Be warned, Riga isn’t a town you’re going to eat and drink like a king for next to nothing. At a decent restaurant in Riga expect to pay anywhere from 12-20Lats for meal, while beers in most bars will go from around 2-3Lats.
The Latvians love meat so expect to see lots of pork, game and potatoes on the menus.
Set in what feels like a dungeon, this is a traditional-style Latvian restaurant which serves hearty food right in the middle of Riga. The waiting staff are all in traditional garb and the menu is geared towards carnivores. The food is tasty without being outstanding but the setting makes it a nice dining experience. Expect to pay about 15Lats a meal, not including alcohol.
This place feels like a chain Italian restaurant? There’s nothing exceptional about it, but at the same time nothing horrible. The pizzas sit firmly in the average category but when you can get a meal for 5Lats it’s not bad value.
Blue Cow (Zila govs)
Situated in the heart of Riga the Blue Cow is steakhouse. It has a wonderfully warm atmosphere but it’s not cheap. Expect to pay about 20 Lats a head for dinner, not including alcohol.
Think of this as quality fast food Riga-style. There are no airs and graces about this place. Simply walk in grab a tray and a bowl and then fill up from the hot Latvian dishes available. When you get to the till, the lady will weight it and you’ll pay accordingly. For 3Lats you can have a huge meal meaning you won’t need to worry about your next meal for a while. Pelmeni is popular with Riga’s youth and students so it’s also a good place to rub shoulders with the locals.
Pubs and Bars
One of Riga’s most popular bars, you will know why when you see the views. Situated on the 26th floor of the Reval Hotel, it has floor to ceiling windows which provide a stunning vista as an accompaniment to your drinks. It’s probably the most expensive place to drink in town but it’s worth it for a couple of drinks. Get there early if you want a seat by the windows.
Pulkvedim Neviens Neraksta
Placed in the middle of the Old Riga this is a popular bar. The music cranks until the early hours, the drinks are good value and you’re sure to have a good time.
A word of warning about going out on the town in Riga – be careful. It’s not that you’re likely to get mugged or assaulted, but be very wary of being ripped off in dodgy bars. Do not buy strangers drinks and make sure you know exactly how much you’re paying for a drink before you drink it.
While most of the bars are exceptionally good, there are a few places that make their business out of ripping tourists off. If a good-looking girl asks you to buy her a drink, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and politely decline. What often happens is that these girls will befriend some men in one bar, tell them they know of another great bar then take them there. When they arrive the men unwittingly offer to buy the girls a drink. What the men don’t know is that the drink will cost upwards of 300Lats each. Then when you argue with the staff, big burly bouncers will appear ensuring you pay up or you get hurt.
Also avoid paying with credit cards in bars. It’s not unusual to hear reports of people having thousands of Lats charged to their card unknowingly. Stick with cash where possible.