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A dish at Wild

The 18 Essential Helsinki Restaurants

Where to find spicy daikon kimchi, blinis with caviar and vodka, and foraged Nordic delights in the Finnish capital

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A dish at Wild

Helsinki, like Finns themselves, was long seen as the shy introvert among its Nordic neighbors. But that’s changed. Today there is a dynamic new energy pumping through the streets of Helsinki, and it’s evidenced in the city’s thriving food scene, old and new. Historic dishes like Savoy’s vorschmack or Wild’s Karelian pie are getting new love, while the seasonal-food trend — particularly challenging in a country where nothing grows most of the year — thrives at a spate of ambitious, locavore-leaning newcomers. Here then are the restaurants, bars, and dishes that define the cozy Finnish capital.

Price Key

$ = Less than €16 (19 USD)

$$ = €16 - €39 (19 - 46 USD)

$$$ = €40 - €66 (48 - 79 USD)

$$$$ = €66 (79 USD) and up

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Olutravintola Pikkulintu

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Located in Puotila shopping center in Eastern Helsinki, Pikkulintu is a destination for lovers of craft beer and small-batch whiskey. The bar is conveniently located near Helsinki’s easy-to-navigate metro line, and once there, guests can taste Finnish brews or sample a dram of whiskey from the bar’s impressive selection, more than 300 strong. Kippis! (That’s “cheers” in Finnish.) [$]

A post shared by Aida Räihälä (@raeihis) on

Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar

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Finland has the highest consumption of coffee per capita in the world, and this compact cafe takes a “less is more” approach to the ubiquitous beverage. Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar is small in size and a little out of the way, but for fans of well-sourced brew, it’s worth a visit. Located near the quaint Puu-Vallila, an old working-class district, the cafe purchases beans direct from farmers around the world, with no middlemen, and roasts them in-house. Grab a cup to go, or stay and warm up in this intimate corner of Helsinki. [$]

Coffee at Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar/FB
Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar/FB

Gastro Cafe Kallio

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The Kallio neighborhood is mostly known for its dive bars and rowdy nightlife, but a wave of new restaurant openings are changing that reputation. This snug cafe and restaurant is located on Fleminginkatu, a street that is quickly becoming Helsinki’s bona fide food strip, and features a daily and sometimes hourly rotating line-up of dishes like fish cake with remoulade, ox tongue with horseradish veloute, and herring steaks with mashed potatoes. Perfect for a casual weekday lunch. [$-$$]

Spring carrots with goats curd
Gastro Cafe Kallio/FB

Lentävä Lehmä at Hakaniemi Market Hall

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Hakaniemi Market Hall (temporarily housed in an adjacent pavilion while the hall is being renovated) is the city’s most popular market among Helsinki locals. Inside, among the swarms of top-notch food stalls selling everything from thinly sliced gravlax and smoked fish at Kalakauppa Rosendahl to all things meat at Reinin Liha, you will find cheese shop Lentävä Lehmä (or Flying Cow) and the region’s favorite cheesemongers, sisters Hanne Hirvonen and Laura Mauno. Ask for a selection of cheeses from Finnish cheesemakers such as Helsingin Meijeriliike, Juustoportti, and Peltolan, or choose from the large selection of international varieties. Grab a baguette or loaf of dark rye bread from a bakery stand nearby, such as Leipätori, for the ideal picnic in the nearby Tokoinranta park. [$]

This Nordic cafe and restaurant can be easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. In the back of a high-end design shop, chef Jouni Toivanen created a hidden gem full of Finnish flavor. As the restaurant’s name suggests, the menu highlights wild and locally sourced ingredients to create an ever-changing slate of unpretentious dishes. The forest mushroom pie makes for a craveable snack, or go for the Karelian pie, a Finnish classic, with smoked egg butter on top. [$]

Colorful vegetables at Wild
Photo: Wild/Facebook

Putte's Bar and Pizza

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Putte’s Bar and Pizza serves as a casual living room of sorts for restaurant workers, food lovers, and pretty much anyone looking for a relaxed night out. Here, locals kick back with a mix of quality music, wine, and pizzas, like the puttanesca, a classic Neapolitan pasta dish transformed into a pie, or Silence of the Lambs, a spicy pie with lamb, mozzarella, tomato, and arugula. This is a place to linger; don’t come in a hurry. [$]

