Welcome to My Best Helsinki

ON THIS, RESTAURANT PAGE 2: (click on restaurant names): globe, kappeli, maxill, mekka, midhill, nokka, palace gourmet, santa fé, seurasaari, sunn, särkänlinna, torni.     CAFES: aalto, angelica, carusel, carusel esplanade, chapman, ekberg, esplanad, fazer, ursula, senaatti, tamminiementien kahvila
ON RESTAURANT PAGE 1: baskeri & basso, boulevard social, bronda, chef & sommelier, demo, farang, ateljè finne, gaijin, gastone, grotesk, kuurna, olo, savoy, spis, strindberg, toca tony's deli & via.   (CLOSED: alexander nevski, george )
ON RESTAURANT PAGE 3: alppitori, amanda, elite, havis, kabuki, kokomo, kuurna, kynsilaukka -garlic, brasserie kämp, juuri, la place, olo, postres, safka, saaga, savotta, sea horse, signe, tori, yume. SUMMER RESTAURANTS, LOCATED ON HELSINKI ISLANDS: boathouse, chapman, njk, saaristo, särkänlinna, uunisaari, walhalla & a general Suomenlinna link.   TRADITIONAL Finnish cuisine & LAPPISH cuisine.   ALSO: a restaurant list & a café list   & more photos.

Many top restaurants in Helsinki are closed during the whole month of July,
some for even longer. If you are  planning a "foodie  vacation" in Helsinki during
the summer, July is probably not the best  time to do it. July, which usually is
the warmest summer month, is "vacation month" in Finland. Most Finns  start
their vacation around the  21st-24th of June,  when "Midsummer Eve", a huge
holiday in Finland,  is celebrated. Check in advance. 

is located in the beautiful Katajanokka neighborhood, on Kanavaranta (=Canal bank), in one of the restored 19th century warehouses, by the water. The same space used to be home to Restaurant Kanavaranta, now long gone. The Uspenski Cathedral is a block away. The name, "Nokka", stems from the name of the neighborhood: Katajanokka. Loosely = Juniper tree Peninsula

From the getgo, "hand-picked, clean, and high-quality raw materials", have been the guiding ideas of this ambitious restaurant.

We dined here soon after the opening and found the familiar, warm rooms pleasantly pared down. As a result the space is more elegant and calm. The ambiance is very pleasing. The restaurant was still struggling with some glitches, mostly having to do with the service, but the over all experience was promising.

In July 2002, we dined here in a group of three. My husband now found the restaurant very romantic and said he would recommend it to anyone who wanted to take his date for a romantic evening. Since the service was excellent and the food is very good, I agree.

We had a very pleasant and enjoyable evening. Some of our choices for the evening:




July 2003: A lovely dinner on Nokka's summer patio, by the water, confirms the praises above.

Address: Kanavaranta 7, 00160 Helsinki
Phone: (358)- (0)9-687 7330 second link

Enjoying Restaurat Nokka's lovely summer patio, by the water, in Helsinki's North Harbor.
Restaurant Nokka's summer patio, Katajanokka, Helsinki.

Enjoying the midnight sun & Helsinki skyline after dinner at Särkänlinna Restaurant on the island of Särkkä, June 2010.
Särkkä island midnight sun after dinner at Särkänlinna restaurant Click for larger image.
A wonderful view from Särkkä: Suomenlinna panorama

Helsinki South Harbor. Click for larger view:
This is he view from the now closed Palace Hotel Terrace Bar.

Now that Palace Hotel sadly has closed, the restaurant (below) is the only way to enjoy these stunning city & harbor & island views.

Finnish-French, global cuisine, with modernist touches. Make sure to reserve one of the window tables that face the South Harbor.

Address: Eteläranta 10, 00130 Helsinki
Phone: (358)- (0)9 1345 6715
Email: palacegourmet at palacekamp.fi
Second link

is a charming -and very different- gourmet restaurant, open during the summer season only. It is located on the tiny, historic fortress island, Särkkä. (Which is a part of the Suomenlinna Fortress Island).

The taxi boat ride off the Kaivopuisto/Ullanlinna shore to Särkkä takes abut 5 minutes, and costs 5 Euros per person. (Before ending your meal, ask the staff when the next boat back leaves. That way you can linger indoors a little longer, if necessary. Of course, if the weather is nice, its nice to take on the view from the pier).

