Istaba Gallery, Shop and Restaurant
Despite its tiny size, (the name means simply ‘room’ in Latvian), Istaba manages to be an exhibition space showing the work of local artists, a shop selling locally designed products and a cafe during the day as well as a restaurant during the evening.
It is an obvious destination to head to when looking for a unique gift or souvenir that you can be sure is not mass-produced and imported from China. They also sell nice cards, Latvian music and books about the country’s culture and history. The exhibitions by local artists change regularly.
We have been recommending it to visitors for years, not for it’s designs and fashion, but for its food. Out of a kitchen the size of a toilet cubicle comes some of the tastiest, most inventive food you’ll find in the city.
In fact, Istaba doesn’t even have a menu, you simply have a choice of the day’s products, possibly lamb, maybe perch, sometimes rabbit, as your main dish. This comes preceded by appetisers and accompanied by sides and salads. You are sure to leave fully satisfied, although there is dessert on offer for those who can manage it.
Like the best of Riga’s contemporary restaurants, the menu is mostly locally sourced and changes in tune with the seasons. Located in Riga’s Central District, a short walk from the Old Town, you’re sure to find something interesting in Istaba.