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Help me in Helsinki!

Friends of Chowhound...
Someone must have been to Helsinki before??!! I can barely find any posts. Where have you eaten? Tell me. I'm going this month for three days. HELP.

Mar 07, 2015
kristainlondon in Europe


I just had lunch today at Smoking Goat on Denmark Street and loved it. It is super tiny. No bookings. I was there at 12:15 on Saturday and got a table no problem. It's a pub, sort of, with Thai nibbles. My Thai chicken wings were amazing, but messy. Scallops also delicious. Wow wow wow. Maybe not for the unadventurous.

Other places for you to look at:
Bob Bob Ricard
The Delauney
Brasserie Zedel

Mar 07, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Thoughts on London Trip

I think there is a bar in the basement at the London Edition where Berners is. Haven't been but have heard good things so might be worth calling to see if you can reserve a space before or after dinner.

George and Amal had their first date at Berners Tavern, fyi.

You should make a booking for cocktails at Zetter Town House. They try to minimize the crowds so bookings are essential. Only a 5 minute walk to St. John after to help you with timing. Personally, after dinner at St. John, I just like to hang out at the bar at St. John. Get some dessert wine and some eccles cake and lancashire cheese...strange combo but it works.

I've got nothing for you on Shepherd's pie but a lot of the pies at Bob Bob Ricard have the lovely stamped logo pastry which is a photo opp in itself.

Mar 07, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland


Because I often make grand plans of leaving the vicinity of my hotel when I travel but never do, I am going to tell you where to go close to Covent Garden. Max 10 minute walk.

Italian: I've got nothing. Sorry. I should really do something about this.

Spanish: You are not that far of a walk from either of the Barrafinas or either of the Fernandez & Wells. They are casual, come as you are places. You will have to wait at Barrafina unless you arrive at opening. F&W will be okay but to be clear, F&W is more a cheese/meats/wines/basics kind of place. I love it. But if you want dish after dish of hot food, stick with Barrafina.

Indian: If you want to stay close and local in Covent Garden, Moti Mahal is really nice. It's a bit more upscale than some of the hawker places further down Great Queen Street but not totally upscale.

French: Go to Mon Plasir on Monmouth Street off Covent Garden. Everyone I send here loves it. The atmosphere is lovely.

Modern Pub: Look no further than Great Queen Street on GQS.

Something very British: Rules, no question.

Note that the link about the 12 best restaurants in Covent Garden is very helpful.

Mar 03, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Thoughts on London Trip

Random grab bag
Berners Tavern has great ambiance. Food is good. It's more the ambiance in the evening when the lights are low that kills it. (Kills it as in makes it awesome.)

I haven't heard of B&H either although I know I've seen the buildings? Why have I seen the buildings? (LMGTFY.) Ah, now I know. I live right by there and on my way home the other night, they were filming some movie there.

Quo Vadis is very nice and British. Agree that if you do it, pair with Hix Soho cocktails in the basement. That being said, Quo Vadis feels more business-dinner-y to me.

Hawkmoor Spitalfields bar downstairs is ACE. Love it.

WARNING...I CONFUSED MY TOWN HOUSES. I meant Zetter Townhouse cocktails before St. John. Not Dean Street Townhouse. They are both in Clerkenwell with a 5 minute walk in between. Dean Street Townhouse is in Soho. It's nice but I really want you to to go Zetter Townhouse for cocktails.

Mar 03, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Thoughts on London Trip

Mission E2 which someone else mentions is nice, although it's more Bethnal Green than Shoreditch. can pair that with a visit to the cocktail bar at The Town Hall Hotel so it's a nice little field trip.

Check out Lyle's which is right in Shoreditch off Shoreditch High Street. Also, I personally love the Merchant's Tavern very close to The Hoxton Hotel off Great Eastern Street -- although I myself will admit that I have had mixed experiences there. I love Sunday evenings with the DJ and just the overall vibe. (Angela Hartnett's place.) Merchant's Tavern has that dark GQS/A&H vibe. Lyle's you can tell is definitely related to St. John in some way given how clean lines it is.

There is a bunch of new stuff in Spitalfields within the last month that I haven't caught up on yet. Blixen is one that comes to mind. If you want to be hip to all the new stuff and everything.