Särkkä Island seen behind taxi boat & pier.Särkkä pier - boat to Särkkä & Särkänlinna restaurant, Helsinki

Helsinki skyline. Taxi boat from Katajanokka to Särkka.
Click for larger view & information: place names, etc:
Helsinki Skyline viewed from Särkka island a late summer evening.

The restaurant is located on the top floor of the old fortress, a long and narrow room with sloping floors and wonderful views of the sea on the other side, and the charming Helsinki skyline on the other side. The room and the deep window sills are decorated with historic artifacts, beautiful tall ship miniatures,etc.

The restaurant is popular and for good reason. The food is very good and the setting is one of it's kind, and even though the decor at Särkänlinna is a little rustic, I find the place very romantic.

In July 2001 we thought that Särkänlinna was the best restaurant in the city, even though it is only a seasonal restaurant. The meal the four of us had (fish, of course.) was the best we had in Helsinki, and the staff, especially the Maitre´d, was splendid.

Reservations are highly recommended.

Address: Särkänsaari, 00130 HELSINKI
Phone: (358)- (0)9 1345 6756
second link

Download the taxi boat schedule & PRICING.
Sorry, only in Finnish.

Merenkävijät Ry. Nice image of Särkkä

View from Särkkä island pier, after dinner at Särkänlinna restaurant. Looking at Suomenlinna fortress island (which Särkkä is a part of) shore line and its old lighthouse. Incredible light blue light of a Nordic midsummer night
Suomenlinna panorama, midsummer night, Helsinki

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serves, you guessed it, Tex-Mex ( & Cajun and international foods).The prices are low and the plates are large. The food is pretty good the prices.

The space is pretty cozy, despite it's size. It seats 240 people in its different rooms.

They serve drinks, international beers, cocktails & wines.

The wine list is short and includes mostly low wines. The most expensive wine being (in Feb., 2007) a Montecillo Gran Reserva at 43 Euros. (Vintage not mentioned.)

All the other wines are in the 27-31 Euro range.

It's a fun, very popular place among locals, for a casual snack together with friends or family.

Address: Aleksanterinkatu 15, 00100 Helsinki
Phone: (358)- (0)9 4242 6010  second link

Santa Fe interior image of diners. Helsinki, Finland

MIDHILL Diner / Brasserie "Burgers & Stuff"
High quality burgers, made from scratch, that are tweaked with Korean, Japanese & Greece flavors.
American diners and European Brasseries have served as the inspiration for Midhill.

The menu offers choices from burgers, hot dogs, and steaks to fish, seafood and salads. There is even lobster on the menu. The emphasis is on high quality ingredients.
The restaurant occupies two floors; the downstairs is for "fast" food and the 2nd floor for the more extensive menu.
There is also breakfast and brunch.

Address: Kaivokatu 8, 2nd floor.
(Citykäytävä, Saarisen piha), 00100 Helsinki
Phone: 0207 345110
Email: city@midhill.fi
Midhill also operates in two amusement parks: Linnanmäki (in Helsinki) & Särkänlinna in Tampere.

Remember, in Finland the dates
are marked: day /mo / year.

Restaurant Torni has been in business since 1931 (since the building, that also hosts Hotel Torni, was constructed).

The interior design of the restaurant tries to stay true to the traditional Finnish functionalism (modernism).

It has been a while since we had a chance to sample this restaurant, but when we did, we thoroughly enjoyed it: The food was made of very fresh ingredients, with nice layers of flavors and the presentation was beautiful.

The service was friendly & unpretentious. We have heard that the restaurant is still very good and cannot wait to try it again.

Address: Yrjönkatu 26, 00100 Helsinki i
Phone: 020 1234 604 
Email: torni.helsinki@sokoshotels.fi

Customer reviews vary from "quite disappointing" to "very good".

Address: Kluuvikatu 4, 00100 HELSINKI
Phone: (358)- (0)9- 13456749
Email: globe@glohotels.fi

MAXILL | Maxill on fb
Is a casual restaurant, serving good casual food. For the price it is a real bargain.

We dined here in different groups of four. The food was consistently tasty and the service attentive and friendly.

The menu contains delightfully many seafood dishes, but has choices for everyone.

The wine list features a broad range of low to medium end wines.

This restaurant became immediately popular when it opened in 1992; the food was good and the restaurant was refreshingly different compared to most other restaurants in Helsinki back then. It is not a place that tourists would easily find on their own.

