Restoran Vanaema Juures
10 Rataskaevu, Tallinn, Estonia
www.vonkrahl.ee/en/vanaema-j… - +372 626 9080
Restoran Vanaema Juures Tallinn Reviews
Dine like a local Jun 21, 2016
A teensy restaurant with only eight tables situated in a basement, Vaenama Juures is a wonderful dining option in Tallinn’s Old Town. The literal translation of “grandma’s place” was the only detail which turned me off, because I’ve suffered too many lousy meals at similarly named eateries back in the USA. This fear was immediately vanquished once we were seated.
You never see a kitchen or employees beyond a delightful pair of ladies in tasteful period dress who provide top shelf service: poised, professional and charmingly friendly. The setting may be charitably described as ‘rustic’. Tables and chairs are an unmatched collection of battered pieces from days gone by (weirdly reminding me of the set I recalled from my grandmother’s place). And the tattered walls are decorated with a random collection of b&w pictures and knick-knacks. Once again this was reminiscent of, well, the décor of my grandmother’s place.
But it was food came for, not memories of the good old days. Or was it? As soon as I was served a delicious bowl of smoked meat and potato soup, thoughts harkened back to childhood, enjoying tasty masterpieces whipped up at my grandma’s place (this was starting to get creepy). The evening had turned chilly, so it was perfect timing for this steamy beginning.
My entrée of pork over sauerkraut with horseradish and mustard, accompanied by a blood sausage, was divine. The dish seemed to get tastier with each bite and I have never enjoyed pork so tender. Some of my enchantment with Vaenama Juures was simply how easy it was to slice that pork. Laura ordered beef cheeks smothered with hempseed and rosemary dressing, every bit as fantastic as my order.
Our delight grew when the check was presented. The heavenly feast was barely half of what we had been charged for a disappointing dinner in Helsinki two nights before.
The most memorable moment occurred at the end. I had read tipping is not expected in Tallinn, but you could leave up to 10% for exceptional service (need to leave cash as anything added to a credit card payment was unlikely to make it back to the wait staff). Our waitress was exceptional in every way, so I left a few euro on the table. Laura visited the rest room as we departed and I waited in the doorway. This afforded time for our waitress to begin clearing and she ran up to me, clasped both my hands and exclaimed “thank you so very much”. Living in the USA you feel obliged to tip, even when service is lackluster and there is never any acknowledgement or thanks. This was refreshing and I was genuinely touched by the gratitude, our server’s sincerity revealed by the mirth in her eyes. I almost returned to our table to leave more!
Part of the Bopping about the Baltics travel blog
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