I stumbled upon my first dinner restaurant in Vilnius on my walk through the old town. along the winding alleys of the old Jewish quarter on Stikliu street: Bistro 18. I often check out the menus and was impressed by the modern, French-European cuisine on offer at very reasonable prices. I was looking forward to dinner there and it turned out to be a hidden little gem of a restaurant!
It’s located off the little alley and you step into the dining room in the old building. I hadn’t made a reservation and the restaurant was sold out. While that’s a good sign, it obviously didn’t make me happy! The hostess was very nice and accommodated me prior to a reservation 90 minutes later – plenty of time for me dining solo! She led me to a beautiful dining room with arched ceilings and lined with wine shelves. Tables with dark wood tops and comfy chairs were arranged with lots of space, making for a very private and upscale feeling setting.
The waitress was very attentive, knew the menu well and was quick to take my order and bring the drinks. She paid close attention and paced the food arrival perfectly!
I picked the creamy tomato soup and the duck breast with cranberry sauce and potato-basil mash as my main course, accompanied by a glass of red wine and sparkling water! And wow.. I was amazed by the food! The tomato soup was just perfect, with just the right taste, consistency and temperature! The warm, fresh bread tasted great with it. After my meal was of to a good start, it got even better with the main course: The duck breast was served with a rose center, perfectly cooked. The cranberry sauce complemented it well and the potato-basil mash was enough of a twist to make an interesting side! It worked great together and made for a fine dining experience I did not expect in this little restaurant.
What made this dinner even better that it came at a bargain price. In most European capitals this quality of dining experience would easily cost you $60-90 per person, yet at Bistro 18, it was less than $30, a food bargain if there ever was one! Great food, friendly and competent service and a nice setting make for a great dining experience, especially if you are planning for a special occasion – or, if you just like really good food! I’m sure to go back on my next trip to Vilnius! You can check out their full menu on the Bistro 18 Facebook page, just look at the photo stream! And make sure to make a reservation – this little gem is not so hidden anymore and is very busy!