Where to Eat in Helsinki
Note: Make reservations! Well in advance!
Grotesk - Ludvigsgaten 10, +358.10.470.2100
Where to go when you can't quite make up your mind. It is a vaguely hipster-y "we have some of everything" kinda place. The "vaguely hipster-y" part is that everything is around 20-percent more awesome than you would get. Stick with the meat-y offerings, and stay away from the tacos though :-)
Juuri - Högsbergsgaten 27, +358.9.635.732
Worth the reservation. Actually, be sure to make a reservation. The focus here is "sapas" (think Scandinavian Tapas), and it is terrific. Its all modern-Finnish, with surprisingly big flavors. Just...awesome
Kappeli - Eteläesplanadi 1, +358.10.766.3880
Not a particularly "local" kinda place, but the location is splendid (in a park, buildings on either side, glass-enclosed, simply picturesque. The food is really really good. This, along with Juuri and Olo fall in to the "where to get Modern Scandinavian in Helsinki" category
Kuu - Tölögaten 27, +358.9.2709.0973
A remarkably good mix of classic finnish food with all sorts of modern touches. Its also the most "local' of the bunch - you're in a residential neighborhood, and everybody around you knows, and is known by, the hosts. Go. It's awesome. Just...Go...
Olo - Pohjoisesplanadi 5,
Rivoli / Rivoletto - Albertsgaten 38, +358.9.7425.5544
Rivoli is a good Italian restaurant, but its the place next door - Rivoletto - that is the surprising one. Its open late, has surprisingly good pizza (late!), and is exactly where you go after a (late!) night out, when you need after-drink munchies...
Sea Horse - Kapteeninkatu 11, +3589.628.169
"And now for something completely different..." pretty much sums up this place. Or, more to the point, it is the opposite of different - this is classic finnish food, which is - increasingly - going out of style. Mind you, as compared to "classic dutch food", this is actually Good Stuff. When you can get "modern scandinavian" food pretty much anywhere in the world, its places like this that actually make you feel like you're in Helsinki.
(And yes, that is a shot of schnapps that came with my soup!)
COFFEE / etc.
Gran Delicato - Kalevankatu 34, +358.9.694.0403
A coffee-shop, and a wine-bar, and, a casual/informal-dining place (think salads, sandwiches, munchies, etc.). Surprisingly good, and an excellent way to while away a lazy afternoon
Karl Fazer Cafe - Kluuvikatu 3, +358.20.729.6702
Coffee and chocolates. Thats what you do here. Coffee and chocolates.