can
be purchased here at the ticket counter.QH-1, Doma lau-
kums 1, tel. (+371) 67 21 32 13,
This concert hall is located in the grand Soviet-style au-
ditorium of the Academy of Sciences building.QD-4,
Akadēmijas laukums 1,
A large venue for dance concerts, musicals, plays and of
course conferences.QF-2, Valdemāra 5, tel. (+371) 67 04
36 78,
Popular venue for small concerts and events.QH-2, Ama-
tu 3/5, tel. (+371) 67 22 37 72,
The national chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Riga performs
at this chic renovated warehouse behind the Central Mar-
ket.QD/E-4, Maskavas 4, korp. 2/3, tel. (+371) 67 21 50
This functioning 13th-century church also hosts concerts
now and again.QI-2, Skārņu 24, tel. (+371) 67 22 40 28,
October - November 2014 21
Culture & Events
Oct Tickets cost €4 - 40
Date Time Event Venue
1 19:00
Othello, ballet, music by
J.S.Bach, Iannis Xenakis
and Avet Terterian
2 19:00 Rigoletto, opera, Verdi OP
3 19:00
Three Meetings. Three of
Latvia's best composers
are interpreted by some of
the world's best choreog-
4 19:00 Nabucco, opera, Verdi OP
8 19:00
The Love for Three Or-
anges, opera, Prokofev
9 19:00 Messiah, ballet, Händel OP
10 19:00 Aida, opera, Verdi OP
11 19:00
The Fountain of Bakh-
chisaray, ballet, Asafev
12 15:00 Carmen, opera, Bizet OP
15 19:00 Rigoletto, opera, Verdi OP
24 19:00
Romeo and Juliet, ballet,
25 19:00
Romeo and Juliet, ballet,
26 15:00 Nabucco, opera, Verdi OP
29 19:00 Il Trovatore, opera, Verdi OP
30 19:00
Sleeping Beauty, ballet,
31 19:00
Lucia di Lammermoor,
opera, Donizetti
Nov OP
1 19:00
Three Meetings. Three of
Latvia's best composers are
interpreted by some of the
world's best choreographers
5 19:00
The Marriage of Figaro,
opera, Mozart
6 19:00
Romeo and Juliet, ballet,
8 19:00 La Traviata, opera, Verdi OP
9 15:00
La Bayadère, ballet,
12 19:00
The Barber of Seville,
opera, Rossini
13 19:00 Messiah, ballet, Händel OP
The LNO will perform Verdi’s timeless Rigoletto on October 1 & 15 and
November 25. Photo courtesy of the Latvian National Opera -
AEH - Arsenāls Exhibition Hall
AR - Arena Riga CF - Coyote Fly
DCH - Daugava Concert Hall DP - Depo
DMH - Daile Music Hall
EM - Ethnographic Museum GG - Great Guild
KH - Ķīpsala Hall LNL - National Library
LNT - National Theatre
MAD - Museum of Decorative Arts & Design
MP - Melnā Piektdiena OP - Opera
OPN - Opera New Hall PR - Palladium Riga
RB - Riga Bourse Art Museum
RC - Riga Cathedral
RCC - Riga Congress Center RCH - Riga Concert Hall
SG - Small Guild SJC - St. John’s Church
SK - Spīķeri Concert Hall
15 19:00
The Love for Three Or-
anges, opera, Prokofev
16 12:00
The Nutcracker, ballet,
16 18:00
The Nutcracker, ballet,
19 19:00
Romeo and Juliet, ballet,
20 19:00 Aida, opera, Verdi OP
21 19:00 Le Corsaire, ballet, Adam OP
22 19:00 Il Trovatore, opera, Verdi OP
23 12:00
The Nutcracker, ballet,
23 18:00
The Nutcracker, ballet,
25 19:00 Rigoletto, opera, Verdi OP
26 19:00
Swan Lake, ballet, Tchai-
30 12:00
The Sound of Music.
Classic musical for young
and old
22 Riga In Your Pocket
Culture & Events
Date Time Event Venue
3 19:00
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto
and Widmann’s Fantasie
with Jörg Widmann and
Sinfonietta Rīga. €7 - 25
3 19:00
Organ music concert.
Larisa Bulava (organ) and
Monta Martinsone (sopra-
no). Programme: J.S.Bach,
W.A.Mozart. €7 - 15
5 17:00
Music for Two Organ-
ists with Aigars and Ilze
Reinis. Programme: Kalējs,
G.F.Handel and Merkel
7 19:00
Ave Maria concert with
Olga Pyatigorskaya
(soprano) and Yev-
genija Lissitsina (organ).
Programme: J.S.Bach,
G.F.Händel. €7 - 15
8 19:00
Cello and Latvians with
Ēriks Kiršfelds (cello) and
Herta Hansena (piano).
Programme: M.Einfelde,
Ē.Ešenvalds & more. €10
10 19:00
Autumn Chamber Music
Festival. Stravinsky's The
Soldier’s Tale with the
soloist ensemble of Sinfo-
nietta Rīga. €10
10 19:00
Latvian National Sym-
phony Orchestra concert.
Programme: R.Wagner's
Overture from Die Meis-
tersinger von Nürnberg;
Beethoven's Sym. No. 5
11 19:00
Wine and Music: Spain.
Programme: Spanish wine
and Spanish music by Trio
Art-i-Shock. €21
15 19:00
A solo concert by pianist
Vestards Šimkus. Pro-
gramme: Rachmaninof
and Chopin. €10 - 40
16 19:00
The Latvian National Sym-
phony Orchestra performs
Gabriel Fauré, Claude
Bolling and more
18 19:00
The Latvian National Sym-
phony Orchestra performs
Igor Stravinky's Symphony
of Psalms
19 15:00
Richard Strauss - 150!
Strauss' piano quartet in A
minor as well as music by
his contemporaries
19 18:00
The Darmstädter Kan-
torei Choir (Germany).
Programme: J. S. Bach, P.
Vasks, A. Pärt and others
22 19:00
Tenso Days 2014 gala
concert with Ensemble
Musicatreize (France),
the Latvian Radio Choir,
Sinfonietta Rīga
23 19:00
The LNSO Chamber
Orchestra performs
Schubert, E.Schulhof and
M.Weinberg. €7 - 15
24 19:00
Stilo Fantastico. Edouard
Oganessian (organ,
France), Andres Uibo
(Estonia) and Aivars Kalējs.
Programme: J .S.Bach,
F.Liszts and A.Uibo. €7 - 15
25 19:00
Premiere of Cello Concerto
No. 2 by Pēteris Vasks with
Sola Gabeta (cello) and
Sinfonietta Rīga. €10 - 40
30 11:00
The Latvian National Sym-
phony Orchestra performs
Tchaikovsky's 4th
31 19:00
Latvian National
Symphony Orchestra
concert. Programme:
Ēriks Ešenvalds' Clouds;
Alexander Scriabin's Piano
Concerto; P.Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 4
Icelandic electronic act GusGus will perform at Palladium Riga on
November 15. Photo courtesy of L Tips Agency
October - November 2014 23
Culture & Events
7 19:00
The LNSO and Anton
Lyakhovsky (piano).
Programme: Andrzej
Panufnik's Tragic Overture;
W.Lutosławski's Concerto
for Orchestra; F.Chopin's
Piano Concerto No. 1
7 20:00
Symphonieorchester des
Bayerischen Rundfunks
will perform Dvořák's
Symphony No. 9 and
Shostakovich's Symphony
No. 5 in D minor
8 19:00
Prokofev violin concerto
and Leimane's chamber
symphony. Sinfonietta
Rīga. €7 - 15
10 19:00
Italian tenor Alessandro
Safna and musicians
from the Latvian National
Symphony Orchestra
14 19:00
Egīls Siliņš (bass-baritone)
will sing arias by Bellini,
Bizet, Donizetti, Verdi,
Wagner and others
14 19:00
The Poet and the
Mermaid. The LNSO and
the Latvija State Choir.
Programme: I. Kalniņš' The
Poet and the Mermaid
15 19:00
Nikolai Lugansky (piano,
Russia). Schubert & Tchai-
kovsky. €10 - 50
17 19:00
Latvian Landscapes. The
Riga Professional Sympho-
ny Band performs music
by Latvian composers
18 17:30
The Poet and the
Mermaid. The LNSO and
the Latvija State Choir.
Programme: I. Kalniņš’ The
Poet and the Mermaid
27 19:00
Another America. The
LNSO performs Samuel
Barber, George Crumb and
Heitor Villa-Lobos
30 15:00
Kristīne Gailīte (soprano)
will sing Latvian and
French songs by J. Kalniņš,
M.Ravel and C. Debussy
Italian tenor Alessandro Safina will perform with members of the
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra at the Opera on November
10. Photo courtesy of Makroconcert -
Under the umbrella of the Latvian National Museum of Art,
this exhibition hall specialises in local and international
contemporary art projects and events.QH-1, Torņa 1, tel.
(+371) 67 35 75 27, Open 12:00 - 18:00,
Thu 12:00 - 20:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon.
Admission: €3.56 (Thursdays €1.42).
This gallery displays works by contemporary and up-and-
coming local and international artists. See its website for
information on exhibitions.QD/E-4, Maskavas 12/1, tel.
(+371) 67 22 33 21, Open 12:00 - 18:00, Tue
12:00 - 20:00. Closed Mon.
It’s actually a museum but you can buy crafts from local
artists here.QI-2, Skārņu 10/20, tel. (+371) 67 22 78 33, Open 11:00 - 17:00, Wed 11:00 - 19:00.
Closed Mon.
A magnificent venue for opera, ballet and international
performing artists.QH-3, Aspazijas bulv. 3, tel. (+371) 67
07 37 77,
A beautiful building that is home to performances of tra-
ditional plays and musicals.QG-1, Kronvalda bulv. 2, tel.
(+371) 67 00 63 00,
You can buy tickets to major concerts by international stars
online or at one of its many outlets around Riga.QI-3, 13.
janvāra 8 (Stockmann - top foor),
Open 10:00 - 21:00. Also at Statoil petrol stations. A
24 Riga In Your Pocket
A Accepts credit cards P Air conditioning
O Casino I Fireplace
V Home delivery E Live music
J Old town location B Outside seating
X Smoking section S Takeaway
W Wifi Riga Card discounts RC
A thin-crust pizza, fresh sushi, a hearty pork knuckle or an
Armenian shashlik are never far from your fingertips in Riga.
The average cost of a main course is listed in parentheses.
The average Joe or Jānis may gripe about paying over €9
for a big burger, but it could also be argued that the large
portions more than justify the price. In any case, you can
enjoy big servings of steaks, ribs, nachos and a huge se-
lection of cocktails served by ultra-happy staff dressed in
ridiculous red and white striped outfits.QI-2, Kaļķu 6, tel.
(+371) 67 22 90 71, Open 12:00 - 24:00. .
(€10 - 20). AVS
This cavernous brick cellar is a maze of rooms and niches
decorated with traditional kilims hanging from the walls.
Huge servings of grilled lamb, beef, pork and even trout
are here in abundance as well as hearty soups and stews
and a great selection of wines and brandies from across
the Caucasus region. Beer lovers won’t be disappointed
either with local Tērvetes and Bauskas brews on draught.
A large smoking section is available.QD-4, Merķeļa 9,
tel. (+371) 67 21 50 32, Open 11:00 -
24:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 24:00. (€7 - 10). AEX
Going to this authentic restaurant is like visiting an Arme-
nian family for dinner, only you’re presented with a bill at
the end of the evening. In fact, the family who runs this
authentic restaurant fled earthquake-racked Armenia only
to open a little piece of their homeland in Riga. Feast on
mouth-watering grilled lamb, veal and pork shashliks and
a wide variety of other delicious cuisine from the Caucasus
Mountains. The aquamarine walls and fake plastic grape
vines of this former second floor apartment are an acquired
taste, but when your host mashes your baked vegetables
at your table, you’ll quickly forget about the Soviet-style
interior. When in the company of men, women are given
menus without prices.QB-5, Miera 15, tel. (+371) 67 37 34
45. Open 13:00 - 22:00. Closed Mon. (€8 - 14). AX
October - November 2014 25
Located on the 7th floor a popular shopping mall, this styl-
ish restaurant is a must see for hungry shoppers. You can or-
der a wide range of Asian cuisine from sushi and sashimi to
classic Chinese and Indian dishes that are listed on a menu
that’s as long as a novel. The quality of the food is excellent,
but in our opinion the serving sizes could be a bit bigger. No
matter. You can console yourself with a tasty cocktail or a
delicious Valmiermuiža draught.QC-4, Dzirnavu 67 (Galle-
ria Riga - 7th foor), tel. (+371) 67 28 84 20, www.ganbei.
lv. Open 10:00 - 23:00. (€7 - 12). AVS
After working for the popular Gan Bei chain of Asian res-
taurants in Riga for seven years Nepalese chef Bam Bhan-
dari decided to open his own restaurant specialising in
Chinese, Thai, Indian and Nepalese cuisine and we’re very
happy that he did. Unlike the aforementioned restaurant
that places a large emphasis on its modern interior, this
family-run eatery is a much simpler affair with standard
furniture and a few photos of Himalayan vistas. Here it’s
all about the delicious food, which is often quite spicy, and
the friendly service provided by the chef and his wife. Veg-
etarian dishes are also on offer as well as a cheap business
lunch from 12:00 - 17:00.QB-5, Brīvības 102, tel. (+371)
20 37 29 38, Open 10:00 -
21:00. Closed Sun. Also at C-4, Blaumaņa 14. Open 10:30
- 22:00, Sun 12:00 - 20:00. (€4 - 8). ASW
Parlez-vous cholesterol? Expat Bernard Larane’s French bak-
ery brings kilos of buttery pastries to Old Riga, including the
closest thing to a Parisian pain au chocolat this side of the
Baltic. Fresh bread, homemade pāté, quiches, strong coffee,
and fresh-squeezed orange juice also make this boulange-
rie a favourite retreat.QG-2, Z.A. Meierovica bulv. 8, tel.
(+371) 67 32 01 03, Open 07:00 - 22:00.
Also at C-4, Elizabetes 83/85 / Marijas 13 (Berga Bazārs).
Open 07:00 - 22:00, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 21:00; C-5, Barona
52 (entrance from Ģertrūdes). Open 07:00 - 22:00, Sun
09:00 - 20:00; C-5, Ģertrūdes 30, tel. (+371) 67 87 62 65.
Open 08:00 - 20:00. Closed Sun; B-4, Valdemāra 37. Open
07:00 - 21:00, Sun 09:00 - 19:00.
Although Riga has had its fair share of Turkish kebab shops
over the years, some more authentic than others, the city
has never had its own Turkish bakery – until now. Enjoy tra-
ditional varieties of baklava with pistachios, walnuts and
other tasty ingredients or savoury pastries with different
fillings from meat and mushrooms to spinach and cheese
created by a professional baker from Turkey. You can also
order plenty of coffee and tea in this charming, small space
decorated with bright walls and some exposed brick. Nat-
urally, you can order your Anatolian delicacies to take away.
QC-5, Ģertrūdes 37, Open 08:00 - 20:00,
Sat 10:00 - 20:00, Sun 11:00 - 18:00. AS
28 Riga In Your Pocket
Blaumana Str. 38/40, Riga
phone: +371 6777 05 73
We’ve been big fans of this casual, yet elegant restaurant
in the city centre for years. The main dining hall offers soft,
dark colours and much of the space is divided by stacks of
alder firewood, which is used to smoke many of its meat
and fish dishes. In fact, the delicious half chickens, pork
and beef ribs and other Charleston delicacies are smoked
for 4 - 14 hours in a specially-designed smoke room
downstairs. Naturally, seafood and a variety of vegetarian
dishes are also available for the non-carnivores among us.
Charlestons also has a great Sunday brunch from 11:00 -
15:00 that’s fun for the whole family.QC-4/5, Blaumaņa
38/40, tel. (+371) 67 77 05 73,
Open 10:00 - 23:00, Fri 10:00 - 24:00, Sat 12:00 - 23:00,
Sun 11:00 - 20:00. (€10 - 21). ASW
With a name like Ribs & Rock one might expect a southern-
style barbecue joint with wooden picnic tables and paper
placemats, but this is an upmarket affair more akin to an
elegant blues club than an American roadhouse. In any
event, if you like rock music and lots and lots of meat then
you’re in luck as burgers, steaks, roast beef sandwiches
and steak tartar are all on offer as well as some fish dishes
for fair weather vegetarians. A separate menu dedicated to
a variety of ribs is, however, its main attraction.QI-2, Kaļķu
8, tel. (+371) 28 65 04 50, Open
11:00 - 24:00. (€14 - 28). AE
Riga’s poshest vegetarian restaurant is hidden away in
the half cellar beneath the trendy Mai Tai club and cock-
tail lounge. You won’t find poor excuses for vegetarian
cuisine here like simple pastas or risotto. Buddha serves
refined dishes from around the globe with a heavy in-
fluence from India, Asia and the Middle East, hence the
depictions of Ganesha and Buddha at opposite ends of
the stylish black and gold dining hall. Order gourmet
falafel with couscous and tahini, malai kofta with rice or
the three-course lunch special, which is a bargain at just
under €8.QH-3, Raiņa bulvāris 15, tel. (+371) 26 64 22
55. Open 12:00 - 04:00. (€7 - 10). A
Although its slogan ‘coffee, bikes, food’ is certainly to the
point, it neglects to inform you that on weekdays MiiT
is also a vegetarian/vegan bistro that’s incredibly popu-
lar with local hipsters. Just under €5 will get you a tasty
soup and a main course, but you’ll have to pay extra for
the excellent coffee or a Valmiermuižas brew. The inte-
rior is simple, yet chic, and you can also have your bicycle
repaired downstairs.QB/C-4, Lāčplēša 10, tel. (+371) 29
17 88 57, Open 08:30 - 23:00, Mon 08:30
- 21:00, Thu 08:30 - 24:00, Fri 08:30 - 03:00, Sat 11:00 -
03:00, Sun 10:00 - 18:00. (€5). ASW
October - November 2014 29
The rooms of this historic building have only partially
been restored as the designers decided to simply sand
down the existing wood plank walls and ceilings to
create a cosy atmosphere that is only enhanced by the
tile mosaic tables, the fireplace and the hanging dried
flowers. You can sit down for a full meal of international
dishes from salads and seafood to steaks or try some-
thing from the vegetarian menu or the breakfast meals
(served until 12:00, Sat, Sun 14:00). You can also just grab
a slice of cake and a latte at the counter.QD-1, Nometņu
7, tel. (+371) 67 61 61 96, Open 09:00
- 22:00, Sat 10:00 - 22:00, Sun 11:00 - 22:00. (€4 - 11).
This cosy, yet stylish café in an up-and-coming neighbour-
hood offers a smart interior that includes lots of live green-
ery, an impressive library, plenty of natural light from its
large windows and exposed brick walls covered in paint-
ings and antique maps of Riga. You can order refined cui-
sine from duck breast to black pasta with mussels or drop
by for cheap lunch specials during the week and brunch
until 15:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. A good selection of
wine is available as well as a wide array of bottled beer.
QE-1, Nometņu 18, tel. (+371) 27 54 48 18. Open 10:00
- 22:00, Fri 10:00 - 23:00, Sat 11:00 - 23:00, Sun 11:00 -
21:00. (€5 - 15). AW
The first of opera director Andrejs Žagars’ many café
ventures, and the only one to survive, Osiris found a
successful recipe in the mid-1990s and stuck with it. In-
expensive breakfasts, sandwiches, international cuisine
and a romantic ambience make this place a favourite
of local big shots, politicians and intelligentsia so make
a reservation for dinner. The only drawback is the hor-
rible iron tables that were obviously created as torture
devices for long legs.QC-4, Barona 31, tel. (+371) 67
24 30 02. Open 08:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 24:00.
(€4 - 10). A
This hip café with bright white walls and furniture, huge
shop front windows and polished concrete floors certainly
has no shortage of natural light, or patrons for that mat-
ter. In fact, this place is so popular at the weekend that
you’d better arrive early if you want a seat. The small in-
ternational menu, which is published on the blackboard
and on its Facebook page, changes every day, so one day
you can enjoy a tasty curry and the next, a hearty pork
roast. Homemade cakes are also on offer as well as a laud-
able selection of Latvian wines and local and Lithuanian
microbrews. Post-punk and alternative tunes will keep
your fingers tapping on the shabby-chic tables as you sip
a hoppy Malduguns beer, which is available on draught.
QB-4, Dzirnavu 43, tel. (+371) 26 59 02 64. Open 10:00 -
22:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 24:00, Sun 11:00 - 19:00. AW
30 Riga In Your Pocket
If you think that yellow clown with the red hair
knows how to make a real American burger then
go straight to this place to see how mistaken you
are. After you’ve found its odd location in the far
corner of a large parking lot order one of roughly
half a dozen burgers with a side of fries and don’t
forget to add extra cheese or bacon to tempt fate.
Vegetarians will no doubt appreciate the Portobello
mushroom burger, but being true gluttons we chose
the ghetto burger that’s served with two thick beef
patties and double cheese. Valmiermuižas beer is
available on draught not to mention soft drinks with
free refills!QI-3, Audēju 14, tel. (+371) 25 77 99 16, Open 10:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat
24hrs. Also at C-4, Brīvības 40 - 11, tel. (+371) 22
02 70 66. Open 11:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 24hrs; C-4,
Ģertrūdes 27, tel. (+371) 20 23 36 39. Open 12:00 -
24:00. (€6 - 9). ALVSW
Riga has nearly as many cheap cafeterias as it has stray
cats, but this chain is a cut above the rest. Not only does
it offer a big buffet of international and Latvian favourites,
but it also boasts a pasta station where meals are cooked
to order after you’ve chosen your own ingredients. Beer,
proseco and wine are also available, not to mention a cosy,
yet stylish interior of raised levels and comfy niches, which
make you feel like you’re dining at a proper restaurant, but
for a fraction of the price. Breakfast specials including a
‘create your own omelette’ are on offer until 11:30.QF-3,
Dzirnavu 49, tel. (+371) 67 28 53 97/(+371) 67 28 06 66, Open 08:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 21:00. Closed
Sun. Also at C-4, C-4, Tērbatas 33/35; Marijas 23. (€2 - 6).
