May 18 2013

36. Līnija

36. Linija (or in English “Bar & Grill 36. Line”) is a wonderful restaurant in Jurmala, one of Latvia’s seaside resorts, around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Riga. Jurmala is the most luxurious sea side area in Latvia where you can see some very impressive houses, which means the clientele of 36. Linija, which is arguably the best restaurant in Jurmala is equally wealthy and you will see many designer handbags and luxurious cars when you go there (36. Linija also feeds many of the wealthy and famous Russians that come to Jurmala for the famous summer festival “New Wave”). The name of the restaurant is very clever, and in Jurmala at one point streets don’t have names, but are called “lines” and the last line is number 35, so the restaurant calls itself after an imaginary next street that could have been there. 36. Linija is located right by the sea, and during the winter you have less capacity (45 people) as you can only sit inside, but during the summer they have a wonderful summer terrace with heated lamps and also the waiters offer you tiny duvets if you are cold, and you can sit on the terrace, 100m away from the Baltic sea and watch the waves of the sea, which is a wonderful feeling.  

36. Linija is headed by one of Latvia’s celebrity chefs Lauris Aleksejevs (you can see him in the picture below) and not only is he extremely talented having worked as a chef for 18 years in many famous Latvian restaurants, he is also very lovely to speak to. I have met him a few times now and he always stops and has a chat and also offers to cook his specials and is full of suggestions as to what you should have for your meal. My friends Baiba and Petersons know him very well and every time they go to 36. Linija they don’t even look at the menu and let Lauris cook his daily specials. 36. Linija gets fresh produce (also from Germany and France 1/2x a week) and a lot of their dishes are cooked on open fire, which creates a lovely flavour to the food. The menu is very varied, you can get many starters, tartars, salads, burgers, grilled meat and fish, pasta as well as dishes for children. Also what I very much like about 36. Linija is the fact that you can have expensive as well as cheaper dishes, so if you want to, you could have a meal for LVL10 or could spend much more, Lauris has made sure his menu caters for all sorts of people.

I went to 36. Linija on a Saturday evening with my friends Baiba, Petersons, Katrina, Love and my boyfriend. We decided to have an early dinner at 6.30 as my boyfriend, Love and Katrina were taking part in the Riga marathon the next day. When we got there, some of us (the non runners) ordered Campari and orange juice cocktails, and Petersons said that one of the waiters knows them so well that when he and Baiba arrive, he automatically starts preparing them, even without them having to ask. The marathon runners were going to have pasta as their main course to load up on carbs, but as our starter we decided to order some dishes to share. We all chose a few and in the end ordered “Lightly salted fillet of Baltic herring with egg, sour cream, potatoes and a cucumber”, “Burrata with raspberries”, “Beef tartare”, “Caramelized goat’s cheese with grilled aubergines, cilantro and pine nuts” and “Grilled sea scallops with sun dried tomato and spinach confit and lemon foam”.  We also wanted to order the calamari, but they had run out of these. The herring dish was wonderful, Baiba and Petersons love this and always order it and Petersons Japanese friend Yuki described this dish as Latvian sashimi. All the ingredients were cut in thin slices and arranged one on top of the other, wonderful presentation, and very smart to build little herring towers like this and very tasty. Herring is a very popular dish in Latvia, and this is one of the best ways of serving it that I have seen. The burrata was great, and I loved how there were lovely green olives on the plate as well with salad leaves and tomatoes, although as I am not the biggest fan of mixing sweet and savoury together, I was not too keen on the raspberries, but I do have to say they did look colourful and wonderful. I loved the presentation of the beef tartar, I thought it was very smart how the meat was split in small little bits and it was easy to share this dish and I loved how the onions, parsley, capers, chives and sun dried tomatoes were next to the beef tartare in small little clumps and you could take as much or little of these things as you wanted and mix with your beef tartare. Usually beef tartare is presented in the same way with the beef already mixed up with the spices and presented in one piece, so this was a wonderful way how to present it differently. Note though I would have liked to see more acidity and spiciness to this beef tartare, and would have loved to see either chilli, tobasco or chopped pickled cucumbers to go with this, as it is quite traditional to use these with tartares. I also very much enjoyed the caramelized goats cheese with aubergines, and the goat’s cheese melted in your mouth. I did not have any of the scallops, but they looked great and my boyfriend who had a piece enjoyed it.

