No. 27La Esperanza

TOP 30 PLACEMENT. Last year, La Esperanza climbed to number 6, its highest position since the Top 30 Best Restaurants list began. The kitchen has undergone some major changes this year, with Dmitrij Berman becoming the new head chef. And while the restaurant may have tumbled a few places in this year’s list, La Esperanza still remains a strong contender for the future

Facts

Head chefDmitrij Berman
His favourite spice  star anise
Managing directorInga Grajauskienė
Type of cuisinecreative modern
Working hoursdaily (one of three restaurants operates from morning to evening)
AddressPaunguriai, Trakų r., Vilniaus apskritis
Since2009
Capacity (seated)170 seats
Average hot dish priceEUR 28 (starter EUR 18)
Terraceavailable
Breakfastavailable
Business lunchnot available
Dog friendlyyes, up to 9 kg

Place in 2016 No. 8
Place in 2017 No. 9
Place in 2018 No. 6

WHY VISIT? First, La Esperanza is in a unique and picturesque location at Esperanza Resort, a member of the independent hotel chain Small Luxury Hotels of the World. And second, because of its new head chef, Dmitrij Berman, who has recently returned from abroad and is gaining a reputation as one of the most distinctive names in Lithuanian cooking.

BRIEF MENU DESCRIPTION. Dmitrij’s summer menu is currently being served at another of Esperanza Resort’s restaurants, La Costa. While not straying too far from his home territory of classic French cuisine, it reveals the chef’s talent for playing with flavours. This is showcased in his classic bouillabaisse, succulent côtes de boeuf (beef ribs) and other dishes from the grill, complemented by Dmitrij’s trademark mastery of sauces. While the summer menu’s may not be as rich as much of classic French cuisine, its flavours are no less expressive. Some combinations have never before been tasted in Lithuania.

While Dmitrij’s new menu for La Esperanza will debut in the autumn, the chef offered diners a tantalising glimpse of his vision in the spring of 2019: “I want to offer diners more fish and game choices, and create a cheese island in the current dessert display case. I believe that cheese is the best dessert.”

Every dish at La Esperanza begins with the finest quality core ingredients, complemented by seasonal products at the peak their freshness. All ingredients are of the highest calibre, sourced from suppliers used by internationally renowned, Michelin-starred restaurants.

DEGUSTATION MENU. Starting this autumn, the chef will present two degustation menus: one for vegetarians and vegans; the other for those who eat everything. Both promise to pay even more attention to the delicacies of every micro-season than the restaurant’s main à la carte menu.

CHEF. The story of head chef Dmitrij Berman is a truly international one. Before finding his true calling in gastronomy, Dmitrij studied Japanese language and culture, and later animation – an interest that took him in his youth to the UK.

After discovering his passion for cooking, Dmitrij accumulated most of his experience at restaurants in London, but says his moment of revelation came while working at a French restaurant in Brighton. There, he realised practice alone was not enough: first, he needed to master the rules – then, he needed to break them. Dmitrij says his greatest schooling in life came while working at The Empress restaurant in London under Michelin-starred chef Elliot Lidstone.

On returning to Lithuania, Dmitrij continued his career at the Imperial restaurant in Vilnius, where Aldona Gečienė was head chef at the time. From here, he moved to his the Lauro Lapas project of chef Deivydas Praspaliauskas. Later, Dmitrij worked with Egidijus Lapinskas in the kitchen at Time, and at Sweet Root under Justinas Misius, before settling at the Esperanza Resort near Trakai in early 2019.