Finland is full of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the midnight sun and the period of darkness, urban and rural, East and West. In recent years, a score of young chefs armed with pride in Nordic cuisine and a passion for local ingredients have set up their own restaurants in Finnish capital Helsinki. If you’re on hunt for some fresh northern flavors, here are some tips on where to go foraging and taste the local food scene in Helsinki being called the “New Nordic Cuisine”.
Helsinki is a compact city easily explored on foot, which makes discovering its restaurant scene handy to combine with sightseeing or shopping. Some suggested pit stops when criss-crossing the Finnish capital include:
Situated in the posh area of Eira, a meal at Chef & Sommelier guarantees personal service and several heavenly courses. Organic, handmade and pure are the keywords here – not forgetting cute.
Juuri is most famous for its speciality, Sapas, a Finnish take on the famous hors d’oeuvres. Sample the fruits of Finnish nature with these classy finger foods before moving on to the equally wild main courses.
Restaurant Nokka takes great pride in its ingredients and maintains close relations with local suppliers and small farms. Their awarded Helsinki Menu is great for first-time visitors.
Since its inception in 2006, restaurant Olo has been at the top of Helsinki’s dining scene, and its success culminated in a Michelin star in 2011. Modern Nordic cuisine with respect for traditional raw ingredients.
The proprietors of Ask have worked in various top restaurants in town before setting up this newcomer. Seasonal and organic is the name of the game in a beautiful art nouveau setting in the Kruununhaka area.
Spis is a small and cosy little restaurant with vegetables at the core of their fresh Nordic ingredients philosophy. Meat and fish are always available, too, as are artisan wines and Nordic beers to drink.
The Abattoir by its English moniker, Teurastamo is a slaughterhouse-turned-creative-food-hub. Truly innovative, Teurastamo provides a place for small food related businesses to try out new concepts.
Fancy some Finnish local food products to take back home? Eat & Joy Farmers Market in the Kluuvi Shopping Centre is the place to go shopping. Don’t miss their Muuuu Milk Bar.
Have you been to any of these dining establishments in Helsinki, Finland? If you haven’t, which one would you love to visit?
Megy Karydes is founder of Wandering Tastes, a lifestyle and travel site that is meant to inspire adventure and exploration through traveling and food.