As for my main course I was very excited to see that they had my favourite soup in the world “ cold beetroot soup” on the menu, and I ordered it. The cold beetroot soup is made out of a sour type of crème/milk called “kefirs” which is popular in Latvia and mixed with beetroot, cucumbers and egg. The 36. Linija cold beetroot soup was topped with extra egg and chives and was thick (only good restaurants do it this thick, cheaper ones add water to it, to decrease the cost of it), and I very much enjoyed it, although would have liked it to be a tiny bit more salty as it lacked any salt or pepper, and also I could not find any salt or pepper on the table. My boyfriend had ‘Tagliatelle with ham and eggs” and he loved it and I also thought it was great pasta, and much better than your average this sort of dish. The bacon was great quality and tasty and nicely fried and there was a lot of egg coating the pasta, they definitely had not been stingy with the ingredients. Katrina and Love went for the “Tagliatelli with vegetables, basil and goats cheese” and the pasta was beautiful with very colourful and fresh looking vegetables and large chunks of goats cheese. I did not try this, but it looked very appetizing. Baiba and Petersons went for the daily special which was monkfish, and as Baiba could not finish the whole portion, I tasted some of her monkfish, and it was incredible. This fish could have been served in one of the best London fish restaurants, it was perfectly cooked, so the fish was cooked but still moist and very tasty, it was great quality. It was served with steamed vegetables and also pea shoots which tasted so sweet and just like Latvian small sweet peas, it was incredible to get this much flavour out of a pea shoot.

I very much enjoyed my dinner in 36. Line and I am really looking forward to coming back next month for Baiba’s birthday. The food is very good, and the location is just incredible. This is a very romantic restaurant as you can take someone for dinner and then afterwards go for a walk next to the sea. One of my favourite, if not my favourite, restaurants in Riga, I love the food, I love the warmth of Lauritis and his team and I love the magnificent view of the sea.

Date: 18/05/13
Location: Jurmala
Price per person with some alcohol: LVL 35

 

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I went to 36. Linija again for my friend Baiba’s birthday. We had quite a few dishes that I have already mentioned in my previous review, and I wont mention them again, but please see pictures of some new starters we shared, the salmon tartar, the roast beef, sashimi of a sea fish called siege in Latvian (I don’t know the English name and the waiter did not know as well), mozzarella and tomatoes, shrimps as well as a tomato salad. All the dishes were consistently good and nicely presented. 

 

We spoke to Lauritis and he recommended having the pike perch, the lamb or the veal as a main course and I chose the pike perch and my boyfriend chose the lamb. The pike perch (typical Latvian fish) in my view lacked a bit of flavour and was presented with asparagus and spinach, and it felt just a tiny bit bland (Ansis who was sitting next to me agreed that it lacked a bit of flavour and he even asked for some pepper which the waiter brought which he said unfortunately did not make it better). I did however very much enjoy the lamb that my boyfriend ordered, they gave you a lot of meat, I was surprised how much you got, and it was very delicious served with potatoes and vegetables. You can also see other types of fish and meat, including the veal that I mentioned that other people ate and everyone was saying how good the food was. All the food was well presented as you can see from the pictures and they were not stingy with the meat. 

 

Lauritis had also baked a cake for Baiba, the layered Napoleon, which also features on the menu, and is a typical eastern European desert, and which I very much enjoyed. My friend Petersons was saying how amazing this cake was and that I had to mention this in my blog. Usually Napoleon cake is made with crunchy and thin layers of pastry and cream in between but they had made the pastry soft, so it was an interesting version. Most of the Latvians enjoyed it, as they know this desert, but my English boyfriend did not really like it, so I wonder whether this is a particular thing that only us natives like. 

 

Overall once again I had a very enjoyable and good meal at 36.Linija and keep my 4Ms

 

Date: 22/06/13

Maija rated: 

4.00

Location: 

36. Līnija
LV-2110
Jūrmala
Latvia
LV
36. Līnija Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4