Sleeping and Dining in Tartu, Estonia

Hotel Lydia

Hotel Lydia, a business style hotel located just behind Town Hall, makes a great base for exploring the historic center.

The superior 5th floor room with views of the roof tops of old town is spacious with a dressing area and a large bathroom. The bed is comfortable. There is no safe or coffee/tea service in the room but coffee and tea are available 24 hours in the hotel lobby. The wifi connection was slow.

Breakfast, served in the 2nd floor dining room, is an extensive buffet of both hot and cold items including –  breakfast meats, eggs, porridge, bean, potatoes and pancakes for the hot items; the usual cereal, seed/nuts and yogurt; cold cuts, cured fish and cheeses; some vegies; a poor fruit selection; a few pastries and desserts; and a modest selection of bread. Coffee is from a self-service machine.

Restaurant Holm in the Hotel Lydia

The contemporary hotel dining room of Restaurant Holm is brightly lit and has a spacious open feel, very different from the cozy dining rooms we’ve been experiencing this last week. The menu, however, is similar to other restaurants with a short selection of starters and mains. The mains included – a lamb filet, guinea fowl, pike perch, and a vegetarian dish. They also have a 5 course tasting menu.

The amuse bouche was a wonderful flavor punch of pickled vegetables and smoked duck. They also served an indulgent warm seeded bread with whipped butter garnished with salt flakes.

For starters we shared the beef tongue, two slices of nicely cooked tongue surrounded by greens and dollops of (fermented or salted) quail yolks.

For mains, the guinea fowl was a small tender morsel of mostly breast meat served with red cabbage. The Zandar, pike perch, was two small beautifully cooked filets served with chanterelles and garden vegies.

For dessert sour bread, black currant and sour cream – black current foam paired with sour cream ice cream garnished with black currants and sour bread dollops and crumbs. A lovely lighter dessert with a variety of textures.

Restaurant Umb Roht

Just across from Hotel Lydia, Umb Roht, a small restaurant with a courtyard terrace for the summer months has a hip modern vibe. The focus is squarely on the food, with interesting combinations of flavors and detailed presentations. The discerning menu included a chicken breast, pork chop, pike perch, venison and a vegetarian risotto.

We started with the grilled herring served with roasted potatoes and garnished with roe and pickled cucumber. Despite the elegant plating the dish lacked punch and was rather drab.

For mains the pike perch was beautifully cooked served on roasted potatoes with a cider sauce and garnishes with an herbed polenta and topped with shredded radish.

The venison, cooked medium rare as requested, was super tender and flavorful, served with a not so successful sweet potato side – a stack of thin slices topped with parmesan cheese – the potato still toothy and lacking flavor.

For dessert the brown bread ice cream with elderflower gel and chocolate shards plated on brown bread crumbs and bacon. Although I loved the texture of the brown bread crumb in the ice cream I couldn’t taste the bacon at all. The elderflower gel added a nice acidity to the dish.

September 25-27, 2019

For links to all the posts in this series see the Baltics Road Trip page.