Descending the grand wooden staircase at La Bottega, found in Tallinn’s Old Town, brings you into the dining room; the space is cavernous. The eye is drawn up to the soaring high ceiling, lined with wooden beams, by the huge shelved walls of wine bottles. Sitting beneath, at one of gingham-clothed tables, it’s easy to get swept up in the vaulted atmosphere. Chairs are simple molasses brown wood, much like the beams. And there’s plenty of serene stonework throughout – most notably around the old fireplace. It’s elegant, it’s slightly moody, and it offers an Italian-inspired menu that’s sure to sate.
There’s a homey feel here that extends beyond the gingham; it’s the warmth and welcome of the food. La Bottega serves lamb chops lightly dressed with olive oil and mint, just enough to lean into and complement the sweetness of the meat. Hearty and rich wild boar lasagna that speaks to hearth and home. Smoky sardines fresh off the grill, the oiliness of the fish offset by the crispness of the skin, and a simple spritz of lemon. The caffeinated depth of creamy, voluptuous tiramisu. There’s a reason, after all, that La Bottega continues to rank highly in Estonia’s “best of” lists. This is one trattoria that knows the way to the heart is through the stomach, so it feeds you well, and leaves you wanting more.