Located at the far end of Riga’s Central Market behind the
vegetable (sakņu) pavilion, this simple bistro grills a num-
ber of tasty shashliks (meat skewers) to order in a fancy
glass walled contraption for all to see, but also specialises
in lagman (meat and noodle stew), manti (meat dump-
lings) and traditional pilafs. No alcohol can be found on
the premises, but plenty of Uzbek tea and cold soft drinks
are available, not to mention an unobstructed view of the
market mayhem outside. Just look for the colour photos
of its best main courses on the glass façade to find this af-
fordable option at the Central Market.QJ-3, Centrāltirgus
5. Open 09:00 - 18:00. (€4 - 5). S
A Google search reveals that Varzob is a town in Tajikistan,
not far from the capital Dushanbe and not much else. This
Varzob happens to be a tiny café at the back end of the
modern addition to the Town Hall that serves delicious
Central Asian cuisine like lagman (tomato, noodle and
lamb soup) with fresh non (bread) for cheap, not to men-
tion very affordable Užavas beer on draught. The food and
drink is also usually served by its friendly owner who al-
ways greets his patrons with a smile.QI-1, Rātslaukums
1 (entrance from Mazā Jauniela), tel. (+371) 67 22 41 80, Open 12:00 - 22:00, Sat 14:00 - 22:00.
Closed Sun. (€3 - 7). A
As the name suggests, it offers ‘extra large’ portions of
chicken, vegetarian, pork, lamb or cheese pelmeņi (Rus-
sian ravioli) for ‘extra small’ prices. Also available are two
kinds of soups and potato-based salads. Do as the locals
do and wash it down with a beer or, if you haven’t had
enough booze at 03:00, an XL shot of Moskovskaya vodka.
QI-2, Kaļķu 7, tel. (+371) 67 22 27 28, www.xlpelmeni.
lv. Open 09:00 - 04:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 04:00. (€3). S
Help yourself to cheese, meat, potato, banana or plain
pancakes, lash them with sour cream or a variety of jams
and gobble them down seated between walls made to
look like lumpy pancake batter. We wonder what weird in-
cident prompted the management to put the ‘no horses’
sign on the window.QH-2, Šķūņu 6, tel. (+371) 67 22 82
14. Open 09:00 - 20:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 20:00. (€3 - 6).
Not unlike the centrally located buffet in the Valdemāra
Centre (the owners are related), this Chinese cafeteria offers
fried noodles and rice, sweet and sour pork, stir-fried green
beans in garlic sauce and other typical staples. The tables
can get a bit grimy at times and the Chinese pop videos on
the TV have a tendency to annoy, but the food is cheap and
tasty.QB-6, Čaka 110 (entrance from Tallinas), tel. (+371)
67 29 36 96. Open 10:00 - 23:00. (€3 - 4). XS
Unlike other Asian restaurants, Old Shanghai has broken
away from the traditional décor of red lanterns and Chi-
nese landscape paintings, choosing instead a modern
grey, minimalist interior whose chief decoration is the
tempting cooked ducks hanging in the open-plan kitchen
behind a glass partition. Try delicious dishes prepared
by its Shanghai-born chef like steamed scallops in gar-
lic sauce or one of its tasty hot pots, not to mention an
impressive selection of sushi.QA-5, Valdemāra 123, tel.
(+371) 67 37 23 37, Open 12:00 -
22:00. (€10 - 15). A
32 Riga In Your Pocket
Although large chains have dominated the Riga coffee
scene in recent years, this cosy, dark café with timber and
brick walls is a refreshing anomaly among corporate en-
deavours of its genre in the old town. Nearly all of the cakes,
pastries, panini and salads are made on the spot and the
carrot cake and iced coffee were simply fantastic. Its flower-
strewn summer terrace is another reason to drop by as is its
free wi-fi and its €7 brunch from 11:00 - 15:00 on Saturdays
and Sundays.QI-2, Grēcinieku 5, tel. (+371) 28 77 39 34.
Open 08:00 - 21:00, Mon 09:00 - 20:00, Fri 08:00 - 22:00,
Sat 11:00 - 22:00, Sun 11:00 - 18:00. JASW
Don’t let the off-beat location in a quiet residential neigh-
bourhood discourage you from tasting one of Riga’s best
cups of coffee. This cosy café sports three cement tables, a
long counter and plenty of cushioned benches that wrap
around two walls that offer huge windows with views of
the peaceful street outside. Although popular with young
hipsters who appreciate gourmet coffee produced in a
bright red La Marzocco espresso machine, Žanna also has
a pleasant neighbourhood vibe that’s inviting to all. A few
salads and limited breakfast food are also available, but
we recommend the delicious apple cake with ice cream.
QB-4, Tomsona 2, tel. (+371) 27 00 22 26. Open 08:00 -
22:00, Sat 10:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. ASW
Housed in an historic 300-year-old building near the river,
this colossal brewery and restaurant on two floors is so
popular with locals that a reservation is nearly a require-
ment at the weekend. Order litres and litres of delicious
beer brewed on the premises as well as huge portions of
Czech and Latvian cuisine including its signature dishes -
roast duck and crispy pork knuckle. You can also watch live
sports on dozens of flat screens that seem to be attached
to nearly every surface (even the urinals!).QC-3, Repub-
likas laukums 1, tel. (+371) 67 87 87 87, www.stargorod.
net. Open 12:00 - 24:00. (€8 - 16). AEW
Not unlike the scores of other bars dedicated to Jaroslav
Hašek’s classic character the Good Soldier Švejk that dot
the Bohemian countryside, this one has a cosy atmosphere
of solid oak tables and exposed brick walls on two floors,
not to mention its most important feature - great beer.
Užavas, Bauskas and Staropramen are on draught, cheap
Baltic-Czech cuisine is on the menu and you can even or-
der a shot of ice cold Becherovka that tastes like ginger-
bread cookies in liquid form. Best of all, unlike the staff that
man the beer halls of Prague, the ladies here aren’t afraid
to smile when they take your order.QB-5, Stabu 23, tel.
(+371) 67 31 46 74, Open 11:00 - 23:00,
Sat, Sun 12:00 - 23:00. (€4 - 8). AE
October - November 2014 33
Not quite Dunkin Donuts, but pretty darn close. This styl-
ish brown and white doughnut shop offers friendly wait
staff, free wireless internet access and even a chillout room
with couches and a flat screen TV, not to mention delicious
doughnuts. Chow down on Boston creams, glazed and
dozens of other sweet concoctions including the green
Pistachio Shrek! Coffee, tea and huge brownies are also on
offer.QF-3, Valdemāra 18, tel. (+371) 67 33 23 31, www. Open 08:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 20:00, Sun
10:00 - 18:00. SW
One the world’s biggest chains of sandwich shops has re-
turned to Riga in an unlikely location in the premises of the
city’s best underground music venue - Nabaklab. You can
order subs with steak and cheese, chicken teriyaki or faji-
tas, tuna or plenty of other cold cuts including pepperoni
with the toppings and sauces of your choice, but we rec-
ommend the chipotle southwest sauce, which has a bit of
spice to it. Unfortunately, the staff is still learning the trade,
so you might have to wait a while to get your food and to
our horror it doesn’t offer meatball heroes, our favourite
Subway staple!QH-2, Z.A. Meierovica bulvāris 12, tel.
(+371) 20 29 96 57, Open 10:00 -
22:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 02:00. Also at I-2, Grēcinieku 11a;
C/D-4, Merķeļa 6. Open 08:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 -
02:00. (€4 - 6). AS
All of the dishes served here are so veritably Indian, it’s
almost overwhelming. This is hardly Baltic-modified
cuisine, which is why the bill won’t be small, but it will
reflect one of the best dining investments in the city.
Although many of them have Indo European roots,
most locals still shy away, which means you, expats and
tourists, will have the peaceful interior and its views
of St.Peter’s Church all to yourself.QI-2, Skārņu 7, tel.
(+371) 67 22 32 40, Open 12:00 -
23:00. (€10 - 14). AS
Its location inside Riga’s landmark Irish pub may seem
strange at first, but there might just be a spark of genius
here. Who wouldn’t want to watch a football match with a
cold beer and a chicken tikka masala with a side of freshly
baked naan? Start with mouth-watering onion bhajias,
pakoras and samosas and move on to classic Indian main
dishes cooked in a real tandoor. Indian food is served dur-
ing the hours that we have listed as opening times.QI-2,
Grēcinieku 4, tel. (+371) 67 21 01 50,, Open 17:00 - 23:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 13:00 -
23:00. Closed Mon. (€6 - 10). AXS
34 Riga In Your Pocket
With a name like Breaking Bread it comes as no surprise
that this stylish restaurant in the Art Nouveau district spe-
cialises in international and Mediterranean dishes made
with its own freshly baked bread. Order gourmet burg-
ers, a selection of bruschettas with different toppings or
a steak with home fries on the summer terrace or down-
stairs in the gorgeous interior of light wooden floors and
furniture, green plants and colourful modern paintings
on exposed brick walls. Small niches are also available for
more privacy and a two-course lunch special can be had
for €7.50.QF-2, Antonijas 9, tel. (+371) 66 11 85 26. A
Located on the 12th floor of the recently refurbished Karavella
Hotel near the Port of Riga, Colombo offers refined interna-
tional favourites like duck breast with grilled asparagus as
well as some cheaper pastas and vegetarian dishes, not to
mention unique views of the city centre, old town and the
River Daugava. Well-dressed wait staff don white gloves while
serving you tasty cuisine in an elegant atmosphere of brown
and beige colours and candles on each table. Take tram N°5
or 9 to the Pētersalas iela stop and walk north up Katrīnas to
the hotel.QA-3, Katrīnas dambis 27 (Karavella Hotel - 12th
foor), tel. (+371) 67 32 31 30, Open
07:00 - 23:00. (€15). PAXW
This upmarket restaurant located on the ground floor of
the Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel specialises in international
cuisine from classic bouillabaisse and pasta dishes to home-
smoked duck breast with plum chutney and grilled beef
tenderloin. Naturally, all of this can be enjoyed during the
summer months in its fantastic open courtyard, but dur-
ing the winter you can also just have a beer or a creative
cocktail at its bar. C.U.T. also prides itself on its wine list not
to mention its daily breakfast buffet for €8 - 17 from 06:30
- 10:30, Sat, Sun 07:00 - 11:00.QC-4, Elizabetes 73 (Radis-
son Blu Elizabete Hotel), tel. (+371) 67 78 55 77, www. Open 12:00 - 23:00. (€9 - 14). AW
The interior is neutral and can accommodate hundreds of
tourists, but the cuisine it serves is simply fantastic. Start
with the pepper seared beef carpaccio with Parmesan
cheese and truffle emulsion and move on to delicious
mains as diverse as red wine braised duck leg and mustard
glazed pork chop with roasted vegetables. All-you-can-
eat breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are also available
for €15, €11 and €20, respectively. You can start your day
early as the breakfast buffet is served from 06:30 - 10:30,
Sat, Sun 07:00 - 11:00. If you have children with you then
drop them off in the kids’ game room.QF-3, Elizabetes
55 (Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija), tel. (+371) 67 77 22 11, Open 12:00 - 23:00. (€11
- 18). TAW
At first glance it might seem like just another trendy café
with a bright white interior and a summer terrace, but if
you venture farther into the space you’ll be rewarded with
a darkly coloured atrium bathed in natural light from the
glass ceiling. Sit among planted birch trees and order fan-
tastic cuisine cooked with locally sourced ingredients by
a team of dedicated chefs behind a glass partition. Hard-
to-find Latvian microbrews are also available as well as
signature cocktails and breakfast food like eggs benedict
or Florentine is served on weekdays until 12:00 or 15:00 at
the weekend.QB-5, Tērbatas 63, tel. (+371) 26 00 36 36.
Open 08:00 - 23:00, Fri 08:00 - 01:00, Sat 10:00 - 01:00,
Sun 10:00 - 19:00. (€8 - 18). AW
You can’t miss the huge terrace on Alberta iela - Riga’s
masterpiece of art nouveau architecture - so if you appre-
ciate upmarket international cuisine and a good selection
of fine wine then have a seat and take in the view. The ser-
vice is almost too attentive, but most people won’t mind
being fawned over by attractive, smiling wait staff. The
interior is a mix of old and new with whitewashed brick
walls, chairs covered in local linens and lots of romantic
candlelight. People-watchers will no doubt appreciate the
large shop front windows.QB-3, Antonijas 13 (entrance
from Alberta), tel. (+371) 26 69 99 66,
Open 10:00 - 23:00. Also at I-2, Skārņu 6, tel. (+371) 25
77 25 52. (€10 - 20). AW
This stylish silver, brown and white restaurant on the ground
floor of the Tallink Hotel Riga serves a variety of healthy in-
ternational cuisine prepared with local ingredients when
possible. It also boasts the only open-plan grill bar in Riga
and offers a special treat for adventurous diners. A hot vol-
canic rock is brought to your table and you can cook any
meat of your choosing on it under the supervision of your
server. A breakfast buffet and affordably priced lunch spe-
cial are also available.QD-4, Elizabetes 24, tel. (+371) 67 09
97 60, Open 06:30 - 23:00, Sat,
Sun 07:00 - 23:00. (€7 - 15). AXW
This stylish space confounds the notion that all hotel
restaurants are alike. The Traveller not only offers a styl-
ish interior that includes bright yellow, green and purple
furniture and large floor-to-ceiling windows, but it also
provides its patrons with a unique opportunity to watch
the professional chefs prepare international cuisine before
their eyes in the open plan kitchen. In fact, guests can sit at
the teppanyaki and hibachi bar and watch delicious Japa-
nese cuisine take shape in theatrical style. An excellent
wine selection is also available, but don’t leave without
trying the homemade ice cream.QD-4, Elizabetes 101,
tel. (+371) 67 86 99 22, Open 12:00 -
23:00. PTAULW
36 Riga In Your Pocket
The sleek, yet warm and cosy interior of this restaurant chain
is cutting edge, the service is genuinely friendly and the
food is fantastic. You can choose from two separate menus,
one that specialises in Italian and international cuisine like
pizzas, homemade pastas, seafood and even vegetarian
dishes, and another that lists a variety of Asian specialities
from sushi and sashimi to tasty stir fries and noodle dishes.
The restaurant has two different entrances, but the space
on the left also provides a kids’ play area for the little ones.
A children’s menu is also available.QC-4, Dzirnavu 60, tel.
(+371) 67 28 28 78, Open 09:00 -
23:00, Sun 10:00 - 23:00. (€6 - 12). TAS
Located next to the Blaumaņa iela entrance of the Galleria
Riga shopping centre, this unique concept café serves in-
ternational cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but in
the evenings it’s often open for culinary, wine and cocktail
classes. You can expect a stylish yellow and grey interior
with hardwood floors and a small menu of refined food.
The Guest Room also specialises in wine, which is on dis-
play in the corner, and it organises a variety of catering
seminars as well as a culinary tour of the Central Market
followed by lunch prepared by the restaurant’s chefs as
well as the tour participants.QC-4, Blaumaņa 10, tel.
(+371) 27 09 03 59, Open 12:00 -
22:00. Closed Sun. (€6 - 12). AW
Despite the fact that the owners of this so-called wine res-
taurant seem to have invested plenty of cash to transform
this former bank branch into an upmarket dining estab-
lishment, they have fallen far short of the mark. The small
menu of expensive, yet unimaginative cuisine is presented
in cheap plastic office binders, most of the main courses
offer re-heated meat and potatoes without even the hint
of a vegetable and the staff wear t-shirts with the tacky
and incorrectly spelled slogan ‘safe water, drink wine’.
To make things worse, wine can only be ordered by the
bottle, including the cheaper offerings from Moldova! It’s
only saving grace is an impressive selection of tea served
in futuristic glass contraptions.QF-3, Valdemāra 21, tel.
(+371) 26 46 10 00. Open 10:00 - 02:00. (€15 - 22). A
Moloney’s Pub always seems to be full of locals and tour-
ists knocking back beers and watching English football on
big flat screen TVs. You can expect plenty of space, hard-
wood floors, Irish decorations and lots of foreign and do-
mestic brews on draught from Guinness and Kilkenny to
Leffe and local Madonas as well as a full menu of pub food
from big burgers to a big Irish breakfast. A digital jukebox
hangs from a wall should you crave your favourite tunes
in between matches and you can smoke in Moloney’s
private courtyard. Live music, a happy hour and loads of
cheap drink specials are also available.QH-2, Vāgnera 3,
tel. (+371) 67 22 87 06, Open
12:00 - 01:30, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 03:00. (€7 - 10). AEX
Since its opening in 1995, Riga’s first Irish pub has been
an expat favourite. With a wide variety of foreign and do-
mestic beers on draught, a classic Hibernian interior and
more flat screen TVs showing live sports than you can
shake a shillelagh at, Paddy’s has loads to offer a thirsty
football fan. In addition to its usual offering of pub grub,
a new menu of authentic Indian cuisine has been added
to its repertoire for those craving a delicious chicken
tikka masala or maybe a samosa starter.QI-2, Grēcinieku
4, tel. (+371) 67 21 01 50,,
lv. Open 11:30 - 01:00, Fri, Sat 11:30 - 03:00. (€4 - 10).
Riga’s foodies know that you often have to leave the con-
fines of Old Riga to discover the city’s best restaurants and
Portofino is certainly no exception. This elegant space in
the so-called Quiet Centre of the Latvian capital is blessed
with high ceilings, huge picture windows and brick walls
that also serve as wine racks. Whether it’s risotto topped
with sea scallops you’re after, a delicious dorado or per-
haps a ribeye with porcini mushrooms, the excellent chefs
at Portofino have it covered. Pastas and pizzas are also
available.QB-3, Ausekļa 7, tel. (+371) 67 13 37 01, www. Open 12:00 - 23:00. (€14 - 22). A
October - November 2014 37
Although Charlie Pizza is a large Baltic chain of inex-
pensive pizzerias, a step inside makes one feel as if
they’ve just entered an exclusive Moscow nightclub
decked out in purple crushed velvet seats, black Ve-
netian-style glass chandeliers, a shiny silver ceiling and
faux Ionic columns, not to mention a few flat screen
TVs. You can take your pick of dozens of pizzas and
calzones, some of which are incredibly cheap, or try a
main course of pasta, schnitzels or steaks. Cocktails are
also available as well as some affordable local beers.
QH-2, Šķūņu 19 (Doma laukums), tel. (+371) 27 05
19 16, Open 10:00 - 23:00, Fri,
Sat 10:00 - 03:00. . (€4 - 9). AS
The Pizza Master prides itself on baking authentic and
sometimes unusual pizzas from classic mushroom to
chicken curry and the Indian pizza, which uses tomato
chutney as a base. You can also choose from dozens of
other toppings and create your own pizza, which can
be enjoyed in the bright interior decorated with light
wood furnishings and lots of cooking utensils.QD-2,
Kuģu 11, tel. (+371) 20 49 14 91,
Open 11:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 23:00, Sun 10:00 -
21:00. (€4 - 8). ASW
Smartly dressed wait staff greet you with genuine smiles
as you enter this red brick cellar in the embassy district
decorated with photos of churches, wineries and ancient
architecture from all around the Apennine Peninsula. All
of the usual suspects are available including Italian soups,
salads, pastas and mains as well as a decent selection of thin
crust pizzas. A good wine list is also on offer not to mention
free table water - a true novelty in Riga. Not the place to go
out with the guys, it’s good for a business lunch or a date
with the missus.QF-2, Pumpura 6, tel. (+371) 67 33 44 97, Open 12:00 - 23:00. (€6 - 12). A
Although this modern Japanese restaurant is a good
choice for dinner, you’d be mad not to take advantage
of its excellent daytime specials that include a wide vari-
ety of bento and dim sum lunches with tea or coffee for
only €7. You can also create your own meal by mixing and
matching different cuisine or just stick with the sushi and
sashimi, which can be enjoyed on the ground floor or up-
stairs where diners are afforded great views of Cathedral
Square (Doma laukums). Sake cocktails and single malt
Japanese whiskey are also available, but the authentic
Asian lounge music seems like a step too far.QI-2, Šķūņu
16 (entrance from Tirgoņu), tel. (+371) 67 22 38 55, Open 12:00 - 23:00, Fri, Sat 12:00
- 24:00. (€7 - 15). JAW
38 Riga In Your Pocket
This classic brick cellar just off of Castle Square offers a
unique interior of low vaulted ceilings adorned with painted
fall foliage, stained glass lamps and wooden tables, benches
and chairs. The Beer Arsenal specialises in huge servings of
Latvian fare like metre-long sausages, beef tongue salad,
pig’s ears stuffed with caraway cheese and its signature
oven baked pork leg for two served on a wooden platter
with a flaming torch. Naturally, a good selection of beer is
also on offer including its own light and dark microbrews.
Cheap daily specials under €5 are a bargain.QH-1, Pils lau-
kums 4 (entrance from Arsenāla), tel. (+371) 67 32 26 75, Open 12:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 12:00
- 24:00, Sun 13:00 - 23:00. (€6 - 12). AX
The cosy cellars of the Jacob’s Barracks are an ideal loca-
tion for a place that caters to Riga’s visitors and the inte-
rior of this ‘tavern’ sports a generic folksy atmosphere of
wooden tables, ceramic candelabras and ‘antique’ murals
on the walls. The food is certainly Latvian as is the music,
but bear in mind that it’s run by a local tourism agency, so
you’ll probably never find a local eating or drinking here.
QH-2, Torņa 4 (Jēkaba kazarmas), tel. (+371) 67 32 12
60, Open 13:00 - 21:00. (€6 - 10).
One of Riga’s largest Latvian beer bars and restaurants,
Folk Club Ala is more of a cavern than a cellar. Descend into
the depths of this huge space to find a great selection of
affordable local brews and spirits as well as traditional cui-
sine from kotletes (a type of meatball) and grey peas with
bacon to hard-to-find country dishes like pork and pearl
barley stew. Although it’s a favourite among frugal students,
it’s also popular with anyone who appreciates good food,
drink and music under medieval brick vaulted ceilings.QI-2,
Peldu 19, tel. (+371) 27 79 69 14, Open
12:00 - 04:00, Wed 12:00 - 05:00, Thu, Fri 12:00 - 07:00, Sat
14:00 - 07:00, Sun 14:00 - 04:00. (€3 - 7). AE
Located on Cathedral Square, this large restaurant has a
huge menu of Latvian classics with cheeky names that are
often references to the legendary comedic Latvian film
Vella kalpi (The Devil’s Servants) about the fictional guard-
ians of Riga who are part Three Musketeers and part Three
Stooges. You’ll find everything here from grey peas, potato
pancakes and schnitzels to more exotic dishes like blood
sausage and even bulls’ testicles! You can also take part
in a pork knuckle eating contest and win a free beer and a
souvenir to remind you of your achievement. The interior
is a mix of the rustic and the medieval, but we liked the
wooden chandeliers with blown glass and the cowhide
benches, not to mention the expansive summer terrace.
