A medieval theme restaurant where the waiting staff wear costumes and the menu is all very”Ye Olde”…? Anywhere else, I would say that it sounds tacky BUT….and this is a big BUT…Olde Hansa is the most intriguing restaurant in Tallinn. Sure you might end up taking a shot with one hand on your head as the waiter cheers you on (yes, there is video proof) but the traditions and history of the building and the utter passion that the staff and owners have for them is astonishing. It is like a living museum. So what is the coolest medieval restaurant in Tallinn? Olde Hansa without a doubt! Find out why in our Olde Hansa review.
Where is Olde Hansa?
Olde Hansa is located in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town. It is a two minute walk down the hill from the tourist information centre and two minutes in the other direction from the Old Town Square. It is ideally located to end a day of sightseeing. The big white building is easy to see with its outdoor seating area and if you listen carefully, you might hear the live musicians sitting in the ground floor window.
OLDE HANSA REVIEW
Our Visit to Olde Hansa
We spent our first night in Tallinn at Olde Hansa. I am going to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that perhaps, we would be heading into an awkward tourist trap and I am SO glad that I was wrong. We were a teensy bit late after a nightmare trying to check in at the hotel. We were very quickly sat and made to feel totally comfortable. The wait staff were so much fun and super friendly (not in a fake way). Time for a drink.
The Drinks at Olde Hansa
No watered-down ale or mead pints here. The drinks at Olde Hansa are interesting, unusual and REALLY pack a punch. I started with a spiced white wine which was just the sweet, boozy treat I was craving before our food but when dinner came, we had another look at the menu and found some more fun things to try. We decided we had to try some of the special house drinks.
Beer fans can pick from dark honey or herb beer, light cinnamon or ginger lager. For the more adventurous boozer, there is a choice of fun tinctures including pepper schnapps, rosemary schnapps, Monk’s Bride (Mr Fluskey’s pick) and berry schnapps. I opted for a pepper schnapps and got a quick history lesson from our wonderful waiter. He taught me how to drink it (with one hand on my head and shouting “Vivo”, a word that I instantly forgot with the pepper heat hit my tongue. The liquor was smooth and pungent with peppercorns. Incredible but I could have breathed fire for real! Every drink we had was great and made here on site.
If it all sounds a little too much, don’t worry, along with these crazy concoctions, there is a normal wine list too.
The Olde Hansa Food Menu
The menu is packed with traditional treats from the earth, land and sea. You will find a lot of unusual game meat here so if you were thinking of trying something new, this would be an excellent opportunity. You will find elk, oxen, bear and boar on offer. There are also familiar favourites like duck and lamb…but where’s the fun in that? For the seafood fans, there is a gorgeous seafood start (more on that in a second) and both salmon and trout mains. Finally, there is a small vegetarian menu but it might leave them feeling a touch left out.
There are some small plates including fresh cheese and beef jerky alongside two larger sharing plates or either meat or fish. There are also a couple of salads or sups on offer but with a fish option, we had one of the tasting plates. The Neptune Divine Fish Platter was crammed with tasty seafood, a little fresh cheese and some utterly delicious herby bread with hazelnuts. Especially fantastic were the firm but creamy textured fish, the smoked salmon and the little quail’s eggs with caviar.
Most of the menu revolves around a piece of protein (meat or seafood) and plenty of vegetable sides along with a fun chutney, jam or dipping sauce. There are game meats on offer that we have never tried as well as the more normal things you might see on any restaurant menu. So as hard as the trout and duck leg were singing to us, we opted for two of the mains that had a fun variety of ethically sourced game meats. Mr Fluskey had the fillet steaks. He was given three mini cuts of game meat with a tasty grain side which I believe was spelt with saffron.
I chose the more family-friendly and wallet-friendly sausages that combined bear, elk and wild boar together. Mine had squash cubes, a pot of sweet, chunky berry jam and one with fiery horseradish sauce. Both of our dishes had a portion of smoked sauerkraut and we fell completely in love with it!
As stuffed as we were, we had to try dessert. The one that was recommended to us was the rose pudding but I never get on with rose (despite my name). Instead, we decided to share the apple pie with honey sauce. It came as a few small pastry squares on top of perfectly baked apples. So good! I also had a coffee with whipped cream. I was warned that it was strong but thought they meant it was like a super strong espresso. Turns out, it was packed with a very delicious liqueur of some sort. It was served with old-school fudge which is made to an old recipe but seemed like a very modern keto energy ball to me.
The Set Menu
It is also possible to get lots of Olde Hansa’s greatest hits with the set menu. For €48 per person, you can try 17 dishes in the form of three sharing courses. We thought about doing this but decided we would rather not have a rose dessert (despite being called Rosie, I am not a big fan) and I couldn’t pass up the seafood starter plate!
The Olde Hansa Building
Olde Hansa’s location is not just some modern building basement that has been tarted up for the tourists, the building is genuinely hundreds of years old. Some of it dates back to the 14th century! It is worth taking the time to explore the different rooms and levels that Olde Hansa has. You don’t want to miss the amazing attention to detail and you’ll be delighted old sections of the house still on show on the top floor, including the stone staircase. On each wall, there are murals depicting medieval scenes and we learned that the faces of the people are actually members of staff. Isn’t that lovely?!
Bestill my history geek heart when I joked about them having a garderobe and THEY DID! Of course, it is a normal toilet but check out the bench detailing, the gorgeous stone walls and the jug that tips up for you to wash your hands. It is exactly the kind of thing that sets Olde Hansa apart.
The Olde Hansa Gild
If I lived in Tallinn, I would 100% be working towards getting myself into the Guild. Fans of Terry Pratchett or Locke Lamora will be familiar with the idea of guilds. In medieval society, there were groups of merchants and craftsmen, and you often had to join a guild to produce or sell goods. At Olde Hansa, it is all about upholding the values of the Olde Gild, respect, trustworthiness, courage and fair-mindedness amongst others. Basically, it is an official nod that you are a nice person! If you manage to get inducted you are awarded a seriously authentic set of medieval clothes and have your name declared to the world from the top window. You are also given a coat of arms which is painted within the restaurants. It is clearly the coolest club to be a member of in Tallinn.
Final Thoughts for This Olde Hansa Review
I grew up on Horrible History books and Olde Hansa was like the Measly Middle Ages brought to life (with much better sanitary standards and a little electricity). Every member of staff was clearly as excited by it all as I was, and they are there every day! The food was genuinely delicious and I would walk back to Tallinn for another Strengthened Coffee with its lashings of whipped cream. You could come here and just enjoy some well-cooked food and then head home, but the more you ask and the more you get involved, the more you will get out of the experience. Release your inner history geek, and get ready for a great evening.