Pizzas at Putte’s Bar and Pizza
Putte’s Bar and Pizza/FB

Vorschmack at Savoy

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Restaurant Savoy is a Finnish dining institution if there ever was one. For more than 80 years, heads of state and hungry locals alike have admired Savoy’s view over the Esplanadi park. Modern tasting menus change with the seasons, but for an authentic Finnish experience, try the vorschmack, a tasty but unusual mix of minced lamb, herring, and loads of garlic; served with baked potato, a big dollop of sour cream, and pickles, it was the favorite dish of Baron Mannerheim, the marshal of Finland, who was a regular at Savoy and is said to have given the recipe to the restaurant himself. [$$$-$$$$]

Interior at Savoy
Savoy/FB

Story at Old Market Hall

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Helsinki’s Old Market Hall has been around for around 130 years, but inside the historic exterior you will find Story, a bright cafe and restaurant with a fresh Baltic vibe. Located in the South Harbour near the bustling Esplanadi park and Market Square, the cafe is the ideal place to stop for a quick cup of coffee from the local Kaffa Roastery, or a full breakfast like oven-baked porridge with berry compote or perhaps an eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, spinach, and hollandaise sauce. For lunch, avocado lovers opt for the Wögä burger, which ambitiously features avocado halves as buns, and wash it down with a glass of rosé. [$-$$]

Burgers at Old Market Hall
Old Market Hall/FB

The second restaurant from local celebrity chef Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg combines elements of Japanese, Korean, and northern Chinese cuisines for a menu that has Helsinki buzzing. There’s a tasting menu (69 euros), or diners can choose their own courses from menu, featuring everything from sashimi to dim sum to pork buns and daikon kimchi. [$$-$$$$]

Table display at Gaijin
Gaijin/FB

Naughty BRGR

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Top Chef Suomi (Finland) winner and hardcore burger aficionado Akseli Herlevi stumbled upon Helsinki’s growing appetite for good-quality burgers. With its purple neon lights, industrial vibe, and impressive hot sauce collection, Naughty BRGR is the ideal spot to devour a burger — or two. The crew at Naughty BRGR are not trying to reinvent the wheel, nor do they have to. It turns out that well-made burgers with premium ingredients are all you need to keep burger lovers from near and far coming back again and again. [$]

Burgers from Naughty BRGR
Naughty BRGR/FB

This cozy bistro in the heart of Helsinki is ideal for a relaxed dinner. Muru’s impressive wine list is kept in check by sommeliers Samuil Angelov and Taneli Lehtonen — known as two of the best sommeliers in Finland. On the daily-changing menu (52 euros) you might find classic dishes like salmon tartar, charcuterie, or bouillabaisse. Muru’s risotto of the day is widely hailed as the best in town. [$$$]

A post shared by Matti Paunonen (@paunone) on

For a full picture of what Finns can achieve with seasonal and organic Nordic ingredients, visit Grön. Since opening its doors in 2015, owners Lauri Kähkönen and Toni Kostian have cooked their way to Michelin stardom with dishes like barley pate brisee, filled with dry-aged beef and smoked pike roe with spring vegetables. Their haute vegan menu has been widely praised, and is reason enough to book a table. [$$$]

A dish at Grön
Grön/FB

Vinkkeli

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Located in a beautiful historic building in Kaartinkaupunki that dates back to 1889, Vinkkeli delivers a classic, uncomplicated culinary experience for diners yearning for the golden days of haute cuisine. Meticulously prepared dishes with a distinct Nordic feel are the core of a meal that begins with Champagne and herring or oxtail terrine, and continues with something timeless, like roasted trout with beurre blanc. Wine is a focus, too, thanks to the capable hands of sommelier and co-owner Antti Uusitalo. [$$$]

Table setting at Vinkkeli
Vinkkeli/FB

Sapas at Juuri

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Restaurant Juuri is on the forefront of Helsinki’s growing organic, locavore movement. The specialty of the house is sapas, small tapas-like dishes with a Finnish twist, such as herring with golden beet and apple and Finncattle beef with black salsify and mustard. Located near the Helsinki Design Museum, Juuri is the ideal complement to a day of sensory stimulation. [$$-$$$]