QH-1, Doma laukums 8A, tel. (+371) 28 37 07 47, www. Open 10:00 - 23:00. (€7 - 14). JAE
If Paul Bunyon built a log cabin in Latvia it would look like
this! Mr. Ķirsons of the LIDO Empire has outdone himself
with the biggest buffet of home cookin’ this country has
ever seen. Enter the tremendous cellar and discover an-
other restaurant with two bars which serve beer brewed
on the premises. Weekends are family days with various
activities for the kids including in-line skating and there’s
live singing and dancing every night from 19:00. Take bus
N°12 from the train station directly or tram N°3, 7 or 9 to
the ‘Atpūtas centrs LIDO’ stop and walk about 5 - 10 min-
utes in the direction of the huge windmill.QKrasta 76, tel.
(+371) 67 50 44 20, Open 11:00 - 24:00. (€4
- 7). TES
A great place to eat a huge meal for cheap, this restau-
rant looks like medieval Europe and interwar Latvia col-
lided and produced a unique space decorated with eth-
nic symbols, stone and stained glass. Bop about to local
‘umm-paa-paa’ music and help yourself to Baltic cuisine
as well as salad and fruit bars. When it gets crowded at
lunch time, it also opens the cellar to provide more space.
If you’re lucky enough to get a seat near a window on the
ground floor you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the
park.QC-4, Elizabetes 65, tel. (+371) 67 28 62 89, www. Open 09:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 09:00 - 23:00, Sun
10:00 - 22:00. (€4 - 7). AS
Although the Black Bee is located on the ground floor
of a stylish design hotel in Old Riga, its impressive menu
of Latvian and international dishes is surprisingly afford-
able and the serving sizes are just the way locals like
them - big! Join the hive and take a seat next to bee-
covered wallpaper underneath unique lamps that look
like they’re growing out of the ceiling. Although you
can enjoy anything from blood sausage to catfish fillets,
we highly recommend the pork knuckle with sour kraut
and potatoes that’s served on a wooden platter.QI-3,
Audēju 13, tel. (+371) 67 13 06 74,
Open 12:00 - 23:00. JAW
Although one of Latvia’s best brews is produced just
outside the northern town of Valmiera, the brewery also
has its own so-called embassy in Riga’s trendy Briāna
iela neighbourhood. Taste a variety of quality brews on
draught or in bottles and order tasty nouvelle Latvian cui-
sine from slowly-cooked pork belly with seasonal greens
to oven baked organic lamb. Locally made fruit and berry
wines are also on the menu, but bear in mind that it might
be hard to get a table on weekend evenings. The Latvian
meat platter goes perfectly with the beers and affordable
daily lunch specials are also on offer.QA-5, A. Briāna 9a,
tel. (+371) 25 47 34 73, Open
11:00 - 24:00, Wed, Thu, Fri 11:00 - 02:00, Sun 11:00 -
22:00. (€6 - 8). A
National cuisine – cold and hot buffets. Folk costumes, local music, magnifcent interiors.
Delicious national brewery and patisserie. The largest LIDO leisure centre also features
entertainment for the whole family on weekends, including an amusement park, live music
every evening in the restaurant and pub from 7 PM, a delicatessen shop, and take-away food.
Ask at tourist information centres or hotels for directions
to the nearest LIDO catering centre. The largest ones are:
LIDO leisure centre: Krasta Street 76, reservations: +371 67 700 000
LIDO Spice: “Lielirbes Street 29, Shopping Centre “Spice”
LIDO Airport : Riga International Airport, departures area, 2nd foor
LIDO DOMINA: Ieriku Street 3, “Domina Shopping” Centre
40 Riga In Your Pocket
It’s unusual location in what looks like a forlorn factory
opposite the Vidzeme Market also lends this place a hip,
speakeasy atmosphere as you’ll have to navigate some
stairs and hallways to find it. Inside you’ll discover a tempt-
ing buffet of organic starters, main courses and desserts
(until 15:00) that have all been made with locally produced
ingredients like free-range chickens and organic vegeta-
bles. A small dinner menu is available in the evening. The
shabby-chic interior of wooden plank walls and an antique
cast iron stove is almost as impressive as the affordable
price tag for a refined all-you-can-eat meal.QB-5, Matīsa
8, tel. (+371) 20 37 11 70, Open
12:00 - 22:00, Mon, Sun 12:00 - 18:00. ALW
This large beer garden on Līvu square prides itself on its
huge selection of foreign and domestic beer, its extensive
menu and its live rockabilly music concerts that take place
every day. In fact, even the wait staff dress up in rockabilly
style clothing! You can also order wine and cocktails or even
a fine cigar by the central fireplace, but many come here to
watch sports on a number of flat screen TVs. It’s also a prime
location for people watching and it’s nearly always full of
boisterous patrons.QH-2, Kaļķu 17 (Līvu laukums), tel.
(+371) 26 65 63 68. Open 10:00 - 24:00. AIEBK
Walk into this upmarket Russian restaurant and you’ll feel
like you’ve strolled onto the set of Doctor Zhivago… before
the revolution brought down the aristocracy. Uncle Vanya’s
elegant interior is loaded with shelves crammed full of old
books, ceramic figurines and other antiques and the walls are
covered in tsarist-era black and white photos and reproduc-
tions of classic Russian paintings. The menu offers modern
versions of traditional Slavic cuisine presented in a unique
way. You can also order homemade spirits like horseradish fla-
voured vodka and, our favourite, black currant liqueur served
in chilled glasses or carafes.QH-2, Smilšu 16, tel. (+371) 27 88
69 63. Open 11:00 - 23:00. (€10 - 20). A
On the political stage, Russo - Latvian relations may not
be what one would call warm, but this authentic res-
taurant is popular with Slavs and Balts alike. Each table
is topped with an antique samovar, the wait staff wear
traditional dress and the menu includes dishes from the
entire breadth of Mother Russia. Cap it off with one of their
flavoured vodkas.QB-4, Antonijas 8, tel. (+371) 67 33 24
55, Open 12:00 - 23:00. (€6 - 12). AE
This u-shaped restaurant is decorated with antique-style
wooden furniture, loads of local water colours on the walls,
a giant enlargement of a medieval map of Riga behind the
bar and lots of other elements that are far removed from the
lands of the ancient Vikings. Thankfully, the menu, which
provides large photos of each dish, does not disappoint. €10
seemed like a lot to pay for a small serving of pyttipanna,
but it was genuinely tasty as was the pea soup starter. Sip
an akvavit by the fire on a chilly winter’s day or enjoy a mer-
cifully non-Swedish beer on the terrace in summer.QH-2,
Gleznotāju 12/14, tel. (+371) 67 21 60 37, restaurantbirka.
lv. Open 14:00 - 24:00. (€6 - 13). JA
If you’re looking for the ultimate seafood experience in
Riga and you’re ready to spare no expense then look no
further than this elegant upmarket restaurant. You can
take a seat at the raw bar and choose from a staggering
number of fresh oysters and other delicacies or move on to
the restaurant where you can pick your own lobster or en-
joy Chilean sea bass, jumbo Senegalese prawns, scallops
and other delights grilled to perfection. Naturally, an ex-
cellent selection of wine and spirits is also available, not to
mention an elegant interior that’s a mix of traditional par-
quet floors, blue and gold upholstered furniture and mod-
ern designer fixtures.QC-4, Brīvības 31 (Radisson Blu Ho-
tel Latvija), tel. (+371) 67 15 20 80,
Open 12:00 - 23:00, Sun 12:00 - 22:00. (€15 - 25). A
Jūrmala restaurants
If you’re looking for gourmet dining and great views
of the sea then look no further than the Caviar Club.
Order anything from delicious seafood to juicy steaks,
not to mention the house speciality - caviar - with po-
tato pancakes, blinis or salmon. Naturally, a wide se-
lection of fine wines is also available.QMajori, Jūras
23/25 (Baltic Beach Hotel), tel. (+371) 67 77 14 28, Open 17:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat
17:00 - 23:00. (€15 - 28). AE
The location just above the beach is sublime and the
upmarket, Mediterranean fare is excellent, so if you’d
like to pretend that you’re at an Italian seaside resort
instead of Jūrmala, then Il Sole is the place to go. Its
delicious Italian dishes are listed in Italian, Latvian, Rus-
sian, English and a kids’ menu is also available, but if
all you crave is a great view and a cold beer, then take
a seat on the terrace and order a brew. You can also
drop by for a big brunch every Sunday from 12:00 -
15:00.QMajori, Jūras 23/25 (Baltic Beach Hotel), tel.
(+371) 67 77 14 28, Open 12:00
- 21:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 22:00. (€7 - 22). AE
October - November 2014 41
Baltic Beach Hotel, Juras street 23/25, Jurmala, +371 6 777 14 11
Located in Baltic Sea Resort, a 25-minute drive from the centre of Riga.
22 €
12:00 - 15:00
• Traditional Italian cuisine
• Smoothie bar
35 €
12:00 - 17:00
• Live music
• Unlimited wine
No longer solely the domain of ancient gold-toothed
women in hair nets and dropping pantyhose, the fish pa-
vilion of the Riga Central Market is now home to a refined
little eatery that specialises in whatever creatures of the
sea are fresh that day. Order a Valmiermuiža brew and fish
and chips and watch the mayhem unfold beyond the con-
fines of this peaceful oasis. Seafood soup, platters and sal-
ads are also available to enjoy on the spot or to take away.
It’s a little pricey for the market, but still a welcome addi-
tion.QJ-3, Centrāltirgus 3, tel. (+371) 29 61 40 12. Open
08:00 - 18:00. (€7 - 10). AS
If you’re envisioning an upmarket Madrid restaurant
where the suckling pig is so soft the maitre d’ can cut it
with a plate then think again. This neighbourhood café
serves tasty peasant food for the common man, which
is delivered to your table by its Spanish chef. You can
sample dozens of olive, cheese, stuffed pepper and cho-
rizo tapas or try the day’s specials, which won’t disap-
point. The inexpensive Cēsu beer on draught is almost
tempting, but we recommend the Kalimotxo (iced red
wine and cola) or Kalimotxo blanco (iced white wine
and Sprite), which the waitress assured us was a student
favourite.QB-4, Hanzas 2A, tel. (+371) 67 33 86 32.
Open 12:00 - 22:00, Fri 12:00 - 02:00, Sat 14:00 - 02:00.
Closed Sun. (€3 - 7).
Europeans often make fun of Americans but for some
reason they just can’t get enough of their ‘culture.’ If you
like thick, juicy steaks with giant Idaho baked potatoes,
wait staff in what look like line dancing outfits, then walk
through the swinging saloon doors and get ready for a
feast. The servings are impressive, but bear in mind that
the prices are also Texas-sized.QI-2, Audēju 2, tel. (+371)
67 22 56 99, Open 11:00 - 01:00.
Also on H-2, Meistaru 25, tel. (+371) 67 22 24 19. Open
11:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 01:00; C-4, Tērbatas 41/43,
tel. (+371) 67 27 27 07. Open 12:00 - 23:00, Fri, Sat 12:00
- 24:00. (€14 - 22). AE
The owners are so confident in the quality of their shash-
liks that they chose a remote location on the far end of
Mežaparks. Order a huge skewer of meat and an Užavas
draught and then choose your side dishes: chopped on-
ions, tomatoes and chives and freshly baked Armenian
bread. Take tram N°11 to the Mežaparks stop and walk
to the song festival grounds. Then walk northwest on
Ostas prospekts to Mores.QMores 22, tel. (+371) 67 39
52 57. Open 09:00 - 21:00. (€5 - 8).
42 Riga In Your Pocket
Lovers of imported dried leaves can enjoy a wide selec-
tion of teas from Asia in a pleasant and relaxing atmo-
sphere. Both outlets are located in charming wooden
houses in city centre parks where you can sit on huge
oriental-style pillows and let the cares of the world slip
away. Rumour has it that the second floor has become a
love shack of sorts for amorous couples in the evenings,
so you might want to avoid them or get there early de-
pending on your mood.QC-4, Tērbatas 2 (entrance
from Elizabetes), tel. (+371) 67 21 24 36, www.apsara.
lv. Open 10:00 - 22:00. Also at D-4, Barona 2a, tel.
(+371) 67 22 77 10. A
After living in Riga for nearly two decades we’re happy
to report that you can finally get a pulled pork sandwich
(and burrito) in the Latvian capital. El Čarlito serves Tex-
Mex food and burgers for affordable prices in a small,
casual space in the city centre. If you’re homesick or feel
like immersing yourself in the experience then you can
even order a cold Miller Genuine Draft or go loco with
tequila. Tasty margaritas and daiquiris are also available.
Did we mention they have pulled pork? Fantastic.QC-4,
Ģertrūdes 27, tel. (+371) 67 31 25 00. Open 10:00 - 22:00,
Fri, Sat 10:00 - 24:00. (€4 - 6).
The designer of this kitschy place has seen one too many
westerns, but we love it just the same. Relax outside in
one of the best summer courtyards the centre has to offer,
head down to the slot machine hall optimistically labelled
the zelta raktuves (gold mines), go up one level to the sa-
loon-style restaurant or down to the bar that only closes
for two hours each morning. The Tex-Mex food is a few
degrees shy of authentic, but its tasty, filling and relatively
cheap.QC-4, Dzirnavu 59, tel. (+371) 67 24 03 66, www. Open 12:00 - 24:00, Fri 12:00 - 02:00. Bar
open 09:00 - 07:00. (€5 - 9). AXW
We wouldn’t describe Kotai as a proper sit-down restau-
rant. It’s more of a Thai takeaway that also happens to have
a small tastefully decorated seating area with six tables.
The small menu of steamed rice dishes and soups was diffi-
cult to fathom, even with the help of the friendly wait staff,
so we just trusted their recommendation and ordered the
lunch special, which included a starter, a main course and
green tea. The iced coffee was also tasty and we decided
to stay a little longer as Hangover II was being screened on
the TV as we ate.QI-2, Kaļķu 2 (entrance from Kungu),
tel. (+371) 67 75 55 50, Open 11:00 - 21:00,
Fri, Sat 11:00 - 23:00. (€3 - 6). AVS
If you’re looking for some-
thing light and healthy to
eat, then you’ve come to the
wrong place. In truth, Riga’s
dining scene offers plenty of
options for people who prefer
to avoid fatty foods and even
a couple of vegetarian restau-
rants, but if like most visitors
you’d like to chow down on some local cuisine then
pop your heart medication, pull out your pocket defib-
rillator and get ready to get greasy.
Where to begin? That’s easy. A Latvian meal is seldom
complete without pork. Even if you order a dish with-
out the national meat, there’s a good chance that the
chef has snuck it into your food somehow, usually by
cooking other food, including vegetables, in bacon fat.
Karbonāde ar kaulu (grilled pork chops), karbonāde
(pork schnitzel) and cūkas stilbs (pork knuckle) are
all favourites, but for more exotic pig dishes keep an
eye out for cūkas ausis (pig’s ears), grūdenis (pig’s
head stew) and cūkas kājas (pig’s feet). Kartupeļi
(potatoes) are served with nearly all Latvian food and
they’re usually either boiled, fried, boiled and then fried
or mashed.
Sometimes, traditional restaurants will also offer griķi
(boiled buckwheat) instead of potatoes. If in doubt,
stick with the potatoes. Kāposti (cabbage) also plays
a major role in most Latvian meals. Sometimes it’s
served cold as a salad or hot as a side dish like skābie
kāposti (sour kraut). We, however, prefer šķovētie or
štovētie kāposti, which is like sour kraut but sweeter
and darker in colour as it’s stewed longer with sugar.
Pelēkie zirņi (grey peas) is another side dish worth try-
ing. Big, brownish-grey round peas are boiled and then
fried with bacon and usually served with kefīrs (kefir)
or skābais krējums (sour cream).
All kinds of pickled items are also on offer at most Lat-
vian establishments including beets, mushrooms and,
of course, cucumbers. If you see the word marinēts on
a menu it means that something has been marinated
in vinegar. Latvians refer to all salads as salāti including
the classic local staple rosols, which is a combination
of pickled vegetables, potatoes and meat held together
with loads of majonēze (mayonnaise), sinepes (mus-
tard) and mārrutki (horseradish). Other salads are
drenched in sour cream.
Soups are usually hearty like frikadeļu zupa (meatball
soup), zirņu zupa (pea soup) and the Russian favourite
soļanka (tangy tomato soup with potatoes, sausage,
pork kidney and pickles). Latvian seasonings seldom
stray beyond dilles (dill), ķimenes (caraway seeds),
sāls (salt) and pipari (pepper).
October - November 2014 43
This authentic restaurant is full of elaborate woodcarv-
ings and intricate works of colourful embroidery for
which the Ukrainians are so justly renowned. Enjoy deli-
cious vareniki (potato dumplings), hearty borscht and, of
course, that ultimate staple of Cossack cuisine - chicken
Kiev. A two-course lunch special can be had for just un-
der €5 and all soup is served with rye bread and a dish of
flavoured lard. Order at the bar and the costumed female
staff will bring your food to your table inside or out on
the terrace.QF-2, Alunāna 6, tel. (+371) 67 22 28 58, Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 -
19:00. (€3 - 7). A
Owned and operated by three local celebrity chefs,
hence the name, it’s frequented by the moneyed class
as well as the occasional stargazer and serves fresh in-
ternational cuisine prepared in an open-plan kitchen in
the centre of the room. Light lunches of soups and sal-
ads are served during the day and more substantial (and
expensive) dinners are offered after 18:00. We especially
liked the lamps made of common drinking glasses.QH-
2, Torņa 4 (Jēkaba kazarmas), tel. (+371) 20 37 05 37, Open 11:00 - 23:00. (€10
- 22). A
Tucked away in a charming Old Riga alleyway, this
medieval-style restaurant is housed in a building that
dates back to the 15th century. You can order any
number of delicious dishes from classic Latvian pork
knuckle, moose meat medallions and stewed rabbit to
grilled eel, quail and lamb. For something more exotic,
try the medieval feast for four that is cooked accord-
ing to recipes from 1454. Plenty of local beer served
in ceramic mugs is available as well as Latvian wine
and homemade black currant or apple spirits.QH-1,
Anglikāņu 2, tel. (+371) 25 50 52 68. Open 11:00 -
01:00. (€10 - 17). AI
The city’s only authentic medieval restaurant is a hit
with tourists and with good reason. The candlelit cel-
lar, already mentioned in ancient writings as early as
1293, was once used for special events by the town
hall. Today it serves only food available hundreds of
years ago, hence the absence of potatoes and toma-
toes. Giant portions of delicious, if expensive, cuisine
including pork, wild game and local fish are available
as well as unique drinks.QI-2, Rozena 1, tel. (+371) 67
22 03 56, Open 12:00 - 24:00.
(€15 - 25). A
44 Riga In Your Pocket
The latest hotspot to open on the trendy Andrejsala wa-
terfront is the appropriately named Aqua Luna and you
can’t miss it. Just look for the stylish white box and its
huge summer terrace and lounge on the water’s edge.
The international cuisine is superb, including the oysters
and the stewed Irish beef cheek that we tried. The service
is generally attentive and musicians and DJs keep afflu-
ent, well-dressed Rigans entertained in the evenings. If
you’re looking for refined dining with great views then
you can hardly do better than this place, but bear in mind
that smoking (both hookahs and cigarettes) is allowed on
the terrace and most locals like to light up. Reservations
recommended.QB-2, Andrejostas 4, tel. (+371) 67 65 09
22, Open 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00
- 03:00. (€14 - 25). ALEW
Possibly the best restaurant in Riga, Bergs never dis-
appoints. With a stylish interior that looks like it was
ripped out of the pages of Architectural Digest and an
impressive menu of haute cuisine cooked with local
ingredients that will satisfy even the most demanding
palates, it’s guaranteed to make your fine dining experi-
ence a memorable one. Special three- and five-course
meals prepared by chef Nauris Jakuško are also avail-
able. Breakfast is served daily from 07:30 - 11:00.QC-4,
Elizabetes 83/85 (Berga bazārs), tel. (+371) 67 77 09
57, Open 12:00 - 23:00. Closed
Sun. (€25 - 65). AW
If you’re looking for refined European cuisine in an elegant,
yet modern setting on two floors with fantastic views of
Vērmanes Park, there is no better option than Library No.1.
The interior is decorated with shelves full of books, an en-
tire wall of wine, funky booths framed by lots of miniature
pillows, wooden columns and huge overhead lamps. The
menu is seasonal and often includes anything from scal-
lops and oysters to nouvelle Latvian cuisine. Valmiermuiža
brew on draught is another bonus as are the fresh-cut
flowers on each table.QG-3, Tērbatas 2, tel. (+371) 20 22
50 00, Open 12:00 - 24:00,
Sun 11:00 - 24:00. (€15 - 26). A
You couldn’t ask for a more perfect location. Housed in an
historic building surrounded by ionic columns, Kolonāde
offers postcard quality views of the Freedom Monument
and the Laima Clock as well as the National Opera and its
gardens. The menu, which provides colourful photos of
each dish, specialises in gourmet Latvian and international
cuisine, which are prepared in the open plan kitchen by the
entrance. An early breakfast is also available not to men-
tion Latvian beer and cider and an extensive drinks list that
places an emphasis on Italian wines. Try the roast pork belly
with pearl barley and sweet sauerkraut served in an iron
skillet.QH-3, Brīvības bulvāris 26, tel. (+371) 26 60 88 82, Open 07:30 - 24:00, Fri 07:30 - 02:00,
Sat 09:00 - 02:00, Sun 10:00 - 24:00. (€10 - 18). JAW
October - November 2014 45
This wonderful restaurant occupies a beautifully restored
19th-century wooden cottage in the trendy Kalnciema
kvartāls - a revitalised collection of similar buildings saved
from the ravages of time. Inside is an authentic interior of
oak floors, chandeliers, tile fireplaces and walls decorated
with nostalgic black and white Soviet era photos of people
enjoying life. The refined Latvian and international cuisine,
which is eaten with real silverware, is superb and anything
from venison carpaccio and moose meat burgers to New
Zealand lamb was available when we visited. Naturally,
an excellent selection of wine and spirits is available not
to mention an affordable business lunch on weekdays.