That already is a good reason to pay a visit: You get a satisfying meal in a "cool" setting, for a reasonable price with almost only locals as patrons.

The room is a small rectangular space. The ceilings are high. The two walls that face the street are basically huge windows. That gives a more spacious feeling to the small room and also provides a nice overlook of the street.

The tables have tablecloths, and there are some decorative pieces of "art" on the walls.

The place is still quite popular among locals, so Reservations are recommended for dinner. First reviewed in 2001. Later visits confirm our original thoughts, with some variations. -Still good.

Address: Korkeavuorenkatu 4, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: (358)- (0)9 638873

This historic and well known structure has been one of the gathering places of locals and tourists alike, since it opened in 1867. And when the famous composer Jean Sibelius and other Finnish artists were not hanging out at Kämp, they were here.

Casual fare for good prices.

It is hard to beat the location: in the heart of Helsinki, in the Esplanade Park, right next to the Havis Amanda Fountain and the Market Square by Helsinki South Harbor & the sea.

Throughout the years, this old gem of a building has suffered trough different kinds of restaurants, interior designs, and patrons. There has been times when I have not cared for any of them. Which is too bad, since it is in such a nice spot.

Kappeli now conists of: Kappeli Bar, Bar Café, the “Sali” dining room, Cellar, and the most popular Summer Patio in Helsinki.

Kappeli was featured on the show  “Amazing Race".

Address: Eteläesplanadi 1, 00130 Helsinki
Phone: (358)- (0)9 6812440
Second Link to Kappeli's club


Located by Senate Square, with viewsa to the "Dome", a.k.a. Helsinki Cathedral. Open daily.

Address:Aleksanterinkatu 26, 00170 Helsinki
Phone:- (358) - (1)0 - 2312 - 800
Email: varaukset (@) ravintolasunn.fi

ESPLANADE PARK, Restarant Kappeli patio. Click to enlarge: Restaurant Kappeli, Esplanade Park, Helsinki Finland. Bright summer night, beginning of July.
Restaurant Kappeli in the winter. Restaurant Kappeli & patio, midnight early July in Helsinki. Click to enlarge image.

Address: Lönnrotinkatu 29, 00180 Helsinki
Phone: 09 5840 9603
Email: art@glohotels.fi

Amazing room, a very friendly manager and good food. We had a lovely lunch here, summer 2010. The manager told us about the building's history while we were waiting for the food to be served. That was quite entertaining and educational.

It is hard not to marvel at the beautiful old space.

We enjoyed a starter plate with assorted fish, including herring, of course, and for main course we enjoyed salmon, and a mixture of potatoes and veggies and a good helping of morel -cream sauce.

While the food was tasty, it was too heavy for our taste: too much cream and too much butter. I tried to ask for a lighter version (to be prepared with minimal amounts of cream & butter - preferrably olive oil) when I ordered, but it seemed like Restaurant Seurasaari, while very friendly, had a policy of not accomodating / understranding such requests.

After the lunch, we got a tour of the upstairs space.

Quite nice. Very different: recommended for travellers. Reservations needed for this room. Specify the room.

Address: Seurasaari, 00250 Helsinki
Phone: (358)-(0)9- 626 625
Cell: (358)-(0)50- 546 00 30
Email: myynti at ravintolaseurasaari.fi

Seurasaari Restaurant's  historic "Old Ballroom "1890". Seurasaari restaurant"1980" , Helsinki Finland Reservations needed for this part of the restaurant. The Cafe and casual restaurant serve customers on walk-in basis. Click for larger photo. Restaurant/ food images.

You get here by bus or car /taxi and by walking over the quaint little bridge from the maindland. Then you walk across the island (which is an open-air museum).

For information about the island, see: Seurasaari open-air museum.

Seafood starter plate at Seurasaari Restaurant. Click photo. Seurasaari_Island_Restaurant_Helsinki

"Fast Food" prepared with fresh, local and / or organic ingredients.

Address: Kluuvi shopping center
Aleksanterinkatu 7-9, 00100 Helsinki (in Kluuvi neighborhood).
Phone: (358)- 400 834 044

They have shops around Helsinki (not in the center) and at the Helsinki airport.


See also: Café Antin Kaffeliiteri
(Café Antti's Coffee Shed), below.


Cafe Aalto, in the Akateeminen Bookstore.
Delicious espressos, salads, sandwiches and pastries.

