Helsinki’s growing restaurant scene is underappreciated by outsiders but a great reason to visit the city. The capital’s cafes, independent bistros and fine-dining establishments are full of food from all over the world with a Finnish slant and made with quality local ingredients. Here are our top 10 places to stop by for a great meal.
Recently rebranded from Chef & Sommelier with the same chef, Ravintola Ora has been just as popular with critics and customers alike as the previous restaurant. Ora reaches amazing peaks of creativity and taste. When the dish comes to the table looking like a stunning work of food-art, guests are left astonished. Devoted to organic, seasonal and fresh produce, Ora offers a set menu of six courses.
Gaijin ranks highly among Helsinki’s best Asian restaurants, and among the best restaurants in the city. The kitchen puts particular emphasis on the centuries-old gastronomic traditions of Asia’s northeastern countries: Japan, Korea and northern China. Here guests can try such delicacies as miso chicken and softshell crab paired with matching beverages such as Koshu private reserve and the Gaijin Red. While taking the utmost care in offering beautiful food, this restaurant also envisions dining as a way to bring people together with tasting menus offered to the entire table. Great efforts were made to create an outstanding atmosphere, which Gaijin’s venue, built entirely with Finnish wood, perfectly delivers.
Finland has its own special and tasty version of Spanish tapas: the sapas. The Finnish version is small, delicious portions of finger food prepared with typical Scandinavian ingredients. Restaurant Juuri has been an early promoter of sapas, so much so that its rich menu has become the restaurant’s highlight and main draw. Choose between the false morel with buckwheat, herring with onion and egg, goat milk with peas and spinach and a selection of Finnish cheeses. Mix, match and share with your companions for an unusual and fun dining experience.
Ravintola Olo has been receiving widespread acclaim in the Helsinki foodie scene for a number of years now. Holding a Michelin star, Olo’s chefs brilliantly update the basics of Finnish cuisine by employing both traditional and modern cooking techniques. Olo’s selection of wines is also worthy of note; its cellars hold a range of fine, local wines, including a few exclusively available in the restaurant. Join Olo to taste the best that contemporary cooking has to offer, and while you’re at it, aim for a table in the restaurant’s remarkable courtyard, the Olo Garden.
For a true taste of luxury at a reasonable price, Finlandia Caviar offers finely crafted caviar made from local fish brought in fresh from the adjacent harbour. With the tasting menus you can sample caviar from Paris, Moscow or Helsinki as well as roes, oysters and other specialties. These are washed down with equally refined drinks from a selection of wine and champagne plus Finlandia’s famously strong vodka with an amazing 38% alcohol content.
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