Steaks in a celebrity chef-owned restaurant; contemporary European cuisine in a stunning riverside location; and classic Scandinavian fare in a Viking-themed restaurant – just a few of the dining experiences offered by Turku’s restaurant scene. Despite being just a fraction of the size of capital city Helsinki, Turku has a sophisticated and varied dining scene. Here’s our guide to 10 of the best restaurants in Finland’s oldest city.
Harald is a Viking-themed restaurant offering guests a culinary voyage back to the age of the Vikings. There’s an authentically decorated dining room reminiscent of a longhouse and waiting staff dress in traditional garb. Guests can choose from variously priced set menus named after Viking trading posts, but an a la carte menu is also available. Dine like a true Viking with the Midgård shield – a communal feast of salmon, fried ox sausage and pork neck with various side vegetables and sauces served on a Viking shield.
Turku’s Teerenpeli resides in a former bank – a beautiful old stone building that still features the bank’s original vaulted door. Teerenpeli serves many of its own beers and ciders: try the Vauhtiveikko, a light and fruity unfiltered wheat beer or the Lempi Mustikka, a medium sweet blueberry flavored cider. Teerenpeli’s menu is full of bar snack-style food such as toasted sandwiches, salads, soups and both warm and cold tapas plates featuring light bites like meatballs, chorizo sausages, olives and Gouda cheese.
Tintå is a charming riverside restaurant and wine bar with a vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere perfect for an informal meal and drinks with friends. It offers a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the Aura River in summer months. The menu is simple but delicious with starters like elk goulash soup and mains including the skewer of organic beef fillet served with homemade fries, horseradish aioli and feta salad. Tintå also has a number of gourmet pizzas such as the pear, roasted bacon and Finnish Peltolan blue cheese pizza topped with caramelized nuts, and a much raved about wine list.
Pinella is a stunning restaurant located within Turku’s picturesque riverside park Porthaninpuisto. The restaurant is one of the oldest in Finland, with parts of the premises dating back to 1836. The uncomplicated menu changes regularly to accommodate seasonal ingredients. It features appetizers such as braised pork belly with celeriac and apple while mains include dishes such as veal sirloin with false morel mushrooms and a parsley sauce.
Pippurimylly, is a popular and award-winning family restaurant which specializes in steaks and pizzas. Its dishes using only the best quality Finnish produce and its varied menu has something to suit every diner. Starters include light dishes like salmon soup and the warm goat’s cheese salad topped with a raspberry vinaigrette. while Pippurimylly’s delicious steaks include cuts like the chateaubriand, which is served with garlic butter-creamed potatoes and a red wine sauce. Many other meat and seafood mains are available as are Pippurimylly’s legendary pizzas like the Scandinavian anchovy, olive, mozzarella and shrimp delight.
Brahen Kellari is one of Turku’s oldest cellar-dwelling restaurants and is reached by going down a short flight of street-level stairs. Once inside, diners are treated to a cozy yet spacious old cellar decorated in a modern style. The elegant, gourmet dishes are a mix of classic Finnish cuisine and ingredients with international influences. Appetizers include tempting options like the honey-marinated duck and Roquefort salad and cream of wild Finnish forest mushrooms. Mains include seafood dishes such as pan-fried pike-perch with butter-poached vegetables and creamed potatoes, or the meatier roast reindeer served with deep-fried potatoes and vegetables in a tomato pesto.
Sergio’s serves classic Italian cuisine with a modern twist. Dishes are built around a mix of produce imported directly from Italy to ensure genuine flavors whilst other ingredients are sourced locally from Turku’s marketplace and shops. Inside, Sergio’s exudes a stylish, warm feel with red accent walls, banquette seating and brightly colored artworks. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list of over 150 Italian bottles, plenty of pizzas and other mains including beetroot risotto with white asparagus and herb fondue of braised veal with mustard-flavored pureed potato. Finish with a classic dessert like tiramisu or an authentic Italian espresso.
Torre is a centrally located restaurant serving Latin American fare. The restaurant boasts vibrant red and yellow walls, a stunning statement chandelier and booth seating under arched windows that overlook the bustling street. The restaurant offers a tapas menu and an a la carte menu featuring starters such as beef carpaccio with a herb salad, pomegranate vinaigrette and pine nuts. Main courses include calamari a la plancha – grilled squid with salsa verde and a saffron risotto.
Chantico is a small and cozy restaurant located just a short walk from Turku’s marketplace. Chantico serves world-class Mexican fare and bakes its own fresh corn tortillas in-house each day. Main dishes include emmoladas –tortillas filled with chicken, crème fraiche, cheese, onion and Chantico’s signature mole poblano – a sauce made with chilies, nuts and chocolate. Quench your thirst with the quintessentially Mexican beverage michelada –a beer-based cocktail flavored with lime, tabasco and Worcester sauce.
Stefan’s Steakhouse is a popular restaurant located in a charming riverside redbrick building built in 1849. Steaks include the house specialty Wagyu tenderloin alongside a number of Australian Black Angus cuts and other dishes such as roasted Arctic char and the reindeer carpaccio.