The best time of year is Blini season! January marks the month that Bliniviikot are all around the city, which means many wonderful restaurants have the wonderfully buttery Russian delicacy on their menus. The Finnish interpretation is made with buckwheat flour and baked in a cast-iron pan until crisp and sinful, and is served with a variety of different toppings, along the sides of smetana, red onions and pickles.
My favourite is a salmon tartar with my blinis, but you often see reindeer, roe or mushrooms which are great options as well. Here’s a selection of the best blinis to be found in Helsinki:
Kappeli (Eteläesplanadi 1) – this Finnish classic restaurant has already been open since 1867, and was long the hot-spot for the local artist elite. Nowadays, it’s a popular spot for visitors to try some Finnish dishes, and for locals to drop in for a glass of wine in elegant setting, right in Esplanade park. The blinis here are amongst my favourites, the atmosphere just adds to the delicious toppings and crisp, wonderful blinis. The blinis with a selection of toppings is available for 39,90€.
Bassi (Eteläesplanadi 22) – at the other end of Esplanade, Bassi is a wonderful restaurant specialised on seafood, which you can enjoy along with a stunning view of the park or street-watching Helsinki, and have a chat with the friendliest staff. These blinis were less greasy than in many other places, which makes you feel much better about ordering an extra bunch. Their basic blini offer that includes roe, pickles, sour creme and red onions starts at 15€ and is a total bargain in the city! Make sure to get a glass of this fantastic French Riesling that has just the right acidity to be a perfect match for these buttery blinis.
Bistro Manu (Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 4) – the in-house restaurant of the Sokos Presidentti hotel comes around with an interesting blini offer this time around, with being very affordable and having a variety of different toppings to try. They are a bit thinner and greasier, but hence extra crispy! The salmon tartar was especially good here!
Restaurant Lasipalatsi (Mannerheimintie 22-24) – Another classic restaurant for Finnish food, this was actually the first place I ever got to enjoy blinis back in 2015, and I’ve been back often. Their all-you-can-eat-blini offer starts at 24€, and they also have a vegan option on the menu which I haven’t seen in many other places.
Meripaviljonki (Säästöpankinranta 3) – The blini menu at the floating seafood restaurant in Hakaniemi is available from 13,90€ and offers a nice selection of classic Blini toppings with a nice sea view. Can’t wait to try them!
Blinit (Sturenkatu 9) – For year-round Russian Blini delight, this small restaurant of Sturenkatu is your place to go. The blinis you’ll get here are different from those introduced further above, they are the more original variety that is thin and bigger, and available with both savoury and sweet toppings.