While you might not think of Helsinki as a foodie destination in the Nordics, there are plenty of delicious restaurants, food halls, and drink options to choose from. I was pleasantly surprised by how well we ate in Helsinki during our two day visit. In this blog post, I'll discuss some of the best restaurants in Helsinki, highlighting their unique cuisine, atmosphere, and overall dining experience.

Whether you're a foodie looking for delicious eats or a traveler in search of authentic local cuisine, you’ll be eating well during your 2 days in Helsinki. 

From fine dining establishments to casual cafes, I have explored many of the diverse dining options available in Helsinki. Of course, I recommend trying some traditional Finnish cuisine first, but you’ll also find international cuisines mentioned in this Helsinki restaurant guide. Helsinki has something to offer any intrepid foodie! So, get ready to discover the best restaurants in Helsinki and prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure.

Where to Find the Best Restaurants in Helsinki for Foodies

Bakeries in Helsinki

Levain Bakery & Eatery

With three locations around Helsinki, Levain has built something of a cult following. The casual eatery-style restaurants serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they got their start as a bakery. So I recommend going for breakfast! At the heart of Levain’s speciality is the king of bread –  sourdough bread baked in a stone sole oven. You’ll find the menu is full of sandwiches, toasts and soups that all feature the sourdough as a key ingredient. I highly recommend you try it because it is genuinely so good!

St George Bakery

For a bougie but cozy vibe, St. George Bakery is a great choice. It can be found it the ground floor of the swanky St George hotel. The baked goods are super nice, especially the croissant sandwiches and cinnamon buns. There are lots of seating options and tables here, so this is the type of cafe where you could sit and linger for hours. I find the clientele are upscale Helsinki folks, so you’ll get lots of style inspiration from people watching.

Kanniston Leipomo

Get a sample of traditional Finnish baked goods at Kanniston Leipomo. With a couple locations, most of the bakeries are primarily for takeaway, so grab a baked treat to accompany your coffee. Karelian pasty is one of the most iconic Finnish baked items. A thin rye crust is filled with porridge rice and baked until slightly crisp. You can also find more regional favorites like cardamom buns and custard tarts. 

Finnish Bakery Helsinki Finland

Coffee & Cafes in Helsinki

Johan & Nyström

Located in the shadow of Uspenski Cathedral along the waterfront, Johan & Nyström is a third wave coffee shop and roastery brewing up some of the best coffee in Helsinki. The cafe has a super cool aesthetic with two floors of industrial chic design. I especially love the green tiled counter. The espresso is strong but smooth, but the real specialty here is pour over coffees. Languish the few extra minutes it takes to brew, and you won’t be sorry. The coffee is beautiful. 

Kakkugalleria

I was wandering around Punavuori when I stumbled on this corner patisserie shop. The brightly colored cakes and macarons were too beautiful to pass by! There was a pleasant mix of French patisserie techniques with Finnish ingredients. Think a lingonberry tiered cake or a blueberry custard tart. The airy café has limited seating, and lots of locals were picking up items to go. 

Lunch in Helsinki

Vanha Kauppahalli

Built in 1889, the Old Market Hall is Helsinki's oldest and most beloved indoor market hall. It is centrally located along the harbor, making it an ideal place to grab a quick lunch. You can browse through 20 different food and beverage stalls selling everything from fresh seafood and meat, to artisan breads and traditional Finnish sweets. My favorite thing we sampled here was smoked mackerel, a strong but enjoyable fish that is typically accompanied with bread and butter.

Hakaniemi Market Hall 

Yes, that’s right – I’m suggesting another Helsinki food hall! Housed in a traditional market building from 1914, Hakaniemi Market Hall is a vibrant indoor marketplace. With over two dozen vendors, each stand has their unique offerings and specialties. I found this market to be a little less touristy than the Old Market Hall. It has a more local vibe. We created a DIY picnic dinner with local favorites like smoked salmon and mackerel, sheep's milk cheese, dense rye bread, dill honey mustard, and lingonberry jelly. Most of the vendors will let you sample their goodies before buying.

Restaurant MoMo Punavuori

Please for the love of god, go to this pocket sized hole-in-the-wall spot. These are the best momos I’ve had outside of Nepal, and the staff is the FRIENDLIEST! Momos are traditional Nepali steamed dumplings, and they are typically served with an orange sauce that has tomatoes, peppers, and spices. The menu at Momo Punavuori is tiny with just a few types of momos to choose from, including meat, chicken, and vegan. Steamed to perfection and plated with care, this delectable lunch will warm your belly and soul. 

