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Helsinki, Finland.
Photo: Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock

The 11 Hottest New Restaurants in Helsinki, Finland

Nordic fine dining in a shopping mall, Neapolitan pizza, and lots of herring in Finland’s capital city

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Helsinki, Finland.
| Photo: Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock

For the first time, Eater heads to Helsinki, Finland, to check in on 11 drinking and dining destinations that have been garnering some serious buzz. And for this initial installation, Helsinki-based writer Ilkka Siren has kindly offered up his picks for the hottest restaurants of the past 12 months.

Fish, like perch, herring, and vendace, is a staple in the Finnish capital and appears on the menus at a highly anticipated Nordic fine dining restaurant (Chapter), a casual wine bar (Wino), and an updated take on a seaside inn (Hieta). But Helsinki locals are also clamoring for Neapolitan pizza (Pizzeria Via Tribunali), grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches (Levain), and cheeseburgers from a TV-famous chef (Mika Tuomonen’s Social Food Burger Joint).

Without further ado, and in geographic order, the Eater Heatmap to Helsinki:

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Tukkutorin Kala Oy

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Tukkutorin Kala, a monster of a name if you don’t speak Finnish, is half indoor fish market and half seafood restaurant. It’s located at the entrance of Teurastamo, a former slaughterhouse now revived as a hub for restaurants and events. Pop in for lunch to try classic fish soup or roasted pike perch, or treat yourself to Carelian Caviar. While there, stop by the Helsinki Distilling Company next door and sample some local sea buckthorn “moonshine.”

Oysters in the seafood case at Tukkutorin Kala.
Photo: Tukkutorin Kala / Facebook

Social Food Burger Joint

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Since winning MasterChef Finland in 2012, Mika Tuomonen and his food trucks have been a familiar sight in the city. Now, he has a permanent address and a charcoal grill to go with it. Not long after it opened, Burger Joint’s burgers were hailed as Finland’s best by locals. The menu is pretty straightforward, focusing on cheeseburgers and fries, but the Greenwich portobello burger is a solid choice for vegetarians and carnivores alike. There are no tricks here, just well-made burgers.

A cheeseburger and fries.
Photo: Social Food Burger Joint / Facebook

The trendy Kallio neighborhood is well-known for dive bars, hip cafes, and massage parlors, and now, there’s wine, too. Make a meal out of a selection of small plates carefully crafted from Finnish ingredients like Baltic herring, vendace, cep mushrooms, and pickled apple, or let out your inner wine geek and explore the comprehensive list of natural wines.

Chanterelle pelmeni with smetana foam and shallot puree.
Photo: Wino / Facebook

Restaurant Jord

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Restaurant Jord, located in the Kortteli food hall, is not what you would expect from your average shopping mall food court. Located five floors above the bustling city center in the Kamppi shopping center, Jord offers organic Finnish cuisine paired with a lovely view of downtown Helsinki. Opt to be surprised by the changing chef’s menu, or start with spinach crepes and smoked lingonberry jam followed by the pike perch cooked in butter with grilled leeks and roasted celeriac. Jord is the laid-back sibling of restaurant Ask, which was selected as Finland’s best restaurant for the second year in a row by restaurant guide White Guide Nordic 2018.

A dish at Restaurant Jord.
Photo: Restaurant Jord / Facebook

Chapter

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Chapter may be the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year. Nestled inside the Tori Quarters next to the Helsinki Cathedral, the restaurant opened in stages. The cocktail component debuted first, in June, serving drinks and fine-tuned bar food with an emphasis on Nordic staples like arctic char and pike perch, with ingredients like enoki, shiitake, and yuzu providing a fresh touch. The full-service fine dining restaurant, located in the old part of the building, constructed in 1775, opened its doors in early October.

Pike perch and greens.
Photo: Chapter / Facebook

Pizzeria Via Tribunali

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Pizzeria Via Tribunali serves Neapolitan pizza, certified by Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, in the heart of Helsinki. Conveniently located between the Senate Square and the Market Square, this buzzy restaurant dishes out pizza on a first-come, first-serve basis. Although they offer toppings like smoked scamorza cheese, mortadella, and soppressata salami, opt for the classic margherita. The owners have a strong background in cocktails, so while you’re waiting for your pie, order a Negroni or two.

