Helsinki’s fine-dining scene has really developed in recent years, and the city now has a number of Michelin-starred eateries. But the Finns have long eschewed complication and showmanship in their cuisine, favouring simple, honest food made with the best locally sourced ingredients. To get an authentic taste of the way Finns eat and drink, bypass big-name restaurants and instead while away a few happy hours at one of Helsinki’s excellent cafés. As well as offering some of the best coffees, cakes, teas and snacks in the city, these relaxed establishments give a glimpse of the real character of the city and its charming citizens.
Italian food company Signora Delizia is committed to bringing the tastes of its native land to Helsinki. At its café on Satamakatu, it sells – along with top quality products imported directly from Italy, such as impeccable olive oils and antipasti – an appealing range of hot drinks, snacks and desserts. Sandwiches are made daily with simple, fresh and delicious fillings, all on newly baked bread. Its coffees and teas – of which there is an impressive selection – are another highlight, and go well with the tempting cakes, chocolates and biscuits on offer.
Signora Delizia, Satamakatu 5, 00160 Helsinki, +358 (0)45 861 5959
Launched last year, Kahvila Siili is a summer-only café whose 2016 reopening has been hotly anticipated. The picturesque café in Helsinki’s historic Käpylä district is serious about coffee; using beans from award-winning London roastery Square Mile Coffee, house brewer Kalle Freese has been named Finland’s best barista twice over. A beautiful place to spend a warm afternoon, the garden is the perfect location for sipping coffee – and later wine – and sampling the delicious range of dishes made from local ingredients.
Kahvila Siili, Ilmattarentie 8C, 00610 Helsinki, +358 (0)40 522 8401
Johan & Nyström
The Finnish outpost of Swedish coffee company Johan & Nyström is already a favourite with locals. Founded in 2004, the brand believes in excellent slow-roasted coffee, using only fair trade beans of the highest quality. The spacious, laidback café in the Katajanokka district is the place to find not just great coffee, but also a selection of teas, cakes and pastries, and even selected pieces of equipment to help you make a great brew at home.
Johan & Nyström, Kanavaranta 7C, 00160 Helsinki, +358 (0)40 520 3623
Good Life Coffee
Good Life Coffee’s no-nonsense approach, based on carefully selected high-grade beans and precise manufacturing methods, is designed to create the perfect result without a fuss. At its café in Kallio, guests can enjoy expertly brewed and delicious coffees as well as a range of locally baked treats. The atmosphere is relaxed, and while the members of staff are obsessive when it comes to the latest roasting and brewing methods, there’s no snobbery here. They believe the details are for the makers, and that customers should simply enjoy every sip.
Good Life Coffee, Kolmas linja 17, 00530 Helsinki