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27. May 2022, 5 min read

The Michelin Guide has revealed its first selection of restaurants in Estonia

Author: Birgitte Brøndum
A Michelin chef arranging a selection of mushrooms. Slices of tree trunks with bark on them are used as plates.
A Michelin chef arranging a selection of mushrooms. Slices of tree trunks with bark on them are used as plates.

The famous Michelin Guide has finally made its way to Estonia! This sparkling new guide includes 2 Michelin Stars, 2 Michelin Green Stars and 5 Bib Gourmands.

On May 25, the Michelin Guide revealed its selection of Estonian restaurants. Being mentioned in the Michelin Guide, with or without stars, is a big deal for the restaurants. A total of 31 amazing restaurants are mentioned in the 2022 guide.

However, this isn’t only great news for the restaurants. The entire Estonian tourism industry is also applauding the arrival of the Michelin guide.

Estonia – lush forests, rich history and a vibrant culinary scene

Estonia is a beating green heart in the Baltic region. More than half of its land is covered by lush forests full of wildlife. Brown bears, wolves, rabbits, foxes, lynxes and other forest-dwelling animals have their homes among the trees in the Estonian forests.

The country’s UNESCO world heritage capital Tallinn, dating back to the 13th century, is one of Northern Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities.  

Even though Estonia is bigger than both Denmark and Holland, it has a small population of only 1.3 million people.

As a result, the vibrant Estonian culinary scene has been shaped by a strong bond with nature, broad gastronomic diversity and a proud cultural heritage.

The Tallinn skyline at sunset

New things are happening all the time in Estonian gastronomy. Above all, because talented chefs from every part of Estonia carry the country’s food culture and traditions forward. They do this by letting ideas unfold freely and by using fresh, local ingredients in new ways.

The Michelin Guide’s arrival in Estonia is a big deal

Estonia is a glowing food destination on Europe’s gastronomy map. The many local delicacies have been around for ages. Some have already been discovered by travellers from all over the world.

Because of this, it’s no longer a secret that Estonian food is tasty, but the arrival of the Michelin guide will still have a big impact on Estonia’s restaurant industry.

Killu Maidla, CEO of Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, is delighted that the Michelin guide has come to Estonia.

Killu is especially happy because the famous guide covers the entire country and not only its capital, Tallinn.

 I’m really excited to see this as a new motivation for the whole gastronomy industry who has been through difficult times – Killu Maidla 

Killu explains that tourists who’ve travelled to Estonia have been positively surprised by the high quality and diversity of Estonian gastronomy

“With the Michelin Guide arriving, we hope more people will start travelling to Estonia. People who want to discover new destinations with gastronomic experiences alongside beautiful landscapes, tourist sights and museums,” tells Killu.  

What do the Michelin ratings mean? 

Since 1904 the Michelin Guide has sprinkled stars on restaurants in more than 35 countries. Every year new guides reveal the best restaurants in countries all over the world.

The restaurants included in the guide can earn from one to three Michelin Stars.

However, restaurants that don’t get a star can still be highlighted in one of these two categories:  

Bib Gourmand: This category highlights restaurants that serve very good food at a reasonable price. The Bib restaurants often serve simpler food that resembles good home cooking. In other words, food that leaves you satisfied and happy without breaking your budget.

Michelin Green Star: A category that includes restaurants that cook and serve food that’s more sustainable. More precisely, restaurants that make responsible choices that are better for the environment. For instance, reducing waste, working with sustainable suppliers and avoiding plastic in the supply chain.

But what about the recommended restaurants?

Restaurants can also be recommended in the Michelin Guide without being awarded a star or placed in a specific category.

According to Michelin, recommended restaurants are restaurants that have great chefs who cook very good meals using high-quality ingredients. That’s to say, these restaurants are so good that they deserve to be listed in the Michelin Guide.

Michelin star

Here are the restaurants in Estonia’s first Michelin Guide!

Two restaurants were each awarded the highly regarded Michelin Star.

180° by Matthias Diether and NOA Chef’s Hall were the very first Estonian restaurants to receive these precious gastronomy stars – a recognition of their fantastic cuisine!

The Michelin Stars

180° by Matthias Diether is located in a modern harbour a few miles from the centre of Tallinn. It’s a stylish but casual restaurant with a characteristic U-shaped open kitchen.

In the futuristic bar, guests can enjoy a drink before letting their senses explore the elegantly complex tasting menus. Each dish is carried out with sharp attention to detail resulting in unique contrasts between flavours and textures.

NOA Chef’s Hall in Tallinn is part of restaurant NOA. From the restaurant’s lounge, guests have a beautiful view of Tallinn’s skyline and the Gulf of Finland.

7-course menus are prepared in an open kitchen. Skilled chefs tame flames and smoke in the kitchen’s open fire. The results are unique dishes packed with layer upon layer of well-balanced flavours. All this is happening right in front of the guests, adding an extra dimension to every dining experience.

The Bib Gourmands

The Michelin Green Stars

Restaurants recommended in the Michelin Guide’s main selection