Nokka’s commitment to regional cuisine is admirable: its much-loved Helsinki Menu promises a taste of Finland, with classics ranging from silverside of reindeer and marinated herring to cheese from the Hakaniemi market hall. There are also Finnish farm wines to choose from. Many of the tables in this converted warehouse face the open kitchen, and groups can take cooking courses in the training kitchen upstairs. The service is impeccable.
Restaurant Nokka, Kanavaranta 7F, 00160 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 6128 5600
Chef Pekka Terävä, who began his restaurant career on cruise ships and at restaurants Havis Amanda and Alexander Nevski*, has brought a refreshing realism to Olo Restaurant. Exploring the rich heritage of Nordic cuisine while at the same time updating it to 2011, Terävä combines seasonal, ethically-sourced ingredients with a refined approach to presentation. The flavours are clean and the dishes are well-balanced.
Olo Restaurant, Kasarmikatu 44, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 665 565
Set within a former warehouse, this multi-faceted restaurant has an upstairs dining room, a street-level bistro with terrace and a clutch of intimate meeting rooms available for private hire. The exposed brickwork and timber beams provide a striking counterpoint to the sophistication of the menu. Sample dishes might include tenderloin of elk, pan-fried scallops or pike-perch with dill gnocchi and mustard butter foam. End with the milk chocolate mousse with cloudberry sorbet.
Sipuli, Kanavaranta 7, 00160 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 6128 5500
Havis takes its name from the Havis Amanda statue, which stands near the entrance to the restaurant. This frescoed seafood restaurant has attained a high level of popularity in Helsinki for the freshness of its ingredients and its responsible attitude towards sourcing. The pan-fried lavaret and arctic char with boletus mushroom risotto are among the highlights. The wine list is equally strong.
Havis, Eteläranta 16, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 6128 5800
Juuri Restaurant has injected fresh energy into the Finnish culinary scene. Located near the design museum, this inviting dining room specialises in original, carefully thought-out mains and sapakset, the Finnish take on tapas. Top picks include smoked lamb with gooseberry jam, reindeer liver terrine and sausages with vodka mustard.
Juuri, Korkeavuorenkatu 27, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 635732
Designed by Finnish architects Aino and Alvar Aalto, Restaurant Savoy retains the same austere elegance that set it apart from Helsinki’s other restaurants when it first opened in 1937. Executive chef Kai Kallio has set out to promote nutrition as much as skill or finesse, and his unconventional approach has paid off: plates such as the lobster with spicy cauliflower or the sole fried in oregano butter are hugely enjoyable.
Restaurant Savoy, Eteläesplanadi 14, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 6128 5300
Chez Dominique is one of few Michelin-starred restaurants in Finland, and its menu is suitably imaginative. Chef Hans Välimäki has forged new paths in gastronomy, introducing original pairings such as red mullet and watermelon, pumpkin purée and liquorice or foie gras and shallot ice cream. The approach is daring, and the design an exercise in pure form; the spare, monochrome décor provides a blank canvas for the statement cuisine.
Chez Dominique, Rikhardinkatu 4, 00130 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 612 7393