Mar 03, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Thoughts on London Trip

Heh...I'm from Long Island. BUT I am behind the times when it comes to NYC so I may be back in touch. I have some more thoughts to share on London and will add in a bit once I read everything.

Mar 03, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Thoughts on London Trip

So I haven't posted on Chowhound for years but your post actually made me do so! Because...when I go to NYC, I want you to plan my dinners for me!! You have done some excellent work in organizing in advance and you have picked some pretty incredible places. Well done.

I love's old school and I love that.

I personally have a soft spot in my heart for Bob Bob Ricard. I just think it is a unique and lovely experience and the wine list and the prices on wine are very good. So I would definitely put it on the lunch list.

Given what you are already looking at...have you looked at The Ledbury?

On the other end of the spectrum, I love Jose in Bermondsey for tapas. Love love love. Great for a Saturday late-afternoon. Very small and no tables -- just standing around or maybe some bar stools -- but very delicious. It's about a 7 minute walk from The Shard. Combine with a trip through The Beer Mile and Maltby Street Market. Mmmm....40 Maltby Street. The downside is that this is best for a weekend itinerary.

I live by Workshop in Clerkenwell and while their coffee is nice, I don't rate the food that highly. If you are by a Monmouth, go for it.

Cocktails...Try Dean Street Townhouse before dinner at St. John.

Someone mentioned Barrafina and I agree BUT the no bookings can be problematic if you have other plans. get there when they open. MMMMM Razor Clams! Koya also delicious. Very informal, both.

On the newer end of things, take a look at Lyle's online and see if you like what you see.

The Palomar is fun at the bar. The staff is great. Delicious too.

What about Dinner by Heston? (Even if you go for lunch?)

Mar 02, 2015
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Warsaw, Prague: Tasty and relatively quick lunch recommendations?

Had a late lunch at U Kucharzy in Warsaw today and LOVED it. Great place to dine if you're by yourself. (Ask for the bar seating in the restaurant...they have two rows of high tables with four seats at each, facing the kitchen.) Ordered the steak tartare and a big green salad and a glass of house white. Steak tartare theatre was amazing and I only wish I had taken more video. Service very attentive and sweet. Food highly excellent IMHO, but the bathrooms were kinda dirty.

If anyone has any other recs for Warsaw, I could really do with a recommendation for tomorrow late lunch!

May 14, 2011
kristainlondon in Europe

Warsaw, Prague: Tasty and relatively quick lunch recommendations?

Hi everyone

I'm heading to Warsaw and Prague next month for work. My schedule will be jam-packed and we'll be flying in the evenings. What I'm looking for are good, lively, interesting lunch stops that aren't going to take more than an hour. Budget is not a problem, but time is. (Imagine my schedule...Meeting at 9, meeting at 10:30. Meeting at 12. Quick stop for lunch around 1ish, meeting at 3, leave for airport, etc.)

I'll be traveling with two other colleagues. If I could express a preference, it would be for newer places in Warsaw and Prague. I do appreciate an old standard, but would like to feel like I'm very "with it" for my short time in both cities. Also, I don't want to be eating french fries all the time so I'm looking for something that goes beyond sausages and frites.

Something that is centrally located would also be helpful as our meetings may be all over both cities.

Thanks in advance!


Apr 24, 2011
kristainlondon in Europe

Ishbilia, Knightsbridge [London]

Ishbilia is much loved amongst the board old-timers. Glad you enjoyed!

Mar 14, 2011
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Affordable (keyword: affordable) Afternoon Tea [London]

Try The Orangerie in South Ken. I think that's south of £20 pp. And a nice place to walk around after.

Mar 14, 2011
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Chowhounder Returning to Chicago after 6+ Year Absence!

Thanks all! This is a great start. I had XOCO and Urban Belly/Bely Shack on my radar already, and the Hopleaf is an old favorite. I did The Gage a year or two or three ago (it was snowing--that's all I remember) and I thought it was just good lunch food...nothing particularly interesting or inspiring.

London has just done the bahn mi craze...I am not totally sure I am a fan, but I will give it a shot here and see! Love the idea of a BYO Korean/Latin so will prioritize that.

@chicgail sorry not to respond sooner--the movers were at my flat all day on the 3rd and 4th and then after a day of housekeeping, I flew to Chicago on the 6th. I am definitely happy to provide any and all London tips so can you e-mail me via my blog? (See my profile page) and I will see what I can do!

