In episode number 28 we fine dine restaurant called Gaijin (stranger in Japanese). This restaurant was founded by Tomi Björk back in the day, and has been listed spontaneously as favourite place by many of the people I ask for their favourite places to go out in Helsinki.
This episode features the CEO of Demos Helsinki, Juha Leppänen. Demos Helsinki is a world leader consulting agency and think tank for governments and cities who are looking for ways to do things better. I really enjoyed this dine out with Juha so much as I got to talk through all my future scenarios, that I almost forgot to enjoy the food.
The food was very enjoyable though, even if this restaurant has fallen down to position 45 in restaurants Top 50 list. During our visit, we had a fresh menu list, from which opted a Vegan line-up called Sapporo.
Sapporo menu served the following dishes:
AKAMISO PUMPKIN ‘TACO’
KALE & CARAMELIZED ONION `GYOZA´
SMOKED LOCAL TOFU, CORN & WAKAME
TEMPURA OF THE DAY & YUZU
GRILLED CELERIAC SKEWER & KIMCHI BUTTER
PAN FRIED SILKEN TOFU & MUSHROOM X.O
ROASTED CABBAGE, CAULIFLOWER & KOMBU
LIQUORICE & LEMON MOCHI
Out of the menu, we really enjoyed the Kimchi butter Skewere most. Over all, it needs to be said that the vegan menu really worked nicely and we did not miss a bit of Fish or Meat. This serves a as a great reminder that you can do sustainable without compromising on the quality of food.
Gaijin probably is a bit low on the Top 50, as it is at 45, but then again, it feels okay after going through all the options in Helsinki.
Gaijin comes highly recommended for anyone who wants to organize a party or a good dinner that is well organized.
Episode number 27 is very special, because of the guest and the food. Me and Jaakko Impiö (one of the voting chefs on Top 50 restaurant list) join forces to eat out at Ragu, italian-inspired fine dining restaurant.
Even though Jaakko's father and me have worked together, we would have never ever met with Jaakko unless it would have been for this pod/blog.
I'm grateful that Jaakko introduced himself to me, because I learned so much about what happens behind the scenes to prepare a dinner like this. Jaakko is a great cook that has worked in some of world's famous places, including Mirazur (Michelin***) and other Finnish great restaurants (Palace, etc). Now Jaakko shares some of his recipes via Platform and @tastery.foods.
The restaurant is not really high up the charts, but I have to say, it delivered big time during the night we were dining out. It is ranked at 39th of Top 50, but I feel it deserves way higher - somewhere in the Top 20 for sure.
We had the 4 course surprise menu, which had the most amazing deer and dessert. Together with the wine package, we got to enjoy amazing food and wine - in an affordable price point.
This restaurant will be something that I'll most definitely visit again, but overall our joint recommendation was that this will be great for anyone who appreciates fine dining and/or Italian food. Highly recommend.
One of the members of the Ragu team will share her short story on the Ragu in the episode.
Restaurant number 26 that I visit, is unapologetically been standing here for over 15 years. It still does the same thing, offers great finnish food made from locally sourced ingredients.
In this episode I get to know to Perttu Nihti from Basware, who serves as the Chief Product Officer in the company. We get to talk a bit about Basware in the episode, but it is one of the most used expense management systems out there. Learn more about Basware from http://www.basware.com
Due to the role of Perttu, we end up having a fruitful conversation around the topic of product management - one of the favourite disciplines I've had the privilege of doing during my career.
This place is ranked 26th on the Top 50 restaurants in Finland list and I think that serves it well. Food is flawless, tasty and beautifully placed on the table. In fact, I might recommend a higher position for this restaurant - because it really was an enjoyable experience.
We went for the menu, where the main course was Duck that was relatively recently captured - and that definitely was the highlight of the beautiful menu we enjoyed.
I'd definitely make this as one of the alternatives when considering to answer the age old question: "What should I eat in Finland to get a good idea of what it is Finnish food like?"
One of the cooks will share his perspective on the story in the episode.
Episode number 25 took place in Restaurant Nude, the relaxed street food inspired fine dining place just off the Bulevardi.
I'm joined in this episode to a hearty conversation on corporate innovation with Teemu Mäkitalo, one of the founders of Avanto Ventures. We cover the ins and outs of the topic with Teemu to an extensive detail, so if you are in to corporates innovating, I think this episode definitely serves you well.
Nude, the restaurant, is at the 42nd location of the Top 50 restaurant list, although I do have to say that this compares and competes well with other chill fine dining places like Hello Stranger in my books.
We went for the Nude menu which had Kimchi dim sums, Tacos, Peura (game meat?) and sweet dessert including Kanelipulla (kinda the ultimate Finnish streetfood, no?).
This was super good street-food inspired, reasonably priced and top value. Anyone looking to a night out with a chill environment without feeling the pressure of atmosphere will have a great time here.
The chef shares his story for this restaurant at the beginning of Episode. I hope you like this one as much as we did!
Penelope Restaurant is located right below one of the startup centers of Helsinki, Epicenter. Penelope is a great escape from the daily grind to a world that is warm and welcoming, like the Tapas places you’ve come to love in Spain.
Together with me sharing the plates in Penelope for this episode is Udo Szabo, a multi-talent t-shaped persona with startup and corporate war stories under his belt. Today (post-Apple) Udo is running the product management in Yousician, the world-famous guitar tuning / learning game app maker.
Udo and I go at length at what makes Apple the most amazing company, and what is required to make great products. Even if you are not into nerding, you might get kicks out of the conversation that we share over beers and medium-sized plates.
