Yellow: A Cheerful Vilnius Brunch Spot

Yellow is a newish eatery that has opened in the LiveSquare business center on the corner of Gedimino and Tumo-Vaizganto. Located facing the Hilton Garden Inn, no doubt as a bid to capture hotel guests who want to grab a bite near their accommodations or an alternative option to the hotel breakfast, Yellow has a bright, cheerful interior that is inviting, particularly once it fills up with diners.

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Though the name of the restaurant is officially “Pink and Yellow” (same Instagram and website name), the color scheme is a contrasting sunshine yellow and royal blue–perhaps someone had a change of heart regarding the interior design at the last minute? It makes for wonderful photos and the yellow walls with their gold flecks ward off the Vilnius gloom well. The overall impression is of the work of a thoughtful designer with a real vision for setting welcoming, friendly mood and is neither overly relaxed nor too dramatic.

Brunch is a clever choose-your-own-adventure style, with different pricing for the number of selections you make: 7 EUR for three selections, 11 EUR for five selections, and 15 EUR for seven selections. The selections come out in individual bowls, portioned out so that you aren’t overwhelmed with any one type of food.

Whatever your dietary restrictions or desires, you’ll find a home here. Regular pancakes, eggs, and sausage are available, as are options that are more unusual for typical Vilnius breakfast/brunch fair, such as a lentil-tomato salsa, smoked tuna with fresh tomatoes, and avocado with macadamia oil and salt. You can also try pastries, granola, and fruit salad. So whether you want a gluten-free, low-sugar, low-carb, vegetarian, or hearty, filling breakfast, with Yellow’s price options and variety, you won’t leave the table either hungry or overstuffing yourself.

However, while Yellow succeeds in creating a truer brunch menu than other Vilnius restaurants—which usually just manage to offer breakfast foods at lunchtime—and veers from the stock eggs Benedict that have become, by now, a tired option for local breakfast eaters, the food isn’t stellar. It isn’t bad, but it doesn’t wow you, either. The quality of ingredients is no better than you’d find elsewhere (which means scant, flavorless vegetables) and their preparation may be lacking real passion from the chefs. However, compared to some newer eateries, which seem to have a low opinion of local expectations, the imagination put into the brunch menu is refreshing.

When we brunched at Yellow, we found service to be just okay, which may be due, in part, to the understaffing that is a chronic problem in Vilnius restaurants. While Yellow is not huge, it has the capacity to seat a decent number of patrons, spreading waitstaff thin during high-traffic times. Furthermore, Diner, be aware, Yellow does offer decaffeinated coffee if you ask the right server—don’t take the first “no” as the only answer.

This review began with praise for the interior choices, but the décor comes with one drawback: in use, it can be a bit stuffy. The round tables, set for several customers, are cluttered and fussy feeling, and if you want the space the table affords but your party consists of a fewer number of diners, the extra place settings, with their superfluous napkins, glasses, and cutlery, get in the way. In this era of waste reduction, the dishes that have to be rewashed because they were handled or the paper napkins that have to be replaced because they were crumpled under a diner’s elbows feels unnecessarily indulgent for a place with a menu and approach that is more casual than upscale.

Do I recommend Yellow for brunch? For groups with a variety of dietary needs, it seems to hit the sweet spot: the restaurant is set up for gatherings of friends with its large tables and creative brunch menu. It may not be the most comfortable for relaxed, lengthy brunching over conversation, but it works for less extended breakfast/brunch or as a sunny start to a day running errands around town.