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MICHELIN Stars have come to Estonia!

The MICHELIN Guide – the most internationally renowned and prestigious restaurant recognition system – has arrived in Estonia, the first of the Baltic states. After visits from anonymous inspectors, 31 restaurants in Estonia have earned a place on the MICHELIN Guide. Among those, two received a coveted MICHELIN star.

7 min read

MICHELIN Star recipients

The following restaurants each received one MICHELIN Star. These restaurants have been recognized for top-quality ingredients and dishes with distinct flavours that are carefully prepared to a consistently high standard.

  • NOA Chef’s Hall, Tallinn – Set within the same striking modern building as restaurant NOA is the stylish NOA Chef’s Hall. Here, guests are invited to start their evening with an aperitif served in a romantic lounge with a splendid view of Tallinn Bay and the Gulf of Finland. The on-view kitchen is the heart of the restaurant and the open fire is used to great effect. Luxury ingredients are to the fore and are sourced from around the world, depending on what’s best, be it scallops from Norway or lobster from Canada, but locally foraged and preserved produce also plays its part. The creative 7-course menu, designed by chefs Roman Sidorov and Tõnis Siigur, keeps clients engaged from start to finish, with complex, highly original dishes full of complimentary flavours and texture layers. There’s some theatre at play too, with dishes delivered to the tables by the chefs, who describe them in detail.
  • 180° by Matthias Diether, Tallinn – Sitting within a modern harbour development outside the city centre is this stylish restaurant named after the 180° view from its U-shaped open kitchen. After drinks and snacks in the restaurant’s futuristic bar, guests can choose whether to have the 4-course tasting menu ‘Flavours of 180 Degrees’ or the 6-course tasting menu ‘Matthias’ Inspiration’. Ambitious, showy dishes are experienced German chef Matthias Diether’s hallmark, and his modern creations show an array of both flavour and texture contrasts, as well as paying great attention to detail. Service is warm and engaging and helps to create a relaxed atmosphere.

The “Bibs”

The Bib Gourmand category recognizes good quality, good value cooking. “Bibs” are awarded for simple yet skilful cooking for under €40.

  • NOA, Tallinn – In this restaurant, which offers a magnificent view of the city and the sea, exceptionally fresh fish takes centre stage. The cosy room is furnished with natural materials and the full-length windows flood it with light. Seasonal modern menus provide plenty of choice.
  • Härg, Tallinn – This busy, buzzy, all-day brasserie comes with stone walls, exposed ducting and striking copper chandeliers. Well-priced modern dishes come with a focus on the chargrill, with steaks taking centre stage; the ‘Dirty Steak’, a ribeye, is cooked directly on the charcoal. The courtyard is a popular spot.
  • Fellin, Viljandi – Expect a warm welcome at this café-cum-bistro set within a red brick building on the edge of the Old Town. It has something of a bohemian air, courtesy of a tiled bar, a mix of artwork and a laid-back vibe. Carefully prepared, traditional European dishes burst with freshness and flavour.
  • Lore Bistroo, Tallinn – This modern bistro sits in a cavernous warehouse overlooking the harbour at Port Noblessner. Steel girders, hoists and concrete pillars provide the backdrop and an open kitchen adds to the buzz. Assured dishes are designed for sharing and are inspired by the owners’ travels
  • Mantel ja Korsten, Tallinn – This clapboard house, whose name means ‘mantle and chimney’, has a real picture-postcard look. A green-tiled fireplace and mantel take centre stage in a room furnished with bright, bold designs. Mediterranean-inspired dishes are accompanied by well-chosen wines with an organic and biodynamic bias.

MICHELIN Green Star recipients

The MICHELIN Green Star highlights role-model establishments actively committed to sustainable gastronomy.

Whether through their locavore approach, their efforts to reduce the restaurant’s ecological footprint, their initiatives to recycle food waste, grow their own vegetables and herbs or educate their guests about a more eco-responsible vision of gastronomy, these restaurants are a true source of inspiration for gourmets and restaurateurs alike.

MICHELIN Special Awards to celebrate talented professionals

  • The MICHELIN Young Chef Award – Janno Lepik, chef of the Bib Gourmand restaurant Lore Bistroo. A true talent on the Tallinn gastronomic scene, Janno Lepik first came to prominence at Leib restaurant (now Lee restaurant) before opening Lore Bistroo. This chef focuses on local producers as he prepares classic recipes and flavours from the Estonian culinary repertoire.
  • The MICHELIN Sommelier Award –  Robert Põld, the attentive and passionate sommelier at the Michelin-starred NOA Chef’s Hall. The food and wine pairings were cleverly designed and the friendliness, sense of humour and simplicity of this great professional help to put the guests at ease.
  • The MICHELIN Service Award – the team at Lahepere Villa restaurant in Kloogaranna, orchestrated by the friendly owner Helen Vihtol. Here, hidden in a wooded area near the beach, everything is done to offer guests an exceptional level of comfort and hospitality. The first thing that catches the eye is the crackling fire in the garden next to the fleece-covered chairs. From the terrace built by her husband, Helen Vithol graciously welcomes each guest, while her daughter helps with the service, her son with the washing up, and her husband with the maintenance of the exterior and the fire. Chef Silver Saa is also involved, passionately explaining each dish on the menu, which changes every two weeks. All guests leave with a little gift: homemade granola for breakfast the next morning to prolong the experience.

Other restaurants included in the 2022 MICHELIN Guide

In addition to the restaurants awarded a MICHELIN Star or Bib Gourmand, the other restaurants in the MICHELIN Guide Estonia selection celebrate a wide variety of culinary styles spread throughout the country.

“Estonia is one of those countries that our inspectors have been scrutinising with curiosity for several years. After many months spent crisscrossing the country, from Tallinn to Tartu, from Mäeküla to Kloogaranna, they discovered a teeming culinary scene, full of quality establishments and diverse cuisine. Highlighting talented chefs and professionals who play on both classic Estonian and international repertoires, this first selection of restaurants is a wonderful invitation to discover a fascinating gastronomic destination,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides.

Having MICHELIN in Estonia is a great recognition of our restaurant landscape. It shows that the Estonian culinary scene, which is not yet well known in the world, has been enriched by a strong food tradition that takes influence from the best of world cuisine. Estonian master chefs are highly skilled, ensuring that the dishes offered in Estonian restaurants are special and of high quality.

How do you get on the MICHELIN Guide?

Currently, the MICHELIN Guide has reached nearly 40 countries on four continents, recommending more than 15,000 restaurants of which about a fifth are star-rated restaurants.

Recognition is based on independent evaluations that take place every year and that can change the restaurants’ positions or remove them altogether.

MICHELIN inspectors are always anonymous, they do not introduce themselves to the restaurant and they pay for the food themselves. While dining at the restaurants, inspectors look for the following: the quality of the ingredients, the mastery of cooking, the ability to combine tastes, the individuality of the chef, and the consistency of high culinary standards – both throughout the menu and over time.

Set within the Gulf of Finland, in the heart of the Baltic region, Estonia connects the cultural dots between Scandinavia, Central, and Eastern Europe. Estonia’s UNESCO world heritage capital Tallinn which boasts one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe -, forests and bogs – which cover three-quarters of the country -, 2222 islands, over 3,800 km of coastline, and a number of lakes offer together an enormous amount of charm and ancient history, shaping a very interesting culinary scene. The taste for diversity, artisan products, and local ingredients also exert a distinct influence on Estonian gastronomy and its young and vibrant chefs.

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