A taste of Punjab

Singh’s in an Indian restaurant boasting authentic Northwestern Indian and Punjab cuisine. There are three branches in Riga. I went to the one on Ģertrūdes street. There are two floors. The 2nd floor has three dining halls suited for private dining and events. The decor has a subtle Indian, yet modern flair with dark wood leather upholstered chairs; red, orange, green, and white square ceramic tiles; three big black and white pictures on the wall of what seemed like India during colonial times.

The service was good, but the waitresses lacked emotion and connection.

I ordered a plain papadum (2.50 euros), Murgh Makhani (pieces of chicken cooked with tomato and ground cashews in rich buttery sauce) (9.95 euros), plain basmati rice (2.95 euros), and a coke (2.50 euros).

The papadum was huge. The biggest papadum I have had was the size of a teenager’s hand. It was a new papadum eating experience for me. Some dips came along with the dish (three different types of chutneys and an onion salad). I have only eaten papadum either on its own or with rice and curry.
I wanted something spicy, so I asked the waitress if they could make the curry spicier. The waitress told me that it is quite spicy, and I assured her that I can handle the heat (having the stereotypical thinking that it’s Europe, they don’t eat spicy food… how spicy can it be?). True enough, it was spicier than I expected. The chicken pieces were tender; unfortunately, the buttery tomato sauce was not prominent. However, I have had spicy curries in the past, and it was full of flavors.

Honestly, I was not blown away by the food. However, I was not a fan of the price either; it was a little high.

 

Singh’s

Website: http://www.singhs.lv/

Telephone: +371 66 220 000

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 23:00 p.m.

Friday 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 22:00 p.m.

Address: Ģertrūdes iela 32, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia

Café for coffee lovers

Rocket bean roastery located on Dzirnavu is a specialty coffee house. It is just a block away from the art nouveau district. The café has a chill vibe with big glass windows and a retro, rustic style decor. There is soft electronic music playing in the background.

Their main branch is located on Miera street and is also their coffee production site. In addition, the main branch occasionally organizes coffee cuppings, training, and educational trips. Rocket bean roastery roasts their own coffee, and it can be purchased at both cafés. Lunch and dinner menus are available.

I got to the café around 11:00 a.m. I wanted to order a pancake, but they were no longer taking breakfast orders at that hour. There was one last open sandwich with arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled cucumber, and an egg in the glass display case. The guy behind the counter suggested that I could order that. So I got the sandwich (3.50 euros) and a Cappuccino (3.40 euros). The Cappuccino was aromatic, intense, creamy, full-bodied, and bitter without being overwhelming. At the bottom of the cup, there is a picture of a thumbs up with a phrase ( Vella milti, ku’ labs). I tried looking up what the phrase means but had no luck. I did find that the word “labs” in Latvian means good. If I had to make a guess, it could probably mean’ good job for finishing the coffee.’
The sandwich was light and healthy. Fresh ingredients on rye bread with sesame dressing.

A cool place to hang out and have a great cup of coffee.

 

Rocket Bean Roastery (Dzirnavu)

Website: http://www.rocketbean.lv/

Telephone: +371 27 337 746

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. – 21:00 p.m.

Saturday to Sunday (closed)

Address: Dzirnavu iela 39, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia

Rocket Bean Roastery (Miera street)

Telephone: +371 20 215 120

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m.- 21:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday 9:0 a.m. – 21:00 p.m.

Address: Miera iela 29, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1001, Latvia

Where the locals eat

My local tour guide and Airbnb host recommended this buffet restaurant chain for Latvian cuisine to me. It is where the locals go, especially for lunch. There are 16 branches in Riga, and the locations are available on their webpage. The biggest and most impressive Lido restaurant is the Lido leisure center. It is located in a three-story log building with a garden, a winter skating rink, and an amusement park. The restaurant’s basement is the brewery, the ground floor is the buffet restaurant, and the third floor is for fine dining.

The Lido restaurants serve almost the same food, with bigger branches serving a more extensive range of choices. There are salads, starters, poultry, meat, fish, potatoes, drinks, desserts…etc. Not only is the food impressive, but the price is reasonable. I was amazed at how cheap it was for the variety and amount of food I ordered. The ingredients were fresh and of good quality. The flavors of the food have both western and eastern European influences.

Lido Vermanitis is the largest chain near the old town. I ordered three different kinds of salad (beet salad with pickled cucumbers, spinach salad, potato salad with yogurt dill dressing), chicken pilaf, fried boiled potato, turkey meatballs in carrot tomato sauce, and solyanka soup. All of these cost me 10.50 euros, a pretty sweet deal! It was truly a satisfying lunch!

Lido Ģertrūde is a bistro restaurant that also serves breakfast. It has a small selection of food. As my apartment was close by, I came here for dinner. I did not want anything too heavy, so I went vegetarian. I ordered the basmati rice with vegetables, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables, and it cost me only 5.50 euros. The mashed potato was creamy and smooth. The rice was savory and sweet (from the raisins)… delicious!

I highly recommend this place for affordable mouthwatering Latvian food. Visit the larger branches such as Vermanitis and leisure center for more food selections. As they are also more popular, it may be difficult to find a table during lunch hour. If you decide to go for lunch, try to go early or after 2pm (my experience).

 

Lido

Website: https://www.lido.lv/en/

Lido Vērmanītis

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 22:00 p.m.

Telephone: +371 67 221 318

Lido Ģertrūde

Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 22:00 p.m.

Friday 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Saturday 24 hours

Telephone: +371 27 800 633