The Savonia region of Eastern Finland is known for fish from its vast lakes, traditional meat and fish pastries, and hunting culture. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t also plenty of restaurants catering to vegetarians in the regional capital of Kuopio and its surrounding towns. While there aren’t any specialist vegetarian restaurants in the area, more students and tourists still mean that meat-free alternatives are greatly diversifying. These are some of the best restaurants in and around Kuopio, which serve delicious vegetarian and vegan options for all budgets and tastes.
Restaurant, Asian, $$$
Nepalese and Indian food offer by far some of the best vegetarian options, and Kuopio’s Mount Sherpa is no exception. Meat-free options on the a la carte menu include vegetable samosas, malai kofta, palak paneer, vegetable korma, and tofu chana saag. On the dessert menu is Nepalese ice cream and a unique Nepalese take on cotton candy, made with nuts and cardamom and topped with chocolate icing. The lunch menu changes daily and always includes at least one vegetarian dish, such as kofta chilli or paneer tikka masala. All of these are served by friendly staff with beautiful Nepalese décor.
Muumi Pannari Kahvila
Cafe, European, $$$
For a tasty vegetarian snack or light meal, head to the Moomin cafeteria in the Carlson shopping centre – a café themed after Finland’s beloved Moomin cartoon characters, with everything from the wall art to the cups decorated with the characters. As well as tea and coffee, the cafeteria also sells ice cream and a selection of both sweet and savoury pancakes, a favourite of both the Moomins and Finns in general. Vegetarian toppings include mozzarella, pesto, red onion, apple, Nutella, maple syrup, and peanut butter. If you like the Moomin-branded coffee, you can also purchase it in bags to take away.
Cafe, Coffee Shop, European, $$$
This café serves quality coffee, both hot and cold, along with freshly cooked pastries, cakes, and lunch items. Vegetarians can find salads, quiche, and soups along with the delicious breakfast pastries or smoothies. The sweet pies are also especially good, and come in flavours such as mud cake, chilli chocolate, and cranberry-almond.
Panorama Bar & Cafe
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Finnish, $$$
At this eatery in the Tahko ski resort, you can enjoy vegetarian burgers or salad with härkis, a Finnish meat substitute made from broad beans that has a soft texture and like tofu picks up flavours incredibly well. Best of all, you can enjoy these tasty meals as you take a break from skiing at the very top of a ski slope with amazing views over Savonia’s mountains and forests. The bar is also a popular spot for parties and has regular live music events.
Bar, Restaurant, Finnish, $$$
Another restaurant in the Tahko ski resort, Tirol is located by the main hotel complex and also has a classic, Finnish log cabin aesthetic and serves comfort food. There, the veggie options include sweet potatoes, salad, and burgers made from härkis, perfect for relaxing after a long day of skiing or a winter hike.
Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
A classy tapas restaurant in central Kuopio with a tasting menu that includes plenty of vegetarian options such as house pesto, amaretto biscuits, and marinated olives and mushrooms. The restaurant is also well-known for its wine tasting menu, which can be served with a cheese board, perfect for vegetarians with refined tastes.