Finland’s love of meat and prominent hunting culture doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good places to pick up vegetarian food. In fact, vegetarianism is quickly increasing in Finland, which means there are a growing number of restaurants catering to veggies. These are some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the capitol city of Helsinki for meat-free meals, snacks, and international cuisine.
For a quick meal or some good vegetarian comfort food, Just Vege sells burgers, falafel, fries, salads, and more; some of them served the Finnish way in rye bread. The produce is sourced locally and served fresh using authentic Mediterranean recipes.
A unique place to eat, Jäno is Helsinki’s first fully vegetarian food kiosk and founded by a volunteer co-operative who won an auction to buy one of the city’s old kiosks. The kiosk serves, among other things, pulled oats, bean burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, cake, and coffee. One exclusively Finnish dish is the veggie equivalent of cut up sausages mixed into fries. While Jäno has only been open for less than a year, it has already become popular among the local vegetarian community.
Photographer Niclas Warius. Courtesy of Silvoplee.
One of the highest rated veggie restaurants in Helsinki, Silvoplee’s bright and open interior and warm colour scheme is particularly inviting. The buffet of more than 30 fresh dishes, which change daily, is the largest vegetarian buffet in Helsinki. The majority of the food in both the restaurant and café are organic and made on-site.
The rustic wooden panelling and highly nostalgic interior of Veggie Café makes for a warm place to relax and spend time. The café’s range of salads, pastries, cakes, and quiche, all served with Greek hospitality, make it a great establishment to visit for lunch or to try Mediterranean cuisine.
Date + Kale’s goal is to serve ‘healthy plant-based food and drink’, and their restaurant in the Kamppi shopping complex is ideal for both vegetarians and health food enthusiasts. A particular draw is the Pancake Sunday, which serves sweet and savoury pancakes with a smoothie and fancy coffee for only €20. For the rest of the week, there are plenty of breakfast items, unique coffee drinks, smoothies, and international dishes.
A rare vegetarian bar (although there are some meat dishes on the menu as well) with a classic rock and roll music décor. The red and gold colour scheme is richly alluring and serves affordable comfort food such as burgers, pizzas, local beers, salads, and bar snacks. A great place to go at the weekends or for an after-work drink.
OmNam has the honour of being the first and only vegan à la carte restaurant in Helsinki, and recently became 100% vegan. The menu is made up of seasonal, organic, international foods and also has a selection of wine and Finnish beer. The restaurant is located in Kallio, in central Helsinki, and has a pleasant inner courtyard, although takeaway orders are possible too.
Located in a beautiful old brick building, Onda Ruokala’s menu includes a lunch buffet and Peruvian brunch alongside the dinner menu. Most of the dishes are vegan, but there are tasty meat options too and many are dairy or gluten free. The menu is varied and includes such dishes as kimchi, curry, tiger prawns, falafel, hempseed burgers, and many other international favourites.
Vegan burger and fresh cut fries. Courtesy of Friends & Brgs.
Friends & Brgs is a casual dining chain with restaurants throughout Finland and one in Copenhagen. While not exclusively vegetarian, their high standards for food makes their veggie burgers some of the best rated in Helsinki. Meat-free options are the vegan burger or portobello burger with fries, all made with fresh local ingredients.
This mostly vegan restaurant in Töölö uses raw, organic ingredients, many of them freshly made on-site. Collectively this creates a perfect place, full of healthy and tasty foods, to pick up lunch which will provide an energy boost without a need to feel guilty about what you are eating.