What are some traditional Latvian foods I should try in Riga?

Have you ever thought about trying Latvian food? Riga, the capital city, has a lot to offer. We’ll dive into the world of traditional Latvian dishes you have to try in Riga.

Riga is proud of its food, which shows off Latvia’s unique tastes. Dishes range from fragrant breads to smoked fish and rich cheeses. Each bite tells a story of Latvia’s past and culture.

Ready to explore Latvian cuisine? Riga welcomes all, from food fans to the curious. You’re sure to find something you’ll love in its diverse food scene.

Black Balsam – Latvian Herbal Liqueur

Black Balsam stands out in Latvia for its unique taste and history. It’s made from a special mix of herbs, roots, and spices. This mix has been used for many years.

The drink is known for its interesting taste. It has a mix of bitter and sweet flavors that work well together. People like to drink it before or after meals. It’s also good for making cocktails.

Key Features of Black Balsam
Distinctive taste Traditional Latvian drink Handcrafted from a secret blend of herbs, roots, and spices
Versatile: Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails Iconic Latvian herbal liqueur Rich flavor profile with a perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness
Indulge in a shot of Black Balsam to experience the true essence of Latvian heritage Aperitif or digestif Passed down through generations

If you visit Riga, you can find Black Balsam in many places. The city’s restaurants and bars are proud to serve it. This allows visitors to taste Latvia’s rich heritage.

Experiencing Black Balsam in Riga

Drinking a shot of Black Balsam is like diving into Latvian culture. Its strong and fragrant flavors will really wake you up. You’ll remember the experience for a long time.

Black Balsam is perfect for any season. It can warm you up in winter or cool you down in summer. It shows the lively spirit of Latvia. You can enjoy it in different ways, from neat to mixed in cocktails.

Now, let’s appreciate the charm of Black Balsam:

Latvian herbal liqueur

Rye Bread – A Staple of Latvian Cuisine

When talking about traditional Latvian bread, rye bread stands out. It has a strong texture and unique taste. Latvian rye bread has a deep history in the nation’s food culture. Many see it as a symbol and key part of Latvian meals.

In Latvia, people have been eating rye bread for many years. Its popularity has never faded. The special flavor comes from mixing rye flour, water, yeast, and sometimes other grains.

Making Latvian rye bread takes time and effort. The dough ferments for a while to get its rich taste. Every part of the process, from mixing to baking, is important for the final bread to be just right.

“Latvian rye bread is more than just a culinary delight. It is a symbol of our cultural identity and a reflection of the hardworking nature of the Latvian people.” – Chef Anna Rūsiņa

Latvian rye bread is used in many ways. It’s a tasty base for open-faced sandwiches like “sklandrausis”. Or you can simply have it with butter. Its strong taste goes well with soups, stews, and other Latvian dishes.

In Riga, many bakeries and markets offer Latvian rye bread. You can find great bread at the Central Market or in the Old Town. The smell of fresh bread will draw you in for a delightful treat.

“Mārtiņu Maize” is a top bakery in Riga for rye bread. It’s a family business in the city center. They are known for using top-notch ingredients and keeping old Latvian bread traditions alive.

Where to Taste the Best Latvian Rye Bread in Riga:

Bakery Name Location Specialty
Mārtiņu Maize Skolas iela 18, Riga Authentic Latvian rye bread
Rozengrāls Kungu iela 17, Riga Traditional Latvian bread and pastries
Mieriņš Liepu iela 4, Riga Wide variety of bread, including rye bread

Many places in Riga offer great Latvian rye bread. Make sure to try it when you visit the city. It’s a highlight of Latvian food.

Latvian rye bread in a basket

Latvian rye bread is a big part of the culture and tastes amazing. Try some and experience a flavor that Latvians have loved for many years.

Grey Peas with Bacon – Latvia’s Classic Comfort Food

Grey peas with bacon is a top pick for Latvian comfort food. It’s well loved for its simple, warming flavors. This dish really hits the spot.

It’s been a favorite for Latvians for many years. The recipe uses two basic foods: soft, earthy grey peas and tasty bacon. The peas are cooked until they turn creamy. The bacon then makes them salty and rich.


