Not so much Estonian as Hanseatic, Olde Hansa harks back to the days when Teutonic merchants ruled the cities of the Baltic with a passion for trade that made Tallinn a great medieval capital. Built in an imposing merchant’s house next to Town Hall Square, this enormous restaurant is a fixture of the Tallinn scene and should not be missed.
rnMuch more than just a tourist venue (although it does cater to thousands of visitors every week), Olde Hansa is built upon the vivid imagination of the owners – two medievalists who believe in bringing Estonia’s history to life. Sit at one of the rough-hewn tables in the huge, candlelit galleries downstairs or go up for the full medieval experience (which the costumed waiters take as seriously as method actors).
rnThe food is convincingly hearty, seasoned with sweet garnishes and served with honey beer, the house speciality. Try boar ‘marinated in rare spices and cooked over a fire in honour of Waldemar II, the brave king of Denmark’. For the very hungry, there is a range of extravagant multi-course banquets. Choose upstairs to enjoy live medieval music, performed on a raised platform on genuine period instruments.