For the rest of the Chowhound gang...keep the tips coming...

Aug 08, 2010
kristainlondon in Chicago Area

Chowhounder Returning to Chicago after 6+ Year Absence!


After living in London for 6+ years, I'm back in Chicago for the foreseeable future starting this Saturday. I've been back once a year or so for work and have definitely checked out a few of the newer places (Liked Mercadito. Didn't like Sunda.) but am interested in particular in any off-the-beaten-path places that have opened up while I've been away. (Or maybe on-the-beaten path but still small and beloved.)

So for example, I LOVE Korean food and have already seen that there's a chicken place (Crisp) and a Korean taco place (Taco Chino). That's the sort of thing I'm interested in.

When Hot Doug's was on Roscoe, I lived right up the street on Oakley so went there all the time. I was also a regular at Lao Sze Chuan in Chinatown. And Dinkels! Love love love Dinkels.

I hope that gives you all a flavo(u)r for what I'm looking for. Oh, and West Lakeview Liquors used to be my local beverage stop!

Thanks in advance!

Hot Doug's
3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Lao Sze Chuan
2172 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

108 W. Kinzie, Chicago, IL 60610

West Lakeview Liquors
2156 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60618

Aug 02, 2010
kristainlondon in Chicago Area

Damascus Restaurant Round-up

Hey everyone
Spent a week in Syria in May and am finally getting around to writing up my Damascus restaurants and stops. Hope you find them helpful, and if you go to Damascus yourself at any time, please report back!

Narenj: My best meal of the trip. Had I not gotten sick at the end of my travels, and had my traveling companions actually liked hummus, I would have gone back multiple times. (Just a tip...if you don't like hummus, going to the middle east will be HARD.) The lamb with sour cherry was particularly delicious, as was the red pepper walnut dip. After our meal, they brought out a lovely tray of Middle Eastern treats, along with a full fruit tray. All entirely complimentary. Lovely service. And the only place that would serve me Syrian wine without first begging me to try a Lebanese first. Full of diplomats.

Bakdash: On the main street through the souk. (Not Straight Street. The other main street...closer to the escalators.) Ice cream, covered in pistachios. Fantastic.

Falafel: I thought I took a picture of this place so I could remember the name, but I can't find it. Basically, get to the end of the covered part of Straight Street. Al Khawali will be on your right. A few "doorways" up from Al Khawali, on the same side of the street, there's a great little falafel stand. 25 Syrian pounds, or $1 USD. We kept talking about this falafel for the rest of the week. (Although perhaps still not as good as Hamesh in Amman.)

Al Khawali: A guidebook stalwart. Boasted two of my least favorite smells. I won't go into details. The food here was below average, and I longed for Narenj. Nice atmosphere, I's in an old Damascan house with an open air courtyard. They used a Dust Buster to clean our table after our meal. Tacky.

NaNa: We were lost, looking for a Chowhound recommendation that has apparently gone out of business since it was last mentioned. (Arabesque.) A couple of guys in a parking lot told us to go to NaNa. I am sure I am spelling this wrong because I can't find the restaurant anywhere online. In my very limited Arabic, I knew that NaNa meant mint, which the guys in the parking lot confirmed. This was another old Damascan home, with a lovely open courtyard and a fountain in the middle. My fellow travelers really enjoyed their food here, but I found it a bit average. (I had the steak bernaise.) I did, however, really like the service here, and I liked that it was an all local crowd. Free wireless.

Zodiac: Bar on straight street. Buy one drink and get the 2nd free. We were their only customers. Very dark. Free snacks though!

Story Teller's Cafe aka An-Nafura. One of the oldest cafes in Damascus. Come here for the hookah, some mint tea, and hopefully to catch the story teller doing his thing. (However, it's all in Arabic.) This was a nice break after exploring the souk for a bit.

Beit Zaman: Straight Street. We dropped into the cafe here for some Lebanese beer and peanuts. (The Syrians are famed for their nuts.) Small and lovely. Would be even lovelier if they would take down the flat screen TV. (Every restaurant or bar in Syria seems to have a flat screen TV installed.)

