Latvian cuisine is similar to other countries in the region. It is generally simple, making use of agricultural ingredients such as potatoes, cabbage, eggs and meat. Latvia's long Baltic Sea coastline also means fish is commonly used in dishes. Latvia has four distinct seasons and so depending on when you travel, different foods are available at different times. However, as a modern European city, Riga offers a very varied cuisine, with many top restaurants catering to different tastes.
Some typical Latvian dishes include rupjmaize a rye bread that is a staple across the country. Cabbage soup, with or without bacon, is another speciality, and if browsing the Christmas markets of Riga you are likely to come across mouth-watering potato pancakes, which are often topped with smoked salmon or sour cream. There is also pelmeni a type of dumping that originated in Russia but is now a staple in many Latvian homes and restaurants.
Dining out in Latvia is cheaper than in other European cities, but Riga is more expensive than elsewhere in the country. A typical meal in a cheap restaurant will cost around €10, whilst two people enjoying three courses in a mid-range restaurant could expect to spend around €45 plus drinks. A half litre local beer in Riga will cost around €3 and a mid-range bottle of wine in a supermarket is around €7.
Safe eating while travelling in Latvia
Food hygiene standards in Latvia are generally very high so travellers are unlikely to fall ill during their trip. As with anywhere in the world, it is important to be wary of any meat or fish that has not been cooked thoroughly. In Latvia, much of the meat is slow-cooked and fish is smoked, so this won’t usually be an issue. Furthermore, if anything looks old, unclean or poorly prepared, it is best to avoid it.