10 Outstanding Restaurants in Helsinki

Top chefs from Denmark and Sweden get most of the press in the region, but Helsinki's dining scene deserves a closer look. Here, 10 restaurants to visit in the cultured capital of Finland. 

Courtesy Spis
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When we talk about the culinary landscape of Northern Europe, the conversation has long orbited around the devotion-inspiring powerhouses of Denmark and Sweden, such as Rene Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen and Magnus Nilsson’ Fäviken, just north of Stockholm. But there’s a foodie movement booming in nearby Helsinki that might just redefine the pecking order in the region. Like its neighbors, Helsinki’s stable of award-winning restaurants are exalting the virtues of new Nordic cooking by elevating homegrown cuisines, sticking with local ingredients, and foraging for herbs and plants that you may not find anywhere else in the world. 

But there’s also so much more. Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg’s small empire of Asian restaurants throughout the city are serving authentic, flavorful dishes that are peerless in the region—maybe even the continent. Then there’s a bustling street eats culture. The city now stages a conference called StreatHelsinki, where food cart vendors as well as luminaries (Smorgasburg founder Eric Demby and Lucky Peach editor-in-chief Chris Ying both spoke at the inaugural event in 2014) from all over the world come to the Finnish capital to discuss innovations in and the future of street food.

It's a dynamic dining landscape that not only satisfies but also surprises. Chef Richard McCormick, who has a few eateries in Helsinki (including one on our list), is feeling particularly optimistic about the foodie explosion in the capital: “After a couple of years, Helsinki will be the foodie scene of Scandinavia.”

But why wait? Here’s where to eat in Helsinki right now.