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Howard Jarvis, “VilniusNOW!” magazine, August 2006

The cutlery has been chosen, the gas and the Wi-Fi installed, the Segafredo coffee brought in, the waiters trained. Over a year in the making, Verkiai Restaurant is finally with us, and it’s a joy to be here.

On the brow of a hill overlooking the broad River Neris valley beyond Vilnius’ northern suburbs stand the remaining two wings of a once-superb Classical mansion. The land here belonged to the Lithuanian grand dukes until 1387 when Grand Duke Jogaila, on his conversion to Christianity, gave it to the bishops as a summer residence.

In 1780 a palace was built here but Napoleon’s soldiers ravaged it in 1812, and the central chunk of it was pulled down shortly afterwards.

The new restaurant is located at the back of the grandest of the two wings. Owner Linas Pučinskas has built a flower-covered summer terrace in the garden, which he is determined to keep open even into November – that’s when the new gas heating will come in handy.

On the whole he’s done a fine job. The wicker furniture is sturdy and comfortable, the interior will be cozy when the colder weather arrives, and the small army of waitstaff are attentive despite the occasional mishap. He has even arranged for a special brand of Camus cognac to be named after his restaurant.

The immense surrounding trees – this is a protected park – add to the freshness of the place and even though a view of the valley has not been chiseled out of the foliage the air is so clean it’s tempting to close your eyes and listen to the breeze.

The dishes at Verkiai have all benefited from the attention of Valius Čepanonis, president of the Lithuanian Chefs’ Association. The lamb chops are succulent and rich in herbs, the salads are made with assorted lettuce leaves, and the snacks to go with wine or beer are an engrossing diversity of everything from prawns to pastry-puffs.


Howard Jarvis, “VilniusNOW!” magazine, August 2006

Press About Us
“He also told me that one day, when walking in Verkiai, a beautiful residence of Masalskis, bishop and duke of the old Vilnius, which is located on piny hill next to Vilija (Neris), eight kilometres away from perfectly visible Vilnius, the emperor said to Tolstoy:
- It would be good to by Verkiai and come here in spring for a few months.
- This lovely place deserves to be a residence of the emperor, I answered.
Then the earl asked the emperor from another side of the table:
- So, Sir, are you happy choosing to stay here instead of travel to Ukmergė?
- Yes indeed, already for long I have not had such a nice evening.”

Sofija Tyzenhauzaitė. “Reminiscences”
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