Pizza at Pizzeria Via Tribunali.
Photo: Pizzeria Via Tribunali

A whole whitefish roasted on an open-fire grill is a sight to behold, and the grill at Werner, supposedly “the biggest open-fire grill in town,” is the beating heart of the restaurant. If you are feeling hungry, order the six-week dry-aged beef entrecote — on the bone, of course. Werner’s owners are also distinguished sausage craftsmen at Harju Sausage Factory, so skipping the sausage on the menu here would be a huge mistake.

A meal at Werner.
Photo: Werner / Facebook

Hieta is a nicer version of the classic weather-beaten seaside inn. You won’t find arm-wrestling fisherman, but located near Hietalahti Market Hall and the harbor, Hieta offers up hearty dishes like Baltic herring, fried vendace, beef liver, and proper wiener schnitzel with potato salad. Leave water for the fish and order some beer made by local brewer Donut Island Brewing.

Herring at Hieta.
Photo: Hieta / Facebook

Levain is the newest addition to popular restaurant group BW-Restaurants, led by local celebrity chef Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg. This well-rounded bakery plus restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the lively Punavuori neighborhood. The bread alone is worth a quick detour. Try the seasonal sourdough or rye levain, or grab a grilled Monte Rosso sandwich to go.

Levain’s Monte Rosso sandwich.
Photo: Levain / Facebook

BasBas & Staff Wine Bar

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Helsinki craved more wine, and last year, that thirst was quenched. The easy-going offspring of restaurant BasBas, the popular neighborhood bistro from chef Kalle Kiukainen and sommelier Nicolas Thieulon, is a wine bar more than anything else. The dim interior, with its stripped industrial look, is a cozy setting for wine lovers to share a bottle. You don’t need to be a connoisseur to enter — the friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you pick the right glass — but proper wine nerds won’t be bored here either. Don’t forget to check out the food menu on the wall for some small yet delicious dishes to pair with the wine.

Charcuterie at BasBas.
Photo: BasBas / Facebook

Finnish foodies were shocked to hear that the Michelin-starred Chef & Sommelier was closing its doors in June, but chef Sasu Laukkonen has already reopened his restaurant with a new name and new look. Ora is all about Finnish ingredients: Depending on the season, you’ll find pumpkin and sea buckthorn, whitefish with nasturtium, and perhaps some summer lamb from the islands of Åland. The 23-seat fine dining spot has tables facing the kitchen, so no need to stress about engaging in a staring contest with your fellow diners.

Lamb and cabbage at Ora.
Photo: Ora / Facebook

Tukkutorin Kala Oy

Tukkutorin Kala, a monster of a name if you don’t speak Finnish, is half indoor fish market and half seafood restaurant. It’s located at the entrance of Teurastamo, a former slaughterhouse now revived as a hub for restaurants and events. Pop in for lunch to try classic fish soup or roasted pike perch, or treat yourself to Carelian Caviar. While there, stop by the Helsinki Distilling Company next door and sample some local sea buckthorn “moonshine.”

Oysters in the seafood case at Tukkutorin Kala.
Photo: Tukkutorin Kala / Facebook

Social Food Burger Joint

Since winning MasterChef Finland in 2012, Mika Tuomonen and his food trucks have been a familiar sight in the city. Now, he has a permanent address and a charcoal grill to go with it. Not long after it opened, Burger Joint’s burgers were hailed as Finland’s best by locals. The menu is pretty straightforward, focusing on cheeseburgers and fries, but the Greenwich portobello burger is a solid choice for vegetarians and carnivores alike. There are no tricks here, just well-made burgers.

A cheeseburger and fries.
Photo: Social Food Burger Joint / Facebook

Wino

The trendy Kallio neighborhood is well-known for dive bars, hip cafes, and massage parlors, and now, there’s wine, too. Make a meal out of a selection of small plates carefully crafted from Finnish ingredients like Baltic herring, vendace, cep mushrooms, and pickled apple, or let out your inner wine geek and explore the comprehensive list of natural wines.

