Finland's privileged position between East and West encourages contamination and has been fertile ground for the birth of a Finnish nouvelle cuisine. Hundreds of lakes, the northern lights, and the midnight sun are a plus but let us remember that this is the greenest country in the world, therefore home to naturally pure, safe and healthy foods. Where the environment and animal wellbeing are primary interests. At times, the luxury of virgin food comes at a price, especially in a big city like Helsinki. But here is a series of useful tips.
From 0 to 25 euros
Ekkberg 1852 is the oldest Finnish bakery, pastry, and coffee shop. It is located right in the center of Helsinki, on the picturesque Bulevardi. The best croissants in the city. From spring, on the summer terrace, you can enjoy a coffee or go for the chicest Helsinki breakfast: handmade bread, croissants, cheeses, cold cuts, fresh market garden produce, porridge, yogurt, muesli, boiled eggs, baked creamy eggs, fruit, sweet dessert and coffee, tea and fresh juice. All for 12 euros.
Ekberg 1852 Ltd
Bulevardi 9, 00120 Helsinki
Juuri is a restaurant specialising in sapas, small dishes inspired by traditional cuisine to be savoured in sequence and shared. The bread is made with a patisserie sourdough. The herring goes well with the egg, the beetroot with the horseradish, the turnip with the butter, the champignon mushrooms with blue cheese and the zander with the almonds. Enjoy these pairings but remember that sapas cost 8 euros each.
From 25 to 50 euros
Finland Caviar is a perfect example of affordable luxury. It is located next to the old indoor market, where you can directly buy or taste caviar of any kind and fresh horseradish. We like the Moscow-Menu: Siberian sturgeon caviar served in a tart with quail egg and sour cream. Accompanied by Beluga Noble-vodka, Russia, 4cl. An affordable pleasure around 30 euros.
Finlandia Caviar Shop & Restaurant
Eteläranta 20, Helsinki
It's called Spis, meaning "food" and it's a minimalist venue seating 18. With the short 5-course menu you will spend 50 euros and it’s hard to keep within this figure, but it's worth it (don't order wine). Here you eat "pure Nordic" without compromise and with a preponderance of organic vegetables. Surprise dishes from the kitchen. The chefs Antero Aurivuo and Perttu Jokinen will serve you personally.
Kasarmikatu 26, 00130 Helsinki
Töölönranta is an elegant venue next to the Finnish National Opera. The brightly illuminated dining room and the cosy bar with fireplace offer a panoramic view of Hesperia Park and Töölönlahti bay. Töölönranta's cuisine is contemporary Scandinavian. The brunch buffet is a pleasing experience and will set you back 44 euros with a glass of champagne. Among the numerous courses, salad with blackcurrant vinaigrette stands out, roasted beetroot with goat cheese and rocket, marinated red cabbage with gorgonzola and walnuts and horseradish mushroom salad.
Helsinginkatu 56, 00260 Helsinki
From 50 to 100 euros
Photo Courtesy of Olo group
Olo is one of the starred restaurants in the city, located centrally in the elegant nineteenth-century building that houses the Swedish embassy. The cuisine is avant-garde Finnish and chef Jari Vesivalo works with reindeer tongue, reindeer heart and licorice and creates dishes with river trout eggs, pork chawanmushi, pumpkin dashi and lobster oil on the grille. Or reindeer liver with beetroot and Skrei cod with fermented white asparagus and whitefish eggs.
Pohjoisesplanadi 5, 00170 Helsinki
Nokka overlooks the Baltic Sea and as soon as the season warms up it becomes Helsinki's most inviting patio, just a short walk from the city center. It's a café, shop and catering venue, but it deserves taking the time to sit down for a real meal. The chef is Ari Ruoho, responsible for having collected VIP-Very Important Producers, that is, purer seasonal ingredients, coming from the forests of Salla in Lapland and from small estates throughout Finland. The Nokka menu 1-19 degrees, in spring costs about 65 euros and with an accompaniment costing 20 euros. You will have fun enjoying the Topinambur with clarified butter mayonnaise and the wild reindeer with smoked reindeer tallow.
Kanavaranta 7 F, 00160 Helsinki