Finnish Dinners in Helsinki

Ravintola Nokka 

A gigantic anchor and propeller make Nokka Restaurant an unmissable staple along the shores of the Baltic Sea. Led by head chef Ari Ruoho, Nokka offers some of the best Scandinavian cuisine in Finland. It is even mentioned in the Michelin guide! Built in a harborside warehouse, three high-ceilinged rooms with exposed brick and a glass wall give it a modern yet nautical feel. The restaurant is committed to serving seasonal ingredients, sourced from the forests of Salla in Lapland and from smallholdings across Finland.

Shelter

I just love this place. If I had to choose only one spot to have dinner in Helsinki, it would probably be Shelter. Focused on seasonal, modern Scandinavian cuisine, the kitchen here really understands texture and flavor. On my last visit, I enjoyed a beautiful roasted butternut squash served with barley, gremolata and a lemon yogurt sauce. Full of unique textures, this dish somehow managed to be comforting, refined and complex all at once. Plus, the sourdough bread is perfect, especially with the whipped brown butter and flaked sea salt. The wine list is excellent.

Restaurant Kuurna

With simple yet refined interior, Restaurant Kurrna is a modern bistro located near the Uspenski Cathedral. The menu focuses on traditional Finnish cuisine, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and seasonal produce. And wow, the plating is such a showstopper! Offering a slightly upscale experience, dishes include hearty soups, grilled meats, and fish. The restaurant also offers a carefully curated selection of wines, beers, and cocktails to complement the menu. 

Savotta

This has to be the coziest restaurant in central Helsinki. Overlooking the picturesque Senate Square, Restaurant Savotta is the best place to go if you want to sample traditional Finnish cuisine. Dishes include reindeer meat, smoked fish, and Finnish desserts, all prepared using traditional cooking methods and presented with a modern twist. The restaurant has a rustic interior with original wooden floors and vintage furnishings, creating a warm atmosphere that feels like you are dining at grandma’s home.

International Dinners in Helsinki

Bistro Bardot

I noticed this restaurant from the sidewalk, and it drew me in instantly. I didn’t even look at the reviews, because I could just tell it was going to be a great experience. Bistro Bardot has an intimate atmosphere with secluded booths and vintage lighting. This would be a great date night place. The menu is inspired by French bistro fare with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients. You’ll find plenty of French classics like escargot, onion soup, steak frites, and crème brûlée, all expertly prepared. It also has a pocket size cocktail bar on the side if you only want to stop in for a drink. 

Farang

Offering an award-winning menu, Farang is a swanky pan-Asian fusion restaurant with delicious cocktails and interesting flavor combinations. The restaurant has a contemporary interior with dark wood furnishings, dim lighting, and a sleek open kitchen. It feels so sophisticated. The menu pulls heavily from Southeast Asian cuisine with a focus on bold flavors and interesting spices. We opted to do the tasting menu during our visit, so we had a variety of small-plate dishes. I especially remember the crispy duck rolls (SO YUM!) and the cod curry, but honestly every dish was delicious. You can also order a la-carte, but the tasting menu is worth the splurge!

Baskeri & Basso 

This trendy spot has a metropolitan supper club vibe in a modern industrial-chic space. It has an open kitchen, which creates a lively and bustling atmosphere. Located in the hip Kallio district of Helsinki, the menu is a fusion of Mediterranean and Finnish cuisines, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. You’ll also find plenty of grilled meats, and vegetarian options, all cooked to perfection by the talented chefs. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list, with carefully selected wines from around the world. 

Hills Dumplings

If you're a dumpling lover, you don't want to miss the Hills Dumpling restaurant. Known for its mouth-watering selection of handmade dumplings, this modern yet cozy eatery serves up a variety of steamed and fried options. The Hills is really vegan and vegetarian friendly, but you can also selection dumplings filled with pork or chicken. I got the vegan new school dumplings pictured below, and they were fantastic. The filling was moist and flavorful, while the dumpling dough was perfectly pliable and well-cooked. Make a reservation ahead of time, because I had a hard time getting in even when I was just dining for one.

Do you have a comment about this Helsinki restaurant guide? Tell me your thoughts below!

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