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Eat Like A Finnish Girl (And Her Boyfriend): Helsinki Edition

The restaurant scene in Helsinki is experiencing a boom at the moment. With new restaurants opening up all the time, Finns increasingly list ‘going out for a nice meal’ as their favourite way of socialising with friends. In order to avoid unnecessary fuss over where to eat tonight, HÄN presents to your attention a list of the best places to eat out in Helsinki alone, with your friends or with that special someone.

 

FINE DINING

Strindberg (European)

Image from strindberg.fi

Image from strindberg.fi

 

 

If you desire a fancy yet relaxed meal out and ready to splash some cash, Strindberg is the place for you. One of the few restaurants where each item on the menu has no chance of disappointing you, this highly intellectual establishment (they even have a library upstairs) gets seriously busy so advanced booking is recommended. Eat slowly to leave some space for dessert: the Baked Alaska here is legendary.

Address:

Pohjoisesplanadi 33

00130 Helsinki, Finland

 

Ragu (Italian)

Image from ragu.fi

Image from ragu.fi

 

The simply delicious food served at this cosy Italian restaurant earned it a place on the Michelin guide and it is easy to see why. They use Finnish seasonal ingredients to create traditional Italian recipes resulting in an unusual culinary combination. Paired with an extensive wine list, it becomes an ideal place for a quite meal with your family and friends.

Address:

Kasarmikatu 44

00130 Helsinki, Finland

 

Farang (Asian)

Image from farang.fi

Image from farang.fi

 

In case you fancy some Asian cuisine, Farang is the place to be in Helsinki. All the modern Southeast Asian dishes are served with a creative twist. Even the vegetarian menu, which often suffers in comparison to non-vegan dishes, is done exactly right here. Plus, its convenient location in the historical area of Kunsthalle guarantees an insightful walk afterwards.

Address:

Ainogatan 3

00100 Helsingfors, Finland

 

Bronda (European)

Image from ravintolabronda.fi

Image from ravintolabronda.fi

 

Trendy Bronda is a creation of Helsinki’s top chefs Tomi Bjork and Matti Wikberg. Therefore, it is no surprise that this Mediterranean food based establishment with a Finnish twist is so hot . All the food is handmade using seasonal Finnish ingredients and the restaurant’s trendy location, chic interior with live music playing at the bar ensures an all-around pleasant dining experience.

Address:

Eteläesplanadi 20,

00130 Helsinki, Finland

 

RELAXED LUNCHING

Pastor (Peruvian)

Image from tripadvisor.com

Image from tripadvisor.com

 

More of a fancy living room than a proper restaurant, this popular hang out spot is located in the very centre of Helsinki and provides its guests with great Peruvian food. Cocktails from teacups and old school chairs bring in a humorous and more relaxed twist to this otherwise posh establishment.

Address:

Erottajankatu 4

00120 Helsinki, Finland

 

Santa Fe (Mexican)

Image from tripadvisor.com

Image from tripadvisor.com

 

On the other end of the price spectrum, this restaurant offers good Mexican food for affordable prices. Described as a small Mexican village in the middle of Helsinki, Santa Fe is very popular among the locals who fancy a bit of spice with their meals. In summer, the restaurant’s open-air terrace and live music promise a chilled evening with friends.

Address:

Aleksanterinkatu 15

00100 Helsinki, Finland

 

Hima Happiness (Organic Raw Food)

Image by HÄN

Image by HÄN

 

Healthy, organic raw food is a major trend in Finland as well as all over the world. Therefore, it is no surprise that Hima Happiness, conveniently located next to the yoga studio under the same name, is so popular among Helsinki clean living fans. Serving vegetarian, guilt-free vegetarian meals and desserts, it is perfect for a post-work out snack.

Address:

Brobergskajen 16

00170 Helsingfors, Finland

 

Ipi Kulmakuppila (Coffee Shop)

Image from ipikulmakuppila.fi

Image from ipikulmakuppila.fi

 

Located in the hipster hub of Kallio, this coffee shop also describes itself as a ‘shared living room’, where everyone is welcomed for a bit of freshly baked bread served with different toppings and a bowl of large seasonal salad. Fun fact: it was named after the local labour marker lawyer Pekka Hämäläinen, whose kindness was admired by the local community.

Address:

Porthansgatan 13

00530 Helsingfors, Finland

 

DRINKS AND BITES

100 Dogs & Bourbin (Bar)

Image from 100 Dogs Official Facebook page. Available from facebook.com

Image from 100 Dogs Official Facebook page from facebook.com

 

 In 2012, this newly opened pop-up place in Kamppi served only 100 hot dogs a day (dah!). The rules have softened since then and the popular spot turned into a dive bar where you can listen to nice music, drink good cocktails or most likely good beers with your friends and enjoy an unlimited number of hot dogs on the side.

Address:

Malminrinne 1

Helsinki, Finland

 

Why join the navy, when you can be a pirate? (Bar/Restaurant)

Image by Milka Alanen for NYT Finalnd. Available from nyt.fi

Image by Milka Alanen for NYT Finland from nyt.fi

 

Clearly aiming for an award for the most intriguing (not the mention, the longest), restaurant name in history, this place is ironically unfussy with no pirate costumes required. Moreover, the fresh handmade smoothies, sandwiches and shakes seem to be more appropriate as an urban on the go snack than the rough sea cruiser’s meal of choice.

Address:

Annankatu 28

00100 Helsinki, Finland

 

Liberty or Death (Bar/Restaurant)

Image from bestbarseurope.com

Image from bestbarseurope.com

 

Despite the pretty intimidating name, this bar is surprisingly cosy once you manage to locate its microscopic entrance. The shelves filled with books, rustic spice jars and vintage oil lamps create an unforgettable drinking experience. In case you are hooked (and you probably will be), you can rent a drawer in an antique chest to keep your personal liqueur stash.

Address:

Erottajankatu 5

Helsinki, Finland

 

Heinähattu (Pub)

Image by Emmi L for Yelp. Available from yelp.co.uk

Image by Emmi L for Yelp from yelp.co.uk

 

If you are a fan of punk rock, this pub in trendy Kallio should be right up your street. And if you are not, we would recommend you to still check it out to experience its uncompromisingly authentic yet relaxed scene. The same loyal crowd tends to visit it every weekend, so you cam potentially make new friends with a similar taste in music.

Address:

Vaasankatu 23

00500 Helsinki, Finland

 

Words by Kira Kolosova.