What is the White Guide?
The White Guide is the leading restaurant guide in the Nordic countries. This quality system, launched in Sweden in 2005, has expanded to Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe islands and Estonia.
The White Guide team anonymously visits hundreds of restaurants each year and at the end of the year ranks them according to quality of food, level of service, innovation in approach and general atmosphere. According to the total of points gained, the restaurants are divided into categories. Here you can find the best restaurants in Saaremaa and Muhu.
Alexander Restaurant at Pädaste Manor
Alexander Restaurant at Pädaste Manor has been a top restaurant for years. Alexander has snatched the first position from the grand eateries of Tallinn several times. It is definitely a restaurant that no proper fine diner should miss. The traditional cooking of Muhu and ultramodern technology are skilfully combined in the restaurant.
Housed in a 300-year-old building, the Arensburg Hotel and Spa is surrounded by a variety of food and beverage outlets. When it comes to food, they have two main tricks. Experiments with exotic dishes are so bold that Chinese chicken with mango is rolled up with rice into a Japanese sushi roll. Local dishes are also turned into clever combinations, for example, smoked Pähkla trout is served with cream of Nasva sprat. The drinks are impressive enough for the restaurant to host a local wine club. If you can’t find a suitable wine from the short drinks menu, you will definitely find something from the cellar.
Castello is a chameleon restaurant. In winter it is a cosy pizza restaurant that smells of baked goods. While the menu does feature other dishes as well, you will see at least one pizza at every table, which is not surprising considering it is hard to find a match to the Castello pizzas on the whole island. Grilled Pähkla trout, ribs, fish soup and other delicious dishes are harshly overlooked in favour of pizza. However, in summer the tables turn. The smell of barbecue lingers in the restaurant garden and serves as an amuse-bouche.
Grand Rose Spa Restaurant
Grand Rose Spa’s restaurant in the labyrinthine, vaulted basement has inspired its catering manager and sommelier Miika Õunaid to put together an impressive wine list. Chef Kristjan Koppel cooks uncomplicated food which he makes mostly from local produce. The ‘Islander’s Meal’ constitutes a whole smoked bass with pickled cucumber, mini-potatoes fried in butter and tartar sauce.
Hafen is a light, colourful harbour restaurant. It is the newest restaurant in Saaremaa offering dishes that combine local tastes with world cuisine. No client should miss the salad of spiced Baltic sprats with roast potatoes, carrots and pickled vegetables in mustard sauce. This dish might taste too ordinary for local clients but featuring the flavour Estonians can’t live without, makes it compulsory for foreign clients to try.
Ku-Kuu Restaurant of Kuressaare Kuursaal
The White Guide team has given a considerable number of points to the fish restaurant Ku-Kuu, located in the park of Kuressaare Castle. Every fish dish lover should go to Kuressaare Kuursaal in summer. The chef Toomas Leedu, a passionate fisherman himself, adds credibility to his restaurant’s high standards. Ku-Kuu serves the freshest fish on the island, i.e. the fish that have been caught the same morning.
Mosaiik Café hits the bull’s eye. It is a mosaic proper, located on the edge of the central square of Kuressaare. The café serves food cooked with passion to clients who appreciate its cosy interior, friendly service and warm atmosphere. Mosaiik Café never fails to serve old familiar flavours in a novel style. All this makes for a symbiosis rich in flavours and colour where giving prominence to a particular dish or drink would be unfair to the rest of the menu.
Vinotheque Prelude is located on the main street of Kuressaare, and is a well-hidden secret that even many islanders have never visited. Prelude is definitely worth a visit. It welcomes you with an excellent wine selection and the menu includes eel soup, wild boar roast and oysters. Prelude is one of the few places in Saaremaa serving oysters.
Saaremaa Veski (Saaremaa Mill)
Among the Saaremaa restaurants included on the White Guide list, Saaremaa Veski has the longest history. An old windmill, converted into a restaurant has always served food in many different styles and today it is the only eatery in Kuressaare offering traditional Estonian cuisine. The menu includes the legendary cheese balls from 1974 as well as the wild boar tenderloin in juniper berry sauce. In summer, fish is smoked in the restaurant’s garden, which goes down nicely with some good local beer.