The best restaurant in Lithuania has been awarded to kitchen chef Martynas Praškevičius' "Džiaugsmas" ("Joy"). The contest has been running for three years with 30 restaurant competing for the best title; Martynas Praškevičius thrumphed for the second time — in 2016 his restaurant "Stebuklai" ("Miracles") won first place as well.
© Robertas Daskevičius

Last Thursday evening during the event in Merchant house was introduced first dozen restaurants from the project ''30 best restaurants''. The rest best restaurants had been published on daily basis before final event. All participants were rated by Gero Maisto Akademija [Good Food Academy], which consisted of more than a hundred of food industry professionals.

''The results this year shown that the role of the chef, his influence in creating exclusive experience and emotion in the restaurant is the essence. It is also very fascinating to see the Global trend in Lithuania that in order to have a successful restaurant, it is not enough to produce excellent dishes. It is very important to observe the principles of sustainability and other responsible consumption, to use as many local products as possible.'' — the results of this year's contest summarizes the founder of the Good Food Academy Linas Petriukaitis.

Best of the Best

In 2018 first place according to all criteria awarded chef's M. Parškevičius restauraunt ''Džiaugsmas''. Prior the final of the project, M. Praškevičius said that the recent year with ''Džiaugsmas'' was the most satisfying: ''I am happy to come to work every day'' — he said. Almost every other contestant of ''30 best restaurants'' when asked to choose a place to dine (not their own) for foreigners mentioned ''Džiaugsmas'' restaurant.

''Nevertheless, having two restaurants (author's mark ''Stebuklas'' was left out from this year's competition) whose customer and kitchen expectations are different, yet equally high, is not easy. As for ''Džiaugsmas'', my goals here are very simple — to serve people with the best quality products produced in Lithuania. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time; it was my dream.— the chef spoke about his second restaurant -bistro and a natural wine bar opened last year.

When Delfi Food visited M. Praškevičius restaurant before opening, he confessed then: ''It has been my dream for three years. In summer, when I used to buy vegetables in ''Tymas'' market for my restaurant ''Stebuklas'', I befriended farmers who traded there. I really wanted more of their products, but in ''Stebuklai'', everything was already in place. So ''Stebuklai'' is ''Stebuklai (''Miracles''), but here we will try to explain that ordinary things are also joyful.''

By the way, coincidentally both ''World's Best Restaurants'' and ''30 Best Restaurants in Lithuania'' winners equally swapped positions on the best top five. Last year's second best restaurants rose to first place (''Džiaugsmas'' — in Lithuania, ''Osteria Francescana'' — in the world). Meanwhile, last year's favourites dropped to fourth place (''Gastronomika'' — in Lithuania, ''Eleven Madison Park'' — in the world).

Changes in this Year's Chart

To summarize, 8 restaurants from last year's top 30 restaurants list were excluded this year. Of course, this year consisted of the equal number of new restaurants. There are even five newcomers, who did not appear in the charts in 2016 and 2017: situated in Vilnius ''Amandus'' (7th place), ''Ertlio namas'' (17th place), ''Selfish'' (21st place), ''El Mercado'' (28th place) and in Kaunas ''Ieti'' (24th place).

This year we also have three restaurants that returned to top 30. In 2016 they were rated as top restaurants, but last year, although being close, were excluded from the list. These are ''Böff'' (20th place), ''Stikliai'' (23rd place), ''MEAT'' (27th place).

In the final chart of this year, the highest rise was by 18 positions. It was succeeded by ''Apvalaus Stalo Klubas'' in Trakai. The biggest drop, however still managed to stay in the chart, was by 13 positions (restaurant ''Palanga'').

"However, it should be emphasized that all the restaurants rated in this project are the elite of Lithuanian gastronomy — unique, creative and exclusive. They received the highest scores from more than 100 members of the Academy. The latter have taken into account the quality of food and the creativity of the dishes, the level of service, the environment, the beverage card, and even more criteria set out in the draft of regulations, "— L. Petrukaitis states.

Top 30 Best Restaurants in 2018:

1. Džiaugsmas, chef Martynas Praškevičius

2. Monai, chef Vytautas Samavičius

3. Sweet Root, chef Justinas Misius

4. Gastronomika, chef Liutauras Čeprackas

5. Šturmų Švyturys, chef Česlovas Žemaitis

6. La Esperanza, chef Justinas Kapkovičius

7. Amandus, chef Deivydas Praspaliauskas

8. Dine, chef Donatas Šatkauskas

9. SOMM, chef Mindaugas Saulis

10. Gaspar's, chef Gasparas Fernandesas

11. Nüman, D. J. Pennell, D. Kaupas, P. Zuoza, K. Liukaitytė

12. Apvalaus Stalo Klubas, mentor team

13. Monte Pacis, chef Rokas Vasiliauskas

14. Momo Grill, chefs Valdas Anusevičius and Vytautas Samavičius

15. Saint Germain, chef Gediminas Švenčionis

16. Da Antonio, chef Dimitrijus Babenko

17. Ertlio Namas, chef Tomas Rimydis

18. Ti'ana, chef Jaroslavas Girdzijevskis

19. Nerija, chefs Jonas Bilotas, Klauijus Urbonas, Lukas Makaravičius

20. Böff, chef Mheras Gevorkjanas

21. Selfish, chef Tadas Vibrantis

22. Uoksas, chef Artūras Naidenko

23. Stikliai, chef Linas Bražinskas

24. Ieti, chef Inga Turminienė

25. Telegrafas, chef Vytautas Alekna

26. Palanga, chef Raimundas Dambrauskas

27. MEAT, chef Artūras Butkūnas

28. El Mercado, chef Martynas Maciulevičius

29. Sofa del Pancho, chef Vitalis Čižauskas

30. Velvetti, chefs Snieguolė and Remigijus Žižiai

Translated by Ieva Kirdeikytė

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