Chanterelle pelmeni with smetana foam and shallot puree.
Photo: Wino / Facebook

Restaurant Jord

Restaurant Jord, located in the Kortteli food hall, is not what you would expect from your average shopping mall food court. Located five floors above the bustling city center in the Kamppi shopping center, Jord offers organic Finnish cuisine paired with a lovely view of downtown Helsinki. Opt to be surprised by the changing chef’s menu, or start with spinach crepes and smoked lingonberry jam followed by the pike perch cooked in butter with grilled leeks and roasted celeriac. Jord is the laid-back sibling of restaurant Ask, which was selected as Finland’s best restaurant for the second year in a row by restaurant guide White Guide Nordic 2018.

A dish at Restaurant Jord.
Photo: Restaurant Jord / Facebook

Chapter

Chapter may be the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year. Nestled inside the Tori Quarters next to the Helsinki Cathedral, the restaurant opened in stages. The cocktail component debuted first, in June, serving drinks and fine-tuned bar food with an emphasis on Nordic staples like arctic char and pike perch, with ingredients like enoki, shiitake, and yuzu providing a fresh touch. The full-service fine dining restaurant, located in the old part of the building, constructed in 1775, opened its doors in early October.

Pike perch and greens.
Photo: Chapter / Facebook

Pizzeria Via Tribunali

Pizzeria Via Tribunali serves Neapolitan pizza, certified by Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, in the heart of Helsinki. Conveniently located between the Senate Square and the Market Square, this buzzy restaurant dishes out pizza on a first-come, first-serve basis. Although they offer toppings like smoked scamorza cheese, mortadella, and soppressata salami, opt for the classic margherita. The owners have a strong background in cocktails, so while you’re waiting for your pie, order a Negroni or two.

Pizza at Pizzeria Via Tribunali.
Photo: Pizzeria Via Tribunali

Werner

A whole whitefish roasted on an open-fire grill is a sight to behold, and the grill at Werner, supposedly “the biggest open-fire grill in town,” is the beating heart of the restaurant. If you are feeling hungry, order the six-week dry-aged beef entrecote — on the bone, of course. Werner’s owners are also distinguished sausage craftsmen at Harju Sausage Factory, so skipping the sausage on the menu here would be a huge mistake.

A meal at Werner.
Photo: Werner / Facebook

Hieta

Hieta is a nicer version of the classic weather-beaten seaside inn. You won’t find arm-wrestling fisherman, but located near Hietalahti Market Hall and the harbor, Hieta offers up hearty dishes like Baltic herring, fried vendace, beef liver, and proper wiener schnitzel with potato salad. Leave water for the fish and order some beer made by local brewer Donut Island Brewing.

Herring at Hieta.
Photo: Hieta / Facebook

Levain

Levain is the newest addition to popular restaurant group BW-Restaurants, led by local celebrity chef Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg. This well-rounded bakery plus restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the lively Punavuori neighborhood. The bread alone is worth a quick detour. Try the seasonal sourdough or rye levain, or grab a grilled Monte Rosso sandwich to go.

Levain’s Monte Rosso sandwich.
Photo: Levain / Facebook

BasBas & Staff Wine Bar

Helsinki craved more wine, and last year, that thirst was quenched. The easy-going offspring of restaurant BasBas, the popular neighborhood bistro from chef Kalle Kiukainen and sommelier Nicolas Thieulon, is a wine bar more than anything else. The dim interior, with its stripped industrial look, is a cozy setting for wine lovers to share a bottle. You don’t need to be a connoisseur to enter — the friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you pick the right glass — but proper wine nerds won’t be bored here either. Don’t forget to check out the food menu on the wall for some small yet delicious dishes to pair with the wine.

Charcuterie at BasBas.
Photo: BasBas / Facebook

Ora

Finnish foodies were shocked to hear that the Michelin-starred Chef & Sommelier was closing its doors in June, but chef Sasu Laukkonen has already reopened his restaurant with a new name and new look. Ora is all about Finnish ingredients: Depending on the season, you’ll find pumpkin and sea buckthorn, whitefish with nasturtium, and perhaps some summer lamb from the islands of Åland. The 23-seat fine dining spot has tables facing the kitchen, so no need to stress about engaging in a staring contest with your fellow diners.

Lamb and cabbage at Ora.
Photo: Ora / Facebook

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