The best Finnish restaurants in Helsinki

You are looking for the best Finnish restaurants in Helsinki? Helsinki has a great variety of Finnish restaurants to offer. If you want to try traditional dishes, visit a neighbour gem or classic restaurant, or if you are intrigued by the modern interpretation of Finnish dishes, you find them all here. 

In this article:

    Map overview of the best Finnish restaurants in Helsinki

    Good to know about Finnish restaurants & Restaurants in Finland

    • Reserve a table: booking your restaurant, especially for dinner, is highly recommended. Restaurants link their booking calendar, but if you want to browse around, have a look at TableOnline or Quandoo
    • No need to tip: tipping your waiter is not common in Finland and is not expected. You can tip, but you don’t have to.
    • Tap water: tap water in Finland is excellent and the best you can find, and is usually available or brought to your table, and included in your visit
    • Dietary preferences: Finland is a great country if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. In many menus each dish is marked with labels indicating its lactose or gluten content, or if it’s vegetarian or vegan. If you have any issues, ask!  
    • Meal times in Finland: Finns eat early, and every meal. Lunch can start as early as 10:30 or 11:00, Dinner time is often between 17:00 and 19:00. If you want a later dinner, make sure to check the kitchen times beforehand.
    • Splitting the bill: is super common and never an issue. It’s very common here to pay separately if you are out with friends or as a couple. No need to be hesitant about asking for a split check!
    • Payment: card payment is usually preferred and most common. Cash is possible but rarely used.
    • Self-service: during lunchtime, table service isn’t very common. You order and pay at the counter and your meal is then brought to your table. 
    • Lunch deals: many restaurants have lunch specials that are available from any time between 10:30 and 15:00. They often include soup or salad before your main dish, as well as coffee or tea afterwards.

    Finnish dishes to try

    Finnish food is simple and straight forward. Historically, not much was growing in Finland and there wasn’t much in terms of spices, so seasoning remained fairly plain. Finns have had to perfect the way to cook their ingredients to perfection without adding too much, and really cherish their own flavour. So don’t expect an explosion of exotic flavours, but find the beauty in the simple things.

    Fish is an important part of Finnish cuisine, reindeer and elk meat are well-known traditional dishes, but in modern every day life not as present as you’d think. Potatoes and grains are just as important as root vegetables (such as celeriac, carrots and parsnip) are resistant to cold and grow in harsh conditions, so you find those a lot as well, especially in the colder season. 

    In the summer and autumn, there is an abundance of berries, mushrooms, rhubarb, apples and much more.

    Salmon soup – Lohikeitto – the humble Finnish salmon soup is creamy, and full of potatoes and carrots. It’s a delicious classic you can get anywhere, but see the last point of this blog post for the best salmon soup in Helsinki!

    Karelian meat stew – Karjalanpaisti – a hearty stew with pork and root vegetables

    Pan-fried fish – Paistettua kalaa – a year-round favourite are the freshwater fish from the lakes. These could be pike-perch (Ahven), whitefish (Siika(, pike (Hauki) or Arctic char (Nieriä), amongst others.

    Fried vendaceMuikku – the small fish is popular from the markets or traditional restaurants. You eat it whole, often with a garlic dip and mashed potatoes.

    BlinisBlinit – the Finnish variant of Blinis is made from buckwheat flour and baked thick in cast-iron forms. Served with smetana (similar to sour creme) with roe and onion, or anything from reindeer to mushrooms. A seasonal winter dish. See where to get them here.

    Pyttipannu – a mix of fried potatoes, meat and sometimes egg is delicious and hearty (and the perfect hangover food)

    Pea soup – Hernekeitto – the Finnish pea soup is usually served on Thursdays, and a simple classic. 

    Cabbage rollsKaalikääryleet – usually a mix of minced meat (or mushrooms) and rice, wrapped in cabbage leaves. Served with gravy and lingonberries

    Meatballs with mashed potatoesLihapullat muusilla  – served with gravy and lingonberry jam

    ReindeerPoro – comes in lots of different varieties, sautéed (Poronkäristysis probably the most common one, as is filet

    ElkHirvi – less often seen on the menu, but not rare.

    Vorschmack – a traditionally Eastern European dish has found its way to Finland as well. It’s a seasoned minced meat dish (often lamb), sometimes also includes fish and onions. Served with smetana, potatoes and pickles.

    Leipäjuusto – a squeaky soft cheese (a bit similar to Halloumi) that’s served warm and most loved with cloudberries

    PancakesLettu tai pannukakku – Lettu being the thin and more crispy variety, pannukakku the thick pancake that is traditionally baked in the oven. Both are served with whipped cream and jam.

    BerriesMarjat – any kind of berries is often found on dessert menus, from blueberries to cloudberries (hilla or lakka). Blueberry pie is much loved, and if you come across cloudberries served with whipped cream – get it – and thank me later. 

