Finnish cooking has always championed local produce, from wild berries and mushrooms to fish from the sea or the country’s many lakes. In the past decade the rapid rise to fame of New Nordic Cuisine, with its focus on purity, simplicity and freshness, has taken this trend one step further. The new stars of Helsinki’s restaurant scene take sourcing to new levels, often working directly with local farms and small producers in order to create delicious seasonal dishes of the highest quality.
Located in the eastern district of Kallio, this stylish space is the place to head for dishes with a distinct North African and Middle Eastern influence. Visit for the daily-changing set lunch; explore the imaginative à la carte menu at dinner, when there’s often live music or a DJ set; or linger over its excellent weekend brunches – vegetarian and vegan on Saturday, ‘Marrakech Madness’ on Sunday. Sandro’s take on Moroccan specialities such as pastilla and tajine are a particular highlight.
Sandro, Kolmas Linja 17, 00530 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 4289 2317
Juuri’s menu is based on fresh, locally sourced organic ingredients – particularly vegetables – prepared in way that respects Finnish culinary traditions but with an innovative spin. Among the highlights are the house speciality Sapas, a contemporary Finnish take on tapas. These small tasting dishes, inspired by traditional Finnish buffet tables, allow customers to sample a wide range of flavours, from lingonberry-marinated salmon to beetroot pannacotta with smoked buttermilk. Round off your meal with a selection of cheeses from some of the country’s best small producers.
Juuri, Korkeavuorenkatu 27, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 635732
Sis Deli & Café
Sis Deli & Café offers delectable healthy food made using high-quality organic and local ingredients sourced from some of Finland’s finest producers. The laid-back atmosphere and inviting menu makes Sis the perfect spot for a relaxed breakfast, light lunch or reviving afternoon snack; the orange-flavoured Bircher muesli is a particularly delicious way to start the day. Don’t forget to pick up a jar of organic jam or honey and some bars of fudge from the deli to take home with you.
Sis Deli & Café, Kalevankatu 4, 00100 Helsinki, +358 (0)10 422 9301
Spis bases its cuisine around the freshest Nordic ingredients, particularly vegetables, though there are always a few meat and fish options, too. The two tasting menus change according to what’s in season, but expect dishes such as roasted pumpkin with barley risotto, and cloudberry parfait with caramel and organic yogurt mousse. The food is complemented by a list of equally imaginative artisanal wines. Be sure to book; the intimate restaurant seats just 18 diners.
Spis, Kasarmikatu 26, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)45 305 1211