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  • Writer's pictureDiogo Machado

What to eat in Estonia?

Updated: Apr 9

Estonia is known for its combination of technological advancement, natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance, however, not many people know about their amazing cuisine. Estonian cuisine is a part of the broader Northern European cuisine. It is similar to Finnish and Swedish cuisines in many respects but also shares some similarities with German and Russian cuisines due to the historical ties with these cultures. Estonian cuisine is heavily influenced by its history, geography, and climate. It's characterized by simple, hearty dishes, often featuring ingredients like potatoes, pork, fish, dairy products, and grains. Here we introduce some unique foods you should try when visiting Estonia! If you are visiting Estonia, make sure to check out our previous articles on What to visit in Tallinn and what to visit in Tartu.

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🍻 Drinks




Kiluvõileib is a traditional Estonian dish that consists of rye bread, butter and European sprat. The sandwich is topped with an egg and garnished with an egg. Estonians enjoy this sandwich every important holiday, as it has been a staple for many years. The marinated herring is typically seasoned with ingredients like onions, black pepper, and sometimes mustard or sour cream to add flavor. The fish is usually filleted and marinated in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices to create a tangy and savory taste. Kiluvõileib is enjoyed as a quick and delicious snack, often accompanied by a cold beverage such as beer or a refreshing glass of kvas, a traditional fermented beverage made from bread. It's a quintessential part of Estonian cuisine and is frequently served at gatherings, picnics, and celebrations throughout the country.

What to eat in Estonia


The word "kartulisalat" literally translates to "potato salad". It’s made out of potatoes, mayo, sour cream, ham or sausage, peas, onion, and carrots. This dish is often eaten as a side dish with other foods like meat or fish. It can also be served as a main course for lunch or dinner.

What to eat in Estonia


Pelmeenid are dumplings that are usually filled with meat. Of course, don’t forget to top your dumplings with sour cream as it’s the perfect combination that makes the dish even yummier! Similar to Russian pelmeni or Polish pierogi, they are typically made from a simple dough filled with a savory filling, often meat, and then boiled or sometimes fried.

What to eat in Estonia

Sealiha ja Hapukapsas

Pork and sauerkraut have been around in every Estonian household for years. This dish is extremely simple but fills you up fast as it’s very hearty. Estonian people like to eat the dish, especially during the colder months on birthdays and national holidays. Estonians typically serve the sealiha ja hapukapsas hot, accompanied by boiled potatoes or crusty bread. You can also garnish with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

What to eat in Estonia



Special kind of dessert that is typically eaten on Vastlapäev (a fun holiday to celebrate the winter). Vastlakukkel, also known as "semla" or "fastelavnsbolle" in other countries, is a traditional Estonian pastry commonly enjoyed during Vastlapäev, which is the Estonian equivalent of Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. Vastlapäev marks the beginning of Lent, and Vastlakukkel is traditionally consumed as a treat before the fasting period begins. The buns are filled with jam and topped with whipped cream. In modern days there are many new variations of vastlakukkel, so you can definitely find the one you like the most!

What to eat in Estonia


Mannavaht is a traditional Estonian dessert made from semolina pudding that is whipped to create a light and airy texture. It's a simple yet delicious treat that is often enjoyed on its own or served with fresh berries or fruit compote. The recipe includes milk, semolina, sugar, vanilla extract, and fresh berries.


Vana Tallinn

Vana Tallinn has a long and storied history that dates back to the 1960s when it was first created by the Estonian company AS Liviko. It quickly gained popularity both domestically and internationally, becoming a symbol of Estonian culture and craftsmanship. Vana Tallinn is a very sweet and tasty liquor. Jamaican rum and a variety of herbs and spices are included in the preparation. The flavor of the liquor is so unique that Vana Tallinn ice cream and candy can be found in almost every store! This drinks holds a special place in Estonian culture and is often given as a gift or souvenir to visitors. It's also a staple at celebrations and gatherings, where it's shared among friends and family as a symbol of hospitality and camaraderie.

Craft Beer

When visiting Estonia we recommend trying out their craft beer. You can find a great selection in the area called ‘’Telliskivi’’, and enjoy your beer in the unique art district! Some of the most important Estonian breweries are the following: Põhjala Brewery, Sori Brewing, Tanker Brewery, Lehe Pruulikoda, and Pühaste Brewery.

What to eat in Estonia


Kali is a traditional Estonian soft drink made from fermented rye bread. It has a slightly tangy flavor and a low alcohol content (usually less than 1%). Kali is often enjoyed as a refreshing beverage, especially during the summer months.


Kvass is another traditional fermented beverage popular in Estonia and other Baltic countries. It's made from fermented black or rye bread and often flavored with herbs, fruits, or spices. Kvass has a slightly sour and refreshing taste.

Kännu Kukk

Kännu Kukk is a traditional Estonian herbal liqueur made from a blend of various botanicals, including juniper, angelica root, and other herbs. It has a distinctive herbal flavor and is often consumed as a digestive after meals.

Soomaa Kuldne

Soomaa Kuldne, which translates to "Golden Soomaa," is a traditional Estonian honey beer. It's brewed using local honey and has a sweet and floral flavor profile. Soomaa Kuldne is often enjoyed as a special treat during celebrations and festivals.

Saaremaa Viin

Saaremaa Viin, or Saaremaa Vodka, is a traditional Estonian vodka made from grains or potatoes. It's known for its smooth and clean taste and is often enjoyed as a shot or used as a base for cocktails.

We hope the article about the food from Estonia made you consider visiting this beautiful country and trying out its cuisine! In case you are traveling to Portugal or Poland in the future, you should try out our tours in Porto, Lisbon, and Warsaw. Follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot to be alerted when new articles are published!

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