Not many places was as frequently recommended as the Mikko Utter located in about drive away from Helsinki, in the tiny city of Lohja. Mikko Utter is special in many ways, as it is service, cooking and everything by one man (Mikko himself) for 8 people (max seating). Mikko imports his wines and sources the ingredients locally, and as the amount of recommendations would suggest - the food was amazing.
With me joining Mikko Utter was my long term colleague, an amazing wine enthusiast and a great person - Kaj Hege Häggman. I really loved the conversation and now after moving away from Helsinki, I certainly missed hearing his voice while editing this. Hege has been living in US while working for Nokia and Gaming companies, and we discuss in this episode that perspective on food.
For the Dinner, we all 8 in the restaurant got the food at the same time, with common introductions. Everything was fresh, seasonal and tasty.
I'd call this restaurant something that every foodie should explore at least once in Finland.
Pamela restaurant on bulevardi of Helsinki is a great place to chill with friends. When we visited it was nearly exclusively female visitors, but I can confirm that as a male, you're allowed to eat well too.
Together with me in this Episode at Pamela is Sonja Heikkiä, who despite her young age has managed to see the world as an opinion leader on the future of mobility and transportation. We discuss how the future is shaping up to be and how to manage yourself when giving a public talk or appearance in television.
For the Dinner, we had vegetarian food, although the alternatives for meat-eaters were delicious too.
I'd call this restaurant a great option in case you want to meet with friends with chill atmosphere, without any pressure.
Katmandu Bar was something totally unexpected, it located between Hakaniemi and Kallio, and it serves the best Momos from Nepalese kitchen.
Join me and Bhavya Omkar (she runs the @Naumaste instagram account) in this trip down the Indian/Nepalese food conversation. The menu available in Katmandu Bar is simple and delicious. It is hard to compare this to "fine dining" restaurants so often reviewed in this blog, but then again, why not?
We did go with everything on menu, which was basically Samosas and Momas. Conversation on the other hand, focused on southern Indian delish: Masala Dosa (no, this restaurant does not serve them).
You have to try this restaurant out. Perfect bar food, but served with a warm Nepalese street food hug.
Green Hippo (Cafè) has been operative for 3 years now in Punavuori. As it is expanding to another core-demographically hot spot for it, namely Kallio, I decided to give this place more love and love it deserves.
Together with me in Green Hippo was William von der Pahlen, one of the hosts of Futucast (absolutely amazing podcast), the host of podcast for Slush and obviously one of the founders of Green Hippo. Rarely is putting together a podcast as easy as it was here.
I've come to love Green Hippo for its excellent brunch menu during Sundays, but this time with William, we went for the evening meal combo (alcohol + main course for roughly 25 euros). Due to the popular demand of the dish, I couldn't escape from the gravity of taking a bite at the absolutely delicious Avocado pasta.
It is impossible not to recommend this gem at either of the locations, Wolt, Punavuori or Kallio.
Please join the episode to hear more about how Green Hippo came about and how it has been concepted.
Asian Noodles Bar is a recent entry to Helsinki's food scene. This place offers a wide variety of Asian food, including Baos (which are delish and fresh), but is to be known for its range of great noodles and soups.
I visited this restaurant for launch together with Emily Thuy Le, whom has somewhat expertise and perspective on great Asian food. Emily is a street photographer, and is a part of community in capital area that is putting together displays - but also has lived in Helsinki for the same (roughly 10 months?) time as I have. So it was interesting to catch up and hear how she sees Helsinki.
We had Noodle soup and all three kinds of Baos (beef, pork and tofu). Baos were tasty and fresh, Noodle soup with duck was properly cooked - and tasty.
I would definitely recommend this place for anyone wanting to explore Noodles further. Located in Frederikinkatu (near Iso Roobertin katu) it is well accessible for anyone.
Please join the episode to hear about the background on Baos and Asian food.
During this Season 2, I'm still going out with people I know - or people who have volunteered to get to know me over a dinner. This time, we don't have a list per se, but just places that people like or love in Helsinki.
Luis Orozco is a colleague from many adventures and was kind enough to show me this spectacular establishment in Teurastamo (also in Kallio, and Kamppi).
Lopez y Lopez is a fine taqueria, and definitely serves the best Mexican food I've had. It serves Tacos and Enchiladas, and might I say - the proper way. Tacos, are not supposed to be hard shell corn overloads, but soft and delish, just like they make them in Lopez y Lopez.
Please join the episode to hear about the background on Chili and Tortillas.
This is a place I've become regular in since the recording of the episode. Highly recommended!
Given that the restaurants all were so amazing, I though that the best way to summarize my experience was to give awards in different categories of eating.
