North of Helsinki city centre lies Kallio, a historically working-class district that is now an eclectic mix of bourgeois, bohemia and everything in between. From vegan feasts to meaty gastro grubs, here are the best restaurants in Kallio!
Gastro Café Kallio
Bakery, Cafe, Gastropub, European, Finnish, North American, $$$
Located in the heart of Kallio, Gastro Café offers a glorious gastropub experience à la Helsinki. The restaurant was recently featured on Finland’s Top 50 Restaurants listing, which comes as no surprise.The “micro-bakery” bakes their own breads, uses a lot of organic and locally sourced food products and brews their coffee from locally roasted Good Life Coffee’s beans (also in Kallio). Try the weekend gourmet breakfasts or enjoy the dinner time buzz.
Wino is a Kallio-based wine bar where many Helsinki residents flood from further afield too. Wino’s niches are the natural wines and the easygoing atmosphere, with a chic wine bar that was recently featured on Finland’s official 50 Best Restaurants listing. Wino’s seasonal menu offers bistro type choices from wild salmon to tartar and grilled vegetables, and the wine menu changes weekly. If you are in Helsinki on a romantic trip, head to Wino for pre-cinema nibbles, and then to the nearby Riviera cinema to experience a date night Helsinki-style!
There was a time when everyone seemed to be heading out to eat at Sandro. Few years later, there are five Sandro restaurants around Helsinki, but the one in Kallio is the original one. Sandro was one of the few Finnish restaurants to explore the Middle Eastern and North African cooking styles that were in vogue around Europe a couple of years ago. It did it with so much gusto that Sandro was awarded many local foodie awards. Head to Kallio to try Sandro’s classic: the weekend brunch. Or pop over for a dinner and try the flatbread with avocado and pistachio dip, saffron mussels and the chocolate tahini brownie.
Restaurant Kolmon3n (which means three in Finnish) is located on the iconic street Kolmas Linja (Third Lane) – a straight kilometre-long street in Kallio, famous for appearing in many Finnish pop songs and films. Kolmon3n’s simple decor is based on Scandinavian classics but the food offers international fine dining with an emphasis on seasonal and local produce. The lunch menu is very good value for money and the impeccable dinner à la carte includes options such fried pike-perch with cauliflower and lemon purée and a selection of Nordic cheeses for dessert.
IPI Kulmakuppila (kulmakuppila means a corner shop café) is a homey café and lunch restaurant near the magnificent Kallio Church. The light and airy two-storey café has a cosy neighbourhood feel to it and the sweet and savoury treats match the good vibes of the space. The fresh breads are organic sourdough rye and wheat, and you can choose from a variety of toppings to go with them. You can also enjoy tasty salads or soups for lunch. Or head to IPI for a breakfast of slow-cooked porridge, freshly squeezed orange juice and a good cup of coffee.
Roots is a vegan restaurant, café and a yoga studio (drop-in class is 12 euros!) in Kallio’s northern reaches. Roots has an amazing all day breakfast for 14 euros, including a juice or a smoothie, raw porridge, choice banana bread and coffee or tea. The dinner menu includes vegan options from burgers and salads to Buddha Bowls. People who work with laptops can also rent a table space for 7,50 euros per hour and receive a complimentary coffee or tea.
For a burger freak, Social Burgerjoint in Kallio brings relief when cravings hit the taste buds. Social Burgerjoint is co-owned by the Finnish Master Chef 2012 winner Mika Tuomonen and was opened in 2017. It has since been nominated as the best burger joint in town. For Helsinki’s prices, the burgers are also very good value for money, with their vegan burger being the most expensive dish for 12 euros. The brioche for the buns is prepared daily and the burger steaks are grilled on a charcoal grill, which brings a bit of a tangy smokiness not only to the flavours of the burgers but also to the odour of the restaurant. Burgerjoint has a cool and urban vibe and is the place to head for a burger and beer in Kallio.
If you are into healthy salads, Pupu is the place for you. Pupu (Finnish for ‘bunny’) is a fresh salad bar where salads are prepared to order using organic and local produce whenever it is available. The menu includes information on calorie, protein, carbohydrate and fat intake while offering both seasonal and classic option salads. Grab a salad to go, and enjoy a healthy picnic in one of the many surrounding parks of Kallio.
With its vast vegetarian buffet, restaurant Silvoplee is a good find for both stomach and soul. The buffet lunch menu consists of over 30 different choices, making it Helsinki’s largest vegetarian feast. Organic, Fair Trade and seasonal products are used whenever possible, and many of the dishes are not heated over 40 Celsius degrees, which guarantees a flavoursome and vitamin-rich lunch. Silvoplee is also the place to go for the vegan sweet tooth; a vast selection of raw cakes is whipped up in the premises on a daily basis.
One of Helsinki’s best third-wave coffee shops is located in Kallio. “Avoid Bad Life” is the Good Life Coffee’s slogan, and to help with this, they roast their own beans, which are sold in many cafés in Helsinki and abroad. The coffee shop gives you an idea of what a Kallio resident’s hipster home might look like – white walls with a few design posters, wooden chairs and tables with retro reading lamps and green plants. Here, you will enjoy a cup of coffee in true Helsinki style and have a delicious treat to go with it, too.