The French-founded Michelin Guide, the world’s most prestigious culinary guide, announced its expansion to Estonia in April, with the guide’s inspectors carrying out incognito visits to the country’s restaurants. On 25 May, the guide unveiled the first Michelin starred restaurants in Estonia.
Noa Chef’s Hall, part of Noa restaurant, and 180 Degrees in Tallinn were awarded with a Michelin star each, the first restaurants in Estonia to receive such an honour. Five Bib Gourmand awards were given to Härg, Lore Bistroo, Mantel and Korsten, and Noa – all in Tallinn – and Fellinn in Viljandi.
In addition, twenty-four restaurants in Estonia were awarded the Michelin Plate – recognising restaurants that “simply serve good food”: 38, CRU, Gianni, Fii, Fotografiska, Hõlm, Joyce, Horisont, Lahepere Villa, Lee, Mere 38, Mon Repos, Moon, Paju Villa, Põhjaka Manor, Pull, Puri, R14, Rado, Ruhe, Smak, Tchaikovsky, Tuljak and Wicca.
Lahepere Villa in Kloogaranna, near Tallinn, received a special award for a good service by Michelin. The special sommelier award went to Robert Põld at Noa Chef’s Hall. The Michelin Green Stars, recognising restaurants that offer sustainable food, were given to Fotografiska and Põhjaka Manor.
Estonia’s first Michelin-starred restaurants
180° is a fine dining restaurant located in the historical Port Noblessner and serving a modern European menu.
It was set up by Berlin-born German chef, Matthias Diether, who found his passion for cooking by helping out at his uncle’s restaurant during weekends and school holidays. He gained his professional knowledge with the German chefs Lothar Eiermann, Harald Wohlfahrt and Dieter Müller, and managed gourmet kitchens in Dubai for the Ritz Carlton, the Emirates Palace and the Shangri-La.
In 2010, Diether founded his signature restaurant, First Floor, in Berlin, where he was able to perfect the cooking style which he is known for today. In 2016, he came to work as the head chef for Pädaste manor’s restaurant Alexander in Estonia’s Muhu island – where he found inspiration in Estonia’s regional cuisine – and in 2018 opened his own dining establishment, 180° in Noblessner.
Tallinn’s premier seaside restaurant
Noa Chef’s Hall, part of Noa restaurant by the Pirita seaside with a wonderful view of the Tallinn skyline, serves a modern European menu. Noa is arguably the only restaurant in Tallinn that has an aquarium, using it for, well, seafood.
Its executive chef and restaurateur Tõnis Siigur has more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant business. He has been voted the best chef in Estonia several times throughout his career.
The first in the Baltics
Michelin has gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain the anonymity of its inspectors. Many of the company’s top executives have never met an inspector; inspectors themselves are advised not to disclose their line of work, even to their parents – who might be tempted to boast about it.
In all the years that it has been putting out the guide, Michelin has refused to allow its inspectors to speak to journalists. The inspectors’ assessment is based on five rating criteria: quality of products, mastery of flavour and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef represented in the dining experience, harmony of flavours and consistency between inspectors’ visits. The Michelin Guide now rates over 30,000 establishments in 37 territories across three continents.
As of 2021, France has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world – a whopping 632 of them. Japan is ranked second, with 413 restaurants, followed by Italy (363), Germany (305), and Spain (212). The most decorated chef by the Michelin Guide is a French chef Alain Ducasse, who in total holds 17 Michelin stars in his restaurants across the world.
Estonia has become the first of the Baltic countries to be included in the Michelin Guide. Finland has seven restaurants that have been awarded a star by Michelin. Sweden has a single three-star Michelin restaurant, four two-star restaurants and 14 one-star restaurants.
Find out more about the first MICHELIN Guide Estonia here.