8 Surprisingly Delicious Restaurants for Foodies in Rovaniemi

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting a lot when it came to the food and restaurant options in Rovaniemi. It is a small, isolated city and in my experience, those types of places don’t tend to have many good options. Especially not for foodie travelers such as myself. But I was proven wrong! Despite its small size, Rovaniemi boasts a surprisingly vibrant culinary scene with plenty of diverse options to tantalize your taste buds. 

From cozy, intimate dinners to a lively night out with friends, this restaurant list has got you covered. I’ll take you on a culinary journey through Rovaniemi, showcasing the best that each restaurant has to offer. These are the top 8 restaurants for foodies to try in Rovaniemi. Admittedly, there are not too many restaurants to choose from in Rovaniemi, and this list covers a large number of the good ones.

Nonetheless, I hope this foodie’s guide to Rovaniemi helps you experience a mix of traditional Lappish cuisine and international flavors. Whether you’re craving reindeer meat, fresh fish, or vegetarian options, you’re sure to find a restaurant that will satisfy your appetite.

8 Delicious Restaurants to Try in Rovaniemi

Lappish Cuisine in Rovaniemi

Gustav Kitchen & Bar

For a slightly upscale yet casual dining experience in Rovaniemi, Gustav’s is a perfect choice. The chic interior features industrial light fixtures, cozy velvet booths and thick textured curtains. I personally love when a restaurant’s aesthetic is well matched with its cuisine and Gustav’s nails that balance. The menu features Lappish and Scandinavian ingredients prepared in contemporary and international ways. Plus, the menu changes seasonally. Designed to be a small plate restaurant, it is recommended to order a few different dishes to share. I visited in late winter, and was absolutely obsessed with the pumpkin risotto. There was also a beef tartare with pomegranates, shaved parmesan, and egg yolk crumbles. 

Glass Restaurant

Located within the Glass Resort Hotel, the Glass Restaurant is a great place to come for lunch when you’re sick of the kitschy experience at Santa Claus village. You can enjoy an upscale meal in a beautifully designed restaurant, rather than an overpriced cafeteria lunch served on a plastic tray. As the name suggests, the restaurant has a massive glass window with views of the surrounding Arctic landscape and glass igloos at the resort. I loved the dark wood paneling and antler chandeliers in the two-tiered dining room.

The menu features a variety of local and international dishes, but I think their Lappish cuisine really shines. Each dish is prepared with the freshest, high-quality ingredients. I was served the creamiest beetroot soup EVER – I still think about it. Their shaved reindeer entrée was the most flavorful I had during my trip in Lapland, and the mashed potatoes were velvety and buttery. A scoop of lingonberry jam sat aside the reindeer, and it cut through the fatty richness, creating a super well-rounded yet homey dish.

Ravintola Roka Street Bistro

With counter or table seating, Roka Street Food Bistro is a good option for a casual yet delicious meal. It has a simple design inside, which gives you the feeling that they are really dedicated to excellence with the food. They don’t need any of the pomp and circumstance. The food speaks for itself. The creamy salmon soup here was fantastic! Large chunks of salmon and potato bob in a rich creamy sauce, topped with fresh sprigs of dill. Their sandwiches are also really tasty, especially for lunch. 

Rakas Restaurant

Of all the restaurants on this list, I believe that Rakas Restaurant is the most aesthetic. This sophisticated restaurant offers a welcoming atmosphere with impeccable Scandinavian design. I loved the mix of organic materials, natural light and contemporary décor. Tongue-and-cheek modern art adorns the walls and pine cone shaped lights hang from the ceiling. I can almost guarantee you’ll want to snap a photo (or five) as you walk into Rakas.

The menu is focused on modern Nordic cuisine with a particular emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients. Dishes are beautifully presented and expertly prepared, with a variety of options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Signature dishes include pan-seared salmon, roasted reindeer, and smoked elk tartare, all served with innovative flavor combinations and creative twists.

International Cuisine in Rovaniemi

Cafe 21

This stylish all-day café is legit. Delightfully bright with a wall of windows and white subway tile, Cafe 21 immediately lifts your spirit when you step inside. It almost reminds me of an Australian 3rd wave coffee shop or trendy New York bakery. It feels out of place in Rovaniemi, but in the best way possible. The menu features beloved breakfast staples, like fried chicken & waffles, as well as health food options like protein-packed salads and sandwiches. Don’t sleep on the hot chocolate here — it was the best I had in Finland! 

Rosso

Sometimes on vacation, you just want a comforting pizza or quick bowl of pasta. Nothing fancy or super original. Rosso is just right for nights like that. Their pizzas come on a flavorful bubbly dough, and they offer set pizzas or make your own options. There are a few local ingredients, such as a reindeer salami or crispy potato. Otherwise, most of the toppings are as you’d expect, such as prosciutto and arugula. I especially like the Calabro spicy pizza. Topped with Calabrian chilis, sausage and crème fraiche, it was a lovely and simple lunch. 

Yuca 

I typically have a rule that I don’t eat Mexican food outside of North America, because in my experience, it is usually a disappointment. So you can imagine my surprise when I tried the street style tacos at Yuca and absolutely loved them! The tiny menu only offers a few regular tacos, and then there are daily specials. I happened to go on a Tuesday when they had mushroom tacos. They were absolutely delicious! I was especially impressed by the tortillas and cream fraiche they used. Tacos come alongside a small salad and a few homemade tortilla chips. 

Saigon Noodle Bar

If you have a hankering for a hot bowl of soup, it is hard to beat the pho at Saigon Noodle Bar. I went here on a whim after a long day of outdoor activities, looking for something heart-warming and filling. The classic chicken pho hit all the marks. With a simple yet rich broth, the pho came out piping hot and topped with fresh herbs and pickled onions. The noodles were just the right texture, and the staff was so friendly. Plus, there are lovely houseplants all around the restaurant.

Did I miss any of your favorite Rovaniemi restaurants? Comment below!

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