The journey ran from Warsaw through Augustów, where we stopped for a meal. By the way – although the S8 route is already completely open, I suggest you choose an alternative route, eg by Brańczyk, Brok, Ostrów Mazowiecki, Ostrołęka and Łomża, or Czyżew, Szepietowo and Tykocin. You can enjoy the eye and avoid the slalom between trucks.
Since I did not have any prior knowledge and did not want to waste time on picketing after Augustów, the choice fell on the TONI PEPERONI pizzeria (Rynek Zygmunta Augusta 10). Due to the early time we ordered two salads and a pizza. My salad (Toniego) was big enough to fill my heart. At the same time it was tasty and looked fresh and inviting. Service polite and nice and prices reasonable.
Next, we got to Vilnius without any stops. I will not elaborate on the charms and attractions of the city, because these are things so very individual that everyone has to decide about the attractiveness of this place. From my point of view, the place to visit is the market hall, where you can stock up on various Lithuanian dried and ripening meats (I highly recommend “kabanosy” – thin and delicate), dried meat (fragile and aromatic), kvass from small local works, Armenian cognac (if you like it) and even wine from raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, quince or even pomegranates.
What is important, at most stands, you will get along easily in Polish.
From Vilnius itself, I liked the district of Zarzecze (in Lithuanian Užupio), called “Vilnius Montmartre”. It is also worth visiting the Museum of Illusions (necessarily with the show ligth show at 19:00).
Outside of the city, the most impressive was nature with charming landscapes and the castle in Troki rebuilt from ruins (here it is worth coming earlier, preferably at the time of the castle opening, when there are no queues of tourists waiting for the entrance). Visiting the castle with a guide must be booked in advance, so if you can do it, join a Polish trip. We did, of course, before asking for permission.
Being in Trakai, after visiting the castle, you can easily go to the BONA restaurant, located almost in front of the castle (after descending from the bridge to land, you have to turn right). The beautiful view has a lake is a nice addition to the dishes served there. Interestingly, these are basically three premises in one place: a restaurant / longue, pizzeria and burger bar. Being on the spot, decide for yourself what suits you best. We chose a restaurant and meal on the large terrace under umbrellas with a beautiful view. The service is quite efficient and nice. We did not have to wait long for the dishes.
From the local cuisine we ordered herring in a country style, a piece of fish served with marinated onion and pickled cucumber, warm potatoes with dill and nicely spiced cottage cheese, and very popular “kibinai”, ie Karaim dumplings made of shortbread, semidose, yeast or even puff pastry (I met all versions) stuffed with various kinds of tasty spiced meats or vegetables. Both dishes I can confidently recommend, although do not expect a Michelin-level experience.
In Vilnius, you can eat a meal in many places and in different styles. Because I was focused on local flavors, after having a look at several premises and contact sometimes with not very nice staff, finally the restaurant “Amatinink Užeiga” was chosen, which means “Craft tavern” or “Craftsman’s Tavern”. The decor is rather crude and “handicraft”.
Food in a similar style – local, honest, good, tasty and filling. I encourage you to visit, I especially recommend Samogitian Blines. This is a typical dish of Lithuanian cuisine prepared from cooked potatoes and meat stuffing. It looks a bit like a flattened “kartacz” / “zeppelin” fried on two sides. In addition, the menu includes zeppelins, pelmeni, small Russian pancake, herring with potatoes and cream, a set of snacks and other dishes. Lithuanian bread full of aromatic cumin is served for many dishes. I’ve tried it, but I will eat it only in Lithuania. I also recommend a traditional herring fillet with sour cream and warm potatoes. I like!
Before the visit, you can look at the restaurant’s website, where the menu and prices are. Of course, the choice of dishes is complemented by a nice set of Lithuanian beers, with which you should familiarize yourself.
When going to or from Lithuania, try to visit Tykocin and Villa Regent, about which I wrote here:
Attention, it is worth to call in advance and reserve a table.
I hope that this short report and photos will encourage you to visit Lithuania. Relatively close, pleasantly, not too expensive, good food close to our taste. I enjoyed the dishes of potatoes that I like very much, and herring served in various ways (selection of ready-made dishes in shops incomparably greater than in our case).