QD-1, Kalnciema 37-5, tel. (+371) 67 61 63 04, www. Open 11:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. (€10
- 18). AIL
One of Riga’s finest art nouveau buildings is home to a
stylish, upmarket restaurant offering both international
and Latvian-style cuisine for surprisingly reasonable
prices. Inside you’ll find grey walls covered by periodic art
exhibitions, light parquet floors and spider-like chande-
liers made from black reading lamps. Order salads, pasta,
Australian steaks, Scottish salmon, local trout, huge turkey
burgers or affordable lunch specials in a refined setting
on a bustling cobblestone street flanked by bars and ca-
fés.QI-1, Jauniela 25/27, tel. (+371) 67 11 55 44, www. Open 11:00 - 23:00. (€8 - 15). A
This elegant restaurant housed in a glass pyramid has been
dubbed the ‘little Louvre’ by the local press. Its impressive
international menu is guaranteed to satisfy even the most
demanding gourmet. Breakfast buffet from 06:30 - 10:30,
Sat, Sun 07:00 - 11:00 for €18; two- and three-course busi-
ness lunch weekdays from 12:00 - 15:00 for €10 and €14,
respectively. It also offers great views of the park.QG-3,
Reimersa 1 (Radisson Blu Ridzene Hotel), tel. (+371)
67 09 33 33, Open 18:00 -
23:00, Sat 12:00 - 23:00. Closed Sun. (€12 - 30). AW
Located on the 11th floor of the Maritim Park Hotel Riga, this
elegant restaurant wasn’t exaggerating when it called itself
Bellevue. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides afford din-
ers spectacular views of the adjacent park as well as Old Riga
across the river. Patrons can expect sophisticated surround-
ings, not to mention gourmet cuisine with a pronounced
emphasis on seafood. Wild game is also available in season,
but if you’d like a little bit of everything, then try one of the
chef’s set menus.QE-1, Slokas 1 (Maritim Park Hotel Riga),
tel. (+371) 67 06 90 40, Open
17:00 - 23:00. (€20 - 27). AW
Hundreds more restaurants at
46 Riga In Your Pocket
A Accepts credit cards P Air conditioning
O Casino I Fireplace
V Home delivery E Live music
J Old town location B Outside seating
X Smoking section S Takeaway
W Wifi Riga Card discounts RC
Riga’s nightlife scene has had its ups and downs over the
years, but, thankfully, neighbourhood pubs are still thriving
and many clubs are once again open until the last paying
customer leaves. Sadly, some late-night bars are still out to
scam you, so take those beer goggles off and be vigilant.
Is this the Delta house? Walk inside Chomsky and you half
expect a toga-wearing John Belushi to greet you with a
beer and a belch. This old wooden building with its forlorn
interior of crumbling walls and furniture on their last legs
happens to be a favourite of local hipsters, artists and intel-
lectuals, but if sagging couches and peeling paint doesn’t
sound too appealing, you can always choose the private
courtyard in the summer. An eclectic selection of local un-
derdog brews like Ingver Alus is available, but bear in mind
that smoking is apparently back in fashionQC-5, Lāčplēša
68. Open 16:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 16:00 - 03:00.
Step into a Latvian apartment circa 1970. Elvis records
crackle on the Hi-Fi while a bohemian bartender grabs
liquor bottles from what appears to be someone’s grand-
mother’s china cabinet. The furniture is also retro as are
the Soviet style beer mugs and the antique magazines and
books. Try a milky Brenguļu or Tērvetes brew out on the
sidewalk or grab a stool and knock back a cheap vodka
shot. In keeping with the communal living theme, space is
limited.QB-5, Tērbatas 56, tel. (+371) 67 27 56 62, www. Open 12:00 - 23:00.
Were it not for the turquoise walls, the movie posters on
the bar and the crowd of young hipster types lounging
about, one might think that they’ve dropped by their
granny’s place for a cup of tea. Retro furniture, vintage TVs
and radios, 1960s and 70s music streamed in from God
knows where and fresh flowers give this place and air of
decades past. You can get a draught Bauskas brew, cheap
cocktails and even some pastas, salads and the renowned
smartburger.QC-5, Lāčplēša 43/45, tel. (+371) 67 66
31 61. Open 11:00 - 24:00, Fri 11:00 - 03:00, Sat 18:00 -
03:00. Closed Sun. JW
If you’re in the mood for some affordable food and drink
and a laid back atmosphere in Old Riga then the Funny
Fox might just be a good option for you. A huge black-
board which lists all of the available drinks from coffee to
big cocktails runs the length of the long bar and you can
sit at a number of tables or chat with a bartender from the
comfort of a stool. Order anything from local and foreign
brews to chicken wings and fish and chips or try its lunch
specials. It’s also a good place to watch sports on a num-
ber of flat screen TVs.QI-2, Grēcinieku 1, tel. (+371) 28
48 24 26, Open 10:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat
10:00 - 02:00. A
Over the years Riga has had its share of English and Irish
pubs, but this is the first kiwi pub to open its doors in
the Latvian capital. Friendly staff pour a good selection
of foreign and domestic beers behind a huge rectangu-
lar bar while patrons admire the light wood interior and
watch sports on a bunch of flat screen TVs. You can order
a variety of pub food from burgers, breakfasts and meat
pies to sandwiches and ribs or even Indian cuisine from
neighbouring Indian Raja.QI-2, Skārņu 7, tel. (+371)
67 21 19 17, Open 09:00 - 05:00.
Hundreds more bars at
October - November 2014 47
Although kaņepes is actually weed or hemp in Latvian,
don’t get your hopes up. This funky, self-proclaimed cul-
ture centre run by a guy whose last name happens to be
Kaņepe is actually a local hotspot for hipsters who ap-
preciate having drinks, listening to music and doing other
arty things in a dilapidated wooden building. Its summer
courtyard is by far its greatest asset and it’s usually full
of people knocking back beers on old furniture.QB-4,
Skolas 15, tel. (+371) 29 40 44 05. Open 14:00 - 01:00,
Thu, Fri, Sat 14:00 - 05:00. EW
After presiding over a staple of the Washington DC night-
life scene for several years, American-Latvian Kristaps
Krēsliņš opened yet another Pharmacy Bar, but this time
in the Latvian capital. Medieval brick walls, medicinal tinc-
tures and scales, tables embedded with capsules and pills
and painted silhouettes of old-fashioned bottles on two
floors are a clever combination of old and new and the
perfect backdrop for a night of cocktails and beers. That
said, this hip hangout isn’t just about imbibing. Two of the
city’s coolest celebrity chefs have also added a small menu
of burgers, grill cheese sandwiches and chicken wings to
the pharmacy’s inventory. The bar also provides a smoking
courtyard and a free CD jukebox that offers anything from
Johnny Cash to the Sex Pistols.QH-1, Mazā Miesnieku 1, Open 16:00 - 01:00, Thu 16:00 -
03:00, Fri, Sat 16:00 - 05:00. AEX
Workers of the world, get loaded! An Old Riga favourite has
moved to a larger space in the city centre, but have no fear.
Leningrad has brought all of its Soviet era paintings, books,
vintage wallpaper, antique radios and a bust or two of the
infamous bearded commie with the bald head. The bar,
which is stocked with bottles of Scottish beers by Brew
Dog, Latvian cider and plenty of hard liquor, can be found
to the left, while the new concert hall, which was still un-
der construction when we dropped by, will be available to
the right. When live bands aren’t playing you can expect a
steady diet of eccentric as well as classic alternative rock.QI-
3, Valdemāra 4, tel. (+371) 29 91 50 49, www.leningrad.
lv. Open 12:00 - 03:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 07:00. AEW
This cheap ‘slow fast food’ joint serves up tasty burg-
ers, burritos and pizzas, all cooked to order, plenty of
space and friendly service. Order huge burgers served
in wax paper with a side of fries and a local Tērvetes
brew in a laid-back Bohemian atmosphere in Old
Riga.QI-2, Teātra 2, tel. (+371) 67 25 02 50, www. Open 24hrs. Also at A-5, A. Briāna
9a. (€3 - 5). AVSW
48 Riga In Your Pocket
The interior is chic and retro with lots of private niches,
old couches, multi-coloured lamps and even a ceramic
chandelier above the bar that looks like it was stolen from
your granny’s living room. The beats emanating from
the wallpapered DJ stand are as funky and bohemian as
the staff and clientele and you can get a wide variety of
cocktails as well as Czech and Latvian brews on draught.
Large windows on two sides of this corner building afford
patrons great views of passers-by outside.QI-2, Audēju 7.
Open 11:00 - 24:00, Thu 11:00 - 04:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 11:00
- 06:00. JAE
Judging by the number of young bearded men in atten-
dance here on a weeknight, one wouldn’t be wrong for
thinking that Vest is one Riga’s latest hipster bars. Everything
in this brick house is painted grey from the walls and ceiling
to the concrete floor, but at least the furniture is made of
solid wood and vintage motorcycles add a splash of colour
here and there. Use the wi-fi while drinking an expensive
Latvian microbrew, take advantage of the foosball table or
grab a seat outside on the summer terrace. Cocktails and
gourmet coffee can also be had as well as a small daily
menu.QB-4, Stabu 1, tel. (+371) 26 48 40 88. Open 11:00 -
23:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 01:00. Closed Sun. AW
This small Latvian bar next to the popular Kalnciems cre-
ative quarter is not only decorated with lighting fixtures
made from vinyl records, but the entire musical soundtrack
emanates from two modern turntables. That’s right. Your
mp3s are as useless as cassettes or 8-track tapes here, so
leave your digital devices behind and sip affordable cock-
tails and beer inside or on the large summer terrace with
locals. Board games are available and you can ask the
barman to put on your favourite album. Sadly, someone
chose ABBA when we dropped by.QD-1, Kalnciema 39,
tel. (+371) 67 61 88 61.
Although difficult to find as it’s hidden in a small courtyard
behind the popular club Piens, once you reach Labietis
you’re faced with the difficult task of tasting eight deli-
cious craft brews made on the premises from American-
style IPAs and English bitters to special beers made with
Latvian herbs. The brewery is clearly visible behind a glass
partition and you can enjoy a tasty beer at the bar, by the
windows or at an incredibly large wooden table in the
middle of the room. If you’d like to hang around for a while
you can order food from the nearby Fontaine Delisnack or
just have them fill a plastic bottle or two for you to take
home.QA-5, Aristīda Briāna 9A-2, tel. (+371) 25 65 59 58, Open 15:00 - 03:00, Mon 16:00 - 22:00,
Tue 15:00 - 23:00, Thu 15:00 - 01:00, Sat 13:00 - 03:00,
Sun 13:00 - 01:00. AS
One of Riga’s largest Latvian beer bars and restaurants,
Folk Club Ala is more of a cavern than a cellar. Descend
into the depths of this huge space to find a great selec-
tion of affordable local brews and spirits as well as tradi-
tional cuisine and an ever-changing line-up of folk bands
guaranteed to get you moving. Although it’s a favourite
among frugal students, it’s also popular with anyone who
appreciates good food, drink and music under medieval
brick vaulted ceilings.QI-2, Peldu 19, tel. (+371) 27 79 69
14, Open 12:00 - 01:00, Wed 12:00 -
03:00, Thu, Fri 12:00 - 04:00, Sat 14:00 - 04:00, Sun 14:00
- 01:00. AE
This experienced company has been arranging special
events, tours and excursions for Riga’s guests since 2005.
Travel2Riga offers low-key or VIP nightlife tours as well as
activities like AK47 shooting, go-karting, sailing, paintball,
zorb football, bungee jumping and even bobsleighing just
to name a few.QI-2, Tirgoņu 10, tel. (+371) 29 22 83 10, A
Banish all images of typical wine bars where scruffy
men sit and smoke at wooden tables stained with the
ghosts of drinks past. Sleek, modern D’vine is located
on the second floor of the cutting-edge glass and metal
arrow jutting out of the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija. Snack
on Spanish tapas, try its gourmet burger or splurge on
oysters followed by surf ‘n’ turf. If you’re not hungry you
can just sip wine by the glass, half-bottle or bottle, but
if you’re famished then drop by for its all-you-can-eat
tapas evenings on Friday nights.QF-3, Elizabetes 55
(Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija), tel. (+371) 67 77 22 17, Open 12:00 - 23:00, Fri 12:00 -
01:00, Sat 12:00 - 24:00. Closed Sun. AW
Enjoy a reasonably priced glass, carafe or bottle of
wine in this refined, yet relaxed establishment in Riga’s
art nouveau district. If you can’t make up your mind,
choose one of the specials on the board or ask one of
the knowledgeable staff. Local and world press is also
available as well as Mediterranean tapasQB-3, Eliza-
betes 10, tel. (+371) 67 28 32 05,
Open 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00, Sun 12:00
- 22:00. Also at C-5, Stabu 30, tel. (+371) 67 27 60 10.
Open 11:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 01:00, Sun 11:00 -
22:00; all shops open 10:00 - 22:00. AS
50 Riga In Your Pocket
The Scandinavian-owned Jockey Club has provided
adult entertainment for Riga’s citizens and visitors
since the mid-1990s. Naked ladies practice their trade
every 20 to 30 minutes, but fully clothed women dance
around a pole for your amusement between shows.
A fulll stocked bar is of course available, but private
dances from incredibly beautiful women seem to be
the major draw. An expat favourite.QF-3, Elizabetes
49, tel. (+371) 67 22 88 44, Open
20:00 - 06:00. Admission: €14. A
For nearly 20 years this chain of sex shops has offered
private video booths, live strip shows and a huge se-
lection of films, sex toys and other gear to spice up
one’s love life. Unlike many clubs that are out to rip
you off in Riga, Labi provides professional staff and
decent prices should you be one of this planet’s many
financially challenged lonely males. Splurge on some
live interactive erotic entertainment for around €50 or
spend much less on a peep show.QC-5, Lāčplēša 47,
tel. (+371) 67 28 61 15, Open 24hrs.
Also at C-4, A. Kalniņa 8. Open 24hrs; B-5, Brīvības
98; Lāčplēša 61. Open 10:00 - 22:00. AIDC
Housed in the exclusive Vernisāža complex in the
Vērmanes Park, you pretty much have to be well-
heeled, well-dressed and local to gain entrance to this
pleasure palace for Riga’s elite, which essentially con-
sists of celebrities, TV personalities and the über-rich.
Foreign DJs are often imported from around Europe
and its stage is also graced by local musicians, rap-
pers and the like. You can expect a trendy atmosphere,
expensive cocktails and Champagne and, of course,
incredibly beautiful wait staff, but as a tourist in the
Latvian capital, you might not pass its strict face con-
trol.QC-4, Tērbatas 2, tel. (+371) 29 43 06 93, www. Open Thu, Fri, Sat 22:00 - 06:00. Closed
Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. AW
Underground music lovers, hip youth and over the hill
travel writers, this is the stop where you get off. Indie
groups and DJ’s from abroad, garage bands and an alter-
native crowd all co-exist happily in this club, one of the
few to sponsor rock, hardcore, heavy metal, punk, reggae
and experimental music genres. Watch the bands perform
in the basement or just have a beer on the ground floor.
QI-2, Vaļņu 32, tel. (+371) 67 22 01 14, www.klubsdepo.
lv. Open 17:00 - 05:00. Admission: concerts €5 - 7.
October - November 2014 51
Although we spied lots of men in black keeping a sharp
eye on everyone at this club/cocktail bar, most of the
wealthy patrons ordering fruity €8 drinks from busty Lat-
vian bartenders seemed oblivious to the heavy security
presence here. The elephant god Ganesha also gazes at
the long rectangular bar from the wall and ensures that
everyone in this trendy black space has a good time. A
cellar lounge area is also available as well as a VIP area for
the truly blessed and popular DJs keep local celebs satis-
fied with dance music until sunrise.QH-3, Raiņa bulvāris
15, tel. (+371) 26 95 55 55, Open 22:00
- 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. Admission: for
events. A
This hip music club located in a half basement is Riga’s
best alternative hotspot. You can watch a live band in one
hall, dance to DJs in another, relax with a beer at the long
bar or join the crowds outside the door for a smoke and a
chat. Definitely not the place for pop music fans, this is a
bohemian student favourite. Live acts are a mixed bag so
one night you might see a local punk rock group and the
next night a Polish ska band or an electronic music eve-
ning. Did we mention that its own Nabaklab brew costs
less than €2? Lots of special drinks offers are also avail-
able.QH-2, Z.A. Meierovica bulv. 12,
Open 12:00 - 24:00, Thu 12:00 - 02:00, Fri 12:00 - 06:00,
Sat 17:00 - 06:00. Closed Sun. Admission: concerts €1.50
- 5. AEX
Located in a renovated 19th-century brewery on the edge
of the city centre, this self-proclaimed sofa bar is hard to
find and that’s the way the owners like it. Those in the
know know that this is one of Riga’s hottest cocktail bars
and many don’t mind queuing up at the weekend to sit on
one of many couches that are each completely different
in style from your grandma’s sofa to one you’d expect to
see in your doctor’s waiting room. With two large terraces
and a funky, eclectic interior, colourful, hip and laid-back
Milk is hard to beat. That said, if it’s busy at the weekend
only Latvians are usually allowed entrance.QA-5, Aristida
Briāna 9, tel. (+371) 66 01 63 00, Open
12:00 - 24:00, Thu 12:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 05:00.
Bar Krogs Aptieka (Pharmacy Bar)
Brew pub Labietis
Child-friendly Vairāk Saules
Cofee MiiT or Žanna Cafe
Happy hour Aussie Backpackers Pub (17:00 - 19:00)
Latvian food Folk Club Ala, LIDO or Melnā Bite
Pub Kiwi Bar or Moloney’s
Sports bar Paddy Whelan’s
Upmarket dining Bergs, Bilbliotēka No 1 or Neiburgs
52 Riga In Your Pocket
No, it’s not the cosy little dive that made a whole generation
want to visit Boston. This Cheers is chic and modern with a
dark, speakeasy vibe that makes you want to order another €7
signature cocktail shaken together with homemade syrups
and top shelf liquor. Delve deeper into the space and you’ll
find a large room in the back bathed in natural light from a
large skylight where posh diners eat refined international
dishes as well as some classic, if a bit pricey, bar food.QI-2,
Audēju 8, tel. (+371) 25 47 77 53. Open 18:00 - 24:00, Thu,
18:00 - 03:00, Fri, Sat 18:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon. JAW
This dark grey cocktail bar is the latest place to take up resi-
dency on picturesque Pils Square. Its hip staff take a while
to mix up a drink, but the finished product is worth the
wait and, given its impressive alcohol content, will probably
have you posing for your own pin-up photo in no time. Sit
at one of the tables and order from the small international
menu or relax on a couch with a classic negroni or an old
fashioned smothered in maple foam. The industrial-style
interior of functional pipes and light fixtures extends to the
bar, which would look like a cage were it not for the hang-
ing metal buckets of fresh herbs.QH-1, Pils 7, tel. (+371) 27
51 39 42, Open 12:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat
12:00 - 03:00. Closed Mon, Sun. JAW
If you’re looking to elevate your mood simply take the
glass lift to the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija
and have a drink at the Skyline Bar. Not only does it offer a
trendy interior full of stylish couches and cosy niches, but
also the most incredible views of Riga you’ll ever see. Or-
der one of dozens of classic cocktails, listen to a live DJ and
take in the biggest city in the Baltics on the other side of
the floor-to-ceiling windows. Even though it can be dif-
ficult to get a coveted table with a view of Old Riga, the
view of other patrons is often even better. Take advantage
of happy hour Mon - Thu 17:00 - 19:00.QF-3, Elizabetes
55 (Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija - 26th foor), tel. (+371)
67 77 22 82, Open 16:00 - 02:00, Fri,
Sat 15:00 - 03:00, Sun 15:00 - 02:00. Admission: Fri - Sun
€3. AEXW
Golden doesn’t promote itself much as a gay club from the
outside, but the flamboyant bartenders do a pretty good
job of convincing you just in case you didn’t get the hint
coming in. After navigating corridors and staircases for
a time, you’ll find a stylish interior, as one might expect,
where patrons can sit at the bar in the atrium or relax in the
smoker’s lounge. Thankfully, it doesn’t have that sleazy vibe
that some gay clubs tend to exude.QC-5, Ģertrūdes 33/35,
tel. (+371) 25 50 50 50, Open
16:00 - 23:00, Fri, Sat 23:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Sun. A
October - November 2014 53
Riga’s first Aussie pub provides plenty of authentic down
under atmosphere but thankfully without any of the usual
trappings of stuffed koalas, Fosters beer posters or, God
forbid, any portraits of Paul Hogan. Spread out across three
floors, the pub offers plenty of tasty and cheap local beers
on draught as well as Australia’s best craft brew, Coopers,
in bottles and all are served from a bar that’s actually an
old VW combi van. Live bands frequently perform at the
weekend, fun raffles and lotteries are held often and you
can also participate in beer pong and sumo nights. If the
cheap happy hour prices (17:00 - 19:00 every day!) are too
much for you to handle you can always crash at its hostel
upstairs. You can bring in food from one of a dozen near-
by cafés.QI-3, Vaļņu 43, tel. (+371) 67 22 34 06, www. Open 10:00 - 02:00. AEW
The designer of this kitschy place has seen one too many
westerns, but we love it just the same. Relax outside in
one of the best summer courtyards the centre has to offer,
head down to the slot machine hall optimistically labelled
the gold mine (zelta raktuves) or go down to the bar for
beer and cocktails under cattle skulls and wagon wheels.
Food is served from 12:00 - 24:00.QC-4, Dzirnavu 59, tel.
(+371) 67 24 03 66, Open 09:00 -
07:00. AXW
Moloney’s Pub always seems to be full of locals and tour-
ists knocking back beers and watching English football on
big flat screen TVs. You can expect plenty of space, hard-
wood floors, Irish decorations and lots of foreign and do-
mestic brews on draught from Guinness and Kilkenny to
Leffe and local Madonas as well as a full menu of pub food
from tasty burgers to a big Irish breakfast. A digital jukebox
hangs from a wall should you crave your favourite tunes
in between matches and you can smoke in Moloney’s
private courtyard. Live music, a happy hour and loads of
cheap drink specials are also available.QH-2, Vāgnera 3,
tel. (+371) 67 22 87 06, Open
12:00 - 01:30, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 03:00. AEX
Although it’s considered a traditional Irish pub it’s also a
sports bar dedicated to the finer things in life - namely
football and formula one. On the ground floor you can
expect a dozen or so flat screen TVs showing different
matches, while upstairs you’ll find a cosier atmosphere
with loads of memorabilia on the walls including a portrait
of Pierluigi Collina. In addition to the usual Irish and inter-
national pub food, Paddy’s also offers a menu of authentic
Indian cuisine cooked in a real tandoor.QI-2, Grēcinieku
4, tel. (+371) 67 21 01 50, Open 11:30 -
01:00, Fri, Sat 11:30 - 03:00. AEXS
54 Riga In Your Pocket
Visit the biggest gallery of Art Nouveau architecture by
Russian architect Mikhail Eisenstein, father of the illustrious
filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein who was born in Riga. Most of
the buildings have now been renovated and of particular
interest is the house at Strēlnieku 4a. Built in 1905 it has
since undergone a complete facelift and is now home to
the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. Don’t miss
the Riga Art Nouveau Museum at the end of Alberta iela, a
must see.QB-3, Alberta 2, 2a, 4, 6, 8, 13; Elizabetes 10a
& 10b; Strēlnieku 4a.
