Behind the Wine Shelf

La Bottega may well have the heaviest front door in all of Tallinn. It is followed by an automatically opening glass door that leads directly into a… wine shelf, as massive as the door, towering from the floor right up to the ceiling! The way to the restaurant leads around the shelf. The double-height first dining hall features equally tall cupboards; two eye-catching wooden stairs lead to the first floor, where the kitchen and bathrooms are hidden away behind a wall. Life behind the monumental wine shelf stands a world apart from life in the rest of Tallinn Old Town. La Bottega is an Italian restaurant, and a very authentic one at that. Italian guests are welcomed in their own language. The dishes taste like they do at the Italian boot. Octopus with potatoes, squid in white wine butter sauce and grilled sardines are as timelessly genuine as the restaurant’s atmosphere. The wine of choice of a former owner, which still complements practically all dishes at La Bottega, is Sella&Mosca Vermentino. And no meal is complete without a glass of Limoncello. Passing the towering wine shelf again and stepping on the streets of Old Town will take you back to the regular Estonian life. The shelf is a cultural boundary between Estonia and Italy.