I am honest with people who want to travel with me when I say that I may not be the person they want to travel with. Being a solo traveler for over a decade, I do not wait for anyone, and can be uncompromising and stubborn. Especially if I want to visit a place, or dine at a particular restaurant. Just in this case with Etno Dvaras, I was set on going here for lunch that I ditched a new group of travel friends to eat at this legendary Lithuanian restaurant.
Etno Dvaras in Vilnius was on my radar for places to eat while I was in Lithuania. It is one of the country’s most well known restaurants that offers traditional Lithuanian dishes for about 15 years. Etno Dvaras is the first restaurant in the country that has been certified by the Lithuanian Culinary Heritage Fund, and it is a place that is true to the art of ethnic culinary practices.
That was the very reason why I excused myself, without hesitation, after the two hour walking tour ended, and quickly walked to the restaurant. My new day friends were trying to decide where to go as a group, and Etno Dvaras was tossed around with other local eateries. I stood there listening for a minute, and said “OK bye everyone! It was nice meeting you. I need to get going.” Then off I went.
This is where things got awkward very quickly. I was seated in front of an open doorway by the front patio, when the group that I ditched was standing right in front of me. They looked into the restaurant and saw me sitting there, with a drink in hand. There was nothing I could do but play it off, smile, and wave-“Oh, Hiii!” I do not think they truly grasped my motivation on leaving the group because they were excited to see me. This is where they all decided to eat, and if I waited with them this awkward bitch moment would not have occurred.
As things happen they were were seated next to me, and they graciously asked me to join them. I felt like a complete jerk inside. I think it may have been my own self-guilt because they did not see it that way. They did not blame me because they were all solo travelers too and understood. I am glad I got to sit with them though because the table was full of laughter and travel conversations, that only strangers who meet while exploring can appreciate.
When it was time to order, I wanted to try so many dishes. I settled on a couple of delicious items, and I got to try a couple of dishes that my table mates ordered. On the table were honey mushrooms, potato dumplings, kvass, and mushroom soup. Everything was made in traditional ways, and all were new dishes that I have not tried before.
The Honey Mushrooms sounded delicious on the menu, and I was pleased that I ordered them. I love trying local fungi, and am always interested in how each country prepares them. This dish was beautifully plated, and tasted fresh and light. The mixture of pickled honey mushrooms, red onions, zucchini, and radishes were a beautiful blend of textures and flavors.
The zeppelins or potato dumplings were another dish on my radar to try. You will be asked and told by locals, “Did you try the potato dumplings?” “You need to eat zeppelins.” This is a must try dish in Lithuania because it is delicious. Zeppelins are meat stuffed potato dumplings, and Etno Dvaras is recognized as serving the best and most authentic. They offer different styles of potato dumplings, and I chose the one with a side of crackling. The crackling was terrific because it leveled up the flavors of the already tasteful zeppelins.
I also tried a traditional drink called, Kvass, which is known as “bread in a bottle”. This was something that I was not fond of, and it did not hit my palate right. Kvass is a fermented bread beverage, with a sweet and sour taste to it. I do love feremented foods and drinks, and like the benefits but I had to put the glass of Kvass down. You might like it, so it may be worth your while to order one.
Mushroom soup in a bread bowl was also on the table, and it was something that I enjoyed as well. One of my table mates ordered it, and I was able to try this creamy soup with a bit of brown bread. Like I mentioned, I love anything made with mushrooms, and this Lithuanian version of cream of mushroom was savory and flavorful.
If you are planning to visit Vilnius and looking for places to dine, then Etno Dvaras should be on your food radar for traditional Lithuanian dishes. For restaurant information and location, please visit their website – Etno Dvaras
For more of my Lithuanian food finds, please visit – What I ate in LITHUANIA – A Food Journal
You have to taste a culture to understand it…
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