The sun is finally out in Helsinki, which means the local restaurants and cafes have opened up their outdoor terraces. Although Al fresco dining isn’t hugely popular in Finland due to unpredictable weather, many Helsinki restaurants do have outdoor seating during the summer. Some even have blankets on their outdoor seats during autumn and winter if you dare to brave outdoor seating during colder days. Here are some of the best restaurants in Helsinki with outdoor seating to take in the views and atmosphere.
A unique fine dining bistro selling Finnish-style tapas. The restaurant interior combines old with new by contrasting rustic woodwork with modern Scandinavian minimalist design. The terrace just outside the restaurant’s main entrance is the perfect spot to enjoy this cuisine in the heart of central Helsinki and while surrounded by its beautiful architecture.
EMO’s slogan is ‘making people happy’, and its kitchen puts a Nordic twist on classic European dishes. Local ingredients that are currently in season are used to provide fresh and delicious meals. The small outdoor terrace is enclosed by a row of plants so it still feels cut off from the street and private even in the middle of the city.
The Olo Garden on the back of the main Olo restaurant seeks to offer one of the best courtyard dining experiences in Helsinki. Based upon a southern European terrace, it is heated and covered by a glass ceiling as protection from the harsher Finnish weather. This provides a classy but relaxing environment to enjoy Olo’s quality food and cocktails from the winner of the Finnish Chef of the Year competition.
For something more traditionally Finnish, try Café Regatta on the Töölö coastline. As the name suggests, the café is highly nautical themed, located in an old, red fishing hut transported from the Finnish countryside. Regatta has an authentic seaside charm with sausages cooked on an open campfire and fresh cinnamon buns (which the café is famous for) served on outdoor tables overlooking the Baltic Sea.
One of Helsinki’s most stylish fine dining restaurants, Boulevard Social has a bistro theme and serves Mediterranean cuisine, including lamb shish kebab served right off the skewer and succulent desserts. The outdoor terrace is an excellent place to enjoy a high-class lunch while taking in central Helsinki’s architecture and busy atmosphere.
Onda serves South American cuisine, including a Peruvian brunch every Saturday, inside a beautiful converted factory building with a modern terrace attached (including umbrellas to protect diners from the rain). This provides a laid-back venue to enjoy the lunch specials or the buffet, which includes an equal amount of vegetarian and meat dishes and is regarded as one of the best vegan buffets in Helsinki.
A seaside wine bar and champagne restaurant right on the southern tip of Helsinki city centre, Mattolaituri is a scenic and peaceful hangout to get away from the city for a while to have a drink and watch the boats passing by. The bar can become crowded when the weather is at its finest or when celebrating events such as Helsinki Pride.
The restaurant of the Löyly Sauna Complex in southern Helsinki is perfect not only for relaxing after a sauna or spa treatment but also to pop in for some good Finnish food. The menu changes seasonally and includes favourites such as vendace, salmon soup and the Löyly burger. During the autumn and winter there is also a brunch buffet. Löyly’s beautiful wooden terrace overlooks the Baltic Sea and is ideal for enjoying a relaxing meal or post-sauna drink while watching the sunset or taking in the summer sun.
Located on a small island in Kulosaari to the east of mainland Helsinki, Ravintola Pyysaari opened in a historic harbourside building during the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympic games. The restaurant and its outdoor terrace are only open during the summertime when you can enjoy a mixture of international and Finnish dishes with a particular focus on local seafood. The remoteness of the island away from the city centre makes is a peaceful and romantic place for an inexpensive dinner.