Saladin: I normally always like to have a plan for lunch or dinner when traveling. When you're exhausted--and MELTING--nothing is worse than being hungry too. You often wind up settling for the first place you come across. I try not to let this happen to me. However, we had reached one of those points, so I quickly asked a friendly (and attractive) tablecloth seller in the souk of a lunch recommendation. "Saladin!" was his very enthusiastic recommendation. To get here, go down the main street in the souk and right before you get to the mosque, there will be street on the left that has a couple of rotisserie-like places. Of course, all the signs are in Arabic, so you will have to ask which one is Saladin. (Remember that Saladin is also buried in a nearby mausoleum. Don't confuse anyone.) We had some tasty chicken shwarma, along with fries and cokes for the equivalent of $5 USD. Short on atmosphere. Very little English spoken.

london street food?

There's a huge amount of street food in London. Whitecross Street during the week. (Hoxton Beach for their falafel is my favorite) and Brick Lane on Sundays. (Arepas & Co. my personal fave there.)

The whole "London has no streetfood" debate was true when I first moved here in 2004, but since White X and Brick Lane have gotten organized, it's no longer the case. At all.

Also good to try is the stands around Camden Lock Market on the weekends. (Where you'll also find Arepas & Co.)

May 30, 2010
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

London--Outdoor Fine Dining and one other night

What about Coq d'Argent? Lovely rooftop garden...I think they will let you eat out there when the weather is nice but best to call ahead and check...

May 30, 2010
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

[London] Post theatre supper wanted

Seconding Bob Bob Ricard for the atmosphere and champagne button alone!

May 30, 2010
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Eating at Heathrow (Terminal 5) [London]

Fishcakes at Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food!

May 30, 2010
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Amman Restaurant Round-up

Just got back from a trip to Jordan and Syria. Will post Syria at some point next week, but in the meantime, here's a round-up of Amman places.

Hashem: An outdoor "cafe" with the ubiquitous plastic chairs that you'll see all over the middle east. Hashem is known for its falafel. And what falafel it was! Crunchy little balls that were the best I had the entire trip. And that's saying something, given the vast quantities of falafel I consumed while I was in Jordan. Ah, and the falafel was served with something my research after the fact tells me is "fool." Fava beans, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Fantastic. This was a super cheap and super delicious stop. Local crowd, with a few tourists. This was my favorite stop in Amman, by far. Not fancy.

Habiba: Up the road from Hashem, you'll find Habiba, tucked into another alleyway. They serve multiple varieties of knafeh, which is a cheese custardy pastry, topped with something akin to shredded phylo. This was really dense and rich and I could barely finish my plate. Very local crowd.

Turtle Green: Lovely little cafe with free wi-fi on Rainbow Street. Known for their teas, but it was so hot that I opted for freshly squeezed orange juice instead. International crowd.

Books@Cafe: Listed in all the guidebooks. Where Amman's young and beautiful people hang out. It was a bit more run-down than I expected, but the sun-drenched patio was the perfect place for me to while away the time while I sipped my lemon and mint and took advantage of more free wifi. International crowd. Alcohol served.

Reem's Cafeteria. Another guidebook stalwart, helped of course by a recent piece in the New York Times. Kinda reminded me of being at the Wiener's Circle in Chicago, but without the yelling and cursing. When the people I was with wanted to have pizza for dinner (??!!), this is where I went. It's really just a little window on the street, where you pay 1 dinar and someone gives you some tasty beef--not lamb, as the New York Times says. I definitely confirmed it was beef--wrapped in a pita, along with a pita. The menu is all in Arabic, but your choices are really only "small" or "large." I asked what the other item on the menu was and they handed us something I believe is called a "kopa," or minced lamb wrapped in dough. Delicious. Very local crowd. While we were there (standing on the street, eating), many taxi drivers and police officers drove up. Some just shouting their order out the window and giving change to whoeever was on the sidewalk, willing to deliver the money to the window.

Blue Fig: Spacious large and airy restaurant, located next to huge Starbucks with drive-thru. The patio out back is quite nice and much quieter than taking one of the tables at the main entrance, which faces a very busy road. We enjoyed large flat breads, topped with smoked chicken and pickles. International crowd. Alcohol served.

Vinaigrette: At the top of the AlQasr Metropole Hotel, with lovely views all around Amman. Vinaigrette serves sushi, so we enjoyed a crunchy tuna roll, along with our cocktails. (A mjoito for my friend, and a Mexican beer for me, which is beer with lemon juice, served in a glass with a salted rim. Apparently, a Jordanian staple.) International crowd. Alcohol served.