Take the trip here and you’ll be rewarded with nearly 90
hectares of life as it used to be. Farmsteads, windmills, fish-
ing villages, churches and other historic structures have been
moved here and preserved for posterity. Watch craftsmen
perform various tasks or try some Latvian cuisine and drink in
the tavern. Although the buildings and the ticket office close
at 17:00 you can wander around the grounds until 20:00 in
the summer. Take bus N°1 from the corner of Merķeļa and
Tērbatas to the Brīvdabas muzejs stop.QBrīvības gatve 440,
tel. (+371) 67 99 45 15, Open
10:00 - 17:00. Admission: €2.13. K
The largest place of worship in the Baltics, measuring 187
x 43m, with walls two metres thick, Riga Cathedral also
has one of the biggest organs in Europe (6,768 pipes!). It
was such a marvel in its day that Franz Liszt composed
a piece of music in its honour. The drop from Cathedral
Square (Doma laukums) to the church’s base shows how
the level of the city has risen in the 800 years since its foun-
dations were laid on the site of a Livonian fishing village.
Although currently undergoing renovations, it’s still open
to the public, but you should check its bulletin board near
the entrance for exact opening hours. QH-1, Doma lau-
kums, tel. (+371) 67 21 32 13, Open 10:00
- 17:00. Admission: €2.85.
First mentioned in ancient chronicles in 1209, St. Peter’s
was a Catholic church until 1523, when it turned Lutheran.
Its wooden tower, the highest in Europe at that time, was
destroyed several times. It first collapsed in 1666 and was
rebuilt a year later. To see how long it would last, the build-
ers hurled a glass from the top: the more pieces the vessel
broke into, the greater the tower’s longevity. Alas, a pile of
straw cushioned the glass’ fall and the spire burnt down
one year later. Artillery fire destroyed the structure again
in 1941. In 1973 it was finally rebuilt and the glass ritual was
repeated, this time with smashing results. Take the lift to
the observation platform for spectacular views of the city.
QI-2, Skārņu 19, tel. (+371) 67 18 19 43, peterbaznica. Open 10:00 - 18:00, Sun 12:00 - 18:00. Closed
Mon. Admission: church & tower €7.
This museum dedicated to the Nazi and Soviet occupa-
tions of Latvia is now located in the former US embassy
on Raiņa bulvāris.The various exhibits display the atrocities
committed against the people of Latvia and the systematic
destruction of their nation’s sovereignty. Visitors can catch
a glimpse of the intolerable living conditions of Siberian
labour camps and see firsthand how Latvians managed to
keep their spirits up in this frozen wasteland. Exhibits are
available in English and Latvian.QG-2, Raiņa bulvāris 7,
tel. (+371) 67 21 27 15, Open
11:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon. Admission: donations.
Finished in 1884, this yellow-brick church capped with five
gilded cupolas was turned into a planetarium during the
occupation but was finally returned to its congregation in
1990. The Soviets destroyed many of the church’s ornate
works of art including wall and ceiling frescoes by the fa-
mous Russian painter Vereshchagin. Much of the cathedral
has now been restored to its former glory.QG-3, Brīvības
23, tel. (+371) 67 21 12 16,
St. Peter’s Church in Old Riga M.Zaprauskis
You can climb aboard a
unique 100-year-old wood-
en launch (or a replica) and
take a one-hour tour of the
city from an unusual per-
spective - the Riga Canal. You
can get start your journey at
Bastion Hill and the trip takes
an hour before it returns to
your original embarkation
point, but you can get off at any of the other stops along
the way between 10:00 - 20:00. Price: adults €18, children
(5 - 14) €9, children under 5 free. Boats usually operate
until mid-November depending on the weather. More
info at
October - November 2014 55
After decades of war in Livonia, the Swedish Empire finally
gained control of Riga in 1621. To celebrate an end to war,
it was decided that a church dedicated to Jesus should be
built outside the city gates. Work was completed in 1638,
but sadly peace didn’t last long and the church was de-
stroyed by Russian troops in 1656. It was rebuilt in 1688,
but was once again destroyed during the Russian siege
of Riga in 1710. It rose from the ashes in 1733 only to be
razed yet again by the Russian rulers of Riga in 1812 fearing
an attack from Napoleon’s troops. The current octagonal
structure was erected in 1818. It has a 27m-high tower and
is the largest wooden church in Latvia.QE-4, Elijas 18, tel.
(+371) 67 22 41 23, Open , Tue
14:00 - 20:00, Wed 09:30 - 15:00, Thu 14:00 - 18:00, Fri
09:30 - 14:00, Sun 09:00 - 13:00. Closed Mon, Sat. (ser-
vices: Thu 18:00, Sun 10:00 - Latvian).
This church beside the parliament was first mentioned in
ancient documents in 1225. In 1522, it became the first
church in Latvia to hold a Lutheran service, but during a
brief Polish occupation 60 years later it was returned to
its Catholic flock, who have held it ever since. It’s also in-
teresting to note that St. James was one of the first three
churches built in Riga and unlike the Riga Cathedral and
St. Peter’s where mass was held in German, it held servic-
es in Latvian until the Reformation.QH-1, Jēkaba 9, tel.
(+371) 67 32 64 19, Open
07:00 - 19:00. The cathedral is closed 13:00 - 14:30,
except Sundays.
First mentioned in 1297 when it served as the chapel of a
Dominican abbey, the monastery and church were closed
during the Reformation in 1523. The building was used for
a time as the city’s armoury, until it was taken over by a
Lutheran congregation in 1582. During the building’s con-
struction two monks were bricked into the southern wall
and lived out their lives there, fed through the window
grate. In the summer months organ and vocal music con-
certs are held here every Saturday at 17:00, which are open
to the public.QI-2, Skārņu 24, tel. (+371) 67 22 40 28, Open 11:00 - 20:00 (closed during
private ceremonies such as weddings, etc.).
This little church commissioned by British traders living
in Riga was built in 1857 on a shipload of English soil
specially imported from the UK. Consecrated in 1859,
the church was only full when British warships visited
Latvia. Transformed into a student disco during Soviet
times, it is once again a place of worship which is at-
tended by Riga’s English-speaking expat population. Its
pastor and his dedicated flock are also renowned for
their charitable works. (Services: Sun 11:00 - English)
QH-1, Anglikāņu 2a, tel. (+371) 67 22 22 59, www.
56 Riga In Your Pocket
Although the colossal synagogue no longer exists, it’s
worth the 10 minute walk from the train station to see what
remains of this one-time place of worship and to meditate
on one of the most beastly crimes committed during the
Nazi occupation of Latvia. On July 4, 1941, hundreds of Jew-
ish refugees from Lithuania and local Latvian Jews were
herded into the basement of the synagogue which was
then intentionally burned to the ground. Only ruins, a metal
menorah and a memorial stone remain. QD-5, At the cor-
ner of Gogoļa and Dzirnavu,
Although more of an outdoor monument with exhibits than
a museum, this courtyard between Maskavas and Krasta
streets is still worth a visit, especially if you’re interested in
Jewish history. Its main feature is an ominously long wall
covered with the names of victims of the Holocaust in Lat-
via. You can also look at Nazi propaganda, horrifying pho-
tos of tortured bodies, stills of ghetto life and grainy black
and whites of old synagogues across the country, most of
which no longer exist.QE-4, Maskavas 14a (entrance from
Krasta), tel. (+371) 67 27 08 27, Open 10:00 -
18:00. Closed Sat. Admission: donations.
Built in 1905, this is the only surviving Jewish prayer house
and the main meeting place for the 12,000-strong com-
munity. Although it was used as a warehouse during the
Nazi occupation, its sacred scrolls and other treasures were
hidden and escaped destruction. It is said that the build-
ing was not burned to the ground as others had been due
to its close proximity to other houses in Old Riga.QI-2,
Peitavas 6/8, tel. (+371) 67 21 45 07, Open
10:00 - 16:00. Closed Sat. Admission: donations.
Honour guard at the Freedom Monument M.Zaprauskis
Gustavs Klucis (1895 - 1938)
was one of the world’s lead-
ing constructivist artists, but
unfortunately many of his
works were used as propa-
ganda for the Soviet regime
to further its communist
agenda. The exhibition
challenges each visitor to
put aside their feelings and
to view his art purely on its
own merits and to acknowl-
edge just how important
his posters were in the evolution of constructivism.
The exhibition entitled Gustavs Klucis. The Anatomy of
an Experiment is on display at the Arsenāls Exhibition
Hall (H-1, Torņa 1, until October 26 and
will be the largest showing of his art to date in Latvia.
Many of the works are on loan from prestigious muse-
ums from around Europe. Tickets cost €3.56. Image by
Gustavs Klucis
Very few of Riga’s guests
ever leave the city with-
out purchasing at least
one piece of Baltic amber
whether as a souvenir or a
piece of jewellery. The ex-
hibition The Age of Amber
studies the place held by
the fossilised sap in the heart and soul of the Latvian
people from the early 20th century until the present.
The collection of photographs, paintings, installations,
sculptures, films, songs and art will be on display at
the Museum of Decorative Art and Design (I-2, Skārņu
10/20, until October 26. Tickets cost
€3.56. Image: Dzintara meklētāji (Amber Seekers, 1959)
by Edgars Iltners courtesy of the Liepāja History and
Art Museum
Not sure where to begin your sightseeing tour of Riga?
Start with a 5D cinema experience in Old Riga and see the
city’s best sights in only 10 minutes! For €6 - 8 you can
not only visit churches, medieval buildings and modern
wonders of architecture, but you can almost feel the tops
of the spires, trees and bridges with the soles of your feet.
The cinema also has a top-notch shop that sells unique
souvenirs and fashion made by Latvian designers.QI-2,
Latviešu strēlnieku laukums 1, tel. (+371) 25 42 20 55, Open 10:00 - 20:00. Admission: adults €8,
students €7, children €6.
October - November 2014 57
Set up in 1978 on the premises of a former fire station built
in 1912, this museum displays the history of fire fighting in
Latvia from the second half of the 19th century until the
present. View fire fighting equipment, uniforms, flags, pho-
tographs and documents for a nominal fee.QB-4, Hanzas
5, tel. (+371) 67 33 13 34, Open 10:00
- 17:00. Closed Mon, Sun. Admission: €0.28.
Latvia’s largest chocolate producer has opened up a fun
and fascinating interactive museum in its historic prem-
ises on Miera Street. After registering and receiving your
QR-coded admission ticket you can proceed into a num-
ber of different exhibits that trace the long history of
the company whose traditions date back to 1870. Watch
videos about the history of chocolate making or see how
Laima produces some of its most delicious treats. You can
also have your photo taken and shown on an in-house
Laima clock, create your own chocolate video or have a
personalised message printed on a chocolate bar to give
as a gift to a friend (or yourself). An adjoining Laima shop
and café is also available and if you book well in advance
you can also join a creative workshop and make your own
chocolates!QB-5, Miera 22, tel. (+371) 66 15 47 77, www. Open 10:00 - 19:00. Closed
Mon. Admission: adults €7, children €3 - 5.
This small museum housed in an historic medieval build-
ing traces the evolution of Latvian sport from the late
19th-century when cycling, swimming and wrestling
were all the rage to the present day when hockey and
other winter activities seem to dominate. Look at black
and white photos, old medals, posters from the 1930s and
some truly interesting memorabilia like world champion
Uljana Semjonova’s enormous (men’s US 21/EU 58) basket-
ball shoes! An excellent colour photo exhibit is available
upstairs.QI-2, Alksnāja 9, tel. (+371) 67 22 51 27, www. Open 10:00 - 17:00, Sat
11:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon, Sun. Admission: €0.71.
For fans of antiquity this fascinating historical house that
once belonged to a wealthy Riga merchant is a must.
Restored furniture, 18th century frescoes and a true
medieval atmosphere are all here for your perusal. Not
only can you see how the medieval rich lived in their
fine apartments, but also how the servants toiled in the
massive kitchen area. Guided tours in English, German
and Russian are available for €10.QI-2, Grēcinieku 18,
tel. (+371) 67 21 29 51,
Open 11:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission: €1.42
- 2.85; photos €2.85. RC
Latvian textiles, ceramics as well as glass, wood, leather
and metal work are all housed in this gallery/museum.
Formerly St. George’s church, it’s the oldest surviving
stone building in Riga and dates back to the 13th century.
You can also purchase Latvian National Art Museum sou-
venirs and books at its shop. Exhibitions usually cost extra.
QI-2, Skārņu 10/20, tel. (+371) 67 22 22 35, www.lnmm.
lv. Open 11:00 - 17:00, Wed 11:00 - 19:00. Closed Mon.
Admission: €2.13 - 4.27.
The making of medicine used to be an art, judging from
the exhibit in this historic home in Old Riga. Displays of
porcelain containers, tools and century-old remedies trace
the history of pharmacology in Latvia, and the authentic
drug store brings visitors back to the 1920s. It’s worth
calling ahead to book a tour, because only then will the
more obscure and even ominous aspects of prescribing
and creating medicine be explained. Many of the antique
packages and flasks contain their original contents, which
in some cases are still potent. Just because the warning
labels aren’t in a language you understand doesn’t mean
you should try the drugs.QI-2, Vāgnera 13, tel. (+371)
67 21 30 08, Open 10:00 - 17:00. Closed
Mon, Sun. Admission: €2.13.
58 Riga In Your Pocket
Enter this unique museum and walk up the stairs to the
first floor to discover temporary exhibitions from Latvia
and abroad, as well as art and memorabilia from the days
of the first Latvian Republic. The second floor displays
Bronze Age artefacts and medieval curiosities, such as
the sword used by Riga’s executioner in the 16th century
and the mummified hand of an unlucky criminal.QH/I-1,
Palasta 4, tel. (+371) 67 35 66 76, Open
11:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission: €4.27.
Latvia is one of the most war-ravaged countries in Europe.
Crusader, Swedish, Polish, German and Russian armies
have all left their mark. This museum of photos and mem-
orabilia documents the struggles of the 20th century, from
WWI and the war for independence up to and including
the Nazi and Soviet occupations of WWII.QH-2, Smilšu
20, tel. (+371) 67 22 81 47, Open
10:00 - 18:00. Admission: free.
One of Riga’s oldest museums has been renovated and mod-
ernised in recent years with interactive exhibits, informative
touch screens and learning games for the kids. The second
floor is dedicated to palaeontology and geology with mock-
ups of ancient ecosystems and fossils under glass, while the
third floor specialises in zoology with an unparalled taxider-
my collection that includes everything from eagles to lions
and even a giraffe. The fourth and fifth floors present exhib-
its relating to human evolution, marine biology, botany and
entomology.QD-4, Barona 4, tel. (+371) 67 35 60 24, www. Open 10:00 - 17:00, Thu 10:00 - 19:00,
Sat, Sun 11:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission: €2.13.
Named in honour of the Latvian physician Pauls Stradiņš,
this fascinating museum traces the medical practice
throughout the ages. View straight jackets, old medi-
cal equipment, a recreated 19th-century pharmacy and
plaques warning of smallpox in a stately building over-
looking the Kronvalda Park.QB-3, Antonijas 1, tel. (+371)
67 22 26 65, Open 11:00 - 17:00, Thu 11:00
- 19:00. Closed Mon, Sun. Admission: €2.13.
This museum is housed in an apartment where one of Lat-
via’s best art nouveau architects once lived - Konstantīns
Pēkšēns. The prolific artist and engineer who was respon-
sible for the creation of no less than 250 buildings in Riga
also designed this impressive edifice. The historic house
was also home to the illustrious painter Janis Rozentāls and
the writer Rūdolfs Blaumanis to whom another museum is
dedicated on the top floor. View period furniture and art-
work from one of the Latvian capital’s most creative eras.
A must see. Don’t miss the grand staircase!QB-3, Alberta
12, tel. (+371) 67 18 14 65, Open
10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon. Admission: €3.50.
The former Riga Stock Exchange has been successfully
renovated and transformed into this wonderful museum,
which is incredibly modern by Latvian standards. Inside
you’ll find an excellent collection of 17th-century Chinese,
Japanese and Delft Blue porcelain from the Netherlands,
three centuries of silverware from the Baltics, Russia and
Germany as well as some lesser-known, but no less im-
pressive paintings by Dutch masters of the Golden Era.
Although the lighting could be better in the main hall,
you can find some real gems in the exhibit of paintings
including a winter landscape by Monet and a bronze of
lovers by Rodin. An Eastern gallery is also available, which
includes everything from Egyptian mummies to price-
less Southeast Asian artefacts.QH-1, Doma laukums 6,
tel. (+371) 67 22 64 67, Open 10:00
- 18:00, Fri 10:00 - 20:00. Closed Mon. Admission: €2.85
- 6.40. AW
The unmistakable façade of the Riga Bourse Art Museum MZ
starO rīga light festival
Every year around Latvia’s
independence day festivi-
ties in November, Riga puts
on an amazing light festi-
val for a few nights which
is seen by tens of thou-
sands of people. Dozens of
buildings and landmarks
throughout the city are
illuminated with photo-
graphs, games, films and
other artistic creations and
the old town is usually flooded with people. The at-
mosphere is definitely festive and it’s a great night out
for families, groups of friends or individuals who’d like
to catch a glimpse of something unique. This year’s
celebration will begin on November 14 and will be
visible every night until November 18. For more in-
formation about light installations and specific routes
around the city visit
October - November 2014 59
The Konventa Sēta houses the only porcelain collection
of its kind in the Baltics.The exhibit traces the rich his-
tory of porcelain manufacturing in Riga, chiefly started
in 1841. An enormous red and gold vase dominates the
exhibit, and is a standout not only because of its size, but
because it was specially made for Riga on her 700th birth-
day in 1901. One room is filled with works from the Soviet
era, when images of leaders were immortalised on vases.
QI-2, Kalēju 9/11 (Konventa Sēta), tel. (+371) 67 01 29
44, Open 11:00 - 18:00. Closed
Mon. Admission: €1.42.
Iveta Gražule, the museum’s owner and curator, began
collecting images of the sun with the purchase of a silver
necklace ornament in Portugal in 1999. Over the years her
collection grew so large that she finally decided to open
a museum to house it. View over 350 porcelain, metal,
iron, wood, papier-mâché, coconut and glass wall decora-
tions of the sun from 43 countries and six continents at
Europe’s only sun museum. You can also paint your own
plaster sun in the workshop, which is included in the price
of admission. Not surprisingly, the collection keeps grow-
ing as visitors donate their own sun mirrors, clocks, plates
and ceremonial masks from around the globe.QI-3, Vaļņu
30, tel. (+371) 67 22 55 87/(+371) 29 69 04 16, www. Open 10:00 - 19:00. Admission: adults
€3.56, children €2.85, children age 4 - 6 €1.42. TJ
This hill was created from 1857 to 1859 to replace the old
defensive sand bulwark. Within its precincts are memorial
stones to five people killed by Soviet bullets during the
January 1991 disturbances. Among the dead were camera
operators documenting the stormy events. Despite the
popular coverage of the Gulf War at the time, their footage
was shown all over the globe, much to the chagrin of the
Soviets.QG-2, Separating Old Riga from the new centre.
Fountain on the Esplanade M.Zaprauskis
The Latvian National Library is the brainchild of American-
Latvian architect Gunnar Birkerts, who is perhaps best
known for his creations in the United States which include
the Corning Museum of Glass in New York State and the
Law Library Building at the University of Michigan. The
building is finally open and hosts a variety of exhibitions
and events. Its shape is a symbolic expression of the Hill of
Glass and the Castle of Light found in Latvian folklore. Leg-
end has it that the Castle of Light sank into an ancient lake
and would only arise from the depths when Latvians were
once again masters of their own land.QE-3, Mūkusalas 3,
When construction was completed in 1930, Riga’s Central
Market was one of the largest and most modern market-
places in Europe. Eighty years later, four of the five pavil-
ions still serve their original function as meat, fish, produce
and dairy markets. The bustling atmosphere also hasn’t
changed much, although most of the hawkers are more
reluctant to haggle than in the past. The markets spill out
beyond the confines of the hangars and operate through-
out the day, some longer than others.QJ-3, Centrāltirgus
iela, Open 08:00 - 17:00, Mon,
Sun 08:00 - 16:00.
If you’re interested in art
from exotic lands and the
influence it has had on the
evolution of modern Euro-
pean art, then drop by the
Riga Bourse Art Museum (H-
1, Doma laukums 6, www. until October
26 to visit a new exhibition
entitled In Search of Future
Art. Voldemārs Matvejs
and non-European (Af-
rican, Pacifc, North Asian) Art. The first part of the
exhibition displays old photographs taken by Latvian
artist, explorer and art historian Voldemārs Matjevs
(1877 - 1914) on his extensive travels through Asia,
Africa and Oceania, as well as original sculpture and
artefacts of the regions described from the collections
of such prestigious museums as the Leiden National
Museum of World Cultures and the Branly Museum in
Paris. The second exhibition in the Bosse Hall focuses
on his books The Art of Easter Island (1914) and The Ne-
gro Art (1919) published under the nom de plume Vladi-
mir Markov. It is believed that these works influenced
many prominent Latvian and Russian avante-garde
artists of the period. Tickets cost €4.27.
60 Riga In Your Pocket
During the centuries of German economic domination,
the guilds were Riga’s power brokers. The former, dating
from 1384, was the home of the merchants, while the
latter held the city’s artisans. These slightly different audi-
ences are reflected in the respective usage of the build-
ings today: while the Great Guild is home to the Latvian
Symphony Orchestra, its smaller cousin hosts conferences
and the occasional disco. The Small Guild is also open to
the public during the day for a small admission fee.QH-2,
Amatu 6 and Amatu 5,
One of Riga’s architectural treasures, the House of Black-
heads was erected in 1344, but was embellished and
expanded in the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries. It was de-
stroyed in 1941 and its ruins were completely demolished
by the Soviets in 1948, but it finally rose from the ashes in
the late 1990s in keeping with the medieval saying above
its entrance that states ‘if I should fall, build me again’. A
striking Gothic building with a Dutch Renaissance facade,
it was used to house single members of the merchants’
guild who were also notorious revellers of their day. It’s
even rumoured that their parties and feasts were often
attended by royalty in disguise. Sadly, the President of Lat-
via has moved his offices here, so the building is currently
closed to the public.QI-2, Rātslaukums 7, tel. (+371) 67
04 43 00,
Dating back to the beginning of the 14th century, only the
rock foundations remained after it was destroyed by in-
vading Swedish troops in 1621. It was rebuilt in 1650 with
2.5m thick walls to protect its valuable contents inside and
was obviously successful, as nine Russian cannonballs that
hardly made a dent were later embedded in its walls by
cheeky masons. At the end of the 19th century a German
student fraternity bought the building, but today it’s part
of the War Museum.QH-2, Smilšu 20.
