A harbor of tranquility

Situated near the Gauja river in the beautiful, charming historic town of Cesis, Santa villa is a classy summer cottage style hotel. The hotel is surrounded by lush, tranquil forest. The minimalist Nordic interior design of the building and rooms blends well with its natural surroundings.

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The restaurant

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The modern chic interior of the restaurant is decorated with paintings by Latvian contemporary artist Ieva Iltnere and a la mode ceiling lamps accompanied by Vienna bistro chairs and turquoise upholstered banquette bench. There is a spacious terrace with views of the forest.

Day 1 

Lunch

  • Red currant lemonade with lemon and blueberries (3 euros)
  • Burger with four week-aged grilled beef (farm Rukisi), served with fresh salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, cheese, BBQ sauce, and fried potato straws (9.20 euros).

The red currant lemonade was a refreshing treat with a twang.

The highlight of the burger was the aged beef. It was so flavorful that each bite clothes your whole palette.

Dinner

Trout fillet with seasonal vegetables steamed in parchment parcel served with grapefruit and orange salad and raspberry vinaigrette (14.60 euros).

The trout was a little bland but fresh and cooked perfectly. The salad was tangy and sweet with a crunch of fresh greens and almond flakes. The presentation of the dish reminded me of the lush forest of the region.

Day 2

Breakfast

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The buffet breakfast had a simple but healthy spread. There were croissants, waffles, crepes, salads, fruits, yogurt, scrambled eggs…etc. The crepes were sensational. They were so delicious, salty, savory with a hint of sweetness. Yogurt was homemade with fresh fruits. I like the presentation of the dishes; jams, cheese, and herring in individual tiny glass jars; and whipped butter and yogurt in individual bowls. Coffee is self-served from an automatic coffee machine.

The breakfast was the same throughout the whole duration I was there. It was not a problem for me because I was only there for three days. The spread could be more diverse especially for guests who will be there for a longer duration.

Day 3

Lunch

  • slow-cooked chicken breast with birch-sap rhubarb reduction, baby asparagus and avocado salad, and hempseed-caviar sauce (10.70 euros)
  • beef meatball soup with seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs, and sour cream (5.40 euros)

It was a chilly day, and the hearty meatball soup was a fabulous warming soup. The chicken was tender and juicy. The rhubarb reduction accentuated the flavor of the chicken with a lovely sweetish sourish taste.

I love that fresh and local ingredients especially fruit-based sauces and dressings were incorporated into the dishes. I had a really relaxing time here and enjoyed every moment basking in nature.

Santa Villa

Website: http://www.villasanta.lv/en

Telephone: +371 64 177 177

Address: Gaujas iela 88, Cēsis, Cēsu pilsēta, LV-4101, Latvia

Kafejnīca Vendene

This Latvian style tavern is located at the roundabout by the Cesis Victory Monument. The interior’s dim and did not feel inviting. There was only one waitress behind the counter. As I was not greeted by anyone, and there was a customer at the counter inquiring, holding a menu, I thought maybe I have to order at the counter first.  Only after I inquired that I was told that orders will be taken at the table. Seeing it was a beautiful day, I sat out on the terrace. The menu was printed on plain white A4 paper placed in a leather-like folder, not appealing.  It also took a while for the waitress to take my order.


I had the Sauerkraut soup (granny style) and Chicken Schnitzel with cheese topping. I thought the soup would be sour but it wasn’t. It was mildly sour and savory. The soup was satisfyingly appetizing, it had barley and different types of sausages. The dill gave it a lovely herb fragrance.
I did not like the Chicken Schnitzel. It was bland and the crust was soggy and had a weird texture (like a soggy fried beaten egg).

Unfortunately for me, the soup was the only thing satisfying about this restaurant.

Kafejnīca Vendene

Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday (12:00 – 21:00), Friday and Saturday (12:00 – 23:00)

Address: Vaļņu iela 1, Cēsis, Cēsu pilsēta, LV-4101, Latvia

Telephone: +371 64 161 361

 

Cesu Maize

 

Cesu Maize is a small bakery located next to the St. John’s church in the Cesis old town selling handmade traditional bread. The bread is baked from Latvian organic whole grain wheat and spelt wheat whole grain flour. Made with natural leaven (sourdough), without the addition of bread yeast (turisms.cesis.lv, 2018).

It is a very small bakery tucked inside a building. There is a big sign outside the main entrance, you can’t miss it. When I entered the bakery, the smell of freshly baked bread had enveloped the whole place. The owner/ baker was friendly, he spoke some English. There is a poster on the wall at the entrance with information on the different bread available. There are also bread samples. The price is based on weight. I bought the spelt wholegrain wheat sweet bread which had nuts, raisins, and dried apricots for €2.40. It had a dark hard crust and the inside was dense and semi-soft.

When I had my first bite, I did not think much of the bread. I started to taste the fragrant flavors of the bread on my third bite and I was like “Wow, this bread is delicious”! I could not stop eating it. It was mildly sour, sweet with a nutty flavor.

I highly recommend this bakery if you are traveling to Cesis. It is one of the best bread I have tasted and I am certain you will not be disappointed.

 

Cesu Maize

Website: https://www.facebook.com/cesu.maize/

Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00

Telephone: +371 26 412 803