Written by Anete Kruusmägi
Finnish cuisine doesn’t have the best reputation. Probably you have heard, that their dishes are flavourless and simple like potatoes, Karelian pies, porridge and black bread. If you share that opinion, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when diving into the Finnish fine dining scene.
The top 10 restaurants in Finland offer a lot of fresh local produce and flavours that you have never tasted before. 7 restaurants in Finland have one Michelin star. Each and every one of them serves you excellent flavours. So ditch your prejudice, and start exploring the cuisine in the land of Santa Claus and reindeers.
Ora is a good choice for those who enjoy an intimate atmosphere and seasonal produce. This restaurant in Helsinki has only eight tables, which makes every guest feel right at home. As it’s common in Nordic countries fine dining experience doesn’t have to be overly formal. The attentive staff makes you happy from the minute one, serving besides good food also great wine and coffee.
Ora offers modern cuisine in Finnish style. You can eat here good pork, beef and fish. People who care about where the food comes from, can be happy here. Many of their hyper-seasonal ingredients come from their own garden.
Do you need a bit of creativity in your life? If so, we recommend you to visit a one-star Michelin restaurant in Helsinki— Inari. This strip back restaurant is owned by Noma alumni and his wife, which means you’ll find nothing but the best Nordic cuisine here.
To spice things up a bit, they add Asian flavours here and there, which leads to unexpected combinations. The haute cuisine meets the Japanese kitchen.
Inari is a great option for vegetarians since many of their dishes are plant-based. For the best experience try the tasting menu.
What is most important for you when you visit a restaurant? If it’s the open kitchen, and the ability to chat with the chefs about the dishes, then this hideout in an Industrial building in Helsinki is something for you. The place looks industrial besides one green wall. The green wall has all kinds of curiosities like fermenting lemon in a jar among other fermented things.
Food-wise, you can choose here between Grön Menu or Grön Vegan Menu. Whichever you pick, you’ll end up tasting seasonal Scandinavian produce like raw or fermented peas, pod broth, grilled beef ribs with chlorophyll or cooked cabbage, truffle and charred onion stems.
Do you want to dine in 50s style? For that, you have to step into Palace. This restaurant is in an authentic modernist building built in 1952 for the Olympic games. Make sure you are seated next to the window to enjoy the 10th-floor views over the harbour. All you need to do is to sit back, relax and enjoy European and Scandinavian cuisine.
The restaurant is great for business meetings as well as for special occasion dinners. It was the first restaurant to gain a Michelin star in Finland in 1987. About the menu, you’ll never be sure what you will get. It changes depending on the season. Be ready to taste local specialities like rye sourdough with Baltic Herring and Juniper or Lapland potatoes with caviar.
Olo is another harbourside restaurant but what makes it special is its minimalistic Japanese atmosphere. Under what looks like a chandelier made of cherry blossoms, you can pick from the 6 or 9-course menu and try exotic meats like elk and moose. What makes this place special, is its hyper-creative menu that is based on the childhood memories of chef Jari Vesivalo. On your plate, you may find cured duck with sour cream, white halibut with Icelandic wasabi, or a smoked reindeer heart.
Stepping into Finnjävel Salonki, you realize quickly that nothing looks normal in this restaurant. Its strangely beautiful with wooden walls, smartly placed lights, beautiful design chairs and tableware. The reason for this is simple— everything you see here is made by Finnish craft people.
The food, by the way, is in no way worse than the interior. The modern interpretations of Finnish dishes are wonderfully colourful. Chances are you have never seen such bold colours presented together, and every course is just begging you to try it.
Restaurant Muru in Helsinki is a quirky place. Probably the first thing you’ll notice when stepping in is the chandelier made of wine bottles and then the bar made from old wine boxes. You’ll be offered French and Scandinavian cuisine, so be prepared to taste delicious truffle risotto, flank steak and salmon. Muru is also known for its tasty ice cream, chocolate fondant and berry dessert. Despite being in a Michelin selection, the prices in this restaurant are low. Also, you can find probably the best wine list in town in Muru.
Savoy is another interesting dining place in Helsinki that you shouldn’t pass. The interior design of the place is first class, making you feel that you have stepped into another era. Warm, orange-brown colours, striped couches, and hanging plants on the brick wall make you feel like you’re in someones trendy living room instead. The rooms feel special because the original interior has been mostly restored
But as soon as the first dish reaches your plate, you realise that it’s not only the interior that is impeccable. Savoy’s modern cuisine derives from French and Finnish cuisine, but it’s the occasional Russian touch that makes it special. Try perfectly cooked soup, salmon appetisers, and caviar while enjoying a beautiful view of Esplanadi park.
Are you looking for a place to have a romantic date while having finger-licking food? Then Young Hearts is for you. This intimate establishment has only 10 tables and simple decor, so that you can focus on the layers of intense flavours with hopefully even more intense conversations. Be ready for surprises because Young Hearts offers interesting textures and acidity. The food is inspired by the seasons and Finnish nature, but the cooks mix it with the rich and green flavours of the Mediterranean.
The walls of Nokka are red brick, the floors are covered with Persian carpets, and the food here is a festival of senses. Everything in Nokka from plates to bright coloured dishes is a piece of art. Or as they have put it themselves: Nokka is the place where you can find wild nature on your plate: think about cooked herring, duck and caviar. Standard here is high and service enthusiastic. Their poultry will haunt you long after you’ve closed the restaurant door, and their starter selection of charcuterie is outstanding.