Is it time to consider Helsinki as the next big Nordic food destination?
Home to not only a rich food culture but also several restaurants with more than one Michelin star, the Finnish capital now launches a special strategy to make even more people head east for their next Nordic food experience.
By WILMA HALL & JOHAN MAGNUSSON
January 20, 2023
Doma, Frantzén, Maaemo, and many more restaurants as well as numerous and recurrent top positions in Bocuse d’Or have secured the Nordics’ position as a new food destination to follow. However, Helsinki might not be the first city that comes to mind when your stomach rumbles and you want to challenge your tastebuds, which the city now aims to change.
— So much is happening in Helsinki’s restaurant scene at the moment, the range of offerings continues to expand, and there are real gems offering unique experiences throughout the city, says Timo Linnamäki, restaurateur, Chairman of the Board of Muru Dining, which operates several restaurants in Helsinki, and one of the advocates of the city’s developing restaurant and food culture.
Helsinki is home to one of the oldest market halls in the Nordic region, Teuratamo, which carries distilleries, microbreweries, bakeries, chocolate producers, and many more. One of many new and innovative restaurants is called Finnjävel, run by Timo Linnamäki, offering a mix of the best Nordic flavours and a new approach to the traditional Finnish dishes reminiscent of ”grandma’s cooking”. To bring these flavours, as well as Helsinki’s potential as a restaurant city at an international level, Finnjävel will run a ten-day pop-up restaurant at COMO The Halkin Hotel in the Belgravia district of London at the end of March.
— Our aim, Linnamäki explains, is to offer a unique food experience that attracts international interest in Finnish food culture, producers, and ingredients and inspires people to travel to the source to experience more.
This weekend, a new edition of the largest tourism industry event in northern Europe, Matka Nordic Travel Fair, takes place in central Helsinki. To highlight the city as a food travel destination, Helsinki will set up a special Helsinki Food Court at the fair, in cooperation with Food Camp Finland and Messukeskus, as well as launching its own food culture strategy work. The aim is to make Helsinki a world-class food city of interest and according to Nina Vesterinen, tourism director at the City of Helsinki, the strengths of Helsinki’s food culture are its versatility, personality, and a certain kind of uniqueness.
— It combines local flavours and cultural influences from both east and west with a bold and innovative approach, she says. The level of Helsinki’s top restaurants is illustrated by the fact that one restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars and five with one Michelin star.