Estonia has a rich history, breathtaking forests full of wildlife, and an extraordinary food scene that’s any foodie’s dream come true. While Estonia has been a sought-after culinary destination for years, the 2022 launch of the country’s first-ever Michelin Guide truly placed this Northern European gem on the global foodie map.
With the introduction of a second guide, both locals and tourists now have a plethora of taste-bud thrilling experiences to discover or rediscover.
This year, the Michelin Guide Estonia includes 34 restaurants, with many located in the beautiful capital of Tallinn. Additionally, a handful of restaurants can be found in other parts of the country, such as Muhu Island and Haapsalu. Michelin has awarded stars to two restaurants, and two restaurants have received the Michelin Green Star for their remarkable sustainability efforts.
Before the launch of the Estonian Michelin Guide for 2023, we interviewed Killu Maidla, CEO of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association. We asked her about expectations for the guide and its potential impact on the Estonian restaurant industry.
Killu expressed that last year’s Michelin Guide was a significant milestone for the Estonian gastronomy industry. However, she acknowledged that 2022 was shortly after the COVID-19 crisis, which unfortunately had a profound effect on restaurants regarding stability and staff flow. Despite this, Killu remains hopeful, stating, “I do hope that now we are even stronger.”
Killu’s optimistic outlook is that the Estonian Michelin Guide for 2023 will showcase an even greater number of restaurants.
“Personally, I hope there are even more restaurants featured in this guide, and if there are additional star-rated restaurants, it would be like the cherry on top of this beautiful cake. With just two days remaining before the guide is published, I don’t want to speculate, but I’m genuinely open to pleasant surprises!”Killu Maidla, CEO of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association
Additionally, Killu also mentioned that the release of the 2022 guide had a direct and positive impact on restaurant reservations from both local and international guests.
Furthermore, Killu explained, “I also observe a broader impact on Estonia as a destination in general. It appears that the presence of the Michelin Guide serves as a quality assurance for those who prioritize excellent culinary experiences when selecting a travel destination. I’m delighted that we are now included on their travel maps.”
“The presence of the Michelin Guide serves as a quality assurance for those who prioritize excellent culinary experiences when selecting a travel destination. I’m delighted that we are now included on their travel maps.”Killu Maidla, CEO of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association
Since last year, Michelin inspectors have been travelling and tasting their way through Estonia once again, shrouded in culinary mystery and utmost secrecy. On the launch day of the Michelin Guide Estonia 2023, Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of The Michelin Guides said:
“Thanks to last year’s inaugural edition, more and more people are discovering the hidden jewel that is Estonia’s culinary scene – and we are delighted that this second edition updates and expands that original selection. The country offers a very appealing mix of restaurants and can boast plenty of skilled and ambitious chefs who are taking full advantage of the local produce.”
Neither media outlets nor restaurants had any knowledge until Thursday morning when the press release was issued. All chefs mentioned in the press release are invited to a reception organized by the Tourism department in Tallinn. During the reception, the chefs will receive their 2023 Michelin plaques, and the chefs of the star restaurants are presented with Michelin chef jackets.
180° By Matthias Diether is Estonia’s first two-star Michelin restaurant!
A stylish restaurant, located in a modern harbour just outside the city. With a U-shaped kitchen providing a panoramic view, guests can watch skilled chefs preparing 4 and 6-course tasting menus while dining. The experienced German chef, Matthias Diether, creates visually stunning dishes with intricate details and a contemporary aura, offering a harmonic interplay of flavours and textures. The warm and engaging service adds to the relaxed atmosphere.
The Michelin Inspectors expressed their admiration for the intricate cooking techniques displayed in the dishes, as well as the remarkable harmony of flavours achieved. According to their statement, the highly visual dishes showcased exceptional technique, skill, sophistication, and a profound understanding of flavour in every aspect.
NOA Chef’s Hall retains its well-deserved star!
Located within the same impressive building as restaurant NOA, the stylish NOA Chef’s Hall invites guests to start their evening with an aperitif in the romantic lounge overlooking Tallinn Bay. The centrepiece is the open-view kitchen, where ingredients like Canadian lobster and locally foraged produce shine. The creative 7-course menu features complex, original dishes bursting with complementary flavours and textures.
The Michelin Inspectors highlighted the accomplished and confident cooking at NOA Chef’s Hall, where they enjoyed exquisitely balanced and very satisfying dishes. According to them, this dining experience is truly exceptional in every aspect.
The Michelin Green Star recognizes restaurants leading the industry in sustainable practices.
Fotografiska, in Tallinn, retains its Green Star status for a second year!
Above the Fotografiska photo gallery, the striking restaurant offers panoramic views of the Old Town. By embracing a “Sustainable Pleasure” concept, it showcases a unique selection of understated dishes using organic, sustainably farmed ingredients. Here, guests can experience the daily changing 360° surprise menu with intriguing wine pairings.
Restaurant Soo is a new green-star addition to this year’s Guide.
In 2019, owner Ragnar Sass acquired the Maidla Estate and manor house. Alongside eco-lodges nestled in the enchanting woods, he established an intimate 5-table restaurant. Sustainability and ecological values take centre stage here, with a set dinner menu inspired by the seasons and region.
A new restaurant joins Estonia’s five Bib Gourmands. The newcomer is Tuljak in Tallinn.
The five restaurants that keep their Bib Gourmand status are:
The newly added restaurants are: