Our guide to Restaurants in Helsinki
Our Finnish Destination Specialist, Asko offers his suggestions for dining in his home town.
On my short home visits to Helsinki, I search out for real Finnish food that I crave when I am away. Staying close to the heart of Helsinki, my favourite hotel, Hotel GLO Kluuvi is surrounded by some local traditional favourites and I would love to share these spots with you.
This is a must visit café/bakery in Helsinki. Fazer is well known in Finland for the chocolates and this is their flagship store established in 1891 and the starting place for the famous Fazer brand. From here you can not only purchase chocolates but enjoy breakfast, lunch, cakes, coffees and also a Sunday brunch. I recommend ‘Skagen’ with smoked salmon and prawns, just what I was craving.
Be sure to visit the local Helsinki harbour, called Kauppatori in Finnish. It’s only about 200 metres from the Hotel GLO Kluuvi. At the Harbour you will find a traditional fish market including a good selection of lunch options such as fried Baltic herrings, reindeer stew or even hot dogs. This market is also good place to get some Finnish souvenirs such as reindeer skins.
Image Credit: Visit Finland, photographer: Aleksanteri Baidin
Just located next to the markets is an Old Food market hall (Vanha Kauppahalli) selling the best quality fish, meats and vegetables as well as some hand made chocolates and old fashioned candies. It’s also a good location for a lunch; maybe try some sandwiches, cakes or even a nice bowl of traditional fish soup.
If you are staying in Hotel GLO Art, an alternate suggestion for a market to walk to would be “Hietlahden Kauppahalli”, ask the reception for a map and details. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea or a get some items for a tasty picnic.
Image Credit: Visit Finland, photographer: Elina Sirparanta
Close to the Helsinki Cathedral, you will find another well known café called Café Engel. Located in one of the oldest areas of Helsinki and just across from of the cathedral, here you can have a breakfast, lunch or just a afternoon tea. There are lunch time, why don’t you try a traditional Finnish lunch meal, meatballs with mashed potatoes?
If you are looking to get some supplies while you staying in Helsinki, there is a department store called ‘Stockman’ only a few blocks from Hotel GLO and Kamp. On the basement level you can find the Stockman’s Herkku (Delight) supermarket with a super Deli section. In the summer time, get some items from here and go for a picnic in the park. On the 8th floor at Stockman, you can also find restaurants, including a café, a la Carte restaurant and better still, a Champagne bar.
For classic Finnish food, try Aino, located in the heart of Helsinki by the lovely Esplanade Park. I suggest ordering a 3-course set menu and for entrée, enjoy forest mushroom soup, a very Finnish dish. For a main, reindeer fillet with rosemary sauce and potato cakes; and for dessert, chocolate cake with sea buckthorn ice cream.
Suggested other restaurants in the area are; Restaurant Savotta, which serves traditional eastern Finnish dishes including a Carelian casserole or even has Bear on the menu. Or there are a few Michelin star awarded restaurants as well, Restaurant’s Olo and Posters have both received one Michelin star and serve Nordic fine dining. We can assist with table reservations for all these restaurants.
Restaurant Havis which specializes in Finnish and Scandinavian seafood and also G.W. Sundmans located in a historical 19th century bourgeoisie home which serves traditional fine dining as well a seafood buffet for lunch daily.
Credit for main photo: Visit Finland, Photographer: Juho Kuva