Built in 1330 as a base for the Livonian Order, the castle
was destroyed several times during battles with the local
townspeople. After the Order’s destruction, the various oc-
cupiers of the city housed their governors inside. Latvia’s
first post-Cold War president Guntis Ulmanis made it his
official office to continue the tradition begun by Latvia’s
interwar presidents in the 1920s and 1930s. It also housed
the National History Museum of Latvia, but tragically, a fire
broke out during renovations on June 21, 2013 and parts of
the interior were gutted.QH-1, Pils laukums 3.
Take a look at a wide variety of animals from around the
globe including tortoises from the Galapagos, Japanese
macaques, Bactrian camels, African zebras, lions, tigers,
giraffes and hippopotami, Asian red pandas and Europe-
an bears, wolves and seals. The zoo also has a top-notch
tropical house filled with rare birds, snakes, frogs and in-
sects. Take tram N°11 from Barona to the Mežaparks stop.
QMeža prosp. 1, tel. (+371) 67 51 84 09, www.rigazoo.
lv. Open 10:00 - 17:00. Admission: adults €6, children 4
- 18 years €4, free for children under four.
At a height of 368m, Latvia’s national TV and radio tower
is the tallest such tower in the European Union. For a small
fee you can take the lift up to the observation deck and get
an incredible view at a slightly less impressive height of
97m above the ground. On a clear day you can supposedly
see the tallest hills in Sigulda over 50km away! Take trolley-
bus No.19 from the Inženieru iela stop next to the Univer-
sity of Latvia to the Zaķusala stop on the Sala bridge and
then walk the rest of the way to the tower.QZaķusalas
krastmala 1, tel. (+371) 67 10 86 43,
Open 10:00 - 20:00. Admission: €3.70.
THE BOOK 1514 - 2014
In the modern digital age when many people read
books and newspapers on their Kindles or iPads, it’s
hard to imagine what medieval scholars had to go
through to get a printed version of anything 500 years
ago. This fascinating interactive exhibition will delve
into the nearly forgotten world of Albrecht Dürer, Titian,
Martin Luther, Michelangelo and Eramus of Rotterdam
when printing presses were cranking out literature and
pamphlets on diverse topics from religion and history
to geography and cartography. The Renaissance was at
its zenith and people were hungry for knowledge. Dis-
cover this exciting era through original, centuries-old
books and displays at the new Latvian National Library
(E-3, Mūkusalas 3, Open 12:00 - 20:00, Sat,
Sun 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon) and see how books
evolved over the past 500 years.
One of France’s most con-
troversial contemporary
artists will display some of
her most intriguing work at
the Museum of Decorative
Arts and Design (I-2, Skārņu
10/20, be-
ginning November 8. Orlan
gained international fame and infamy in the 1990s by
undergoing nine separate plastic operations to reflect
the history of European art on her body. She adjusted
her brow to look like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, her chin to
remind one of Boticelli’s Venus and her mouth to re-
flect François Boucher’s Europa. View original photos,
posters, videos, installations and multimedia projects
by the artist and performer who considers her own
body to be ‘an instrument of art’. Image: section of an
Orlan poster. Tickets cost €3.56.
October - November 2014 61
A chilling Latvian joke
makes light of the in-
famous, now derelict
building on the corner of
Brīvības and Stabu streets
by claiming that its bal-
conies are the only ones
in the nation that offer a
view of Siberia. Indeed,
thousands of Latvians met their end in the notorious
Corner House or Stūra māja and a memorial outside
to its victims states: ‘During the Soviet occupation the
state security agency /KGB/ imprisoned, tortured, killed
and morally humiliated its victims in this building.’ The
building now hosts six exhibitions that explore the
relationship between people and authority, but only
until October 19. They are curated by prestigious
museums and organisations.
A Latvian’s Suitcase ponders the question faced
by many Latvians over the decades, namely what to
bring with you if you don’t know if or when you’ll re-
turn. Latvians had to make this decision before being
deported to Siberia, before fleeing the country as refu-
gees and more recently in search of work elsewhere in
the world. The exhibition also asks each visitor what
would you bring? (Re)constructing Friendship
explores the relationship between large and small
nations via art. Does true friendship exist if the latter
is coerced? Another exhibition entitled 10 Artefacts
Telling Stories About People and Authority il-
lustrates how seemingly ordinary objects often hide
a wealth of information about people and their lives.
Riga’s Occupation Museum also created a Walking
Tour of the Corner House that enables visitors
to see detention cells, interrogation rooms and other
reminders of the building’s odious past. In Spite of
Everything demonstrates via naïve art how creativity
survived and even flourished during the Soviet Union’s
occupation of Latvia. Finally, The Museum of Fate-
ful Objects displays personal keepsakes donated by
local Latvians that often have an incredible history. The
building is open 10:00 - 18:00, Mon 10:00 - 16:00, Wed
10:00 - 20:00. Closed Tue. Admission: €5.
If you’re looking for a completely different way to see the
city then these guys can help. For years now these pro-
fessional kayakers have been offering tours of Riga’s wa-
terways including the Daugava river and the Riga Canal.
Although morning and day tours are fun, the night tours
are unique as Riga is one the few major cities in Europe
where this is possible. No kayaking experience is needed
and the guides will also take photos of you throughout the
tour, which is given in English, Russian or Latvian for €20/
person.QD-2, Balasta dambis 13, tel. (+371) 27 87 87 57,,
This Soviet edifice is a cousin to similar statements of ugli-
ness all over Eastern Europe and local nicknames for the
Empire State building copy include ‘Stalin’s birthday cake’
or ‘the Kremlin’. Most Latvians just consider themselves
lucky that the portrait of Uncle Joe that was supposed to
be a part of the facade never came to fruition. If you look
closely you can spot several hammers and sickles up top.
At a height of 65m, the 17th-floor balcony is open to the
public for a fee but only from April - September.QD-4,
Akadēmijas laukums 1, tel. (+371) 67 22 53 61, www.lza.
lv. Open 09:00 - 17:00. Observation deck: €3.56.
The Soviet war memorial which commemorates the sup-
posed communist ‘liberation’ of Riga is the place to meet
die hard reds on Soviet anniversary days. Built in 1985 to
lionise the Red Army and to dishearten and annoy the Lat-
vian populace, the monument consists of a tall concrete
obelisk adorned with five golden stars symbolising the
five years of WWII. On either side are bronze statues of
Mother Russia and soldiers advancing with their weapons
raised. Dozens of hectares of parkland surround this shrine
to former Soviet glory. Take tram N°5 from 11. Novembra
krastmala to the second stop over the Akmens Bridge.QE-
2, Over the Akmens Bridge in Pārdaugava.
‘Milda,’ as she is affectionately known, was unveiled in 1935
and is a national shrine for Latvians. Designed by Kārlis
Zāle, the friezes around the base of the sculpture depict
Latvians singing, working and fighting for their freedom,
while the three stars in the maiden’s hands represent the
three historical regions of the country: Kurzeme, Vidzeme
and Latgale. Locals are always placing flowers at the base
of the monument, an act for which people were deported
to Siberia in Soviet times. When the weather is favourable
the honour guard changes every hour on the hour from
09:00 - 18:00.QH-3, Where Brīvības and Raiņa meet.
Riga Castle in all its glory M.Zaprauskis
62 Riga In Your Pocket
Prices of imported goods in Latvia tend to be inexplicably
high, but local crafts, food and alcohol are still relatively
cheap. Several shopping centres are also available and they
often come in handy on Sundays when most small shops
are closed.
Latvijas Balzams outlets throughout the city sell over 50
different alcoholic beverages including the famous Rīga
Black Balsam. Also sells Balzams t-shirts.QI-2, Audēju 8,
tel. (+371) 67 22 88 14, Open 08:00 - 22:00,
Sat, Sun 09:00 - 22:00. Also at H-2, Šķūņu 16; H-2, Vaļņu
21; D-4, Marijas 1; and many other locations. A
If you’re at the Central Market and you appreciate antiques
then stop by this small shop behind the vegetable (sakņu)
pavilion and browse through a good selection of books,
bottles, inter-war kitchen tins, loads of porcelain figurines
and the odd bust of Lenin.QJ-3, Centrāltirgus 5. Open
09:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun.
This shop lets people sell their wares here for a commis-
sion. You can find all manner of interesting items from
antiques and collectibles to mink coats, porcelain and
paintings. The Soviet toy cars in their original boxes really
caught our eye.QC-4, Tērbatas 33/35, tel. (+371) 67 22
45 45. Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun.
Paintings, religious icons, porcelain, memorabilia and
much more.QI-1, Krāmu 4, tel. (+371) 67 21 42 78. Open
10:00 - 20:00, Sun 11:00 - 18:00. A
A large selection of of classic English-language literature as
well as a some contemporary novels.QI-3, Vaļņu 26, tel.
(+371) 67 22 69 57, Open
10:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 18:00, Sun 11:00 - 17:00. A
Latvia’s largest selection of maps and travel books, not to
mention a wide variety of In Your Pocket guides.QC-4, Eliza-
betes 83/85, tel. (+371) 67 24 08 94,
Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. A
This funky little shop sells new and used books, vinyl, CDs
and DVDs. You can also enjoy a glass of wine while you
browse through the stacks.QC-4, Baznīcas 8, tel. (+371) 25
43 41 23, Open 11:00 - 19:00. Closed Sat, Sun.
Owned and operated by a Riga expat, this shop sells
second-hand English language books. You can find any-
thing from guidebooks and romance novels to award-
winning contemporary literature.QC-4, Dzirnavu 51a, Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat 12:00
- 16:00. Closed Sun.
This book shop on three floors is probably the biggest in
the Baltics. Mostly Latvian and Russian books, as well as
local maps and guides like this one and some literature in
English and German.QH-3, Aspazijas 24, tel. (+371) 67 22
74 82, Open 09:00 - 21:00, Sat
10:00 - 21:00, Sun 11:00 - 17:00. A
This huge chain of convenience stores sells everything
from public transport tickets and international press to
snacks, candy, coffee, hot dogs and beer.QG-3, Brīvības
32, tel. (+371) 67 28 74 02/(+371) 80 00 85 85, www. Open 07:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 20:00, Sun
10:00 - 18:00. Also at C-4, Dzirnavu 74/76; H-2, Šķūņu
8; and many other locations including the airport and
train and bus stations. AS
The thoroughfare on the
other side of the Vanšu
bridge is a treasure trove of
19th-century wooden archi-
tecture and although many
of these old edifices could
use some serious renovation
work, the beautiful build-
ings at the corner of D-1,
Melnsila and Kalnciema iela
have been lovingly restored
and now host a bustling fair every Saturday from
10:00 - 16:00 that attracts visitors from around Riga.
Although the theme changes from fair to fair, you can
expect plenty of food and drink, local crafts and a lively
atmosphere. For more information visit www.kalncie- Take bus No.53 from the National Theatre to
the Melnsila iela stop.
Visit the Kalnciema Fair on Saturdays M.Zaprauskis
66 Riga In Your Pocket
Amber The petrified sap isn’t as plentiful as it is in
Lithuania or Kaliningrad, but it still washes up on Lat-
vian beaches. It’s sold in all souvenir shops and there
are dozens of amber stalls behind St. Peter’s Church, on
Vaļņu iela behind Hotel Riga and on Līvu laukums.
Art Nouveau souvenirs Nothing screams Riga like a
screaming gargoyle. Buy Art Nouveau silk scarves, post-
cards, ceramic dishes, books and plaster busts based
on beautiful heads seen on the city’s best early 20th-
century facades at Art Nouveau Riga, B-3 Strēlnieku 9.
Designer crystal and glassware Although Latvia
is perhaps better known for its traditional ceramics, a
new generation of local designers has produced beau-
tiful bowls, plates and other glassware that are in keep-
ing with modern design trends. You can find excellent
examples by an&angel ( at Riija.
Honey The Latvians revere their honey (medus) like
the French do their wine and even claim that it has
healing properties so taste some for free at The Honey
Room (I-2, Pēterbaznīcas 17. Open 10:00 - 19:00).
Local food The following
can be found in any super-
market: Latvian sourdough
(saldskābmaize) bread is deli-
cious and easily transported.
Latvian smoked cheese, carra-
way seed cheese and the Talsu
ritulis marinated in herbs are
all classic cheeses worth tak-
ing home. Sprats (šprotes) in
oil, similar to sardines, are the
perfect snack to go with the Latvian vodka you bought.
Music Music is absolutely essential to Latvian life. Upe
(I-2, Vāgnera 5. Open 11:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 16:00.
Closed Sun) has the best selection of Latvian folk, rock
and classical CDs in Riga.
Riga Black Balzams Originally intended as a cure-
all elixir, Balzams has been made in Riga since the late
18th century and is still used today to alleviate hango-
vers and stomach-aches and as the main ingredient
in many local cocktails. Consisting of over 24 herbal
ingredients, it looks like used motor oil and is sold in
charming ceramic jugs. Try it in coffee or currant juice.
Sweets The Laima factory in Riga has been produc-
ing delicious chocolates since 1870. They can be found
in any supermarket or at Laima shops around town.
Gotiņas, or little cows, are another local treat that can
be found at most supermarkets. They’re essentially
semi-soft sweet cream based candy made with lots of
sugar and packaged in colourful paper. Ask for them
by name.
This place sells vintage clothing, hand bags, jewellery and
other fashion accessories.QI-3, Vaļņu 39, tel. (+371) 67 21
35 80. Open 11:00 - 19:00. Closed Sun.
This trendy children’s fashion boutique and studio located
in the hip Miera iela creative quarter specialises in unique
and colourful designer clothes and accessories for girls
under 13. Browse through the shop for that special dress
with a cup of coffee or tea in hand while your little princess
plays on the indoor swing.QB-5, Miera 19, tel. (+371) 25
61 16 22, Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat
11:00 - 16:00. Closed Sun. A
This department store specialises in name brand fashion
such as Armani, Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli and
many more. It also sells designer furniture and accessories
for your home and kitchen. Take tram No.6 to the ‘Rupnīca
VEF’ stop.QBrīvības 201, tel. (+371) 67 16 55 51, www. Open 10:00 - 20:00, Sun 10:00 - 18:00. A
The only shop in Riga to exclusively sell art nouveau mer-
chandise. Buy small plaster faces from Riga’s most famous
facades, silk scarves with art nouveau designs, mugs,
greeting cards, books and linens. Naturally, it’s located at
the end of Alberta iela opposite the Riga Art Nouveau Mu-
seum.QB-3, Strēlnieku 9, tel. (+371) 67 33 30 30, www. Open 10:00 - 19:00. A
This souvenir shop located right next to the giant Egle
beer garden sells a huge selection of Latvian gifts from
handmade linens, ceramics and wool mittens and socks to
glassware and amber as well as local arts and crafts. Just
look for the enormous cat outside.QI-2, Mazā Jaunavu 8,
tel. (+371) 67 22 55 87. Open 10:00 - 22:00. A
All of the candles sold at this shop are made in Latvia. Buy
special amber candles, candles decorated with historic
lithographs of Riga or a huge variety of candles in every
shape, size and colour imaginable.QI-3, Vaļņu 28, tel.
(+371) 29 24 51 34, Open 11:00
- 19:00.
This souvenir shop specialises in Latvian treats such as
roasted almonds, candy-coated cranberries, gingerbread
cookies and unique amber sweets as well as locally-made
candles and other souvenirs.QH-1, Doma laukums 8A,
tel. (+371) 67 22 51 90, Open 11:00
- 19:00. A
The usual selection of linens, ceramics and T-shirts. Quality
leather journals and wooden toys, too.QH-2, Laipu 2/4,
tel. (+371) 67 22 99 62. Open 10:00 - 18:00, Sat 10:00 -
16:00. Closed Sun. A
October - November 2014 67
Although primarily a small cinema offering a 10-minute 5D
‘flight’ above Riga, it also has a great selection of unique,
contemporary local gifts made by Latvian designers from
clothing to wooden beer coasters with ancient pagan
symbols.QI-2, Latviešu strēlnieku laukums 1, tel. (+371)
25 42 20 55. Open 11:00 - 19:00.
All of the linen clothing, felt slippers, ceramics and other nick-
nacks sold at this upmarket design shop were created by Lat-
vian artists and artisans and nearly all of the items come in
varying shades of grey, beige and white. Definitely worth a
look.QC-4, Tērbatas 6/8, tel. (+371) 29 20 96 64, www.riija.
lv. Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. A
This huge department store sells everything from name
brand fashion and accessories to furniture, electronics and
children’s toys. Take tram No.6 from Barona to the ‘Rupnīca
VEF’ stop.QBrīvības 201, tel. (+371) 67 07 07 07, www. Open 10:00 - 22:00.
Galeriha Centrs occupies an entire block of Old Riga and
houses cafés, a supermarket and dozens of shops as well
as a spa and yoga centre on the top floor.QI-3, Audēju
16, tel. (+371) 67 01 80 18, Open
10:00 - 21:00. Rimi, Narvesen open 08:00 - 22:00. A
This downtown shopping centre on several floors offers
dozens of shops as well as a Rimi supermarket (08:00 -
23:00), a rooftop terrace right in the centre of Riga and a
whole floor of restaurants and bars (10:00 - 01:00).QC-4,
Dzirnavu 67, tel. (+371) 67 30 70 00, www.galleriariga.
lv. Open 10:00 - 21:00. ALBKW
Straddling the central train station, this vast shopping cen-
tre on three floors offers countless shops with everything
under the sun. Includes a supermarket (07:00 - 24:00) and a
few restaurants.QD-4, Stacijas laukums 2, tel. (+371) 67
07 30 30, Open 10:00 - 21:00. A
This funky shop creates beautiful mugs and glasses from
recycled wine, spirits and beer bottles.QB-5, Miera 10,
tel. (+371) 26 32 93 08, Open 11:00 -
19:00, Sat 12:00 - 16:00. Closed Mon, Sun.
This shop sells second hand clothes, electronics, toys,
board games, LPs, DVDs, books and lots of other stuff that
people have donated. Proceeds go to local charities.QC-4,
Marijas 13 (Berga Bazārs), tel. (+371) 67 28 71 72, www. Open 10:00 - 19:00, Sat 11:00 - 17:00. Closed
Sun. Also at C-5, Stabu 35, tel. (+371) 22 55 77 70. A
Buy exotic tea, gourmet coffee, imported cheeses, a fresh
baguette, some paper-thin prosciutto and a kilo of prawns
or just have a seat with a cappuccino and a couple of maca-
roons.QC-4, Brīvības 31, tel. (+371) 67 77 23 56, www. Open 09:00 - 21:00, Sun 10:00 - 18:00. A
The deli counter is fantastic and the meat section actually
offers real cuts of beef including steaks. It also stocks prod-
ucts you won’t find anywhere else in Riga like Campbell’s
soup and Betty Crocker cake and brownie mix.QI-3, 13.
janvāra 8, Open 09:00 - 22:00, Sun
10:00 - 21:00. A
Buy anything from fresh seasonal
produce and local delicasies like
rye bread baked on maple leaves
to antiques, vintage clothing and
Soviet memorabilia at the Berga
Bazārs open market twice every
month. You can also taste deli-
cious organic food prepared by
chefs from some of Riga’s best res-
taurants. Visit the bazaar from 10:00 - 16:00 at Elizabetes
83/85 every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
Visit for more information.
StrElnieku iela 9
(opposite the Riga Art Nouveau Museum)
We ship worldwide
68 Riga In Your Pocket
Sports & Leisure
This ultramodern entertainment centre offers 24 bowling
lanes (€9 - 14 depending on time), pool tables, a bar and a
children’s room. Take bus No.53 from the Esplanāde stop
on Brīvības to the RMR stop.QLielirbes 27, tel. (+371) 67
80 46 00, Open , Mon 15:00 - 23:00,
Tue, Wed 12:00 - 23:00, Thu 12:00 - 24:00, Fri 12:00 -
01:00, Sat 11:00 - 01:00, Sun 11:00 - 23:00. TA
22 lanes, four squash courts, one tennis court, 11 pool
tables, indoor mini-football, arcade games and a bar/res-
taurant.QE-2, Uzvaras 2/4, tel. (+371) 67 61 07 07, www. Open 13:00 - 24:00, Mon 15:00 - 24:00, Fri 13:00
- 02:00, Sat 10:00 - 02:00, Sun 10:00 - 24:00.
Riga’s only curling hall! Take trolleybus N°18 from Čaka to
the Eizenšteina iela stop.QBiķernieku 121h, tel. (+371)
29 53 53 79/(+371) 67 56 56 51,
Open 13:00 - 22:00, Tue, Thu 08:00 - 22:00, Sat, Sun by
appointment only. Open October - April.
This indoor beach sports centre offers beach volleyball
and football courts as well as a café/bar and a children’s
area. Take bus No.22 toward the airport to the Rūdas stop.
QJūrkalnes 100, tel. (+371) 25 40 00 00,
Open 07:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 08:00 - 23:00. A
Explore 15,000m2 of indoor attractions including go-karts,
a laser tag labyrinth, a Formula 1 simulator, a 4D cinema,
virtual reality gear, pool tables, children’s games and more.
Three bars, a kids’ cafe and a restaurant are also at your dis-
posal. Take trolleybus N°17 or N°23 from the Central train
station to the ‘Mēbeļu nams’ stop and walk up one block.
QG. Astras 2b, tel. (+371) 67 14 63 46, www.goplanet.
lv. Open 14:00 - 22:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 - 22:00. A
QC-4, Marijas ielā 13/8 (Berga Bazārs), tel. (+371) 67
28 85 85, Open 07:00 - 22:00, Fri
07:00 - 21:00, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 21:00. Also at D-2, Kuģu
24 (Radisson Hotel), tel. (+371) 67 0611 24. Open 07:00 -
23:00, Sat, Sun 08:00 - 22:00. A
Although the gym is available from the early morning
hours, the pool is usually only open from 10:00 and even
later at the weekend. See website for exact times.QA-3,
Katrīnas 12, tel. (+371) 67 09 98 00,
Open 07:00 - 23:00, Sat 09:00 - 20:00, Sun 10:00 - 18:00.
If you’re in the mood to vent some frustration, the Latvian
Paintball Club has devised a way to inflict some pain on your
friends. All you need to do is reserve a time online, by phone
or in person at its office on Valdemāra and take a trip out
to the Jugland Paintball Park outside of Salaspils.QSalaspils
novads, tel. (+371) 27 82 10 00, Riga
ofce: B-4, Valdemāra 40, tel. (+371) 67 29 14 00, www. Open 10:00 - 19:00. Closed Sun.
