Situated in the heart of the cobbled, charming city of Tartu, Estonia, Restoran Pompei has made a name for itself among food enthusiasts and casual diners alike. With an innovative menu, elegant ambience, and commitment to quality, a meal at Pompei is set to elevate your dining experience to new heights.

While most travellers in Estonia might gravitate towards Tallinn, others might argue that the place to go is Tartu. Perhaps best described as the country’s cultural and intellectual centre, Tartu offers a wide range of experiences to remember, including a fantastic gastronomical scene.

Refine fine dining with Estonia’s Restoran Pompei

Among the culinary masters of the city, Restoran Pompei stands out as an experience to remember. Named after the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, the restaurant offers refined and seasonal Italian food with hints of Nordic techniques and flavours, taking what we traditionally think of an Italian restaurant to a whole new level. “The idea for the restaurant developed after the first wave of Covid in 2020, when a few restaurants and bars did not make it through the summer and a potential venue opened up. Since we manage another restaurant in the same building, we decided to take a leap of faith and hope for the best,” says front-of-house manager, Tõnis Nöps.

Refine fine dining with Estonia’s Restoran Pompei

As everyone knows, the pandemic left everyone uncertain, but by the start of 2021 after a few inspiring trips, the small team had a clear idea of what they wanted the restaurant to become. Today, the team of four young, but experienced hospitality professionals has turned the Italian-Nordic restaurant into a busy space, serving a variety of delicious meals, including the pasta dish cacio e pepe, which has developed a cult following of its own. “Some regulars have it four to five times a week!” says Nöps.

Refine fine dining with Estonia’s Restoran Pompei

A kitchen where tradition meets innovation

While the restaurant pays homage to the classical meals and traditions that we all love about Italian cuisine, Nöps explains that they also try to pave out a direction and style for themselves. “While we do honour traditions and classical techniques for prep work in the kitchen, we have come to the realisation that sometimes less is more also applies to food. Using simpler techniques and fewer ingredients might give a new outlook on a certain dish or shine a light on a rarely used component. We also try to break the mould of classical dinner service and push the concept of sharing plates.”

The restaurant’s guests dine contently with the promise of fresh food, as nearly everything is made in-house every day, including pasta, focaccia and fresh cheese. The latter, in particular, is a recommended staple. “All of our mozzarella, stracciatella and burrata is made in the morning and served in the evening,” says Nöps. “We use milk from a small farm located 25 kilometres away and fresh milk is delivered every day. Using local high-quality milk for our cheese gives us a chance to present and serve something totally unique.”

Refine fine dining with Estonia’s Restoran Pompei

For years, the team has been trying to push towards using more locally sourced produce and ingredients, both for the sake of the environment and supporting the local community. “Fortunately, we have seen a huge improvement in the quality and seasonal stability of local produce, and farmers are more willing to cooperate with restaurants. Years ago, the farm-to-table concept seemed out of reach but we’ve recently realised that getting there is a long but achievable process.”

Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply indulging on a night out, head to the restaurant in Tartu! Restoran Pompeii promises fun, traditional, yet innovative flavours for both mind and soul. And while browsing the food and drinks menu, why not try the Pompei Limoncello for an even better time?

Refine fine dining with Estonia’s Restoran Pompei

Facebook: Pompei Restauran
Instagram: @Pompei_trt

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