Things to do in Vilnius

Lunch on a Budget

December 3, 2019
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This article is an extract from the culinary guide "Appetising Vilnius" publish by Go Vilnius. If you wish to have a full guide, please go here. For more inspiration make sore to check other guides on, too. 

Some of the canteens in Vilnius can take you back in time to the 1980s, or even earlier. The food served in these establishments is usually the same as it was decades ago. For curious travellers, these canteens are the perfect opportunity to sample the same meals that several generations grew up with in the Soviet era.

Since canteens are rapidly disappearing nowadays, or some of them are transforming to become more and more like modern fast food places or bistros, it is becoming difficult to find authentic options. The Montuotojas, Pas Žilviną, and Sultiniai canteens can easily be considered classics in Vilnius. One can still eat at any one of these places for less than 5 Eur. 


  • Lunch at canteens is usually prepared earlier in the day
  • Guests order at the counter and pick up their own food
  • Often there is a choice between several side dishes
  • You pay at the checkout before eating
  • Usually, there are no servers at canteens, so you have to put your own dishes away.


Location: Naugarduko g. 34 | Opening hours: I-V 9:00-16:00

This legendary canteen is familiar to most people in Vilnius. Although it’s not very big and is only open for lunch, it’s worth coming here to try the inexpensive and hearty meals on offer, especially if you’re on your way to visit the trendy Ševčenkos loft quarter, which is a must-see in Vilnius’ Naujamiestis neighbourhood.


Location: Žvejų g. 2 | Opening hours: I-V 10:00-16:00

Not too long ago this was the location of a real canteen, Prie Neries, but even when the place changed its status to a bistro, the walls, counter, and canteen-style serving of food remained the same. In addition, every day you can choose from around 7 or 8 dishes, most of which are examples of traditional cuisine from previous decades. 


Location: Švitrigailos g. 26 | Opening hours: I-V 8:00-19:00

This spot’s owner, with his down-to-earth attitude and attention to each and every customer, leaves
a lasting impression. He spends his time in the kitchen, making traditional dishes and conversing with customers. And even though Pas Žilviną has been a legendary canteen for years, Žilvinas is ready to rebrand. “If McDonald’s can be called a restaurant, why not us, too?” he once said.


Location: Jogailos g. 8 | Opening hours: I-V 9:00-19:00, VI 10:00-18:00

This canteen located in the city centre transports you back in time as soon as you step foot in it. Food has been prepared and served here since 1969, but it seems like it was only yesterday – nothing much has changed. The authentic interior draws in the older generation who come for the nostalgia, curious visitors to the city, and even young people. The menu changes daily and you can be certain to find all the classics our grandparents once enjoyed.

Author: Inga Norke

© Publisher: Public Institution Go Vilnius

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