Running for its second year, Vilnius Gastro is a wonderful food walk hosted by the friendly folks at Sustainable Vilnius. With the aim to introduce participants and restaurants to sustainability, chefs are encouraged to create dishes using fresh, local ingredients and reduce waste in any way possible. Participants are also required to walk from establishment to establishment to reduce emissions from transportation.
This year, Vilnius Gastro had three routes, yellow, green, and red, with seven stops for each route. About 20 restaurants participated, and I was pleased to see both established and brand new restaurants included on the list. I also was excited to find numerous non-Lithuanian cuisines including Korean, Georgian, and Italian.
My favorite part about Vilnius Gastro is getting to try restaurants that I haven't tried before as well as dishes I wouldn't normally order. Vilnius Gastro 2017 certainly outdid themselves by providing some excellent restaurants options and flavorful dishes.
If you want a refresher, you can read about Vilnius Gastro 2016.
Salvete City was our first stop that we made following the green route. And boy what a great way to start out this tasty culinary night. Before this evening, I hadn't heard of Salvete City before, but I was really impressed by the welcoming staff, owners, and chef, as well as the great food.
We were served a risotto cake filled with shrimp. The sauce you see was made from shrimp heads cooked with fresh vegetables. Now, I really don't like seafood, but I'm willing to try anything. This dish surprised me in a good way. It didn't have that "fishy" taste and was very rich. The texture was also nice because the outside of the risotto cake was slightly crispy. I definitely want to try Salvete City again.
You can find Salvete City at Gedimino pr. 37.
This brand new fine dining restaurant serves only plant-based cuisine (aka vegan). I was very curious to try Alive, which is the whole reason I opted for the green route. The decor in Alive was beautiful and we were treated to some live piano music while dining.
The dish served at Alive was a thick slice of "bacon" (shall we call it facon?) with pureed parsnips (I think), roasted potatoes, mustard, and cubed beetroots. I really enjoyed the dish, but what stole the show was the fresh bread with beetroot vegan butter. J and I would have loved to buy a jar of the beetroot butter -- it was that good.
You can dine at Alive at Gedimino pr. 31.
Gaspar's Gastro Lounge
Gaspar's Restaurant (on Pylimo g.) is probably my favorite restaurant in Vilnius because the flavors are always spot on. A couple of months ago I was excited to hear about the opening of Gaspar's Gastro Lounge and tried it shortly after it opened. Though we had a slightly underwhelming visit after it opened, I was really wanting to try Gaspar's Gastro Lounge again.
This time, Gaspar's Gastro Lounge didn't disappoint. This was yet another shrimp dish that I didn't mind eating. The buttery naan that Gaspar (the chef) is known for was topped here with mushroom puree, shrimp, and a tiny squirt of chili sauce. The squeeze of lime was what really put this dish over the top. Another delicious dish from the Vilnius Gastro 2017.
Gaspar's Gastro Lounge can be found on Liejyklos 1.
At Trinity Bar the green route was treated to a specialty cocktail. Let me just say that I haven't had a cocktail in years; I'm talking probably eight years. We were served the pretty pink Clover Club cocktail, made from frothed egg whites, gin, lemon juice, and raspberry syrup. It was really tasty! The staff were also super friendly at Trinity Bar, allowing us to stash our stroller and helping us get it through the narrow door.
Stop by Trinity Bar at Vilniaus g. 30.
Our last stop for the night was the newly opened Saula. Though not recommended to carry down a bulky stroller to their basement restaurant, we managed and the staff were really helpful with finding us an accommodating table. Before I even get to the amazing food, I want to rave about the decor. The typical white stucco basement had been transformed with beautiful turquoise tiles, contrasting the white. Gorgeous.
The food we were served at Saula was equally as gorgeous. The dish was melt in your mouth beef cheek with mashed potatoes, and charred vegetables. We ended our dining journey on a great note!
You can find Saula next to Rimi on Didzioji 26.
We didn't make it to Grey or Burbulio Vynine for lack of time (Baby ISO's bedtime was fast approaching). We've also been to both before, so we didn't feel too bad about having to miss them. Tell me, did you get to taste the dishes at Grey or Burbulio Vynine?
Overall NotesI really enjoyed the 2016 Vilnius Gastro, but I have to say that this year was even better. All of the restaurants we tried were fantastic and I'm not sure I could even choose a favorite out of these dishes. All staff that I encountered were friendly and the food was served very quickly (a plus with an easily bored toddler).
This year, the price for Vilnius Gastro was 32 Euros. While J and I were gifted our tickets from Sustainable Vilnius, this is an event that I would have happily paid the full ticket price to attend. Considering the quality and amount of food and drink, I think the price is very reasonable. I'm also happy to see that 1 Euro from each ticket was donated to charity!
Sustainable Vilnius runs similar gastronomic walks in Kaunas and Klaipeda, so be sure to check those out as well! For newsletter subscribers and those who follow ISO's Facebook page, I'll share these events when the come up, so you too can participate.
Do you like food walks? I wish this could be in every city!