Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


6 Comments

I’m just singing in the rain……………..in Vilnius (or six days of virtual non stop inclement weather)

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

At the beginning of October I returned to Vilnius with my friend and colleague Mike (who had not visited for a couple of years because of illness) and we were both looking forward to visiting some of our old haunts, including Bistro 18, the Kitchen and the finest steak house in the city Markus ir Ko. In the latters case I have to report that although the food is still as good the, customer service still leaves a lot to be desired. I think it is something to do with it being a “pub” atmosphere and all male staff (an occasional smile wouldn’t go amiss). There is however, on selected night an excellent jazz pianist who is extremely talented and on the last visit did a magnificent improvisation on Billy Strayhorns “Take the A Train”

IMGP2157.jpg The Hill of Three Crosses in autumn

Anyway, we spent six days in the city…

View original post 693 more words


1 Comment

Craft Beer taking over the world?

Before I returned to Vilnius after a two-year gap my colleague Terry warned me that our hotel, The Shakespeare,  had changed its draught beer. He discovered on his solo trip last year that there was no more Svyturys Extra! He was not a happy man.

p1030981When we arrived this time I ordered a glass of the new beer, Raudonu Plytu (Red Bricks), and it wasn’t bad.

p1040011-1Interesting brick shaped beer mat with a whimsical; reference to the “hops wanting to do their best for you” on the back.

Turns out it’s brewed in Klaipeda at the Lighthouse brewery owned by Carlsberg. (NB Lighthouse = Svyturys). And the hotel still has Svyturys Baltas in bottles, which we also like, so not a totally lost cause.

Later in the week we went to our favourite steakhouse, Markus ir Ko, where they didn’t previously serve Svyturys, and we were also served with the Red Brick beer.

p1030972p1030970And wandering around town one of our previous haunts,the beer restaurant on Gedimino pr., which has changed names a couple of times, is now advertising itself as a craft beer venue.

Back home in my local Tesco there is now a range of craft beers, including one from America, which is surprisingly good (as I tend to think of American beer as watery and weak). I’ve tried a couple of them starting with the American Goose 312 wheat beer and the IPA and have just bought some to pass on to my colleague Terry.p1040033

p1040009-1We still like our Lithuanian beer when we can get it – often by circuitous routes and Polish shops.

Time for a bottle I think!


Leave a comment

Now what’s Lithuanian for another bottle of Gran Coronas………………….

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Image

I observed this gentleman at a restaurant in Vilnius, he seemed to be brushing up on his Lithuanian whilst indulging himself in a very fine steak and a bottle of Miguel Torres excellent Gran Coronas red wine. Obviously a man of erudition and taste……………and most certainly English!

View original post


2 Comments

Boff gives Markus a run for its money in the steak stakes

P1010267Last time I was in Vilnius in June I heard there was a new steak house worth visiting. As you may know my favourite steak house is Markus ir Ko on M. Antokolskio g. just off Stiklių g. so I had to compare.

The new place is called böff. The name is a play on words. It’s obviously not a Lithuanian name as it contains an umlaut but if you pronounce it as a German word it sounds like boeuf, the french word for beef.

Anyway enough of the wordplay what is it like? It’s across the river from the Cathedral on Olimpiečių 1 and you can see it from the castle. Just look across the river for two large boulders and there it is.DSC01291

As it was a Friday evening I’d booked in advance which was just as well as it was pretty full and they were turning people away.

P1010261I had a table near the front of the restaurant which is basically a big square room with a mixture of table sizes for couples and larger groups.

The staff were very attentive and spoke good English so a good start.

P1010257As was the tray of breads and olives they gave me to whet my appetite.

P1010256The menu wasn’t huge but it covered everything you might need in a steakhouse and they had a decent wine selection.

P1010258

I decided to start with a salmon wrap – a bit unusual for me . I’m not a big fan of wraps but it was was OK.

P1010262I followed that with an Angus fillet steak, medium rare,  with fries and green beans.

