I had the opportunity recently to have a long weekend in Helsinki, Finland. This was my first trip to Finland and I was really excited to see more of Scandinavia. When I first arrived, it was -23 degrees Celsius (-11 degrees Fahrenheit). This was officially the coldest weather that I have experienced. Once I walked outside of the airport, I instantly regretted putting on chapstick as it started to get a bit icy on my lips.
Our first evening in Helsinki, we went to a local restaurant, Kuja Bar & Bistro, for burgers. It was a short walk from our hotel and due to the temperatures outside, we were happy to find something nearby. My husband and I both ordered the burger – though, I asked for no mayonnaise and the coleslaw on the side (I swear I’m not that picky – unless mayo is involved). The burger was definitely handmade, juicy, and cooked to perfection. The fries were nice and crispy. The portion here was also incredibly large! We waddled our way out of the restaurant as we were full to the brim with these delights.
We hurried back from the restaurant and called it an early night. Luckily, Helsinki warmed up the next day. We basically had no itinerary but to wander. We decided to walk around Helsinki and see the sites by foot. A few things of note were – the Rock Church, Helsinki Cathedral, and Uspenskin Cathedral. I really enjoy the old architecture and the unique look of Helsinki compared to other Scandinavian cities that I’ve visited.
Additionally, we enjoyed our visit to the open air museum on Seurasaari Island which has free entry. It’s really lovely to walk around and see the different buildings. It reminded me a lot of the cultural museum in Oslo. Most of the buildings there were log cabin-types and some as old as the 1600s. Not only does the open air museum offer a lovely walk through nature but also a walk back into history.
Our final night, we had dinner at Lappi. It was well worth a visit and incredibly delicious. First, we both started with soups. My husband ordered the traditional salmon soup and I had the cheese soup with cold, roasted reindeer. The salmon soup was really tasty and light. The cheese soup was divine but heavy. Next, my husband and I ordered the Lappish Game Selection for Two. The plate we shared had roasted elk, reindeer sausages, braised reindeer, winter vegetables and potato fondant with creamy game sauce. My favorite was the roasted elk. It was cooked to perfection and had a nice meat flavor. The reindeer sausage was crispy on the outside and had a lovely, salty reindeer flavor. The braised reindeer was also good and when paired with the game sauce – incredible. Finally, we couldn’t get enough of the winter vegetables. We asked about the seasonings and surmised definitely some thyme and green onion. I hope to replicate it at home soon. We finished our meal by sharing the vanilla pudding with wildberry sauce. It was a nice finish to our meal and we enjoyed it. The vanilla pudding was essentially a panna cotta and I believe there were cloudberries in the sauce.
I had a really lovely trip to Helsinki. I hope to have the opportunity to visit again and perhaps see more of the museums and try some more delicious food 🙂