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.
Bottengarn serves dishes featuring local fish alongside beef and lamb from the island. The restaurant’s operators have changed frequently and with them the methods of preparing the food. Yet the Bottengarn restaurant with its dining tables in a shed between piles of fishing nets or outside with an incredible view of the harbour and the sea, is the same Bottengarn from year to year. Every season it is interesting to come here to see and taste what is different this time. www.bottengarn.ee
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.
Inside Naba the bar is the centre of attention, where drinks are mainly mixed from anything produced by Saaremaa Veski (which is owned by the same people). While bar kitchens mostly don’t pretend to stand out with food alongside drinks, it’s different in Naba. For example, the prawn and trout “Rafaello” with wasabi and unagi mayonnaise turn out to be mouthfuls that caress the taste buds. The beef tataki with ponzu sauce could easily feature on the menu of the most ambitious restaurants.
Pilguse mõisa restoran
Pilguse Manor offers its guests the perfect country idyll. Main dishes are served in genuine country style from large platters for the whole group to share. The selection of dishes is small, but all the ingredients are local. Options include smoked Pähkla trout, whole smoked chicken or pork cooked so long that it has to be ordered three days in advance.
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.
Särg is a tiny resto with a large terrace right on the banks of the Nasva River in the village of the same name. A little further away, the river flows into the sea, and the fish from either of them is what’s is mainly prepared at the resto. Since the sea is stingy and often only offers herring, it frequently features on the menu. Meals from local fish are prepared with respect to the island’s traditions and good skill. Yet exotic flavours are not unknown here either. Coconut milk fish soup has already become well known all over the island.
If you go to Viirelaid to eat, then not only the restaurant but the whole small island is yours. We’re not sure if you can experience this anywhere else. Subscribe to the newsletter set up by the island people to be best informed who, where and when is serving food. The standard is high. The leading Estonian chefs come here one after another. In cooperation with the island owner, you can select a suitable chef and rent the entire island, exclusively for your company.