They offered me a sauce with the steak which I thought I’d try but it wasn’t spicy or peppery enough for my taste.

But the steak was really great as was the Malbec wine.

P1010266What more could you want? Well in my case a dish of ice cream to finish. I do like Lithuanian ice cream.

The whole meal cost me 139 Litas which I thought was good value for money by UK standards  ( I just paid 230 Litas for a similar meal in Birmingham, England). The service was very good especially considering how busy it was.

I’ll recommend it my colleague who is visiting next month and get his opinion.

Is it better than Markus? Well I think the steaks are equally as good judging by my one visit to böff and the service is better than at Markus.

But for all that I think I’ll stick to Markus. The fillet mignon there is wonderful (and so big we’ve had to downsize to the medium serving. Markus does generous portions). And despite the rudimentary level of customer service it has a good atmosphere especially when the jazz pianists are performing.

At  böff it’s noisy but for me there is no atmosphere as everyone is in one big room and I prefer something with  a bit more character like Markus or La Boheme.

Markus ir Ko is also close to Stiklių g. and the wine bar Notre Vie is just on the corner opposite, ideal for a nightcap to round off the night.


3 Comments

Spoilt for choice on Stiklių Street

DSCF1332Tourists might associate this street with the Jewish ghetto which was destroyed in 1941 whilst Lithuania was under Nazi occupation.

However the name refers to the glassblowers who worked and sold their wares there in the 15th and 16th centuries.

You can see them in the painting above the entrance to the Stikliai hotel (I’ve never seen many people inside the hotel but it seems to be popular with visiting dignitaries. You’ll know when you see all the top-end Mercs parked outside with the drivers and minders hanging about).

There is still a glass artist’s studio on the street but there are also lots of eating and drinking places!

To get there you can walk up between Vilnius University and the Presidential Palace or walk up Pilies g. onto Didžioji g. and turn right at the fountain at the bottom of the town hall square (Rotušės aikštė).

On the left hand side you have the Lokys steakhouse with an eating area outside. You can’t miss the wooden bear!DSCF1487

DSC01075Almost opposite you have Mamma Mia, a new and classy delicatessen, coffee shop and wine bar which also sells bottles of wine and gifts.

DSC01079Walking past the hotel straight ahead at the junction of Stiklių g. and Žydų g. is Poniu Laime a wonderful coffee and cake shop (owned by the Stikliai hotel) which is reminiscent of an Austrian coffee shop, a little old-fashioned but very popular with locals (The name means a lady’s pleasure).P1010065

DSC01076On your immediate left there is a wine bar Notre Vie with a good selection of wine and where you can also get food. It’s a popular meeting place later in the evening.SAM_0281

CNV00041 You’re also at the entrance to M. Antokolskio g. on your left. And there is the best steakhouse in town, Markus ir Ko. Service is rudimentary (all male staff) but they have filet mignon to die for and on some nights a jazz pianist.

In the Summer you can sit out in the street. You need to book a table.

Further up the street is Rene, a Belgian restaurant which gets fresh fish twice a week. Not a place I’ve eaten at but the staff seem courteous and friendly.

If instead of turning left to Markus you carry on down Stiklių g. you come to another great restaurant Bistro 18.  My colleague and I have eaten there several times. He’s a big fan and often he’ll go there and I go to Markus and we meet up in Notre Vie.

I’m still waiting for him to write a review he knows it so well!CNV00100

There’s something for everyone in this part of the Old Town.


2 Comments

Veggies beware – meat lovers only

Tucking in to my fillet mignon at a great steak house, Markus ir Ko,  in Vilnius, Lithuania, I overheard  a woman complaining in French to her partner that there were no vegetarian options on the menu.

His response? “Tough – this is the best steak house in town and we’re only here one night!”

It turned out that they were French Canadians on a whistle stop tour of the Baltics.

On one of my next visits I spotted this sign in Vilnius.

DSCF1482

There’d be no such misunderstandings there!