Cafe Ekberg, an old classic on Bulevardi. Always popular.
Address: Bulevardi 9, 00120 Helsinki
Phone: (358)- (0)9 6811 8660,
Email: ekberg@cafeekberg.fi
second link

Cafe Fazer
at Kluuvikatu 3 has delicious cakes, pastries & sandwiches. second link

Café Esplanad
on Pohjoisesplanadi is known for it's huge & delicious cinnamon rolls.

Cafe Ursula
on the beautiful Kaivopuisto shore, with magnificent sea & island views.

Cafe/Restaurant CARUSEL

Address: Merisatamanranta 10, 00150 Helsinki
Phone: (358)- (0)9- 622 4522
Email: carusel@carusel.fi

Café Senaatti
In the Kiseleff building, Senate Square.
Address: Aleksanterinkatu 28, 00170 HELSINKI
Phone: (358)- (0)9 602 462
  second link

CAFERIAS IN HELSINKI, off the center / outside Helsinki:

Tamminiementien Kahvila
Address: Tamminiementie 8, 00250 Helsinki (close to the entrance to Seurasaari Open-Air Museum)
Phone: 0500- 603- 378

Villa Angelica
Address: Tamminiementie 3, 00250 Helsinki
Phone: 0500- 603 -378

Address: Hvitträsk,
Hvitträskintie 166,FI-02440 LUOMA
Phone: +358 (0)9 297 6033
Hvitträsk is part of the National Museum.


Café Antin Kaffeliiteri
(Café Antti's Coffee Shed), on Seurasaari Island. Address: Seurasaari, 00250 Helsinki For more information, see:
Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

RESTAURANTS & CAFES ON SUOMENLINNA (SVEABORG) ISLAND, which is a wonderful picnic and/or excursion destination. Take advantage of the info, destinations of this list. If you go sightseeing anywhere outside the center in Helsinki, Suomenlinna should be it.

on the historic Suomenlinna Fortress Island serves surprisingly good fare both indoors and in their back yard garden. We absolutely love this unpretenitous cafe/restaurant and make sure to have lunch in their garden every time we visit the Suomenlinna Island.

A few good links:

List of Cafes in Helsinki


For casual beer restaurants and bars, see our CLUB & BAR PAGES.


RESTAURANT SAARISTO on LUOTO/KLIPPAN island. An absolutely wonderful setting for a summer restaurant, on a tiny island in the South Harbor. A must. CLICK ON PHOTO for place names
Klippan island & Klippan restaurant
and a much larger view of Klippan island & surroundings.
second link / location on map / image gallery
Phone: (358)- (0)9 7425 5505
Email: sales@asrestaurants.com

General about Finnish Cuisine and Helsinki Restaurants:

For years, Finland has been one of our top destinations partly because of its excellent and constantly evolving culinary scene, that encompasses not just the Scandinavian way of cooking, but also integrates international flavors and styles.

Every time we travel back to Helsinki, there is something new and exciting going on in the restaurant scene. The culinary know-how and the skill level of many of these chefs is truly impressive and often delights even the most demanding and spoiled patrons.

We live in New York and are spoiled rotten by the abundance of high culinary skills, both in "fancy" and casual restaurants here, but we still find dining in Helsinki restaurants quite enjoyable. And just like everywhere else, of course there are also bad restaurants in Helsinki. But to hear someone bash the culinary skills of all Finnish chefs, based on one or two bad experiences (or based on ignorance), is just plainly silly.

Restaurant Sasso on North Esplanade by the Market Square and South Harbor, Helsinki
Restaurant Sasso on North Esplanade by the Market Square in Helsinki

Remember, in Finland the dates
are marked: day /mo / year.

General about wine pricing in Helsinki Restaurants:
Be aware that Finnish restaurants generally appear to mark-up their wines to a higher degree than comparable American restaurants.

Also good to know: A smoking ban in Finnish restaurants took effect June 1st, 2007.

Website feedback: So many restaurants, so little time! Unfortunately we never have the time
to explore all the splendid restaurants we would like to while in Helsinki. We would love to hear from fellow Helsinki travelers & foodies. Please let us know WHICH RESTAURANTS YOU HAVE ENJOYED IN HELSINKI

My Best Helsinki: 15 pages of Helsinki photos, numerous links to Helsinki sights, restaurants, hotels, shopping, culture, transportation, etc: