The Top Thing to Eat: Helsinki

Written: The Top Thing Staff | June 22, 2023


Traditional Finnish Cuisine

Must-try Finnish dishes and delicacies

When you visit Helsinki, you don't want to miss out on experiencing the rich and delicious traditional Finnish cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes and delicacies that will tantalize your taste buds:

  1. Salmon: Finland is known for its fresh and high-quality salmon. Whether you try it smoked, grilled, or baked, the flavor and texture of Finnish salmon are unmatched.

  2. Reindeer: Reindeer meat is a staple in Finnish cuisine. It is often served as a roasted filet or in hearty stews. The meat is tender, lean, and has a unique gamey flavor that you won't find elsewhere.

  3. Rye bread: Finnish rye bread is dense, hearty, and full of flavor. It is a staple in Finnish meals and pairs perfectly with various toppings, such as butter, cheese, and cold cuts.

Traditional Finnish restaurants in Helsinki

To experience these culinary delights, be sure to visit some of the traditional Finnish restaurants in Helsinki:

  1. Restaurant Savotta: Located in the heart of Helsinki, this restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and serves traditional Finnish dishes like reindeer, salmon, and mushroom soup.

  2. Olo Ravintola: This Michelin-starred restaurant combines Finnish flavors with modern cooking techniques, creating a unique and unforgettable dining experience.

  3. Ravintola Kuu: Situated in an old wooden house, this restaurant offers traditional Finnish dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Their menu includes reindeer, fish, and other Finnish specialties.

Exploring the flavors of reindeer, salmon, and rye bread

So, when you're in Helsinki, don't miss the opportunity to explore the flavors of reindeer, salmon, and rye bread. These dishes and restaurants will take you on a culinary journey through the heart of Finnish cuisine. Enjoy the unique and delicious flavors that Helsinki has to offer!


Modern Nordic Cuisine

Nordic-inspired fine dining in Helsinki

If you find yourself in Helsinki and wanting to indulge in a culinary adventure, you're in luck! The city is known for its vibrant food scene, and one of the highlights is the modern Nordic cuisine. Combining traditional flavors with innovative techniques, Helsinki offers a unique dining experience for food enthusiasts.

Top-rated Michelin-starred restaurants

When it comes to fine dining in Helsinki, there are several Michelin-starred restaurants that stand out. These establishments have received international acclaim for their impeccable service and outstanding culinary creations. Some top-rated options include:

  1. Restaurant Olo: Known for its focus on local and organic ingredients, Restaurant Olo offers a tasting menu that showcases the flavors of the Nordic region.

  2. Grön: With its emphasis on sustainability and plant-based dishes, Grön has carved a niche for itself in the Helsinki food scene. Their innovative creations are a delight for vegans and vegetarians alike.

  3. Ask: Located in the trendy Kallio neighborhood, Ask is a small, intimate restaurant that offers a seasonal tasting menu. The menu changes regularly, ensuring a fresh and exciting experience every time.

New Nordic cuisine and innovative dishes

Helsinki's food scene is not limited to Michelin-starred restaurants. The city is teeming with trendy eateries that embrace the concept of New Nordic cuisine. This culinary approach focuses on using local, seasonal ingredients and combining traditional flavors with modern techniques.

Whether you're craving reindeer tartare, foraged mushrooms, or innovative takes on traditional dishes, Helsinki has it all. From trendy cafes to upscale restaurants, you can explore the diverse culinary landscape and discover unique flavors that reflect the rich Nordic heritage.

So, next time you're in Helsinki, make sure to immerse yourself in the world of modern Nordic cuisine and savor the unforgettable dining experiences this vibrant city has to offer.


Street Food and Markets

Exploring Helsinki's food markets

If you're a food lover, exploring Helsinki's food markets is a must-do experience. The city is known for its vibrant food scene, and the markets are a great place to sample local delicacies and immerse yourself in Finnish culture. Some popular food markets in Helsinki include the Old Market Hall, the Hakaniemi Market Square, and the Hietalahti Market Square. At these markets, you can find a variety of fresh produce, local specialties, and delicious street food.