Tapas at Juuri
Juuri/FB

Šašlik

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Šašlik might not be the oldest Russian restaurant in Helsinki, but its reputation as a vodka-soaked, meat-skewering, balalaika-playing restaurant is second to none. Tourist trappings aside, Šašlik has highlighted traditional Russian food since 1972. A typical meal here begins with some zakuska appetizers or a blini with sour cream and fish roe, and vodka, of course. Then it’s time for theatrically skewered meats via the legendary Ivan’s Sword dish — cuts of beef and lamb are impaled with a sword and served on a hot griddle with all the fixings. Or perhaps you’re brave enough to try another house specialty: ground bear meat. [$$$]

An elaborate display at Šašlik
Šašlik/FB

Baskeri & Basso Bistro

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Baskeri & Basso Bistro opened  in 2015, and it quickly became a hit with locals starved for a casual dining experience that felt special without pretense. Open only Tuesday to Friday, this neighborhood favorite serves simple bistro food, like codfish with broccolini and sturgeon with spinach and watercress salad, topped with pine-nut sauce, all paired with organic and natural wines. The lively atmosphere in the dimly lit restaurant, with its tiny bar and walk-in wine closet, is prized as much as the menu. [$$$]

A post shared by (@saloida) on

Skiffer Liuskaluoto

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In recent years, local mini-chain Skiffer has become the city’s go-to pizza spot, known for its staple thin and crispy pie, liuska. Skiffer Liuskaluoto is located on a small island just a two-minute ferry ride from Merisatama pier near the Kaivopuisto park and is ideal for a leisurely summer lunch outdoors. In inclement weather — or just the long winter — head to Skiffer Erottaja, a 15-minute walk toward downtown from the Merisatama pier. At any location, try the surf and turf liuska, made with fresh chorizo and local crayfish. [$$]

Waterfront at Skiffer Liuskaluoto
Skiffer Liuskaluoto/FB

Jasper’s Salmon Soup at Löyly

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Finns are obsessed with sauna, and visitors would be remiss to not take advantage of this beloved local tradition. Enjoy a relaxing visit to the public sauna Löyly, where you can wander down and take a dip in the Baltic Sea if things get too hot. After a good, long sweat, Finns fuel up with a warm, creamy bowl of Jasper’s salmon soup. Made with cold-smoked salmon, this is Finnish comfort food at its best. Who’s Jasper? In addition to being one of the guys behind Löyly, he’s also a Finnish actor who plays the sword-swinging Halfdan the Black on the History Channel show Vikings. [$-$$]

A dish at Löyly
Löyly/FB

Olutravintola Pikkulintu

Located in Puotila shopping center in Eastern Helsinki, Pikkulintu is a destination for lovers of craft beer and small-batch whiskey. The bar is conveniently located near Helsinki’s easy-to-navigate metro line, and once there, guests can taste Finnish brews or sample a dram of whiskey from the bar’s impressive selection, more than 300 strong. Kippis! (That’s “cheers” in Finnish.) [$]

A post shared by Aida Räihälä (@raeihis) on

Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar

Coffee at Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar/FB
Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar/FB

Finland has the highest consumption of coffee per capita in the world, and this compact cafe takes a “less is more” approach to the ubiquitous beverage. Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar is small in size and a little out of the way, but for fans of well-sourced brew, it’s worth a visit. Located near the quaint Puu-Vallila, an old working-class district, the cafe purchases beans direct from farmers around the world, with no middlemen, and roasts them in-house. Grab a cup to go, or stay and warm up in this intimate corner of Helsinki. [$]

Coffee at Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar/FB
Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Coffee Bar/FB

Gastro Cafe Kallio

Spring carrots with goats curd
Gastro Cafe Kallio/FB

The Kallio neighborhood is mostly known for its dive bars and rowdy nightlife, but a wave of new restaurant openings are changing that reputation. This snug cafe and restaurant is located on Fleminginkatu, a street that is quickly becoming Helsinki’s bona fide food strip, and features a daily and sometimes hourly rotating line-up of dishes like fish cake with remoulade, ox tongue with horseradish veloute, and herring steaks with mashed potatoes. Perfect for a casual weekday lunch. [$-$$]

Spring carrots with goats curd
Gastro Cafe Kallio/FB

Lentävä Lehmä at Hakaniemi Market Hall

Hakaniemi Market Hall (temporarily housed in an adjacent pavilion while the hall is being renovated) is the city’s most popular market among Helsinki locals. Inside, among the swarms of top-notch food stalls selling everything from thinly sliced gravlax and smoked fish at Kalakauppa Rosendahl to all things meat at Reinin Liha, you will find cheese shop Lentävä Lehmä (or Flying Cow) and the region’s favorite cheesemongers, sisters Hanne Hirvonen and Laura Mauno. Ask for a selection of cheeses from Finnish cheesemakers such as Helsingin Meijeriliike, Juustoportti, and Peltolan, or choose from the large selection of international varieties. Grab a baguette or loaf of dark rye bread from a bakery stand nearby, such as Leipätori, for the ideal picnic in the nearby Tokoinranta park. [$]

