Tartu Restaurants and Dining
(Tartu, Tartumaa, Estonia)
The dining scene in Tartu is extremely well developed and many restaurants provide inexpensive, hearty fare. Estonian restaurants and eateries in Tartu feature especially seasonal menus, with simple soups, salads and both meat and fish based dishes in the summer months, and more stodgy winter-warming stews in the colder months. Herring is a particular Baltic favourite that appears in local dishes time and time again.
Since this university city has a significant student population, a large number of the eateries and dining options in Tartu are quite lively and animated, particularly at night-time. The city has become known in Estonia
for its thriving nightlife, and so after a meal, you won't have far to head if you wish to round your evening off at a nightclub or two.
Where to Eat
If you are looking for dining on a budget in Tartu, then you will find it hard to beat the extremely popular University Café (Ulikooli Kohvik) on the Ulikooli Tänav. This is a rather characterful and old-world eatery, with wooden floors, large palms, jazz music and stylish photographs, and most important, extremely cheap, tasty, home-cooked food.
Another good alternative to more formal dining options and traditional Estonian restaurants in Tartu is the Cafe Wilde on the Vallikraavi Tänav. This bookshop-cum-cafe celebrates the literary works of both Eduard Wilde and Oscar Wilde, and was actually founded by Peter Ernst Wilde. Head upstairs for a filling pub-style meal, and look out for the home-made cakes if you have a sweet tooth.
Some of the most notable restaurants in Tartu include the Dolce Vita on the Kompanii, which is just a short stroll from the Raekoja Plats and known for its thin-crust pizzas and Italian wood-burning oven. Further eateries in central Tartu include several good options along the Rüütli, with French-style crepes at the Crepp, rustic meals and skewered meats (shashliks) at the Gruusia Saatkond, an a rather eclectic mixture of curries, soups and enchiladas at the Maailm.
Of course, it is the Raekoja Plats where most tourists head and this spacious Town Hall Square boasts a series of popular outdoor cafes, along with underground cellar-style restaurants. Many target tourists and are overpriced, although the Suudlevad Tudengid comes highly recommended.