The thoroughfare on the other side of the Vanšu bridge
is a treasure trove of 19th-century wooden architecture
and although many of these old edifices could use
some serious renovation work, the beautiful buildings
at the corner of D-1, Melnsila and Kalnciema iela have
been lovingly restored and now host a bustling fair
every Saturday from 10:00 - 16:00 that attracts visitors
from around Riga. Although the theme changes from
fair to fair, you can expect plenty of food and drink, lo-
cal crafts and a lively atmosphere. For more information
visit Take bus No.53 from the Na-
tional Theatre to the Melnsila iela stop.
The thoroughfare on the other side of the Vanšu bridge
is a treasure trove of 19th-century wooden architecture
and although many of these old edifices could use
some serious renovation work, the beautiful buildings
at the corner of D-1, Melnsila and Kalnciema iela have
been lovingly restored and now host a bustling fair
every Saturday from 10:00 - 16:00 that attracts visitors
from around Riga. Although the theme changes from
fair to fair, you can expect plenty of food and drink, lo-
cal crafts and a lively atmosphere. For more information
visit Take bus No.53 from the Na-
tional Theatre to the Melnsila iela stop.
Spread out over a dozen time zones, the Russian Konti-
nental (sic) Hockey League or KHL also includes teams
from beyond the borders of the Russian Federation like
Dynamo Riga (Latvia), Jokerit Helsinki (Finland), Slovan
Bratislava (Slovakia) and Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia) to
name a few. All told, 28 teams from seven nations will
compete in the 2014/2015 season. Many of the KHL
teams have adopted Soviet-era names, hence all of
the dynamos, locomotives and metallurgists. Dynamo
Riga have had their ups and downs, but they did win
the first annual Nadezhda Cup (Cup of Hope), which
essentially means that they were the best of the worst
teams in the league. Home games take place at Arena
Riga, A-4, Skanstes 21, Tickets
can be bought at the arena or at Biļešu serviss (www. outlets. Tickets cost €5 - 86. Visit www. for more information. Photo by Nienke Bos
Upcoming fxtures at Arena Riga
Date Time Game
6 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Dynamo Minsk
8 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Slovan Bratislava
10 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Medveščak Zagreb
19 17:00 Dynamo Rīga vs. Barys Astana
21 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Salavat Yulaev Ufa
23 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Avangard Omsk
14 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Dynamo Minsk
16 17:00 Dynamo Rīga vs. Dynamo Moscow
20 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Slovan Bratislava
22 17:00 Dynamo Rīga vs. SKA St. Petersburg
24 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Jokerit Helsinki
28 19:30 Dynamo Rīga vs. Amur Khabarovsk
29 17:00 Dynamo Rīga vs. Metallurg Novokuznetsk
October - November 2014 69
Sports & Leisure
Opened in 1908, the White Sauna is owned and oper-
ated by an American-Latvian who happens to be a di-
rect descendant of its founder. Both traditional Latvian
and modern saunas are available as well as swimming
pools, baths, a café and English-speaking staff. A new
restaurant called Tvaiks, or Steam, which is manned by
a famous chef has also opened its doors on the prem-
ises.QB-6, Tallinas 71, tel. (+371) 67 27 17 33, www. Open 08:00 - 20:00, Fri, Sat 08:00 - 21:00,
Sun 08:00 - 19:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Cashier open until
one hour before closing.
This is the biggest indoor skatepark in the Baltics. Some
times are reserved only for skaters or BMX riders, but it’s
usually open to all.QKroņu 13a, tel. (+371) 67 56 99 30.
Open 11:00 - 21:00, Sun 11:00 - 19:00. KW
An Olympic-sized swimming pool is at your disposal every
day.QA-4, Grostonas 6b, tel. (+371) 67 38 77 10, www. Open 07:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 08:30 - 22:00.
The AB dambis offers great views of Old Riga M.Zaprauskis
Latvia’s largest indoor water park charges roughly €18 - 20/
adult for two hours of fun. A wave pool, children’s pool,
water slides and other attractions are all at your disposal.
QLielupe (Jūrmala), Viestura 24, tel. (+371) 67 75 56 36, Open 12:00 - 22:00, Sat 11:00 - 22:00,
Sun 11:00 - 21:00. Closed Mon, Tue. TALBDC
This studio offers yoga for beginners, for professionals, for
pregnant women and for children, as well as a wide variety
of massage options and meditation classes.QC-5, Stabu
51/2, tel. (+371) 26 55 50 60, Open
09:00 - 19:00, Sat 09:00 - 13:00. Closed Sun. A
70 Riga In Your Pocket
Health & Lifestyle
Need to buy aspirin for your headache, visit a dentist or find
the closest day spa? Read on.
ECB is a full service accounting company that specialises
in serving non-residents in Latvia. It offers fully certified,
multilingual accountants and carries PI insurance for the
benefit and security of its clients.QF-2, Antonijas 4, tel.
(+371) 67 33 61 77,,
This law firm specialises in real estate purchases, sales,
leasing and management and offers attorneys who are
licensed in both the United States and Latvia and are com-
pletely fluent in English. The first consultation is free.QH-
2, Vaļņu 3, tel. (+371) 67 21 42 72,
Dry cleaners and laundromat.QC-5, Barona 52 (entrance
from Ģertrūdes), tel. (+371) 67 27 24 71. Open 08:00 -
20:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. A
QB-3, Elizabetes 21A, tel. (+371) 67 20 55 33, www. Open 09:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed
Sun. Also at D-4, Stacijas laukums 2 (Origo shopping
centre). Open 09:00 - 22:00. A
QB-4, Hanzas 6, tel. (+371) 67 33 44 26, www.sandent.
lv. Open 09:00 - 19:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Saturday and
Sunday by appointment only. A
If you’re interested in connecting with your Baltic roots but
you don’t know where to begin, then contact Dr. Aleksan-
drs Feigmanis, a researcher, historian and Doctor of Theol-
ogy who will research your family tree and drive you to
locations within Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that hold
significance for your family such as ancestral homes in the
countryside. Dr. Feigmanis also offers spiritual seminars at
important sites throughout Latvia. He is also an expert on
Jewish history in Eastern Europe and can provide tours of
former shtetls in the Baltics, Belarus, Poland and Russia.
Qtel. (+371) 26 41 69 72,
English-speaking doctors. Listed opening hours are for
the trauma centre.QF-3, Skolas 5, tel. (+371) 67 20 10 07, Open 08:00 - 20:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 -
20:00. For a 24-hour medical consultaion call its hotline
at tel. (+371) 67 20 10 03.
QB-6, Tallinas 57b, tel. (+371) 67 31 42 11, www.benu.
lv. Open 24hrs. Also at I-3, Audēju 16 (Galerija Centrs),
tel. (+371) 67 01 80 59. Open 08:00 - 21:00; C-4, Brīvības
38, tel. (+371) 67 28 97 61. Open 08:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00
- 18:00. Closed Sun. A
.QB-5, Brīvības 74, tel. (+371) 67 27 16 19, www. Also at I-3, Aspazijas 20 (entrance
from Audēju), tel. (+371) 67 22 38 26. Open 24hrs. A
QB-4, Brīvības 68, tel. (+371) 67 50 69 27, www. Open 08:00 - 22:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 -
22:00. A
This day spa in the city centre provides modern body
and facial treatments with special Latvian-made spa
cosmetics and fragrances. A number of spa treat-
ments such as massages, aromatic baths and other
popular rituals are available for individuals or couples.
QC-4, Tērbatas 14,, www. Open 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 20:00,
Sun 10:00 - 18:00. Aw
On November 18, 1918, a
group of Latvian intelligent-
sia declared their nation’s
independence from the
disintegrating Russian Em-
pire. Dominated by foreign
powers since the arrival of
Teutonic knights at the end
of the 12th century, Latvi-
ans finally had their own
state. Unfortunately, rogue
German military units and
the new Bolshevik government in Russia didn’t take
the declaration seriously and fighting continued un-
til, with the help of Polish and Estonian armies, all of
Latvia’s foes were expelled from the country in 1920.
Independence Day is celebrated with various events
and concerts in Riga, a military parade on 11.novem-
bra krastmala, events at the Freedom Monument and
a speech by the Latvian president. This year Inde-
pendence Day takes place on a Tuesday, so locals will
enjoy a four-day weekend.
October - November 2014 71
Health & Lifestyle
This impressive spa centre only a half hour ride away from
Riga offers a combination of old world Jūrmala spa tradi-
tions and the latest technology and global trends. Take a
swim in the 25m-long heated sea water pool, relax in one
of the hot tubs in the Garden complex or sweat it out in one
of the saunas or steam rooms in the Banja area. Naturally, all
kinds of massages and spa treatments are available.QJūras
23/25 (Majori, Jūrmala), tel. (+371) 67 77 14 46, www. Open 08:00 - 22:00. ALKDCW
ESPA Riga is the largest five-star spa in the Baltic and Scan-
dinavian region. Hidden behind the beautiful facade of an
historic art nouveau building, you’ll find six modern floors
of swimming pools, saunas, treatment rooms, gyms and
relaxation areas – all of which include cutting-edge design
and technology. Luxurious changing facilities are also at
your disposal as well as a café and a shop selling the eco-
friendly natural ESPA productsQF-3, Baznīcas 4a (Radis-
son Blu Hotel Latvija), tel. (+371) 67 71 52 22, www. Open 07:30 - 22:30. AFKDC
For a complete list of foreign embassies and consulates in
Riga including opening hours visit
QB-4, Baznīcas 20/22, tel. (+371) 67 81 39 45, riga@,
QH-3, Raiņa bulv. 13, tel. (+371) 67 08 51 00, www.riga.
QF-2, A.Pumpura 8, tel. (+371) 67 68 66 00, www.
QB-3, Kalpaka bulv. 3, tel. (+371) 67 24 30 82, emb_lv@,
QF-2, J.Alunāna 5, tel. (+371) 67 77 47 00, ukinlatvia.
QSamnera Velsa 1, tel. (+371) 67 10 70 00, riga.
Autumn in Old Riga M.Zaprauskis
Latvia boasts dozens of ancient Crusader castles,
nearly 500km of untouched beaches, scores of manor
houses that have been converted into hotels and spas,
charming medieval towns and pristine nature reserves
that are just begging to be explored. Although many
of these attractions can be reached by public trans-
port, if you’d like to see more than one in a day, we
recommend you contact our English-speaking friend
Jānis ( or (+371) 29 58 04 48) who
will drive you anywhere you want to go in Latvia (or
the Baltics) for an affordable fee.
Sigulda & Turaida: only an
hour train ride from Riga’s cen-
tral station you’ll find this historic
gem perched atop a valley over-
looking the meandering River
Gauja. Explore two castle ruins,
one renovated castle, a 19th-
century manor house and the largest sandstone cave
in the Baltics. Adrenalin junkies can also bungee jump
from a cable car or take a run in a summer sled on the
bobsleigh track.
Cēsis: located a little farther
down the same railway line, the
charming town of Cēsis is con-
sidered to be the most Latvian
city in the whole country and it’s
also the birthplace of the Latvian
flag, one of Europe’s oldest. Its
main attraction is its enormous Crusader castle, but
the town itself and its 12th-century church are also
picturesque and worth a visit.
Rundāle Palace & Bauska:
only an hour bus ride south
of Riga you’ll find the town of
Bauska whose main claim to
fame is its giant castle situated
at the confluence of the Mūsa
and Mēmele rivers. It’s also a
good place from which to explore nearby Rundāle
Palace, the most impressive 18th-century baroque
treasure in the Baltics and an absolute must see at-
Kuldīga: a former Hanseatic
city and one-time capital of the
Grand Duchy of Courland, this
picturesque town is one of the
best preserved medieval cities
in Latvia. Although its imposing
castle was completely destroyed,
its 17th-century wooden buildings with terracotta
tile roofs are its main attraction as well as its historic
churches, cobblestone streets and the widest water-
fall in Europe, which can be viewed from one of the
longest brick bridges on the continent.
72 Riga In Your Pocket
Although Riga has lots of hotels and many more apart-
ments, it doesn’t offer many aparthotels. RigaApart-
ment offers 20 affordable apartments in one building
that are all available for short-term rental, so you can
stay for as little as one night or spend a whole week
here. The apartments are incredibly spacious with
high ceilings and hardwood floors and offer a wide
variety of amenities including comfortable furniture,
full kitchens, washing machines, flat screen TVs and at
least one bathroom and bedroom (depending on the
apartment). Some of the flats also have fireplaces, but
we preferred the cosy attic apartments. A lift is also
at your disposal.QC-5, Ģertrūdes 54, tel. (+371) 20
06 00 09, 20 apartments
(one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments €35 -
This charming five-storey building was completely
renovated in 2014 and is located in its own quiet pri-
vate courtyard, which includes plenty of secure parking
and a children’s playground. The majority of its rooms
are 40m2 one-bedroom apartments equipped with
IKEA furniture, flat screen TVs with satellite channels,
fold-out couches, full kitchens, free wi-fi, washing ma-
chines and bathrooms with ionic hairdryers. Two of its
16 rooms offer yet another bedroom, but are similar in
style. A 24-hour reception area is available and you can
have breakfast and lunch in the cellar café for an extra
fee. Great for families and guests who have cars. Airport
transfers available.QD-6, Ģertrūdes 129 (entrance
from Valmieras 7), tel. (+371) 25 46 15 46, www. TALGKW
A Accepts credit cards P Air conditioning
Z Anti-allergy O Casino
T Child-friendly H Conference facilities
U Facilities for the disabled
I Fireplace F Fitness centre
L Guarded parking R LAN connection
J Old town location 6 Pet-friendly
K Restaurant D Sauna
X Smoking section C Swimming pool
W Wifi Riga Card discounts
Riga really has it all when it comes to hotels. You can stay in
an ultra modern design hotel in the old town or a beauti-
ful suite with private terrace and Jacuzzi if you don’t mind
spending your hard-earned cash. Those travelling on a
budget can choose from plenty of B&Bs, hostels and even
a few low-cost hotels. Bear in mind that hotels are often
fully booked in July and around New Year’s Eve, so plan ac-
cordingly. Unless otherwise noted, breakfast and VAT are
included in the prices listed here.
Spacious, tasteful and luxurious. Pamper yourself in this
sleek, centrally located yet quiet hotel in the trendy Berga
Bazārs shopping plaza. Offering an array of amenities,
Hotel Bergs’ spacious interiors are a contrast of light and
dark, wood and linen. Discuss matters of grave impor-
tance in the top floor glass conference hall which seats
up to 120 people or unwind in its stylish restaurant - one
of Riga’s best. Hotel Bergs is a member of the alliance of
Small Luxury Hotels of the World.QC-4, Elizabetes 83/85
(Berga Bazārs), tel. (+371) 67 77 09 00, reservations@, 38 rooms (21 stu-
dio suites from €187, 7 apartment suites from €277, 6
loft suites from €277, 4 penthouse suites from €362).
This stylish design hotel is housed in one of Old Riga’s most
beautiful art nouveau buildings. All 55 of its apartments
include a combination of modern minimalist décor and
original elements like restored parquet floors that date back
to 1903. Kitchens, spacious rooms, huge plasma TVs, free
wireless internet access, bathrooms with bathtubs, slippers
and robes and excellent views all come standard. iHome
dual charging stereo FM clock radios with lightning dock
and USB charge/play for iOS devices are also included in the
price. Two-storey suites, accommodation with balconies
and an excellent restaurant are also available.QI-1, Jauni-
ela 25/27, tel. (+371) 67 11 55 22, 55
rooms (36 studio apartments €143 - 172, 4 studio deluxe
€198, 8 senior suites €236, 7 two-storey suites €251 -
A 1980s edifice that once served as accommodation for the
cream of Soviet society now houses one of Riga’s most de-
luxe hotels. Expect comfy rooms with cherry wood decora-
tions and an excellent top-floor sauna and fitness complex
with 180° views. Naturally, all of its rooms include every
modern convenience including flat screen TVs and high-
speed wireless internet access. Its ground floor restaurant
is located below a glass pyramid that affords great views of
the park across the street.QG-3, Reimersa 1, tel. (+371) 67
09 33 33, 95
rooms (70 standard class €95, 13 business class €165, 8
superior class €135, 3 suites €395, 1 presidential suite
October - November 2014 73
Nearly everything in this huge 11-storey hotel revolves
around a common theme - Albert Einstein and his theories.
Each of the 246 rooms includes a quote from the father
of modern science, the conference facilities are named
space, time and light, the ‘do not disturb’ signs simply say
‘I’m thinking’ and even the carpets include a pattern of
working atoms. All rooms are tastefully decorated with re-
laxing autumnal colours and have the standard amenities
you would expect from a great hotel. QB-4, Dzirnavu 33,
tel. (+371) 67 33 17 17, 246 rooms
(7 singles €74, 163 doubles €79, 10 triples €99, 12 suites
€119, 62 business class €89 - 94, 2 disabled-friendly
The only way that this luxury hotel could have a better
location would be if it were located inside Latvia’s larg-
est cathedral instead of right next to it. All rooms offer
the usual amenities including satellite TV, writing desk,
wireless internet and spacious bathrooms, but we recom-
mend the cosy, rustically furnished rooms in the section
that was once a 17th-century warehouse. In keeping with
the Johannes Gutenberg theme, a small bronze book
is attached to each room key. QH-1, Doma laukums 1,
tel. (+371) 67 81 40 90, 38 rooms
(14 singles €100, 17 doubles €114, 1 suite €170, 6 junior
suites €140). PJHA6ULKW
A part of the prestigious German Maritim chain, this enor-
mous hotel on the other side of the river offers over 200
rooms, an upmarket 11th-floor restaurant and a massive
conference centre. All accommodation includes cable TV,
climate control, mini-bar, trouser press and bathrooms
with hairdryer and shower or tub. Higher end rooms also
include bathrobes, slippers, balconies and floor to ceil-
ing windows with views.QE-1, Slokas 1, tel. (+371) 67
06 90 00, 231 rooms (80 singles €45,
100 doubles €50, 2 triples €70, 1 suite €180, 14 apart-
ments €90, 1 junior suites €140, 33 superior €60 - 70).
The Accor Group’s first Latvian endeavour is an impressive
property spread out over two buildings not far from the
Riga Central Station. Although quite modern in style with an
open reception area and a playful use of colour, art nouveau
motifs inspired by the oldest part of hotel dominate the dé-
cor of its accommodation. Classic rooms are tastefully fur-
nished and include climate control, flat screen TVs, free wi-fi,
tea/coffee sets, safe and bathrooms with showers. Privilege
rooms and junior suites are more spacious and have the
added benefit of Nespresso machines. A spa centre and an
international restaurant are also available.QD-4, Elizabetes
101, tel. (+371) 67 86 99 00, 143 rooms
(128 doubles €102, 11 privilege rooms €132, 4 junior suites
74 Riga In Your Pocket
The Country Traveller offers B&Bs and holiday homes
outside of Riga. Check out its comprehensive website
to find the countryside vacation of your dreams. Ride
horses, go fishing, sweat it out in a traditional sauna or
enjoy a regal stay in an ancient castle. You can search by
region, type of accommodation, amenities offered and
This four-star hotel housed in a completely renovated neo-
Gothic building built in 1883, offers spacious rooms with
satellite TV, climate control, mini-bar, phone, internet access
and private bathrooms with bathtub and bidet as well as
a bar, restaurant, modern conference facilities and a fitness
centre. Many of the rooms also include balconies with ex-
cellent views of the park and surrounding 19th-century ar-
chitecture. Named after the owner’s daughter, Monika also
offers incredible suites with original decorative artwork and
four-poster beds.QB-3, Elizabetes 21, tel. (+371) 67 03 19
00, 80 rooms (12 singles €76,
50 doubles €86, 3 suites €130, 1 apartment €150, 14 ju-
nior suites €96). PHAR6UFKDXW
Located on the left bank of the River Daugava, many of its
rooms offer incredible views of Old Riga across the water.
Singles and doubles are spacious and include cable TV,
mini-bar and private bathrooms. Business travellers can
choose business class rooms or suites, which are more
spacious and include a few extra perks. An excellent fit-
ness centre with a pool is available as well as conference
rooms and a restaurant.QD-2, Kuģu 24, tel. (+371) 67 06
11 11, 356 rooms
(276 doubles, 47 junior suites, 20 suites, 13 apartments).
Built from the ground up in 2008, this incredibly stylish
hotel is located opposite Riga’s most beautiful park a short
walk from Old Riga. Its interior was created by a trendy Lon-
don design firm and each of its modern, spacious rooms
includes flat screen TVs, free wireless internet, large bath-
rooms and many other four-star amenities as well as views
of either the courtyard or the park. A fitness centre, a hip
cocktail bar and a grill restaurant called C.U.T. are also at your
disposal and an ice machine is located on each floor .QC-4,
Elizabetes 73, tel. (+371) 67 78 55 55, www.radissonblu.
com/elizabetehotel-riga. 228 rooms (186 standard class
€99, 38 business class €154, 3 suites €299, 1 two-room
suite €399). PZHAUFLGKDW
This one-time In-Tourist skyscraper has been transformed
into one of Latvia’s premier hotels. All rooms include phone,
mini-bar, hair dryer, climate control and satellite TV. Allergy
and smoke-free accommodation is also at your disposal,
as well as three bars, a restaurant, conference facilities and
room service, not to mention a new wing with dozens of
shops, gourmet food shop and a café. If you’re in the mood
to be pampered, a five-star spa, ESPA Riga, with six floors
of pools, fitness equipment and saunas is connected to
the hotel. Don’t miss the view from the 26th-floor Skyline
Bar.QC-4, Elizabetes 55, tel. (+371) 67 77 22 22, www. 571 rooms (212 stan-
dard class €95, 317 superior class €135, 38 business class
€175, 3 suites €345, 1 presidential suite €540). PZO 
This stylish hotel located a short walk from Old Riga was
built from the ground up in 2010. You can expect modern
décor in all of its 256 rooms, which include brown, white
and silver colours, flat screen TVs, free wireless internet
access, safe, phone and other 4-star amenities as well as
bathrooms with heated tile floors and huge showerheads.