Wild

Colorful vegetables at Wild
Photo: Wild/Facebook

This Nordic cafe and restaurant can be easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. In the back of a high-end design shop, chef Jouni Toivanen created a hidden gem full of Finnish flavor. As the restaurant’s name suggests, the menu highlights wild and locally sourced ingredients to create an ever-changing slate of unpretentious dishes. The forest mushroom pie makes for a craveable snack, or go for the Karelian pie, a Finnish classic, with smoked egg butter on top. [$]

Colorful vegetables at Wild
Photo: Wild/Facebook

Putte's Bar and Pizza

Pizzas at Putte’s Bar and Pizza
Putte’s Bar and Pizza/FB

Putte’s Bar and Pizza serves as a casual living room of sorts for restaurant workers, food lovers, and pretty much anyone looking for a relaxed night out. Here, locals kick back with a mix of quality music, wine, and pizzas, like the puttanesca, a classic Neapolitan pasta dish transformed into a pie, or Silence of the Lambs, a spicy pie with lamb, mozzarella, tomato, and arugula. This is a place to linger; don’t come in a hurry. [$]

Pizzas at Putte’s Bar and Pizza
Putte’s Bar and Pizza/FB

Vorschmack at Savoy

Interior at Savoy
Savoy/FB

Restaurant Savoy is a Finnish dining institution if there ever was one. For more than 80 years, heads of state and hungry locals alike have admired Savoy’s view over the Esplanadi park. Modern tasting menus change with the seasons, but for an authentic Finnish experience, try the vorschmack, a tasty but unusual mix of minced lamb, herring, and loads of garlic; served with baked potato, a big dollop of sour cream, and pickles, it was the favorite dish of Baron Mannerheim, the marshal of Finland, who was a regular at Savoy and is said to have given the recipe to the restaurant himself. [$$$-$$$$]

Interior at Savoy
Savoy/FB

Story at Old Market Hall

Burgers at Old Market Hall
Old Market Hall/FB

Helsinki’s Old Market Hall has been around for around 130 years, but inside the historic exterior you will find Story, a bright cafe and restaurant with a fresh Baltic vibe. Located in the South Harbour near the bustling Esplanadi park and Market Square, the cafe is the ideal place to stop for a quick cup of coffee from the local Kaffa Roastery, or a full breakfast like oven-baked porridge with berry compote or perhaps an eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, spinach, and hollandaise sauce. For lunch, avocado lovers opt for the Wögä burger, which ambitiously features avocado halves as buns, and wash it down with a glass of rosé. [$-$$]

Burgers at Old Market Hall
Old Market Hall/FB

Gaijin

Table display at Gaijin
Gaijin/FB

The second restaurant from local celebrity chef Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg combines elements of Japanese, Korean, and northern Chinese cuisines for a menu that has Helsinki buzzing. There’s a tasting menu (69 euros), or diners can choose their own courses from menu, featuring everything from sashimi to dim sum to pork buns and daikon kimchi. [$$-$$$$]

Table display at Gaijin
Gaijin/FB

Naughty BRGR

Burgers from Naughty BRGR
Naughty BRGR/FB

Top Chef Suomi (Finland) winner and hardcore burger aficionado Akseli Herlevi stumbled upon Helsinki’s growing appetite for good-quality burgers. With its purple neon lights, industrial vibe, and impressive hot sauce collection, Naughty BRGR is the ideal spot to devour a burger — or two. The crew at Naughty BRGR are not trying to reinvent the wheel, nor do they have to. It turns out that well-made burgers with premium ingredients are all you need to keep burger lovers from near and far coming back again and again. [$]

Burgers from Naughty BRGR
Naughty BRGR/FB

Muru

This cozy bistro in the heart of Helsinki is ideal for a relaxed dinner. Muru’s impressive wine list is kept in check by sommeliers Samuil Angelov and Taneli Lehtonen — known as two of the best sommeliers in Finland. On the daily-changing menu (52 euros) you might find classic dishes like salmon tartar, charcuterie, or bouillabaisse. Muru’s risotto of the day is widely hailed as the best in town. [$$$]