Here's what I found to be the best places:
Best Restaurant - Palace
Best Experience - Ora
Best Atmosphere - Basbas
Best Sustainable - Nolla
Best Vegan - Yes Yes Yes
Best For Friends - Wino
Best For a Date - Plein
Best For a Business meeting - Olo
Most Underestimated - Spis
Best Italian Cuisine - Ragu
Best Asian Cuisine - Farang
Best Finnish Cuisine - Kulta Kitchen
Best Time Machine: Kosmos
For more details, please refer to the episode in the podcast.
After eating out in all the places I have, I’d go as far as suggesting the following ranking out of the restaurants already ranked in top 50 (I think there’s several that should be included outside the list….).
Anyway, here goes:
7. Kulta Kitchen
Thank you all my guests and restaurants, and to readers/listeners for this great experience, I had a blast :)
Onwards to Season 2.
Restaurant Palace is an experience. The venue is beautiful, the service is not like anywhere else in Finland and the food.. will be one of the best dinners in your lifetime. There is no more appropriate way to close Season 1 of HelsinkiEats than by visiting the #1 restaurant in Finland, Palace Restaurant.
Together with me joining this final episode and dinner at Palace is Antti Suikkari, my dear friend and co-worker from the past. Antti has been fiddling with digital everything for a good amount of time (20 years?) and has a perspective on what great dinner is like. This episode was natural for me to join with Antti, as he was largely one of the key reasons I ended up doing this tour (and felt inspired to capture my amusings).
When going for a dinner in Palace, you'll enjoy the menu, which obviously can be altered to suit allergies and preferences. But trust me, you'll want it. Our menu was of the make 12.4, which I have no clue what that stands for. All I can say is that the 12-13 courses of food where all amazing, one better than the previous one. For the sake of brevity, I'll be satisfied at saying that Amoush-Bouch with Wagu (grade 5) was nowhere near the top 5 of the menu, even if I said after the bite sized delicacy - that it had to be the best mouthful of food during 2020. It was, but not for long.
After this 3,5 hour dinner, it is clear that this IS the best restaurant experience you can have in Finland. It is undoubtedly the best experience I've had in Northern Europe and definitely competes with my summer break experience of Ana Ros cuisine in Hisa Francko (Slovenia).
This place is highly recommended for anyone that can afford a bit higher ticket for a dinner, and wants their minds to be blown in a good way.
Kulta Kitchèn is an exception to the rule, it is a restaurant located in one of the best hotels in Helsinki (Lapland Hotels Boulevard), but ... unlike the hotel restaurants usually, this one is really really good.
I'm joined in this episode with Lassi Kurkijärvi, a well merited innovator now working as the CEO of Proof Oy, a company that is designing decision making. Designing decisions is a new thing, a term that is coined by Lassi and his team to describe how the world needs better tools for pushing through important things in any organization. During the course of the meal we'll cover what this means in detail.
Lassi is an active member in Team Rynkeby and is chairing Sylva - why? We'll cover this topic too.
Our meal was the surprise menu, which unsurprisingly was finished of with Reindeer as the main course. To support this obvious choice, we got to enjoy Kuha (whitefish), which definitely was amazing and never fails. All in all, the menu was well balanced, tasty and spoke volumes of Finnish cuisine.
Kulta Kitchén is placed to 32nd location in Top 50 list, which really felt originally as too high number for a restaurant sitting in downstairs of a Hotel. However, after going through this menu, I'd say that this deserves to be closer to top 10 of the entire Finnish food scene, definitely high 20s. It was amazing.
This place is highly recommended for anyone seeking to eat traditional Finnish food in a fine dine setting.
with Nolla (zero in Finnish) is the 29th episode of HelsinkiEats, and it certainly lives up to the promise by being one of the original zero waste Restaurants in the world.
The concept of sustainability has obviously gained momentum around the world for the right reasons, but I do have to say that I have not really paid too much attention to the fact before "growing up". Now, can a Fine Dining restaurant be sustainable and deliver great food? Yes. Absolutely.
In this episode, I get to hang out with my old work buddy, Timo Valtonen whom I consider to be the specialist for "let's do a really difficult project that requires managing complexity and people". Together with Timo, during my years at OP Financial Group, we got to be a part of a great product launch called DriveNow.
This restaurant is ranked high up on the list of Top 50 restaurants. In fact, it sits firmly at the position 19 - which is only right, I think.
We enjoyed a menu from the Ala Carte, by selecting a starter, main and desert from the list. Together with the menu, we picked beers from Mamu brewing (a microbrewery operating together with Nolla). Both the food and the drinks were amazing. My picks from the menu were Beef Tartar, Roasted Cabbage and Corn-icecream goodness.
This restaurant served food that is amazing and guilt-free. I'd recommend this for anyone enjoying a company of a friend or a date, and willing to do his/her part in protecting the environment.
You'll hear one of the chefs share his view on the Nolla before the conversation with Timo begins.
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