If you’ve been to my home page today, you know that there is a lot of Finland love on the blog today! My full Helsinki Travel Guide went live, detailing the best things to do in that gorgeous city. But as I was putting it together, I realized I wanted to go into a little more detail about the food, because it is SO. GOOD. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting it to be as wonderful as it was, and I was completely blown away. So, this post is all about where you should eat in Helsinki – according to our trip!
Where to Eat in Helsinki
Garden by Olo
We ate at Garden by Olo on our first night, and it was such a treat. This restaurant is actually located next to the award winning, Olo – and it’s meant to be the more relaxed option. Since we were tired from traveling, this heated open inner courtyard was stunning, but as fancy as we needed!
Instead of opting for the tasting menu, we both ordered seafood entrees. I had the charred artic char with sunchoke and leeks and we split the lime cream with raspberry granita and berries. I would definitely add this to your list if you’re looking for a fine dining level experience in a relaxed, breezy setting.
I talk all about how amazing the sauna is at Loyly in my Travel Guide, but their restaurant is worth mentioning, too! We went here before our sauna appointment to simply to make things easy. I was not expecting to see a salad on the menu with root vegetable falafel, greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, homemade tzatziki, pickled onions, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds. WHAAAAT?! Literally my lunch HEAVEN. Fresh, healthy, delicious food that you can eat on a patio overlooking the Gulf of Finland? Yes, please! (PS. You can also get a burger and fries there, too ?)
If you are looking for a traditional Finnish meal, look no further! Savotta is a little gem right across from the Helsinki Cathedral. This restaurant feels like a cozy home right when you walk in – old wood floors, mismatched plates, hand woven napkins. And the food is just as comforting as the atmosphere. Savotta only uses Finnish ingredients found in the forests and lakes, from carefully selected suppliers.
Since I wanted to experience something specific to Finland, I got vendace fish from Lake Saimaa. Each little fish is deboned and breaded in Rye crumbs and pan fried until crispy. I was expecting them to taste something like sardines due to their appearance, but they weren’t fishy at all! Just a crispy outside and flaky white fish inside. INSANELY GOOD.
If you’re a red meat eater, Adam had the reindeer rump and grilled reindeer sausage with root vegetables, potato puree, red veined sorrel and cranberry game sauce. I didn’t try any, but he loved it!
Yes Yes Yes
If you love instagram-worthy decor, you are going to say Yes Yes Yes to Yes Yes Yes! The funky wallpaper, colorful accents, and neon signs are swoon worthy on their own. But add the food and you will be obsessed.
If you wouldn’t normally go to a vegetarian restaurant, don’t worry! Each dish we tried was flavorful and fresh – and I promise, we didn’t even miss the meat. We had the grilled corn with chèvre and chipotle raspberry salt, the avocado/pistachio/parmesan/thai basil dip with tandoori flatbread, and the halloumi fries with pomegranate and coriander. For drinks, Adam had a Pisco Sour, and since I wasn’t feeling well, I had a sea buckthorn mocktail with carrot, ginger and turmeric. Everything was absolutely delicious, especially those the halloumi fries… still thinking about them ?
I’ll be honest, we didn’t eat at Kappeli (or the next suggestion), but I’m including them because I know for a fact that they’re great for cocktail hour! Kappeli is located right in city park, and has the most perfect patio for a glass of champagne after a long day of sight seeing. There was an art festival going on when we were there, so we got to enjoy a band as we sipped our drinks outside. Such bliss!
Like Kappeli, we didn’t eat here – but it’s worth mentioning because who doesn’t like a cocktail with a view?! Ateljee Bar is a tiny little rooftop bar with a view of the whole city. So pretty!
And if you take a day trip to Tallinn…
If you take a day trip to Tallinn while you’re in Helsinki, be sure to eat lunch or dinner at The Nautilus. It’s only a short walk out of the town square, but 100% worth it. Since Tallinn is a major European seaport, the seafood here is delicious – raw oysters, grilled oysters, mussels, and pretty much anything else you could want. Read more about what to do in Tallinn here!
What are your favorite restaurants in Helsinki?
Did I miss any really good ones?! Let me know in the comments!
PS. Don’t forget to read my Helsinki Travel Guide and A Day Trip to Tallinn!