To make this, the grey peas soak overnight. Then, the peas and bacon cook together. This makes a dish that’s warm and full of Latvian tastes.

Want to taste this dish for yourself? Look for it in Riga’s cafes and pubs. Many spots in the city offer grey peas with bacon on their menus. It’s a hearty choice for a meal.

Rozengrāls is one such place. It’s a cozy, medieval spot in Riga’s Old Town. Here, you can try a delicious plate of grey peas with bacon and enjoy a special dining setting.

Try grey peas with bacon at Rozengrāls and savor the flavors of traditional Latvian comfort food.

So, don’t miss your chance to enjoy this Latvian classic in Riga. It gives you a true taste of Latvian flavors and style.

Ready to explore more Latvian dishes? Let’s talk about Latvian smoked fish!

Best Places to Try Grey Peas with Bacon in Riga

Restaurant Location Rating
Rozengrāls Old Town 4.8
Key to Riga City Center 4.5
Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs Old Town 4.7

grey peas with bacon

Latvian Smoked Fish – A Delicate Delight

Latvian smoked fish shines in traditional cuisine from the Baltic Sea. Its smoky aroma, rich taste, and soft textures are a top pick in Riga. This dish captures the beauty of Latvia’s coast and its long-time culinary traditions.

It’s known for its top-notch quality and taste. The fish is carefully picked and smoked with techniques passed down over time. It truly highlights Latvia’s coastal roots.

Explore from the pretty pink salmon to the strong smoked sprats. There’s a lot to try. From mild mackerel to bold herring, you’ll find them in Riga’s food spots.

If you’re in for a Latvian seafood try, go to Latvijas Oktopuss. This famous Riga restaurant serves up traditional dishes, especially smoked fish. It’s a great place to experience the real flavors of Latvia.

Benefits of Latvian Smoked Fish

It’s not only delicious but also good for you. Packed with protein, omega-3s, and important vitamins, it’s a healthy choice.

Omega-3s are great for the heart and brain. The protein helps your muscles, and the vitamins boost your health overall.

You can enjoy it many ways, from salads to main dishes. Its flavor and health benefits make it a great addition to any meal.

Types of Latvian Smoked Fish Flavor Profile Best Pairings
Smoked Salmon Delicate, buttery, and slightly sweet Cream cheese, fresh dill, and crusty bread
Smoked Sprats Rich, smoky, and slightly salty Rye bread, sour cream, and pickled onions
Smoked Mackerel Robust, meaty, and flavorful Horseradish, beetroot, and boiled potatoes
Smoked Herring Savory, tangy, and full-bodied Sour cream, boiled eggs, and fresh herbs

If you love seafood or want to taste Latvia’s true flavors, Latvian smoked fish is a must. Enjoy this delicate dish on your trip to Riga.

Latvian smoked fish

Sklandrausis – A Sweet Latvian Treat

Sklandrausis is a stunning and tasty Latvian pastry. It has a sweet rye flour crust and a filling of mashed carrots, potatoes, and spices. This creates a mix of great tastes and textures.

This dessert highlights Latvia’s rich food culture. Anyone who loves food should try it in Riga. Its name means “pie with a thin dough” in Latvian.

Making Sklandrausis is a detailed process. You roll the dough and cut it into circles. Then, each circle gets filled with the carrot and potato mix. It’s topped with pretty designs made with a pilnatis. Finally, it’s baked until it’s golden and smells amazing.

If you like sweet treats, the mashed carrots in Sklandrausis will win you over. They mix perfectly with the earthy rye crust and the spices. It’s a flavor party in your mouth.

Sklandrausis is a true representation of Latvian culture and traditions. Its beautiful appearance and delicious taste make it a beloved dessert among locals and a must-try for visitors to Riga.

In Riga, you’ll find Sklandrausis in many cafes. Laima is a famous spot that’s been offering sweets since 1870. They have the classic Sklandrausis and some with a modern twist.

For a truly authentic taste, visit Milda’s Pie Shop. It’s a cozy bakery in Riga’s center known for its traditional Sklandrausis. They keep the original recipes alive.