A restaurant, lobby bar, café, cigar room and beauty salon
are also available and kids are given colouring books and
crayons while their parents check in. A morning sauna is
also included in the priceQD-4, Elizabetes 24, tel. (+371)
67 09 97 60, 256 rooms (21 sin-
gles €70, 227 doubles €77, 3 suites €170, 5 junior suites
When one walks into the grand lobby of this design hotel
they’re immediately drawn to the huge aquariums that sepa-
rate the reception area from the stylish, yet affordable restau-
rant. All rooms are decorated in a similar fashion with beige
and grey tones and light wooden furnishings and amenities
include flat screen TVs, mini-bar, safe, coffee/tea sets, free wi-
fi, ironing boards, spacious bathrooms and climate control,
not to mention bathrobes on each bed. A huge medieval wall
has been successfully integrated into the design of some of
the hallways and a spa centre including a swimming pool is
available in the basement.QI-3, Kalēju 33, tel. (+371) 67 13
06 74, 120 rooms (5 singles €95, 97
doubles €100, 2 triples €130, 15 suites €140, 1 apartment
If the gold elephant on the pedestal in the courtyard didn’t
get you’re attention, the 600kg, 6m-high white elephant
in the bar/reception area certainly will. This sleek, modern
glass and steel hotel offers rooms with either light or dark
wallpaper and furniture, depending on the floor, and all
include floor to ceiling windows, big flat screen TVs, free
wireless internet, mini-bar, complimentary coffee/tea
sets, safe and phone. A small spa centre, a restaurant and
underground parking are also available. Take bus N°22 to
the RMR (from the airport) or Candera iela (from the cen-
tre) stop.QKalnciema 90, tel. (+371) 67 22 55 60, www. 156 rooms (123 doubles €60, 8 triples €81,
13 suites €90, 1 apartment €110, 11 junior suites €85).
October - November 2014 75
Located in a residential neighbourhood in the city cen-
tre, this large hotel offers nearly 80 rooms that include
flat screen satellite TVs, phone, writing desk, free wireless
internet access, mini-bar, climate control, safe and private
bathrooms with hair dryers and complimentary toiletries.
The interiors are clean and attractive and a conference
room is also available as well as a breakfast room.QC-5,
Gertrudes 70, tel. (+371) 67 79 16 03,
79 rooms (7 singles €60, 50 doubles €65, 3 triples €86,
10 suites €90, 3 apartments €105, 6 junior suites €80).
This elegant Old Riga hotel of fers old world atmo-
sphere with wood panelling, crystal chandeliers and
the occasional piece of antique furniture. Rooms are
similar in style with light walls and red carpeting and
include such amenities as satellite TV, air condition-
ing, safe, mini-bar, cof fee/tea sets and private bath-
rooms. Superior rooms are more spacious and some
even include balconies. A bar, fitness centre and a
lobby area with both free wireless internet access as
well as three computer workstations are also avail-
able.QJ-2, Minsterejas 8/10, tel. (+371) 67 55 97 90, 100 rooms (12 singles €60 - 70,
71 doubles €70 - 90, 5 triples €90 - 100, 1 junior
suites €100 - 120, 11 business doubles €90 - 100).
This stylish design hotel is spread out across two histor-
ic buildings that surround a common courtyard. Each
of its 40 rooms is slightly different in style, but most
offer modern grey minimalist interiors with at least one
funky design element, usually a lamp, in a bold colour
to liven things up. Guests can expect plenty of space,
flat screen TVs, phone, free wireless internet, climate
control and private bathrooms with hairdryer and ei-
ther a bathtub or shower. A breakfast buffet is served in
a trendy restaurant with its own rooftop terrace, hence
the name of the hotel.QB-3, Dzirnavu 2, tel. (+371) 67
82 82 87, 40 rooms (4 singles €45,
30 doubles €50, 2 apartments €70, 4 junior suites
€60). PHAW
From the sunny staff to the unique, spacious and colourful
interior, Laine is a superb, affordable central find located
in a restored art nouveau building. Rooms offer cable TV,
mini-bar, private bathrooms and interesting décor that in-
cludes antique furniture and paintings by Latvian artists. A
restaurant with a fireplace and free wireless internet access
are also available.QB-4, Skolas 11, tel. (+371) 67 28 88 16, 33 rooms (14 singles €50, 14 doubles €60,
1 suite €114, 4 apartments €114). HA6LK
What Felicia lacks in location, it more than compensates for
in service and quality. Situated in a quiet neighbourhood
in the Purvciems district of Riga, the rooms of this modern
complex look like they were taken straight out of a furni-
ture show room. Phone, flat screen TVs with satellite chan-
nels, private bathrooms, mini-bar and climate control are
all at your disposal as well as a bar and restaurant. If you’d
like to relax you can also take advantage of the downstairs
sauna and the small, yet ample swimming pool. You can
also take trolleybus N°11 or 18 from the Central Station to
the Ūnijas iela stop.QStirnu iela 32b, tel. (+371) 67 59 99
42, 19 rooms (5 singles €25 - 35,
12 doubles €45 - 85, 1 suite €100, 1 junior suites €85).
This modern, stylish accommodation is only a short tram
ride from the city centre and Old Riga. All of its rooms are
tastefully decorated in neutral beige tones with the oc-
casional splash of colour and include climate control, flat
screen TVs, free wi-fi, phone and bathrooms with bathtubs
and hair dryers. Superior and deluxe rooms are similar, but
with much more space and sofas. The Colombo restau-
rant on the 12th floor provides unparalleled views of the
city and refined international cuisine and a lobby bar is
available on the ground floor. Take tram N°5 or 9 to the
Pētersalas iela stop and walk north up Katrīnas to the hotel.
QA-3, Katrīnas dambis 27, tel. (+371) 67 32 31 30, www. 76 rooms (8 singles from €46, 48 standard
twin / double from €53, 15 superior from €67, 5 suites
from €139). PZTHAUFLGKW
76 Riga In Your Pocket
Although this place is halfway between the airport and
the centre, it’s worth the drive if you’re looking for de-
cent accommodation at a good price. All rooms have
modern bathrooms with showers, light coloured inte-
riors with wooden furniture, TV, mini-bar, telephone
and internet as well as access to a sauna and confer-
ence room. During the summer a proper pool is also
available, as well as an area for hooking up your camper
if you’re travelling with an RV.QŠampētera 139a, tel.
(+371) 67 89 27 28, 60 rooms (11
singles €57, 36 doubles €71, 10 triples €100, 1 suite
€114, 1 apartment €141, 1 junior suite €79). HA 
This three-star hotel offers comfortable accommodation
in the city centre and its 49 rooms face a quiet courtyard
so you don’t have to worry about noise. With the excep-
tion of the upmarket suites on the top floor, all rooms
are decorated in a similar style with bright pastel colours,
wood furnishings designed by local craftsmen, cable TV,
phone, safe, mini-bar and private bathrooms with show-
ers and hair dryers. We, however, prefer the rooms on the
sixth floor each of which has its own balcony at no extra
cost. An internet terminal at reception, café/bar and free
wi-fi are also available.QB-4, Valdemāra 63, tel. (+371)
67 33 39 18, 49 rooms (6 singles €40, 7
doubles €49, 3 triples €69, 2 suites €86, 31 twin €49).
Not unlike a typical British B&B, this hotel only offers five
rooms, but each is decorated in a different fashion and
provides cable TV, free wireless internet access, modern
bathrooms, coffee/tea set and a cosy atmosphere that
one would expect from a home away from home. A
common room is also available with a kitchenette and
a computer with internet access.QC-5, Barona 39-1
(entrance from Ģertrūdes), tel. (+371) 67 50 66 04,
fax (+371) 67 50 66 03,,
5 rooms (2 singles €36, 2 doubles €46, 1 triple €56).
All of the rooms in this historic Art Nouveau building in
the centre of Riga are completely renovated with tasteful
furniture, cable TV and en suite bathrooms. Multilux is
family-owned so you’re guaranteed good service as well
as internet access, housekeeping, 24-hour reception and
a breakfast buffet. A great value!QC-5, Barona 37 (en-
trance from Ģertrūdes), tel. (+371) 67 31 16 02/(+371)
29 40 03 43, fax (+371) 67 31 16 40, hotel@multilux.
lv, 15 rooms (3 singles €17 - 29, 3
doubles €26 - 41, 2 triples €30 - 41, 5 twin €21 - 36,
1 six-bed room €56 - 84, 1 studio apartment €71).
This B&B located in a quiet residential neighbourhood is
only a stone’s throw from the city’s most impressive Art
Nouveau buildings and offers bright and spacious rooms,
many with private bathrooms, within renovated apart-
ments on three floors. A full kitchen is also available as
well as a communal computer with internet access or free
wireless in rooms.QB-3, Lenču 2, tel. (+371) 67 33 33 43,
fax (+371) 67 33 13 78, reservation@guesthouselenz.
lv, 28 rooms (singles from
€26, basic doubles from €27, ensuite doubles from €31,
suites from €60). A6W
Not being right in the city centre comes with its advan-
tages. Peace and quiet, fresh air, green views, open space
and the closest proximity of any hotel to Arena Riga, the
best venue for concerts and sporting events in the city.
Skanste isn’t at the height of fashion, but doesn’t try to
be. The recipe here is genuine country-style friendliness
and straightforward comfort in a family environment. Dis-
abled guests also welcome.QA-4, Skanstes 9, tel. (+371)
67 51 99 23, 34 rooms (8 singles
€27, 18 doubles €41, 6 triples €56, 2 junior suites €64).
Just look for the only orange wooden house on the cor-
ner (perhaps the only one in Riga). Rooms are somewhat
spacious and include bright coloured interiors. Modern
shared toilets and showers are located in the hallway and
a small kitchen and common room with TV, CD player and
games are also at your disposal. Breakfast, a smoking room
with hookahs, free internet access and a book exchange
corner are also available. A grocery store is located on
the ground floor and the hostel also rents bikes.QD-5, E.
Birznieka-Upīša 20, tel. (+371) 22 32 26 63, reception@, 21 rooms (2 sin-
gles €18.50, 10 doubles €20, 1 triple €27). A6LW
Spread out across four floors of an historic Old Riga build-
ing, this cosy hostel offers dorms with incredibly high
ceilings on the second floor or more intimate rooms on
the third and fourth floors that include original oak beams
and even the remnants of an antique pulley system once
used to lift goods to the attic in medieval times. Each floor
has its own bathrooms and toilets as well as a small kitch-
enette with a refrigerator, sink and a microwave. Many of
its rooms also include excellent views of Town Hall Square
and the River Daugava. Free wi-fi is included in the price
and there’s no curfew.QI-2, Mazā Jaunavu 8, tel. (+371)
67 21 31 01,,
14 rooms (2 singles €25, 4 doubles €30, 4 triples €35, 1
apartment €80, 3 dorms €12/person). A6W
October - November 2014 77
Located above a McDonald’s, you’ll never be far from
a quick meal or coffee even at midnight at this modern,
comfortable hostel. Prices for beds are affordable and the
location near the train station, bus terminal and Old Riga
couldn’t be more convenient. A kitchen is available if you’d
like to do your own cooking and a relaxation room is also
at your disposal. No curfew.QD-4, Merķeļa 1 (4th foor),
tel. (+371) 22 33 78 84, 8 rooms
(singles €22, 7 twin €24). A6W
The Aussie owners of this hip hostel made it clear to us that
the place is meant to be a fun, safe place to stay in Old Riga
for anyone who can appreciate comfortable beds, great
atmosphere and one of the best pubs in the city. In fact,
three floors of the building are occupied by drinking space
and the top three floors house dorm rooms with light blue
walls and red bunk beds with individual lighting and stor-
age lockers. The hostel lacks a kitchen, but all guests can
get a free breakfast beer at the bar if they wake up be-
fore 12:00.QI-3, Vaļņu 43, tel. (+371) 67 22 34 06, www. JAGW
Walk down hallways covered in graffiti by local street art-
ists to find singles, family rooms and dorms each of which
includes private lockers and even speakers that can be
plugged into your iPod. Shared toilets and showers, a full
kitchen and a communal room with cable TV, a DVD player
and three free computers are also available here at the place
that rated the 9th best hostel in the world!
It also offers a wide range of tours and activities like bungee
jumping and shooting AK-47s.QI-3, Kalēju 50, tel. (+371)
67 22 00 73/(+371) 26 46 12 48, www.thenaughtysquirrel.
com. 20 rooms (4 doubles €46, 3 triples €50, 2 four-bed
dorms 10 - €17/person, 4 six-bed dorms €12 - 14/person,
4 eight-bed dorms €11 - 13/person, 2 ensuite €43 - 50).
Breakfast not included. JAW
Great choice of renovated apartments in Old Riga and the
city centre from studio to four-bedroom apartments. Airport
transfer, cleaning services and long-term rentals available.
Professional English-speaking staff.QI-3, Rīdzenes 25, tel.
(+371) 67 21 60 40/(+371) 29 23 81 06,
This reputable company offers four tastefully decorated apart-
ments for short-term rental in one building on Valdemāra iela
not far from Arena Riga and only a short trolleybus ride from
Old Riga. Each apartment includes everything you could pos-
sibly need or want including satellite TV, full kitchen, washing
machine, modern furnishings and bathroom and free wi-fi.
Bed linens, towels and toiletries are included in the price.QB-
4/5, Valdemāra 91, tel. (+371) 20 06 00 09/(+371) 29 57 62
69, AGW
Eating out Finding child-friendly restaurants and cafés
in Riga can sometimes be a bit of a chore, but a few
have realised that providing a play area for children
can actually add to their bottom line. Vairāk Saules
(C-4, Dzirnavu 60, offers a kids’
menu and all the legos a child could ever want and
T.G.I.Friday’s (I-2, Kaļķu 6, tel. (+371) 67 22 90 71) offers
colouring books and a kids’ menu. K|I|D (B-3, Pulkveža
Brieža 2, www. even offers a children’s
room that’s supervised by a nanny of sorts.
Educational trips The Open-Air Ethnographic Mu-
seum (Brīvības gatve 440, is
a great place for kids. Not only can children learn about
Latvian customs and rural living, but they can also see
people in period costume performing various tasks like
shaping iron at the blacksmith’s. The Riga National Zoo
( in Mežaparks is also always a good
option and kids can paint their own plaster suns at
the Sun Museum (I-3, Vaļņu 30, www.saulesmuzejs.
lv). You can also combine a shopping outing with some
kids’ fun at Zili Brīnumi (C-4, Dzirnavu 67 - 6th floor, This fascinating children’s centre in
the Galleria Riga shopping centre offers a number of
interactive exhibits that teach kids about science and
the natural world in an interesting way. The little ones
can also take a look at St. Peter’s rooster through a tel-
escope or take advantage of the play room that’s filled
with wooden development toys. Open 12:00 - 20:00.
Just for fun Līvu Akvaparks (Jūrmala, Lielupe, Viestu-
ra 24, offers a wave pool, a children’s
pool, six water slides and a tubing river guaranteed to
keep the kids happy all day long. Parents can have a
drink at the swim-up cocktail bar. The giant Lido Rec-
reation Centre (Krasta 76, also has plenty
to offer including lots of children’s attractions. The Riga
Circus (D-4, Merķeļa 4) is also an option. Visit www. for show times. Skaters and BMX riders can
use the ramps at the B-6, Grīziņkalns Park. For bowling,
swimming pools and other activities for the whole fam-
ily see Sports & Leisure.
Wonderful fall foliage on Bastion Hill M.Zaprauskis
78 Riga In Your Pocket
Old Riga map
82 Riga In Your Pocket
Academy of Sciences 61
Agency Lilija Plus 77
Akhtamar 24
Albert Hotel 73
Alus arsenāls 38
Amber Way Tavern 38
Apartments Valdemāra
Apsara 42
Aqua Luna 44
Aragats 24
Art Hotel Laine 75
Art Nouveau
architecture 54
Aussie Backpackers
Pub 53
Bastion Hill 59
B&B Krisjanis &
Gertrude 76
Bergs Restaurant 44
Bibliotēka No 1
Restorāns 44
Birka 40
Breaking Bread 34
Buddha 28
By bus 9
By car 9
By ferry 9
Cadets de Gascogne 25
Castle of Light 59
Caviar Club 40
Central Hostel 76
Central Market 59
Charlestons 28
Charlie Pizza 37
Cheers! 52
Chomsky 46
Colombo 34
Coyote Fly 50
C.U.T. 34
Delicio 30
Depo 50
Dņipro 43
Doma Hostel 76
D’vine 48
EcoCatering Telpa 40
El Čarlito 42
Esplanāde 34
Fazenda 29
Fire-Fighting Museum
Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs
38, 48
Fontaine Delisnack
Riga 47
Freedom Monument 61
Gan Bei 25
Gastronome 40
Gauja 46
Get Smart Café 46
Ghetto Burger 15
Golden 52
Great Choral
Synagogue 56
Great & Small Guild
Halls 60
Grīziņkalns Park 15
Himalaju-Āzijas virtuve
Hotel Bergs 72
Hotel Felicia 75
Hotel Gutenbergs 73
Hotel Multilux 76
Hotel Neiburgs 72
House of Blackheads 60
Il Sole 40
Indian Raja 33
Indian Tikka House 33
Jakob Lenz Guesthouse
Jautrā lapsa 46
Jockey Club 50
Kafka kafija 32
Kayaking in Riga 61
Key to Riga 38
Ķīniešu Bistro 30
Kiwi Bar 46
KKC 47
Klondaika 42, 53
Kolonāde. Our Stories
Kotai 42
Krogs Aptieka 47
Kuuka Kafe 32
Labi 50
Labietis 48
Laima Chocolate
Museum 57
Lāsīte 43
Latvian Ethnographic
Museum 54
Latvian Sports Museum
Lauku Ceļotājs 74
LIDO atpūtas centrs 38
LIDO Vērmanītis 38
Live Riga Tourist
Information Centres 9
Look at Riga 56
Madride 41
Mai Tai 51
Māja 45
Maritim Park Hotel Riga
Melnā Bite 38
Mentzendorff’s House
Mercure Riga Centre 73
MiiT 28
Moloney’s Pub 36, 53
Monika Centrum Hotel
Museum of Decorative
Arts & Design 57
Museum of Pharmacy
Museum of Riga’s
History and Navigation
Museum of War 58
Mute 34
Nabaklab 51
Natural History
Museum of Latvia 58
Neiburgs 45
Nometne 29
Old Shanghai 30
Omas briljants 48
Orthodox Cathedral 54
Osīriss 29
Paddy Whelan’s Irish
Pub & Sports Bar 36, 53
Paul Stradin Museum of
the History of Medicine
Pelmeņi XL 30
Picas Meistars 37
Piens 51
PinUp Bar 52
Piramīda 45
Planeta 37
Portofino 36
Powder Tower 60
Radisson Blu Daugava
Hotel 74
Radisson Blu Elizabete
Hotel 74
Radisson Blu Hotel
Latvija 74
Radisson Blu Ridzene
Hotel 72
Restaurant Bellevue 45
Restaurant Elements 34
Ribs & Rock 28
Riga Airport Hotel ABC
RigaApartment 72
RigaApartment Hotel
Riga Art Nouveau
Museum 58
Riga Bourse Art
Museum 58
Riga Castle 60
Riga Cathedral 54
Riga Ghetto and
Latvian Holocaust
Museum 56
Riga Hostel 77
Riga National Zoo 60
Riga Old Town Hostel
Rīga Porcelain Museum
Rockabilly House 40
Rossini 37
Rozengrāls 43
Safie Turkish Bakery 25
Šašliki Mangaļos 41
Šefpavārs Vilhelms 30
Siļķītes un dillītes 41
Skanste 76
Skyline Bar 52
Stargorod 32
Steiku Haoss 41
St. James Cathedral 55
St. John’s 55
St. Paul’s Church 15
St. Peter’s Church 54
Street Burgers 30
St. Saviour’s 55
Subway 33
Sun Museum 59
Sveiks, Šveik! 32
Synagogue 56
Tallink Hotel Riga 74
Tēvocis Vaņa 40
T.G.I.Friday’s 24
The Museum of the
Occupation of Latvia
(1940 - 1991) 54
The Naughty Squirrel
Backpackers 77
The Traveller 34
TIA 76
Traktieris 40
Travel 2 Riga 48
Trusis Kafe 29
TV & Radio Tower 60
Ugunsdzēsējs 15
Uzbeku Šašliks 30
Vairāk Saules 36
Valmiermuižas alus 38
Varzoba 30
Vest 48
Viesistaba Vintage 36
Vīna Studija 48
Vinilbārs 48
Wellton Centrum Hotel
& SPA 74
Wellton Elefant Hotel 74
Wellton Gertrude Hotel
Wellton Old Riga Palace
Hotel 75
Wellton Terrace Design
Hotel 75
Wine Way 36
Wooden Riga 15
Žanna Cafe 32
Ze Donats 33
Ziedoņdārzs Park 15
11. novembra krast-
mala I-1/J-2
13. janvāra I/J-3
Aklā H-1
Akmens tilts J-1
Alberta laukums I-3
Aldaru H-2
Alksnāja I-2
Alunāna F-2
Amatu H-2
Anglikāņu H-1
Arsenāla H-1
Aspazijas bulv. H/I-3
Atgriežu H-1
Audēju I-2/3
Barona H-3
Basteja bv. (Z.A.
Meierovica) G/H-2
Bīskapa gāte I-1
Brīvības G/H-3
Citadeles F/G-1
Doma laukums H-1
Elizabetes F-3
Freedom Mon. H-3
Gleznotāju H/I-2
Grēcinieku 1/2
Herdera lauk. H-1
Inženieru H-3
Jāņa I-2
Jāņa sēta I-2
Jaunavu H/I-2
Jauniela H/I-1
Jēkaba G/H-1
Jēkaba lauk. G-1
Jeruzalemes F-3
Kalēju I-2/3
Kaļķu H/I-2
Kalpaka bv. G-2/3
Ķēniņu H-2
Klostera H-1
Konventa Sēta I-2
Krāmu I-1/2
Kronvalda bv. F/G-1
Kungu I-2
Laima clock H-2
Laipu H-2
Līvu laukums H-2
Mārstaļu I/J-2
Mazā Miesnieku H-1
Mazā Monētu H/I-2
Mazā Muzeja H-1
Mazā Pils H-1
Mazā Smilšu H-2
Mazā Trokšņu H-1
Meistaru H-2
Merķeļa G/H-3
Miesnieku H-1
Minsterejas J-2
Mucenieku H-2
Muitas G-1
Mūku H-1
Palasta I-1
Pasta J-2
Peitavas I-2
Peldu I-2
Pēterbaznīcas I-2
Pils H-1
Pils laukums H-1
Prāgas J-3
Pumpura F-2
Radio I-3
Raiņa bulvāris G-2/H-3
Rātslaukums I-1/2
Reimersa G-2
Rīdzenes I-3
Rozena H-1
Skārņu I-2
Šķūņu H-2
Smilšu H-1/2
Strēlnieku laukums I-1
Teātra I-2/3
Tirgoņu H/I-2
Torņa G-1/H-2
Trokšņu H-2
Ūdensvada I-2
Vāgnera H/I-2
Valdemāra G-1/F-2/3
Vaļņu H-2/I-3
Vecpilsētas I-3
Vingrotāju F-2
Z.A. Meierovica
(Basteja bulvāris)
Zirgu H-2
Bus Station J-3
Riga Info Centre I-2
Monument H-3

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