Vilnius just continues to get trendier and more interesting as time passes. While renovation and construction projects seem never-ending, when they finally see completion, they sometimes reveal end results that add value and beauty to the city. Senator’s Passage Vilnius, opened at the end of July 2020, is one such project.
Senator’s Passage connects Dominikonu Street and Stikliu Street in the heart of Old Town Vilnius. Its Scandinavian owners bought the property, which was formally the offices of a water company (and before that, a residential building for the city’s elite, which is where it gets its name), and envisioned an interconnected complex of shops, eateries, and apartments with an enclosed courtyard and plenty of room for outdoor seating where visitors can enjoy goodies from the bakery, a glass of wine, and upscale street food in a modern, casual atmosphere. Adhering to the requirements for the preservation of historical architecture, the end result is one that is integrated visually with Old Town Vilnius and yet offers modern conveniences that began to draw residents and visitors to the city from day one.
Locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients are a theme here at Vilnius’s Senator’s Passage. The butcher shop offers handmade sausages, the vegetable shop sells fresh and canned organic produce, and the two restaurants—14 Horses and 1918—have already established themselves (when they occupied real estate in Hotel Pacai) as restaurants serving dishes made from seasonal, sustainable ingredients sourced at a farm that grows the plant and animal products that make it to the table of these concept establishments.
The onsite shops include:
- Muu—a butcher shop offering choice cuts of quality meat and sausages made by hand.
- Desros—offers snacks such as cheeses, smoked fish, and fermented vegetables
- Grudas—bakes savory and sweet pastry products daily
- Dirva—a farmers market shop with preserved and fresh vegetables and fruits
- Raide—a bookshop offering English-language books on sustainable living and food, including cookbooks, memoirs, coffee-table books, gift books, and cookbooks for various cuisines; the location was the site of the first woman-owned bookstore in Vilnius, and history lives on in the bookstore today.
- Gelynas—a flower shop with fresh-cut flowers and potted plants for gift-giving or to liven up your living area
- Hygge—brings the Scandinavian concept of coziness to life through homeware and decoration ideas, such as pottery, kitchenware, and gifts for wine lovers and home cooks
Restaurants and bars include:
- Taures—a wine shop offering natural and organic wines as well as a selection of snack plates to enjoy on your own or to share
- Okayum—simple but high-quality street food such as grilled fish
- 1918—an upscale restaurant with a degustation menu of creative dishes
- 14 Horses—locally sourced dishes with a modern interpretation; Saturday brunch is served from 12-4 pm, while dinner starts at 6 pm
- While Senator’s Passage is still getting underway as of late summer of 2020, it is already proving to be one of the hottest meeting points in Vilnius and a place to see and be seen. For locals, it offers a one-stop shop for ingredients for a tasty dish, picnic, or party as well as a place to gather and enjoy a bite to eat and others’ company, either indoors or out. For visitors, it’s a great option for tasting local foods and stopping for a rest on an exploration of the area.
- The Dominikonu Street area is one of the oldest in Vilnius, which means that it has plenty of history. Nearby is Vilnius University, several churches, the former Jewish Quarter and ghetto, and other sites of interest. So, Senator’s Passage may be just the place to pause and enjoy Old Town Vilnius’s special vibe before continuing your exploration of the area.