Rovaniemi is more than just the home of Santa Claus and reindeer. It is also home to some of the best restaurants north of the Arctic Circle, and indeed in all of Finland. Throughout the city, you can find a good mix of both traditional Lappish cuisine and dishes from around the world at both fine and casual dining establishments. These are some of the best restaurants to try out during a stay in the northern city.
Restaurant, Finnish, $$$
One of Rovaniemi’s most popular and highly recommended restaurants, Arctic Boulevard in the Arctic Light Hotel combines traditional dishes with trendy, modern stylings and unique presentation (without becoming too hipster-ish). Dishes include arctic char, duck, crab soup and reindeer, which comes in perfectly sized portions that allow guests to indulge in good food without it being too filling. The accompanying lounge is also the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks or relaxing after a long day of winter activities
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
Chinese food isn’t what you’d normally associate with Lapland, however, it’s a good change if you begin to get bored with meat and potatoes. Xiang Long is considered one of the most authentic Asian restaurants in Lapland, offering a €15.90 buffet. The a-la-carte menu is served after 5 pm and includes fried rice, dumplings and hot-and-sour soup.
Rakas Restaurant & Bar
Restaurant, Finnish, $$$
Rakas is the Finnish word for ‘love’ and this restaurant lives up to its name with its high level of quality and service. The building has a stunning architecture, with a glass-front window, offering a beautiful view over the city, and of course a highly stylish interior décor. Most importantly, the food is also hearty and filling, with a wide range of drinks and side dishes to complete a meal. Dishes include mushroom pasta, crab bisque, reindeer, fisherman’s sandwich and chocolate tart.
Ravintola Monte Rosa
Hotel Restaurant, Finnish, European, $$$
While Ravintola Monte Rosa claims to serve ‘the best steaks in town, they also specialise in potato gratin, reindeer ravioli, grilled arctic salmon, cloudberry crème Brulee, to name a few, which are all offered at the lunch buffet.
Bull Bar & Grill
Bar, Hotel Restaurant, American, Finnish, $$$
If you’re looking for a casual meal or some good old comfort food, try the Bull Bar & Grill in the City Hotel. The restaurant serves quality ‘pub grub’ such as burgers, fries, buffalo wings and ribs, but the menu still includes the classic Arctic reindeer. When visiting, you’ll have the option of trying out the available games or watch sports games on television while enjoying a range of delicious cocktails. The bar is visited by both tourists and locals, making it an ideal place to visit if you want to meet new people during your travel.
Roi Thai Ravintola
Restaurant, Thai, $$$
Thai cuisine is really taking off in Finland and has even reached the Arctic Circle. The interior at Roi Thai Ravintola is sleek and modern while dishes are of high-calibre and well-presented, yet still affordable. Although Thai food is known for being spicy at times, the dishes at Roi Thai Ravintolacan be prepared differently to fit your taste buds and make it less spicy. Recommended dishes include the Panang curry, green curry and cashew chicken plus the lunch buffet.
Rang Mahal Indian Restaurant
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Finland’s favourite type of international cuisine can be found in Rovaniemi as well as at Rang Mahal. The chef, a Mumbai native creates authentic dishes from the region using high-quality Finnish products. Though Rang Mahal specialises in Indian cuisine, he also adds a Finnish twist by including Finnish specialities such as reindeer vindaloo to name a few. The restaurant is also a particularly good place for vegetarians, who might otherwise have trouble finding meat-free dishes in Lapland.