Please read my profile for my biases.
Rarely have I seen a more polarizing set of reviews on TripAdvisor. In fact, when I first tried to review this restaurant it was listed as closed, although a Google search showed it as open. It bothered me so much that I had to go back, and it appears it is now called the Garden Restaurant, although the Kotai sign is still up.
I arrived in Riga by bus, and as I was walking my way to the hotel I passed the restaurant where a cute young woman was outside to bring the restaurant to the attention of passersby. I told her that I might be back, and I was surprised when awhile later I ended up passing the place again and she was still out there (it was about -4C).
I thought it was worth a look. This restaurant features some Latvian dishes as well as Thai food, which is a strange combination. In any case, I just wanted something light and the thought of soup was appealing, so I went in.
I had the cabbage soup bread bowl, and it was good. Others have complained about horrible service but I thought the service was fine (I was waited on by another young woman who ended up having duty outside when I was done - they apparently work in 30 minute shifts at the door).
The cabbage soup is a traditional Latvian dish, although serving it in a bread bowl is unusual. It was fine and hit the spot.
So, your experience may vary. I am usually wary of restaurants that have to have touts outside to draw people in, but in the case it worked out. I don't think I would return for the Latvian food but if I am ever back in Riga and need a quick lunch, I'll probably stop by to give the Thai food a go.
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