No. 29Pušų Paunksnėje
This might come as a surprise to those who never visited Pušų Paunksnėje, but heard about the hotel and restaurant of Saboniai family in Palanga – that it has been the 6th year as Ms Ingrida Sabonienė herself (having raised her children) works in the restaurant’s kitchen and creates dishes together with the team.
This year, Ms Sabonienė‘s precision, attention to detail and long-term experience in tasting the dishes of different cuisines of the world and in exploring the subtleties of those cuisines have helped the restaurant Pušų Paunksnėje to earn the name of one of the best restaurants of the country.
In August 1995, before moving to live in the USA, Ingrida and Arvydas were offered to take a look at the project to be constructed in Palanga. Having seen the site and having noticed two pine-trees of exceptional beauty, there were no more questions and the couple understood that this was going to be their home which grew into Pušų Paunksnėje for everyone wishing for privacy, peace and quality food.
While the place was being built and developed, Ms Sabonienė would fly to Palanga from anywhere, where they lived at the time, trying not to miss a single detail. And now, as her children grew up, it has been the 6th year as she spends most of her time at Pušų Paunksnėje.
Ingrida found cooking as a way of self-expression at the age of 18. This happened when she and Arvydas went to live in Spain. When the family lived in the USA, Ingrida would, once in a while, find the time for improvement attending various culinary courses. When travelling, she still tries to taste as much as possible, in order to understand different taste combinations and to create herself, first in her mind, and later, on the plate.
There are two chefs in the kitchen, working together with Ms Sabonienė – Antanina and Laimutė. They create dishes together with the entire team, however, Ingrida’s attention to detail obligates her to touch almost every plate leaving the kitchen.
Ingrida starts thinking about new dishes after the summer season is over and more inspiration comes after the travels. The main credo of the dish – beautiful, understandable and delicious. Seeking to ensure quality, the kitchen prepares everything on the spot: from mayonnaise and sauces to home-baked bread, baguettes and even grissini breadsticks.
The fact that Ingrida spent a major part of her life in the Mediterranean region has left its mark. Ingrida likes to explore fish and seafood dishes the most. Thus the restaurant’s menu includes at least 10 sophisticated fish dishes, while a few new fish are added every summer. This year, two new fish have been included in the menu: meagre and dreamer.
Another important part of the menu – soups. Ingrida cannot live a day without soup. Thus the choice of soups here is also unusually wide. From creamy lobster soup to baked onion soup, which Arvydas likes the most.
The dishes loved the most by customers include dorado carpaccio with fried garlic, tuna tartare with the almond-garlic sauce, roasted duck and suckling pig, which is roasted for a long time and in a low temperature. Certainly, the hits of this restaurant also include paellas cooked here.
Ingrida assesses restaurants of hotels, first of all, during breakfast. If breakfast makes an impression, it means the restaurant is worth visiting for dinner, too. Pušų Paunksnėje offers an extensive breakfast menu: from healthy shakes to different sorts of pancakes, eggs cooked in various ways and croissants which are still warm.
The abundant menu of food is supplemented with quite a plentiful menu of drinks, and sommelier Tomas Urbonas helps visitors to choose their drinks.
The restaurant’s interior is authentic. Here, you can see many works of art. All works have been created by Lithuanian artists and selected by Ingrida herself who also found them a place in the restaurant. A well-known graphic artist Egidijus Rudinskas created a painting for Pušų Paunksnėje representing the pine-tree mentioned at the beginning. By the way, all furniture in the restaurant has also been created and manufactured by Lithuanians. The interior is dominated by colours of the earth, there is also a lot of natural light, white orchids and unique candlesticks.
Even though Ms Ingrida Sabonienė spends much time in the kitchen, you can also meet her in the library featuring a large collection of books. The library is open for visitors of the hotel and restaurant Pušų Paunksnėje.