Answers from Our Experts (1)
Nordic cuisine is all about simple, fresh ingredients prepared in a striking presentation, which plenty of Helsinki restaurants do particularly well. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for five of the best places to eat in this Finnish city:
1. Saaga. For the best of Lappish cuisine without actually crossing the Arctic Circle, venture over to Saaga for creamy bear soup, peppersteak reindeer and glow-fried arctic char. The overwhelming décor is a tad touristy, but a glance at chef Joni Utriainen’s glacial iced cranberries in an ice bowl — a forest gnome’s “favorite,” apparently — ought to quell any reservations.
2. Savoy. With austere interiors initially designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto, Savoy is a historical institution in Helsinki. A pioneer in the farm-to-table philosophy, guests go crazy for the vorschmack, a salty meat dish garnished with pickled cucumbers and beetroot.
3. Juuri. Thanks to its sapas — small Finnish appetizers — Juuri is quickly carving out a niche amongst Helsinki’s elite. The akvavit-marinated salmon and cold-smoked Baltic herring are both incredibly flavorful, but we enjoy the unique condiments — vodka mustard, rhubarb ketchup and carrot butter — the most.
4. Chez Dominique. It’s the ritziest place in town — choose an ever-changing menu of four, six or nine courses, each paying homage to the Finnish design approach. Although the reindeer tartare is never guaranteed, it’s a delectable treat for those fortunate enough to find it in front of them.
5. Olo. The plates at this top-notch eatery resemble a vibrant Jackson Pollock painting, while the fresh ingredients brought in from all around the country will have you digging into the canvas without a second thought. With an extensive wine menu and a cozy atmosphere, this is the ideal setting for a romantic rendezvous.