Bistro One: Located just above the 1st circle in The Granada Hotel. Italian-ish menu, although the restaurant's menu says they're French. (Burgers available.) I was pleasantly surprised by my sea bass and vegetables. Huge portions. Extensive wine list for a restaurant in Jordan. Decor trying hard. Servers are many. All in tuxedos. Empty when we went on a Tuesday. (Or maybe it was a Monday. I forget.)

Amigos: Also located in The Granada Hotel. Good 1/2 price happy hour deals. Predominately male clientèle when we were there, along with a few couples. Dark and smoky. Pool table.

In short, I was really impressed by Amman. It's a good mix of old and new. It's a sprawling city, so not one that's easy to explore by foot, but the area around Rainbow Street and the 1st circle is quite nice and can easily be explored without a car.

Itadaki-Zen, King's Cross, London

Just had dinner here last night and really enjoyed it. Super sweet service. Like Limster, I really enjoyed the carrot/onion tempura. (I checked and it was just carrot and onion...I thought maybe parsnip but manager said really only carrot and onion.) Also loved the agedashi tofu. And the desserts were pretty cool...we had both the soy milk pudding and the sesame pudding. Loved the tofu paste on top of both.

Definitely something different. But if you're into Japanese food and/or have a Vegetarian in your life, worth trying.

Manager told me they are funded by London's Japanese Association? And that they brought in a special architect from Japan to work on the space. Their goal is to grow their own vegetables locally, although they're not there yet. All in all, seems like they have a lot going on.

I went with a Japanese friend so my experience might be slightly different in that we got a lot of advice on what to order, chef came out to meet us, etc.

Jan 27, 2010
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Upscale restaurant with good vegetarian offerings in London?

not central London, but Morgan M is lovely and does a veggie tasting menu. North Islington.

Dec 10, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Taste London Card: any great deals?

I find it pretty helpful for work lunches/dinners. I remember one dinner I did at the Clerkenwell Dining Room which was pretty good...we got 50% off. Bill would have been £350 but we got it for £175. Awesome. I remember I checked and didn't see the same offer there.

Dec 10, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Quintessential West London Restaurants

Churchill Arms in South Ken is fun. Great decor. Very good Thai food. VERY popular, so definitely make a booking.

Dec 10, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

oysters in london

J Sheekey! Just go to the bar.

Randall & Aubin also fun.

Also, Spitalfields on Sundays...McManus Brothers. I think he also does Borough on Saturdays.

Dec 10, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

London: Foodie parents with kids

I really want to help you but am not coming up with anything that's a definite. Take a look at Imli looks interesting and the kids might think it's cool.

You don't mention budget so it's hard to give specific restaurant recs but also look at Mohti Mahal in Covent Garden (I often find that Indian restaurants are very kid-friendly). Also, I'm thinking Yauatcha on Berwick Street might be a possibility. But I'm iffy on their service.

Lastly, Le Cafe Anglais in Bayswater strikes me as a pretty family-oriented place. (It's the type of place you'd take your parents or grandparents to if they were visiting. Very classic and dependable.) It's not exactly in the West End, but it's not far at all. (Make sure you get the anchovy toasts with parmesan custard.) When you book, ask for one of the booths.

Aug 15, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Must-try affordable eats [London]

Fernandez & Wells in Soho!!! The Lexington Entrance. Delicious sandwich and glass of wine for about £10? Maybe £12.

Aug 15, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland


I ate at Sedap three times last week. Good stuff. Lunch special is an especially good value. £5.95 - £6.50 for starter, main, rice/noodles.

Aug 15, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

No good bagels??? [London]

that's me again! that's when I did my bagel round-up!

May 29, 2009
kristainlondon in U.K./Ireland

Great meal in Madrid on a Sunday night?

Hello Madrid Board!

I will be in Madrid on a Sunday night next month and would love to have a great meal. I was hoping to get into Santceloni, but it's closed on Sundays. Any recommendations in the same general area (Retiro/Salamanca) would be fantastic. More specifically, I'm interested in a good place to dine solo. (Which can mean either just really nice service or bar dining or maybe just tables that aren't totally in the middle of the dining room.)


May 28, 2009
kristainlondon in Spain/Portugal