Hungry in Helsinki

We visited Finland a week before the start of the Finnish summer holiday. I thought it would be enough time to fit in a few tasty meals before the entire country shut down. Sadly, a lot of the restaurants that were on my food itinerary were either closed for renovation or for an early start on the summer holiday.

Hyvää huomenta

Hyvää huomenta! Breakfast was included in all of our hotel stays–lots of meat, dairy and rye.

That said, we were still able to sample a variety of the local fare. I loved the full Finnish breakfasts served in our hotels, the Hotel Scandic Paasi, Helsinki, having the best selection. We had a lot of salmon soup and fried whitefish (the Kauppatori stalls served the best soup), as well as a bit of reindeer and mash and fresh berries.


Kauppatori Food Stalls

Our favourite restaurants were Gastrobar Emo and Ravintola Gaijin (literally means Foreigner Restaurant in a blend of Finnish and Japanese). Emo served a refreshing menu featuring a lot of seasonal vegetables, although I’ll admit we were a bit hungry after the meal.


High Five Menu at Gastrobar Emo

Although the food scene is slowly becoming more diverse, ethnic food is still harder to come by in Helsinki. We craved steamed white rice after 10 days of rye and potatoes so decided to go back to our gaijin roots on our last day in Finland.


Ravintola Gaijin’s Tasting Menu – Menu Gaijin

A lot of our friends were surprised we chose Finland of all the Scandinavian countries to visit because we’re so big on food. We got a lot of “You should’ve gone to Norway!” I had no idea that Finnish food ranked so low on people’s ‘must try’ lists. In any case, I had to see Moominvalley with my own eyes. And why not Finland? Although we did not find as many choices for food as we may have had on our other travels, we enjoyed almost everything we tried.

If we ever have a chance to return to Finland, I would like to try Ravintola Juuri (you really broke my heart last summer…we had reservations, but due to delayed renovations they were cancelled) and Patisserie Teemu & Markus (the mere thought of how disappointed I was when we finally found you and you were CLOSED makes my tastebuds ache for you all over again).

6 thoughts on “Hungry in Helsinki

  1. You made it to Finland!! I never fail to think of you each time I go to the Moomin shop or see some Moomin product. I bet you went wild shopping Moomins 🙂 I was just checking out Gaijin’s menu yesterday. Now thanks to you I’ll be heading over to Teemu & Markus and Ravintola Juuri very soon too. Hope you had a great trip! Sharon x

    • Hi Sharon! Yes, we finally made it, although it seems like ages ago now. Life got very chaotic after the trip so I’m only now catching up with some posts. Would love to hear your thoughts on Gaijin. Please enjoy Teemu & Markus and Ravintola Juuri for me! I am still gutted that they were closed…sigh. 🙂 Ai x

      • Tell me more about Gaijin!! I went to their sister restaurant Farang and was slightly disappointed with the portions of their tasting menu! (But of course, I am partial to generous portions when it comes to Asian cuisine especially South East Asian!) But Gaijin has been on my radar for some time now. We just came back from Singapore and Malaysia and I’m slowly making my way back to blogging as well. Take care, big hugs from snowy, thawing Helsinki. xx

      • Ah, yes, portion sizes are always hit or miss when it comes to tasting menus. If you’ve just returned from Asia, I’m not sure I would recommend going to Gaijin just yet. Perhaps give it a few months so expectations can be readjusted (haha). Let’s just say we were a little hungry after we left…but we do have larger than necessary appetites. 😛 That said, they did have some more substantial sized courses during the tasting so I think you might be ok?

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