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✈ Keeping Kosher in Tallinn, Estonia

Contributed by: Arielle Klein  |  Last Date of Travel: June 2008

Kosher Info: Of all the places we never thought we’d find a fancy kosher restaurant, Tallinn was one of them. Lo and behold we found Moses a beautiful Israeli owned restaurant located within Tallinn’s beautiful synagogue. Walking in the synagogue took our breaths away more on that later. Moses offers haute cuisine at haute prices. We had a delicious meal that took quite a bite out of the wallet but as it is the only kosher restaurant around we had no choice. Beware they even charge for water. The menu is small but they offer wine and a few chicken dishes some Israeli dishes, fish and beef dishes. It’s definitely an experience worth having. In terms of finding other food there isn’t much so make sure you bring lots of food with if you are having an extended stay because Moses will eat away your wallet otherwise.

Tourist Info: Tallinn is fairytale perfect. The medieval city is full of beautiful cobble stoned streets, castles with turrets, and architecture that takes your breath away. There are antique shops galore and stores full of novelties like Faberge replica eggs and intricately painted babushka dolls. The Eastern European flavor and centuries of history is redolent in the air. If you go at the right time you may even make it for the old town days when everyone is dressed in medieval costumes and merchants sell their wares on the streets.

Estonia has some fabulous tourist attractions. They are also a really great place to indulge in some spa treatments since the prices are ridiculously cheap.

Check out Kiek in de Kok. My husband thought this was the funniest thing ever. It is a medieval fortress that was used to fortify the city and it means in lower German “peek in the kitchen”. It is four or five floors full of interesting artifacts from the fortress and medieval times and a gives a good perspective on Eastern European history and the region.

Fat Margaret is a round dome shaped fortress at the beginning of the old city.

We went to this spa called Nalne Beauty Salon. We both had fabulous massages and I had an amazing facial the whole thing with tips cost about a $170 dollars; in the States it would have been much more.

In terms of accommodations Estonia is dirt cheap. While on the rest of our trip to Europe we stayed in hostels, but in Estonia we were able to stay in actual hotel that was nice and clean with a hot towel bar in the bathroom! (after staying in hostels these things become very exciting)

Because Tallinn is truly medieval you can have a blast just walking around taking in the sights. Check out the fun pink parliament building too.

Tallin is really a fabulous city make sure you get there before the secret gets out.

Jewish Info: As mentioned above Tallinn has a beautiful brand new synagogue that was constructed in 2007. In the 1800’s Tallinn had a thriving Jewish community with a synagogue, butchers , mikvaot, a cultural center and Jewish schools. In WWII the synagogue was destroyed and Estonia was the first country declared by Nazi Germany to be Judeinfrei- free of Jews. In 2007 a synagogue was finally rebuilt providing a place for Tallinn’s Jews to worship. As mentioned there is also an onsite restaurant, a museum, and a mikveh. The shul is also known as Congregation Beit Bella. It is affiliated with Chabad Lubavitch. getting a tour is not so easy. When we were there we wanted to see the magnificent glass structure but were told by the scary security guard in halting English that, it was not allowed. I guess we’ll have to make a trip back. For more info on the shul check out. http://www.chabad.org/centers/default_cdo/aid/118417/jewish/Estonian-Jewish-Center.htm


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Arielle Klein

  • Dani Klein – Admin

    I think what Arielle was saying was that the food at the restaurant (Moses) was quite expensive in comparison to the rest of Tallinn, and even compared to restaurants in NY.

    We asked for water, and we were given bottled water. We didnt ask for bottled water, nor were we given an option. Overall, the food was nothing special, the portions were a bit small and overpriced. This was in June of this year (2008), but that’s how I felt.

    There really is no other place to eat in Tallinn, so I guess that’s it.

    In terms of seeing the shul, we were there around lunch time and we were told that we weren’t allowed to see the shul because no one was there to show it to us. You can have the best guides in the world, but if they’re not around in the middle of the day, what good are they?

    It’s unfortunate because it really is a beautiful shul from the outside, and I would’ve love to see it from the inside.

  • Yitzp

    June 2009.
    The restaurant is “temporarily” closed due to lack of customers. And truthfully, how many kosher customers find themselves in the beautiful city of Tallinn (and not on a kosher cruise, where food is taken care of)? Apparently not enough to support the restaurant, that is lovely, as has been pointed out.
    We walked into the shul, and the guard immediately called for a guide to come down and take us around this lovely synagogue (Sünagoog in Estonian). A young Jewish girl appeared and she explained the history of the community and the building of the new shul – part of an architectural competition.
    Take a sandwich and visit Tallinn. Just 1-1/2 hours by fast ferry from Helsinki. It is exquisite!

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