This restaurant works so that you can choose between small (one or two bites), medium (about twice as large) and large plates (kinda the size of a main course normally). All the food we had was amazing, but to tell you the truth, the conversation got me lost of all we had. At least we did Boccarons, Scallops and something great. My favourite of the dishes probably was the sweet and salty caramel goodness served as dessert.
Penelope is located on the Top 50 restaurants list position number 40, but I did like it more than that. Would I want to go back here? Absolutely. Do I understand why this place has such a low rating in TableOnline? I don’t.
This place is highly recommended for a good relaxed meal out with a friend, posse or your colleagues.
Episode number twenty-three (23) of HelsinkiEats takes place in the unique restaurant in the center of Helsinki, Kosmos. This cozy restaurant is not messing around, everything is honest and straightforward from menu to decor.
I was joined by Tuomas Jomppanen, the CTO of Talented. Talented is an amazing growth company that helps talented individuals of software industry land the best jobs in the market. The unique proposition of Talented is really working as the fast growth proves. If you need great software skills for any position between a CTO and a (senior) engineer, Talented is one of the companies you might want to reach out (find out more: http://talented.fi).
This traditonal restaurant is ranked at position 37. in the Top 50 restaurant. Based on the food alone, this pretty much where it should be. But that is not really the point at all, I feel.
Menu we had gave a few options, but we kinda picked our favourites. To accompany the menu of fish and meat, I took a beer, just like you should do here. So while this dinner was not fancy pants fine dining, it was definitely about experience that is deep in the 1980s. Food was good, but not really for vegan-friendly menu. The chocolate cake was amazing.
This place is a landmark and it is very difficult to compare to anything else on this list really. Come for the atmosphere, stay for the hearty food.
What can I tell you? When the food and company is amazing, this podcast is amazing. In this episode we're visiting yet another Michelin starred restaurant, Olo.
Kimmo Timonen, the founder of Adventure Club joins for this culinary feast and insightful conversation ranging from everything in restaurant scene in Helsinki to sustainable innovations in startup-land.
Olo sits firmly at number 4 of the Top 50 list and I can imagine that being a rationale rating. Personally, I enjoyed every bite that was artfully and carefully prepared, delicious and beautiful was the theme in this tasting menu that was "autumn" themed.
10+ courses made sure that we did not starve at all, but really had great time. This will be one of the restaurants I will likely return to, despite the feedback that Olo may deliver variable quality. Special mention goes out to the sommelier who pitched his side hustle (probably part of the restaurants offering anyway) so that I could get the wine I loved so much during the dinner.
This one is highly recommended for anyone who hasn't visited it. You should.
This episode takes place in an amazing Michelin star gem of Helsinki, Ora. This restaurant by Sasu Laukkonen and his super talented team is changing the way restaurants work, to a lot better, I should say.
Mårten Janson joins me in this episode to have a conversation about how boards and companies work (or should work). Mårten has an impressive CV in building companies and now he runs a small scale VC with high-level hands-on involvement called “No Asshole Company”.
Ora, the restaurant is ranked at 9th position of the Top 50 list, … but I do want to say that this belongs far higher up. Maybe it was because of the new concept, but this is top 3 restaurant for me. Now the new concept? Felt like being in a concert or show: the food was served one course at a time, to everyone at once and Sasu went through them all. After 14 courses or so of pure perfection and great stories, I was sold.
I can’t really go to the details, but the symphony on your palette was just heartwarming. Really really good experience, even if we never anticipated to be sitting there for 4 hours and 30 minutes.
This is highly recommended for anyone who wants more than food when going out to dine. Definitely an experience to repeat.
You’ll also hear a quick comment between each meal from Sasu during the podcast episode.
Episode number 20 takes place in Vinkkeli, which is run by former talent from Savoy - and it shows - this fine dining cuisine with Nordic inspiration delivers great value at position 6 of top 50.
I was joined to this dinner by Esa Nettamo, the managing director and chief design officer at Digitalist, the brand-design-development agency that has been renewing itself during the past few years with great leaps. Talking with Esa is always enjoyable and this dinner was no exception.
During the dinner we covered our mutual favourite topics like remote work, design and innovation as well as transformation to create digital services to replace physical ones.
Vinkkeli provides an amazing dinner. Being put on top 10 position and the recommendations I've heard for Vinkkeli left me expecting for more personally, but I do have to say that the food was really really good.
We enjoyed the tasting menu of 4 courses, which took us from mushroom soup to duck parfait salad and then onwards to tasty meat delicacy finally topped with desert to die for.
This is an awesome venue for anyone taking a special someone out, whether for business or pleasure. Dining room is intimate and suitable for couples and small groups.
This is a different sort of episode - a mini-episode actually. I did this dinner with my good friend and former boss, Masa Peura, but due to circumstances this didn't turn out in to an audible podcast track. Instead, here's my monologue explaining why you want to eat here.
Gastro Cafe Kallio is a great venue, amazing food and a blast for a night out with friends.
We were privilege with a menu of good escargot and shrimp soup for starter, fish for main and Eton Mess for dessert.
This mini-episode will leave you short from the experience, but I do highly recommend visiting this establishment that has made it to 29th position of the Top 50 list. I'd say 29 is pretty much at the right place at the moment. Great good, great experience.
This is a blog/pod about eating in the very finest of Finnish restaurants located in Helsinki. You can follow the journey also via instagram at @helsinkieats2020