Local delicacies at Hakaniemi Market Hall

One market that stands out for its diverse range of local delicacies is the Hakaniemi Market Hall. Here, you can indulge in traditional Finnish dishes like reindeer meat, smoked fish, and Karelian pies. Don't miss the opportunity to try the famous Finnish cinnamon buns, known as korvapuusti, and the freshly brewed coffee. The lively atmosphere and welcoming vendors make it a memorable experience.

Street food options and food trucks in Helsinki

For a quick and delicious bite, Helsinki offers a wide range of street food options and food trucks. You can find everything from mouthwatering burgers and gourmet hot dogs to exotic cuisines from around the world. Some popular spots for street food include the Redi Food Street and the Kallio Food Market. Keep an eye out for food festivals and events where you can discover new tastes and flavors.

In summary, Helsinki's food scene offers a diverse range of options for food enthusiasts. Exploring the city's food markets, trying local delicacies at the Hakaniemi Market Hall, and indulging in street food from food trucks are some of the top things to eat in Helsinki. So, grab your appetite and get ready to savor the flavors of this vibrant city.


International Flavors

Global cuisine in Helsinki

When it comes to food in Helsinki, you're in for a treat! The city offers a wide range of international flavors that will satisfy any culinary craving you may have.

Authentic Indian, Thai, and Italian restaurants

If you're a fan of Indian cuisine, be sure to check out the authentic Indian restaurants in Helsinki. From flavorful curries to tandoori dishes, you'll find a variety of options to choose from. For Thai food lovers, there are excellent Thai restaurants that serve delicious and fragrant dishes like pad Thai and green curry.

Italian cuisine enthusiasts will also be spoiled for choice. Helsinki has a number of Italian restaurants that offer traditional pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and mouthwatering gelato. Whether you're craving a classic spaghetti carbonara or a margherita pizza, you'll find it here.

Ethnic neighborhoods and culinary hotspots in the city

Helsinki is home to several ethnic neighborhoods and culinary hotspots that are worth exploring. Kallio, for example, is known for its diverse range of restaurants offering international cuisines. From Middle Eastern falafel stands to trendy Vietnamese eateries, you'll find a little bit of everything in this neighborhood.

Kamppi is another area that food lovers should visit. Here, you'll find a wide range of international restaurants, cafes, and food markets. It's the perfect place to try out different flavors from around the world.

So, whether you're in the mood for Indian, Thai, Italian, or any other international cuisine, Helsinki has got you covered. Don't miss the chance to explore the city's diverse culinary scene and indulge in some truly delicious food!


Cafés and Bakeries

Indulging in coffee and pastries in Helsinki

When visiting Helsinki, one of the top things to do is to indulge in the city's vibrant café and bakery scene. From rich, aromatic coffee to mouthwatering pastries, Helsinki offers a delightful culinary experience for coffee enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

Famous Finnish coffee culture

Finland is known for its love of coffee, and Helsinki is no exception. Finnish coffee culture is deeply ingrained in the daily lives of locals. In fact, Finland ranks among the top countries in the world for coffee consumption per capita. The Finns take their coffee seriously, and you can expect to find a wide selection of specialty coffees and brewing methods in Helsinki's cafés.

Charming cafés and iconic bakeries

Helsinki is home to numerous charming cafés and iconic bakeries that are definitely worth a visit. Whether you're in search of a cozy spot to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or a bakery that serves traditional Finnish pastries, Helsinki has it all. Some popular cafés and bakeries include Café Regatta, Café Ekberg, and Fazer Café.

Café Regatta is a quaint café located by the sea, known for its cozy atmosphere and delicious cinnamon buns. Café Ekberg, on the other hand, is one of Helsinki's oldest cafés, offering a wide range of pastries, sandwiches, and cakes. Fazer Café, a famous Finnish brand, is renowned for its delectable chocolates, and their café in Helsinki serves a variety of sweet treats and beverages.

