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The food enthusiast’s Helsinki

Cities can be assessed by the richness of their food culture. Helsinki’s culinary scene is booming. The restaurant offering in the city centre is better than ever before. Indoor markets sell local produce, and outdoor food markets are busy. Urban gardens produce vegetables in places that used to have nothing but asphalt and concrete.

Many food happenings like the Baltic Herring Fair organized since 1743 and Restaurant Day, which is now an international food carnival, unite all generations around good food. Visitors come to admire Helsinki’s active food culture from long distances, and the rise of the Nordic cuisine can also be seen in Helsinki. Modern street food is gaining strength, complementing the increasingly ambitious creations of top chefs in Helsinki restaurants.  

The emergence of Helsinki as a centre of food culture is largely due to grassroots efforts that stem from resident initiative. It is not that a few top restaurants have earned Michelin stars, but the fact that good food is seen more and more in homes and at schools.

Abattoir (Teurastamo)

The Abattoir was built in 1993 as a slaughterhouse, and now the historical spaces are being taken over by services for residents. The first restaurants and shops have started operations in the unrefined facilities, and the central garden spot of the Abattoir has held some of the city’s most original events. The unique atmosphere of the Abattoir allows restaurants, events and culture to coexist leisurely. The Abattoir is a place where the boldest new restaurateurs of Helsinki can try their wings. The Abattoir caters visitors to the most delicious experiences, and the table is set!

Tori Quarters

One of the most enticing recent projects in Helsinki is the transformation of the historical city blocks in the Neoclassical city centre – the Tori Quarters – from office blocks to a lively citizens’ living room that houses restaurants, boutiques and much else. Bryggeri Helsinki on Sofiankatu is a brewery restaurant, and the Lampa House accommodates Restaurant Olo of the top Finnish chef Pekka Terävä. The Tori Quarters have turned into a small oasis for happenings ranging from small-scale to grand, from outdoor food happenings to the St. Thomas Christmas Market.

Restaurant Day

Restaurant Day is a food carnival originating from Helsinki. It is a day when thousands of people around the world open one-day pop-up restaurants. The main goals are to have fun, distribute new culinary experiences and enjoy good times together with like-minded people. 

Urban gardens

Helsinki residents have always been busy gardeners, and the worldwide breakthrough of urban gardening has made Helsinki increasingly green. The City of Helsinki Public Works Department has for long rented gardening plots and allotment gardens for neighbourhood and plot gardening associations, but various movements based on citizen initiative have boosted urban gardening in recent years.

To find out more about urban gardening, visit:

Food culture strategy

The City of Helsinki Food Culture Strategy strives to build Helsinki into an increasingly delicious city that is a source of pride for its citizens and a rewarding experience for visitors. The spearheads of the strategy are dynamic outdoor and indoor markets, urban gardening, organic food at daycare centres and schools, composting and environmental responsibility. Helsinki is also an active participant in the Délice network of good food cities.

Helsinki Menu restaurants offer culinary treats prepared from the best seasonal Finnish ingredients. 

25.11.2020 21:54