Helsinki Restaurants and Dining
(Helsinki, Uusimaa, Southern Finland, Finland)
The dining scene in Helsinki has leaped ahead in recent years and many of the city's restaurants seem to have upped their game. However, due to the sheer size of Helsinki and the large number of restaurants and other eateries, the choices are extremely varied.
Helsinki is without doubt home to some of the best restaurants in the whole of Finland and many of these choose to specialise in Russian-style cuisine and Scandinavian fare, although an ever-increasing number of more ethic and Asian dining venues are definitely becoming apparent and gaining popularity with the local Finns.
What to Eat
Many Finnish specialities are served in Helsinki and are often meat based, using game such as venison, pheasant, pigeon and even reindeer, usually served with rich fruity sauces or gravy. Menu schemes actively promote the local dishes and due to its maritime setting, many restaurants prominently feature seafood dishes, such as scallops, crayfish, lobsters and salmon. Something quite unique to Helsinki and surprisingly tasty is 'vorschmack', a blend of herring, pickles and minced lamb.
Where to Eat
Many of the main restaurants in Helsinki radiate outwards from the Central Railway Station (Rautatieasema) and so if you are looking for somewhere to eat out, this is a good place to start. Countless quality dining venues are just a short walk away from Helsinki train station, particularly around Aleksanterinkatu, Itätuulenkuja, Keskuskatu, Mikonkatu and Yliopistonkatu. Since these popular eateries can get extremely busy, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, either try to arrive early or reserve your table.
Directly opposite Helsinki's station, a number of restaurants serve Italian food, steaks and buffet lunches. Nearby, the Kamppi area is known for its youthful vibe, bars, cheap eats and nightlife, while for more elegant dining, head to the neighbourhoods of Katajanokka and to Kruununhaka. For hearty Finnish fare and pub-style restaurants, the Hakaniemi-Kallio area is hard to beat and won't break the bank.