     

    The best Finnish restaurants in Helsinki

    Finnish cuisine is clean and delicious, and no matter if you are looking for a contemporary modern Finnish restaurant or a traditional, classic experience in one of the restaurants that have been around for a long time – here are all the best Finnish restaurants in Helsinki!

    Elite Restaurant

    traditional classic artistic vibes 

    A true classic for a reason, the artist restaurant Elite in the Töölö neighbourhood is possibly one of my favourites of the list and known for being one of the best Finnish restaurants in Helsinki for a reason. The service is wonderful, the classic menus just delicious, and the whole experience was just an absolute delight. It’s a bit of a trip to the 30s and definitely a traditional option. It’s great with kids as well, they are well looked after and when the crêpes or some of the main dishes are flamed nearby the table, it’s great entertainment for everyone. Tip: there’s a secret museum upstairs, where you can for example see the skis of Moomin creator Tove Jansson!

    Set menus: from 45€

    Address: Eteläinen Hesperiankatu 22

    Website

     

    Pompier Albertinkatu

    traditional classic low-key lunch

    Pompier Albertinkatu is a true neighbourhood gem, that serves a home-style Finnish lunch buffet – and is my favourite choice for the traditional pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays. It takes you back in time to the 50s, the setting is somewhat quirky and stylish at the same time.

    Lunch: 11-19€

    Address: Albertinkatu 29

    Website

     

    Restaurant Lasipalatsi

    classic traditional experience

    Lasipalatsi restaurant is in the heart of Helsinki and a classic choice when it comes to their menu, and the retro vibes from the iconic functional design of the 30s. Enjoy the menu and watch life go by on one of the busiest streets of the city. A great choice during blini season as well! Attentive and very friendly service, couldn’t recommend it more!

    Set menu: 50€

    Address: Mannerheimintie 22 – 24

    Website

     

    Kulta Kitchen Restaurant

    contemporary northern 

    Kulta kitchen is the in-house restaurant of the Lapland Hotel Bulevardi, and a wonderful choice for a contemporary Finnish menu. A modern twist on classic dishes and ingredients, in a very Northern setting, with reindeer hides and wooden decor all around.

    The surprise menu is a great choice and value for money. The á la carte menu also offers smaller bites. Also ask about the cocktail specials! It’s best for a nice, cozy dinner experience.

    Surprise Menu: 69€

    Address: Bulevardi 28

    Website

     

    Aino Restaurant

    modern nordic 

    Aino is named after many famous Finnish ladies who are paid hommage to by art pieces in the restaurant. The classic Finnish dishes are served in a modern interpretation, and full of seasonal ingredients. A lovely date night location, and great to combine with a visit to the opera or the ballet which is just across the street.

     

    Set menus: from 44€

    Address: Mannerheimintie 56

    Website

     

    KuuKuu Restaurant

    cozy classic modern

    KuuKuu is a local favourite amongst local Finnish restaurants, which is open every day of the week which is great. They offer popular classics such as sautéed reindeer and salmon soup, their Helsinki menu is well-known! Lovely service, too. 

    Set menus: from 43€

    Address: Museokatu 17

    Website

     

    Restaurant Kappeli

    traditional classic grande

    Kappeli is not only a stunningly beautiful building, and alone for that a visit is always worth it, but their menu is also full of classic Finnish dishes. Their salmon soup is great for a lunch date, the evening menu makes for a cozy elegant evening out. I especially recommend their blinis in the winter season. 

    Set menu: tbc

    Address: Eteläesplanadi 1

    Website

     

    Salve Restaurant

    traditional classic maritime 

    My parents favourite restaurant is another Helsinki classic, and great for traditional options such as meatballs or blinis, when it’s the season. The maritime vibes are cozy and the view of the harbour fits perfectly. Don’t miss out on the lettu (thin Finnish pancake) from the dessert menu. 

    Address: Hietalahdenranta 5

    Website

     

    Savotta restaurant

    traditional hearty in downtown setting

    A favourite amongst visitors to the city who want a rustic Finnish food experience. There are menu options or à lacarte dishes available. The views from inside the restaurant of the Helsinki Cathedral are wonderful, in the summer the courtyard terrace is really lovely.

    Set menus: from 49€

    Address: Aleksanterinkatu 22

    Website

     

    Bonus: Best salmon soup in Helsinki

    Fisken på Disken serves the best salmon soup in Finland – hands down. I cannot recommend it enough, and everyone who I have taken here is blown away. The smoked fish broth and the dill oil, the smooth potatoes and the salmon cooked to perfection – if you want to get the best Finnish salmon soup – this is the one and only place and worth every cent. 

    Salmon soup: 17€ (during lunchtime) / 22€

    Address: Urho Kekkosen katu 1 (Kampin kortteli, 5th floor)

    Website

     

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