A post shared by Matti Paunonen (@paunone) on

Grön

A dish at Grön
Grön/FB

For a full picture of what Finns can achieve with seasonal and organic Nordic ingredients, visit Grön. Since opening its doors in 2015, owners Lauri Kähkönen and Toni Kostian have cooked their way to Michelin stardom with dishes like barley pate brisee, filled with dry-aged beef and smoked pike roe with spring vegetables. Their haute vegan menu has been widely praised, and is reason enough to book a table. [$$$]

A dish at Grön
Grön/FB

Vinkkeli

Table setting at Vinkkeli
Vinkkeli/FB

Located in a beautiful historic building in Kaartinkaupunki that dates back to 1889, Vinkkeli delivers a classic, uncomplicated culinary experience for diners yearning for the golden days of haute cuisine. Meticulously prepared dishes with a distinct Nordic feel are the core of a meal that begins with Champagne and herring or oxtail terrine, and continues with something timeless, like roasted trout with beurre blanc. Wine is a focus, too, thanks to the capable hands of sommelier and co-owner Antti Uusitalo. [$$$]

Table setting at Vinkkeli
Vinkkeli/FB

Sapas at Juuri

Tapas at Juuri
Juuri/FB

Restaurant Juuri is on the forefront of Helsinki’s growing organic, locavore movement. The specialty of the house is sapas, small tapas-like dishes with a Finnish twist, such as herring with golden beet and apple and Finncattle beef with black salsify and mustard. Located near the Helsinki Design Museum, Juuri is the ideal complement to a day of sensory stimulation. [$$-$$$]

Tapas at Juuri
Juuri/FB

Šašlik

An elaborate display at Šašlik
Šašlik/FB

Šašlik might not be the oldest Russian restaurant in Helsinki, but its reputation as a vodka-soaked, meat-skewering, balalaika-playing restaurant is second to none. Tourist trappings aside, Šašlik has highlighted traditional Russian food since 1972. A typical meal here begins with some zakuska appetizers or a blini with sour cream and fish roe, and vodka, of course. Then it’s time for theatrically skewered meats via the legendary Ivan’s Sword dish — cuts of beef and lamb are impaled with a sword and served on a hot griddle with all the fixings. Or perhaps you’re brave enough to try another house specialty: ground bear meat. [$$$]

An elaborate display at Šašlik
Šašlik/FB

Related Maps

Baskeri & Basso Bistro

Baskeri & Basso Bistro opened  in 2015, and it quickly became a hit with locals starved for a casual dining experience that felt special without pretense. Open only Tuesday to Friday, this neighborhood favorite serves simple bistro food, like codfish with broccolini and sturgeon with spinach and watercress salad, topped with pine-nut sauce, all paired with organic and natural wines. The lively atmosphere in the dimly lit restaurant, with its tiny bar and walk-in wine closet, is prized as much as the menu. [$$$]

A post shared by (@saloida) on

Skiffer Liuskaluoto

Waterfront at Skiffer Liuskaluoto
Skiffer Liuskaluoto/FB

In recent years, local mini-chain Skiffer has become the city’s go-to pizza spot, known for its staple thin and crispy pie, liuska. Skiffer Liuskaluoto is located on a small island just a two-minute ferry ride from Merisatama pier near the Kaivopuisto park and is ideal for a leisurely summer lunch outdoors. In inclement weather — or just the long winter — head to Skiffer Erottaja, a 15-minute walk toward downtown from the Merisatama pier. At any location, try the surf and turf liuska, made with fresh chorizo and local crayfish. [$$]

Waterfront at Skiffer Liuskaluoto
Skiffer Liuskaluoto/FB

Jasper’s Salmon Soup at Löyly

A dish at Löyly
Löyly/FB

Finns are obsessed with sauna, and visitors would be remiss to not take advantage of this beloved local tradition. Enjoy a relaxing visit to the public sauna Löyly, where you can wander down and take a dip in the Baltic Sea if things get too hot. After a good, long sweat, Finns fuel up with a warm, creamy bowl of Jasper’s salmon soup. Made with cold-smoked salmon, this is Finnish comfort food at its best. Who’s Jasper? In addition to being one of the guys behind Löyly, he’s also a Finnish actor who plays the sword-swinging Halfdan the Black on the History Channel show Vikings. [$-$$]

A dish at Löyly
Löyly/FB

Related Maps