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Food & Dining in Lithuania


Lithuanian dinners usually include meat, potato, vegetables and sometimes a curd sauce of some sort. Case in point: the cepelinai, or zeppelins, which are meat filled potato-starch based zeppelin-shaped masses traditionally slathered in a sauce of sour cream, butter and pork cracklings. Pork is traditionally eaten, beef much less so. Needless to say, vegans will have a hard time eating out, although some large restaurant chains will have vegetarian dishes on the menu.

Some fast food in Lithuania, such as kibinai, (from the Karaim people) small turnovers usually filled with spiced lamb, and cheburekai (a Russian snack), large folds of dough with a scant filling of meat, cheese, or even apples, can be found around the city.

Also, other countries have had a significant influence on Lithuanian cuisine. Poland and Latvia, for instance, share the tradition of preparing pirogi. pirogi and bliny (‘crepes’) are popular throughout the entire former Eastern block, though they might exist with different names. The German influence in western regions is also quite strong. This influence is apparent mainly in potato dishes, meat and sausages, some of which have become national specialities. One of them is kugel, a delicious potato pudding − or the vedarai, a sausage made from potatoes. Due to various historical events and European trends, other influences have affected Lithuanian cuisine. For instance, the 'Napoleon Torte' became a national speciality after the invasion of Napoleon’s campaign in the past.

Many restaurants have menus in English (usually in the Lithuanian menu) and to a lesser extent, Russian. Though use caution as sometimes menus in other languages may have inflated prices, although this is a rarity, and won't be found in Vilnius, or the better known chains such as Cili Pizza.

Waiting service is typical for most restaurants, as well as for many coffee houses and bars. Still, counter service is also very common. Prices are moderate and often perceived as cheap by western visitors. Tipping is left to customer discretion and no fixed amount is recommended. However, the average of 5% to 7% is acceptable.


The city’s restaurants and cafés literally cater to taste buds of every persuasion, offering everything from vast plates of potato-based local specialities to a surprisingly wide and generally palatable concoction of dishes from the kitchens of such far away places as India and Brazil. Service continues to be the main stumbling block even in the most aristocratic of eateries, and is easily the subject from which the majority of visitors gain the most displeasure. Although the bulk of restaurants worth visiting can be found within the city centre, the suburbs also offer a few treats.




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