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Helsinki - any suggestions on where to eat?

Hello,

Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Helsinki. I try to visit as many of them as I can whenever I am in my old hometown.

Restaurant Juuri. Famous for its Finnish Tapas, "sapas". A very good introduction to local dishes, traditional ingredients but made with a modern innovative twist. Mid-priced, although I find the mains slightly overpriced and usually stick to "sapas"

www.juuri.fi (menu in English

)

If the weather is nice, you should try one of the summer restaurants located in the islands, literally a couple of hundred yards from the city centre. They are pricey, but definitely something worth experiencing. Restaurant Saaristo (or Klippan, the name of the island) is one of the old favourites and is a 1 min boat ride from the centrally located Olympia terminal. The same company runs another place called Saari. I like both of them.

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saaristo/presentation.html

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saari/presentation.html

As another recent Chowhound post wrote, Restaurant Kuu is a nice local neighbourhood bistro. French-influenced dishes, but FInnish classics as well. Very good and very resonably priced Wine list. I think it has the cheapest champagne by the glass in Helsinki

www.ravintolakuu.info

For midpriced Finnish classic dishes such as fish (vendance and other delicious lakefish, Baltic herring and salmon) and meat, try any of the local no nonesense favourite restaurants:

Kosmos - http://www.ravintolakosmos.fi/englanti/englanti.htm
Elite - http://www.royalravintolat.com/elite/index_eng.asp
Sea Horse - www.seahorse.fi

For Michelin-star quality, the best restaurant in FInland is the excellent but pricey CHez Dominique (two stars).
http://www.chezdominique.fi/home_cd2

For one star options I like Postres, athough its prices have gone up a bit too much in the recent years. I have heard good things about the new one star Luomo
www.postres.fi
www.luomo.fi - there is a sample menu in English under "Keittio".

Helsinki is an excellent place for Russian fare. The most famous, is the pricey Restaurant Saslik. My personal favourite is Restaurant Kasakka, which is a cheaper option. Both will fill you up with traditional russian fare.

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saslik/presentation.html
http://www.delifox.fi/kasakka/en/

I would recommend reservations to any of the places mentioned above. Have a nice time in Helsinki!

May 30, 2010
FinnFoodie in Europe

brussels

Hello there,

To add a few:
When I lived in Brussels, my absolute favourite restaurant was "Le grain de sel", located very close to your hotel (near landmark Place Flagey). I haven´t been there since I moved away in 2006, but according to recent reviews (Tripadvisor, resto.be) it seems to be going as strong as ever.

French influenced, daily rotating menu, 1-3 courses. The whole 3 courses is around 24 Euros, which is an absolute bargain in Brussels for food of this calibre.

Address: Chaussee de Vleurgat 9.
http://www.legraindesel.net/

The whole Flagey area, especially Rue Lesbroussart has many nice eateries, e.g. La Cuisine (Rue Lesbroussart 85), practically around the corner from your hotel.

"Brussels is not big, but it`s deep" as my former boss used to say. It is a truly wonderful city, so I hope you have a nice time!

May 27, 2010
FinnFoodie in Europe

What is the deal with Stella?

I guess it is all about branding and packaging...Each big brewery wants to push one or a couple of their products to become global successes. The beer needs to be "okay enough" and "easily drinkable" - good enough to appeal to the widest possible segment of the general public. This inevitably means certain blandness - for example with Pilsner Urquell (one of my favourites) I find it may be slightly too bitter ever to become a real household name, at least in Latin America where I live (where, incidentally, InBev seems to be pushing Brazilian Brahma instead of Stella).

In case of InBev, if taste was considered, they could have just as well chosen Jupiler (which I believe is still the No. 1 beer in Belgium). Or Staropramen (I wish they had). But the image (packaging, history, the profile of existing users - at least in Belgium the image of Jupiler is that of a "working man´s beer". ) was probably not as appealing as that of Stella (nice "regal" name, nice original packaging, long history of the brewery etc. - ideal to sell the brand to the thirsty "after work" office crowd around the world).

When Carlsberg bought the majority of Baltic Beverages Holding a couple of years ago, they now seem to be pushing the Russian Baltika quite a bit globally. I guess it is suitably exotic (and the quality has really improved since a couple of years ago). But when it comes to the taste they could have as easily chosen the Norwegian Ringnes or Finnish Sinebrychoff, which are both pretty decent but unremarkable lagers.

May 27, 2010
FinnFoodie in Beer

cheese on seafood pasta?

Since I´m an avid fan of Chopped and Scott Conant is always being so strict about it, I have been perplexed by the issue for a long time. As many responders here have contested, use of cheese with seafood varies regionally, even in Italy. On many seafood dishes I wouldn´t do it, but on some the results can be heavenly. One of the best dishes I ever ate was in Epernay, France where oysters were served gratinated in the local champagne with cheese and cream.

Of course cheese can easily overpower the delicate flavour of seafood. Of course it may help to hide that the main ingredient is "off".But this does not take away the fact that you can do wonderful things if you know and respect your ingredients. For example, the great Gastón Acurio (the Peruvian chef celebré of "cocina novo andina") does killer cheese recipes with scallops, clams and mussles, as do his colleagues all around Peru and Chile. If you go to any of these "new wave" restaurants you are likely to find at least one version of "conchitas a la parmesana".

So Scott Conant may not like his cheese with seafood and I respect that (but I do hope he has at least tried it once prepared by Acurio or his posse before sticking to his guns..). Nevertheless, to say that it is a "no-no" universally, is, to my humble opinion, an incorrect statement.

May 27, 2010
FinnFoodie in General Topics
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