Helsinki, Finland: Nordic Noms - 5 Places To Eat In Helsinki

00100 Helsinki, Finland

Nordic Noms - My 5 Helsinki Dining Destinations

To round up my posts on Helsinki, I've saved the best for last - food

Even if you're not crazy for design hotels, island-hopping, shopping and museums, I just know there isn't one of you reading this that doesn't like looking at food porn - unless you're hungry and miserable, in which case look away: there's a lot of mouth-watering pictures in this blog post from  sweet and savoury pizzas to reindeer meat. Consider yourself warned.

1. The floating pizzeria - Skiffer Restaurant, Liuskaluoto

On one of Helsinki's many islands (all 330 of them) is a tiny gas-stop restaurant where the locals frequent for fuel (both for their boats and stomachs). I mentioned in my post about Helsinki's islands that alfresco dining by the sea is the heart and soul of Finnish culture, and this surf n' turf spirit is served up quite literally at Skiffer Restaurant - the crayfish and pepperoni pizza (above) was absolutely delightful (if a little too rich, but hey, that's what beer is for). Vegetarians need not envy - the strawberry, rocket, and pine nut pizza was a hearty and delicious sweet and savoury affair. Wait for the ferry at Merisatamanrata pier for the short trip to Skiffer Island (or flirt your way onto someone's yacht and hitch a ride), and enjoy the freshness of the food and sea breeze of the great gastronomical outdoors.

2. Modern meets classic - Story, Vanha Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall)

The interior enthusiasts, Instagram-addicts, and Pinterest obsessives (the three tend to overlap) are going to love this one. Beneath the vast skylights of Vanha Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall), among the stalls selling fruit & veg, cheese, and reindeer meat is Story, a cafe and restaurant that looks like it was plucked right out of every trending Scandinavian-decor blog. It's not all style without substance - the menu boasts local Finnish beer, seasonal ingredients, and food that's fresh to death. Not that I can be absolutely sure, I'm just going by the reviews as I just about missed lunch hours and only sampled their snacks, but hey, I liked what I tasted and I definitely loved what I saw. You'll find Story at Vanha Kauppahalli - you can't miss either, the building is right beside the touristy market square by the esplanade and Story just dominates the market hall with its distinct contemporary look standing out from the traditional food stalls (see below).

Pear and vanilla Ingman ice-cream on a hot summer's day...proof that a higher power exists.

Bonus: Ingman ice-creams, kiosks everywhere in Helsinki

Just as well that Helsinki is so compact that it makes you want to walk everywhere, because 1) there are ice-cream kiosks everywhere selling delicious Ingman ice-creams and 2) all the pavement pounding will offset the calories from these sugary, creamy treats. And what treats! Try the vanilla and pear, the chocolate, and the white queen (vanilla with raspberry). Oh, and all the ice-cream kiosks accept cards - God bless Helsinki. Watch out for the seagulls - they have a sweet tooth.

3. Hipster Heaven - Kitchen Kellohalli, Teurastamo

The Abattoir, Teurastamo, was once the site of - you guessed it, the City of Helsinki's former abattoir - and now the historical compound has been reclaimed by the people to form what is basically the Williamsburg or Shoreditch of Helsinki. Phrases like 'spontaneous urban culture' and 'street food market' more or less sum up the hipster heart of The Abattoir - Kitchen Kellohalli serves a buffet with vegetarian option and has its own bread counter (really a table with artfully draped checkered cloth where you help yourself) - it doesn't get more 'for the people' than that. My wariness of Guardian-reading types aside, I really enjoyed the airiness and canteen-vibes of Kitchen Kellohalli, and only wished I had more time to explore the rest of The Abattoir - I hear there's a sauna somewhere!

4. Homemade with love - Moko Market & Cafe

You may have read from my blog post on Moko Market & Cafe that the cafe menu is small in selection in contrast to the immense retail offerings of the concept boutique it's contained in, but in no way disappointing - the food at Moko Market & Cafe is homemade, organic, and just plain delicious. The cafe does a wicked brunch on Sundays, and the menu changes daily - all the more reason to visit each day, if not just to pick up more goodies from their eclectic lifestyle store. Read my full post on Moko Market & Cafe for more photos of their gorgeous candy-box of a shop!

5. The fancy historical bistro - Kappeli, The Esplanade

Although I loved each and every restaurant, cafe, and kiosk I supped at in Helsinki; Kappeli is definitely the most 'me' place. A gorgeous conservatory-like glass jewel in the middle of the park, flanked by the esplanade with views of Louis Vuitton and the like just beyond, Kappeli is very dignified yet uproariously fun (or maybe it was just my waitress, who I had a hilarious rapport with) boasting stunning views and a menu of classical Finnish dishes like reindeer sandwich, reindeer meatballs (you get the idea) with contemporary, clever twists. The restaurant itself is 140 years old which as far as I'm concerned makes it an establishment - in fact, I think I would compare Kappeli to The Wolseley. With a meal for two, including cocktails, coming up to a couple hundred euros I'd say Kappeli is a little bit of a luxury - one that you can't miss out on when in Helsinki!

Right; my 'Taste Of Finland' starter. Guess what one of them is? Hint: it had a red, very shiny nose.

My 'Hunter's Special' - a smokey reindeer sandwich. I'd describe reindeer meat as hearty, rich, and lean - definitely guilt free meat.

On this delicious note, I close the final chapter on my Helsinki series. What a note to Finnish on! Thank you for joining me on my Nordic adventure, and if you missed the others posts I've listed all my Helsinki blog posts, below. Regular London-related programming resumes tomorrow. 

More Helsinki blog posts:


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