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Vilnius Makes Bid to Host Ronaldo and Messi Dinner

Ten of the best restaurants in Vilnius had reserved tables for “Ronaldo&Messi” and a local artist created a 3D art piece made of food and restaurant equipment depicting the two football stars while the Portugal national football team visits the Lithuanian capital

In response to Ronaldo’s recent comments that he would like to have dinner with his arch-rival Lionel Messi, the city of Vilnius decided to act as a mediator between the two living football legends and offer them dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants.

Ten of the top-rated restaurants jumped on board by inviting the distinguished guests to try the best their chefs have to offer. To make sure the two footballers would have a wide enough range of eating places to choose from, a table for “Ronaldo & Messi” was reserved in each of the restaurants. Whichever restaurant the gentlemen would choose, they would get to experience some of the most unique dishes in the region, as Vilnius restaurants are known for reinventing the local culinary tradition, using produce from local forests and small farms and developing the New Baltic cuisine concept.

Additionally, to show that the dinner invitation won’t go out of date, a local artist Jolita Vaitkutė created a 3D installation out of food, tableware and restaurant equipment depicting Ronaldo and Messi. Being especially fond of portraying pop and political icons, the acclaimed artist usually works with installations, performances, and illustrations. The Ronaldo and Messi installation is eight meters long and three meters wide, made of 658 objects that include oysters, shrimps, grapes, various desserts and drinks. A photographed and printed version of the art piece will be gifted to Ronaldo by the mayor of Vilnius.

   

The city hopes that this light-hearted gesture will serve Ronaldo as a reminder of his time in Lithuania and will play a role in making the long-overdue dinner between the two football virtuosos happen – as well as demonstrate the openness Vilnius and its community, from football fans to star chefs and artists.

Stebuklai

This restaurant is renowned for its grilled dishes and little miracles. The food looks impressive on the plates, but flavours ultimately trump looks. The miracles lie in the food’s simplicity: fresh high-quality ingredients, the harmony of flavours, and masterful presentations that don’t overwhelm dishes are key to success. The menu changes every season, but loyal patrons can find their favourite dishes all the time: tuna or beef tartar, as well as the burrata with pistachio cream are here to stay. The restaurant is also a guest magnet for brunches – eggs Benedict, huevos rancheros, fluffy cottage cheese pancakes, and English breakfasts are all a welcome surprise.

14Horses

This brasserie is open for the best breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The menu is understated, inspired by Baltic traditions and prepared using organic Lithuanian products – most of which are grown on the restaurant’s farm. When this much attention is paid to quality, even the traditional herring tastes a bit different. Fried buckwheat risotto or crispy and juicy bacon go well with Baltic craft beer, cider made by farmers, and quality wines. The restaurant also has a trick up its sleeve for kids – a small menu with the hits everyone loves.

Telegrafas

Set in one of Vilnius’ fanciest properties – Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius – Telegrafas Restaurant creates a perfect harmony between the historical past and the contemporary era. The menu is inspired by different countries around the world – its European cuisine is open to culinary surprises and is complemented by Asian flavours and Lithuanian traditions. Local products are in the spotlight as chef Vytautas Alekna turns to nature while adding a pinch of his travels and childhood memories to create new and modern flavours. Martynas Pravilonis, Lithuania’s best sommelier for three years in a row, helps guests choose the best wines to accompany their journey of discovering the restaurant’s authentic dishes.

Da Antonio 

Once a famous pizza restaurant, today Da Antonio offers many snacks, meats, and fish dishes, as well as an impressive list of desserts. The restaurant offers traditional Italian cuisine with a modern touch. Chef Dmitrij Babenko could even impress a real Italian, and his kitchen is constantly experimenting – new dishes are added each season, unusual products are used to create new flavours, and unique ravioli shapes and fillings are the norm, making ravioli the staple at Da Antonio. The restaurant also offers an extensive list of wines from all over Italy.

Meat

The star of the restaurant is, of course, meat. Dry-aged beef, burgers, and tartars make for a hearty meal that promises to excite the taste buds. The meat is aged in the restaurant’s maturing chamber, which is the largest of its kind in the Baltics. The taste of the Lithuanian beef is just as good or may even surpass that of imported meat. Even though the main focus is on the meat, fish and vegetarian dishes are also grilled here. The brunch menu shines a new light on breakfast: traditional eggs Benedict are accompanied by rancheros style, Spanish or Turkish poached eggs.

Sweet Root

A dinner at this restaurant is like a puzzle consisting of a number of subtle dishes and one-bite stories. Natural flavours, together with locally sourced and seasonal products, make for fresh takes on traditional food. Vegetables and herbs straight from the restaurant’s garden, berries, and mushrooms from the nearby meadows and forests appear on plates to tell their tasty tales. It’s always a good idea to come back – the changes in the menu are dictated by nature itself; only the bread and the farmers’ butter stays the same year-round. A modern presentation, a light and calm space, and sincere local cuisine create a new dinner tradition. It’s no wonder Sweet Root was named the third-best restaurant in the Baltics.

SOMM

The idea of this restaurant is simple – tapas and wine. However, every dish is created passionately and following the highest standards of quality. Which is more important, food or wine? The menu can change a couple of times an evening, but the flavours will keep surprising. The restaurant offers a large selection of quality raw fish, seafood, and meat snacks. One of the most popular dishes among guests consists of little hot pans filled with tasty morsels baked in a wood oven. Six professional sommeliers help guests navigate the list of 400 wines and pair them perfectly with their meals. Tasting menus with wine pairings are also available, as are wine-tasting dinners that include visits to winemakers.

Ertlio namas

This restaurant creates a surprising opportunity to travel back in time and take a gastronomic journey from the 13th to 19th centuries in Lithuania. Fine Lithuanian cuisine, contemporary culture, and modern technology are blended effortlessly in this unique family space found in the historic 17th-century house of the German mason Jurgis Ertlis. It’s easy to feel like ancient nobility while eating pigeon, duck, or borsch with tortellini. The menu depends on the season and changes six times a year. The dishes are prepared following the recipes of different periods and guests are told the story of their origin at the table. For the most authentic experience, pairing food with mead or Lithuanian wine is recommended.

Džiaugsmas

Renowned Lithuanian chef Martynas Praškevičius opened a bistro where sharing is caring – eating food with hands, tasting different snacks, and trying to understand what the skilfully paired ingredients are trying to say make for an unforgettable feast. Everything is prepared using local produce, which means the menu is seasonal and changes often. Guests are invited to try hams cured at the restaurant or pickled vegetables prepared in the kitchen. The restaurant’s philosophy is to delight in simple, yet high-quality food. There is no rush; a dark interior allows guests to focus on the most important things – fresh food and intriguing dishes. Džiaugsmas was named Lithuania’s best restaurant in 2018.

Užupio picerija

This popular pizzeria is warm and welcoming, with large windows overlooking the gently peeling surrounding buildings. The chefs busy themselves by the oven in a tiny open kitchen, and tables appear outside during the warmer months to give the place further atmosphere. The pizzas are decent enough, plus there’s other dishes on the menu too. Service is generally brisk and friendly.