In conclusion, Helsinki's café and bakery scene is a must-visit for coffee and pastry lovers. Whether you want to experience Finnish coffee culture or indulge in delicious pastries, Helsinki has something to satisfy every craving. So, make sure to add a café or bakery visit to your itinerary when exploring this vibrant city.


Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Plant-based dining in Helsinki

Are you a vegetarian or vegan visiting Helsinki and wondering where to find delicious plant-based meals? Look no further! Helsinki offers a diverse range of options that cater to your dietary preferences.

Popular vegan and vegetarian restaurants

  1. Kolmon3n: Located in the Punavuori district, Kolmon3n is known for its creative vegetarian dishes. Their menu features a variety of plant-based options, from salads and soups to burgers and pizzas.

  2. Ravintola OmNam: Specializing in vegan and vegetarian food, Ravintola OmNam is a must-visit for plant-based enthusiasts. Their menu is inspired by international cuisines and offers a variety of flavorful dishes such as curries, wraps, and burgers.

  3. Vegemesta: If you're craving a delicious vegan burger, look no further than Vegemesta. With several locations across Helsinki, Vegemesta offers a range of mouthwatering plant-based burgers and sides that will satisfy your cravings.

  4. Punajuuri: Located in Kallio, Punajuuri is a cozy vegetarian restaurant with a focus on organic and locally sourced ingredients. Their menu changes seasonally and features a variety of creative dishes that highlight the natural flavors of vegetables.

  5. Yes Yes Yes: If you're looking for a trendy and vibrant dining experience, Yes Yes Yes is the place to go. This vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant offers a creative menu filled with delicious small plates and unique cocktails.

Whether you're a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to explore plant-based dining options, Helsinki has something to offer for everyone. Make sure to check out these popular vegetarian and vegan restaurants during your visit to the city. Enjoy your culinary adventure in Helsinki!



So there you have it, the top things to eat in Helsinki. Whether you're a foodie or just looking to try some delicious local cuisine, Helsinki has something for everyone. From fresh seafood to traditional Finnish dishes, the city offers a wide array of options to satisfy your taste buds. Don't miss out on the famous salmon soup, reindeer meat, or the mouthwatering cinnamon buns.

Top recommendations for foodies visiting Helsinki

  1. Salmon soup: A must-try dish in Helsinki, this creamy and flavorful soup is made with fresh salmon, root vegetables, and cream. It's the perfect comfort food on a chilly day.

  2. Reindeer meat: Taste the unique flavors of Lapland by trying reindeer meat. Whether grilled, stewed, or in a traditional Finnish dish like reindeer stew or sautéed reindeer, this tender and lean meat is a delicacy.

  3. Cinnamon buns: Indulge your sweet tooth with Helsinki's famous cinnamon buns. These soft and fluffy pastries are filled with cinnamon sugar and topped with a sweet glaze.

Frequently Asked Questions about dining in Helsinki

Q: Are there vegetarian or vegan options in Helsinki?
A: Yes, Helsinki has a growing variety of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. You can find plant-based dishes and innovative vegan options throughout the city.

Q: What is the typical Finnish breakfast?
A: A typical Finnish breakfast includes rye bread, cheese, cold cuts, yogurt, berries, and coffee. It's a hearty start to the day that will keep you energized.

Q: Can I try traditional Finnish dishes in Helsinki?A: Absolutely! Helsinki is a great place to try traditional Finnish cuisine. Look out for dishes like Karelian pastries (rice-filled pastries), mämmi (a sweet Easter dessert), and karjalanpiirakka (rye pastry with rice or potato filling).

Whether you're a foodie or just looking to try something new, Helsinki offers a variety of delicious and unique dishes that will leave you satisfied. So next time you visit the city, make sure to indulge in these top recommendations and explore the culinary delights Helsinki has to offer.