Helsinki’s growing reputation as a world-class food city

Helsinki has a lively and high-quality food culture that is still not fully recognised internationally. The goal of a new food strategy is to highlight the Finnish capital’s unique offerings and promote Helsinki as a world-class food city.

Michelin star Restaurant Photographer: Finnjävel

In Helsinki, one can find numerous innovative restaurants, the oldest market halls in the Nordic region, the Teurastamo centre of urban and culinary culture, distilleries, microbreweries and other craft companies, such as bakeries and chocolate producers. “The strengths of Helsinki’s food culture are its versatility, personality and a certain kind of uniqueness that combines local flavours and cultural influences from both East and West with a bold and innovative approach. 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,” says Nina Vesterinen, Tourism Director at the City of Helsinki.

Helsinki wants to focus even more strongly on food tourism

Helsinki is currently implementing its Helsinki Tourism and Events Programme 2022–2026. The programme highlights the city’s vibrant urban culture with its events, visitors and restaurants as a key strategic priority for promoting the city’s vitality and wellbeing. One of the advocates of Helsinki’s developing restaurant and food culture is Timo Linnamäki, restaurateur and Chairman of the Board of Muru Dining, which operates several restaurants in Helsinki. “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. Muru Group’s restaurants are a good example of their versatility – our taste worlds vary from the French cuisine at Pastis and the fish and seafood dishes at Sue Ellen to the Italian cuisine at Fiasco and the pure Finnish flavours at Finnjävel.”

The best Nordic flavors will soon be served in London

Finnjävel originally began as a temporary pop-up restaurant but has since established its operations and gained its first Michelin star in 2021. In the same year, Finnjävel received the acclaimed Service Award for the best service in the Nordic countries.

“The concept of the restaurant is to serve the best Nordic flavours and to bring traditional Finnish dishes that are reminiscent of your grandma’s cooking into the 2020s with a new, innovative approach. We strongly believe in Helsinki’s potential as a restaurant city at the international level, and we will be promoting this message by opening Finnjäveli’s pop-up restaurant at COMO The Halkin Hotel in the Belgravia district of London from 21 March to 1 April 2023. The pop-up will also present the Helsinki Distilling Company and Finnish Gin. Our aim 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,” says Timo Linnamäki.