Don’t miss out on trying Sklandrausis when you visit Riga. Its one-of-a-kind taste and look are memorable. You’ll be taking a piece of Latvia’s culinary history home with you.


Latvian Honey – Nature’s Sweetness

Latvian honey is known worldwide for its top-quality and unique taste. It’s a favorite among those who love natural sweetness.

Beekeeping has been part of Latvia’s culture for many years. The country’s diverse scenery, with meadows and wildflowers, is perfect for making honey.

What makes Latvian honey special is the variety of plants bees get nectar from. This gives the honey a rich, varied flavor.

Types of Latvian Honey

Latvia offers many types of honey, each with its special flavors. Some popular kinds include:

  • Acacia Honey: It’s loved for its light color and sweet, floral taste.
  • Wildflower Honey: This honey catches the many flavors of Latvia’s nature.
  • Linden Honey: It has a strong smell and used for natural remedies.
  • Buckwheat Honey: It’s dark and strong, great with cheese or on pancakes.

All Latvian honey is of top quality and has a unique taste.

Where to Buy Latvian Honey in Riga

Looking for a sweet memory of Riga? Visit the Central Market and local farmers’ markets. They have a wide range of honey straight from the beekeepers.

You can also go to stores that sell traditional Latvian goods. There, you’ll find different types of honey to choose from.

For a quick buy, check out the tourist and souvenir shops in Riga. They often have Latvian honey for sale.

Experience the Sweetness of Latvian Honey

Use Latvian honey on porridge, bread, or in your tea. It adds a special flavor to your meals. Enjoy the unique taste and tradition with every bite. Bring a taste of Latvia’s natural sweetness home with you.

Latvian Honey

Latvian Cheese – A Burst of Flavor

Are you a fan of cheese? Then, you must try Latvian cheese. It’s well-known for its rich taste and distinctive qualities. Latvia has a broad selection, from soft and creamy to hard and aged cheeses.

Made from premium, locally sourced milk, Latvian cheese is prepared using handed-down, traditional methods. These create a burst of flavors, highlighting the dairy’s natural goodness.

Types of Latvian Cheese

Explore the different types of Latvian cheese, each offering a unique taste and feel:

  • Aldaris Cheese: It’s soft, tangy, and often spiced with caraway seeds, making it a great cheese board choice.
  • Jāņi Cheese: This cheese is semi-hard, creamy, and has a slight sweetness, named after a Latvian summer festival.
  • Biezpiens: It resembles cottage cheese but is fresh and can be enjoyed with honey or jam.
  • Lielvārdes Cheese: A hard cheese aged for over six months, it offers a rich, nutty taste that complements wine well.

Every type of Latvian cheese promises a flavorful experience that will make you crave more.

Riga Cheese Tasting

Don’t miss a visit to Riga’s cheese shops for an authentic taste of Latvian cheese. Add these spots to your itinerary:

  1. Riga Central Market: It’s the biggest market in the Baltics, where you can find various Latvian cheeses from local vendors.
  2. Daltons Cheese Shop: In Riga’s heart, Daltons presents a collection of Latvian artisanal cheeses to please your taste.
  3. Fromagerie Bon Fromage: Enjoy a tasting session with different Latvian cheeses and wine at this cozy shop.

Dive into the unique flavors Latvian cheese offers. It’s an unforgettable taste of the Baltics, perfect for cheese lovers and food explorers alike.

Latvian cheese


Now you have a taste of traditional Latvian foods in Riga, ready for more? Discover the iconic Black Balsam liqueur, hearty rye bread, and dishes like grey peas with bacon. Latvian cuisine provides a unique and unforgettable taste journey.

Dive into Latvia’s rich flavors by trying smoked fish, sweet Sklandrausis, and a variety of cheeses. With fresh ingredients and centuries-old recipes, every bite is a delight. Latvian cuisine will truly impress your taste buds.

Are you ready to explore Riga’s food scene? Visit local markets, dine in Latvian restaurants, or join a food tour. Riga’s vibrant food scene promises to make a lasting memory. So, bring your appetite and enjoy the genuine flavors of Latvia in beautiful Riga.