Restaurant review: Santa Fe – Mexican style

4 03 2015

Red wine at Santa Fe - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Santa Fe serves Mexican food in the central of Helsinki city. Texmex, Cajun and international foods are in main role in the restaurants relaxed atmosphere. During summertime a decked court yard terrace is popular for dining and it also offers live music from Monday to Thursday starting at 21.00.

Santa Fe is located at Aleksin Piha where there are two other restaurants. All three dining spots are owned by same company and share terrace area. But at the end of February you definately want to dine inside.

Always start the dinner with Nachos, this time with Chips and Dips hot chili tomato and avocado dips and nachos.

Portion is small compared to, for instance Hard Rock Cafe but it costs half of it. So, is you are really hungry you might want to order also something else. Unless you fill your stomach with beer…..

Nachos at Santa Fe

For main course, of course, Chicken Fajitas!

Basic portion includes pieces of chicken breast, sweet pepper, onion, guacamole, hot chili tomato sauce, creme fraiche, jalopenos and two tortillas.

You can ask to replace onion with pepper, if you do not like onions. You also can ask for more sauces and extra tortillas if you like. Sauces you might want to ask, but 2 big tortillas are enough to be filled with chicken and other stuff.

Chicken Fajitss at Santa Fe - reijosfood.com

Fajitas at Santa Fe - reijosfood.com

Restaurant has wine offers, you can get either bottle of red or white wine at a price of 19.90€.

Wine offer at Santa Fe - reijosfood.com

Propably most of the diners order beer, but wine lovers choose wine even in Mexican restaurant. Utilized offer and ordered bottle of Canapi Shiraz, which was chosen as “cheap wine” of the year 2013 and costs only 6.99€ in Alko. So restaurant takes nice margin anyway….

Tried also rose wine Barefoot Rose which is too sweet even for Mexican food.

Aleksin Piha - reijosfood.com

Santa Fe is most popular Mexican food restaurant in Helsinki. In the summer time it is more thatn restaurant because of the terrace. Dining room is dark, therefore pictures are quite “dizzy”.

If you visit Helsinki in the summer time, you might want to stop by Aleksin Piha and eat something at oneof the 3 restaurants. Santa Fe is obvious choise, if you like spicy and especially Mexican food.

REVIEW: FOOD 3/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3,5/5 (winter time)

Santa Fé front page | In English | Santa Fe | Rafla.fi.





Restaurant review: Minos – Greek cuisine

1 03 2015

Restaurant Minos is over 25 years old restaurant, which serves traditional Greek food.  Clear proof of authenticity is language used by waiters/waiteresses; they talk to each other in Greek. Minos has pleasant covered terrace, which can be used also in the winter time, as it is heated.

Always choose to dine at the terrace, because you can observe by-passers at the same time. In the summer Minos has it’s own spot in popular Kamppi shopping center terrace area serving Greek wines and for instance Mythos beer.

Minos - reijosfood.com

Minos

For starters chose of course again Tzatziki yoghurt and cucumber salad and Dolmades vine leaves stuffed with rise and herbs.

Greek starters are always delicious, still miss taramosalata from holidays, but unfortunately it is not available at Minos. Tzatziki was made from genuine Greek yoghurt, not from Finnish or German and therefore really enjoyable. You can purchase similar dolmades from supermarkets in tins but so what, they were excellent.

Dolmades at Minos - reijosfood.com

Dolmades

Tzatziki at Minos - reijosfood.com

Tzatziki

For main courses we had Grilled chicken breast and halloumi cheese salad and Seafood salad with prawns, octopus, tuna and artichokes.

Chicken salad was excellent. Chicken itself was grilled as well as halloumi which makes the taste always better than fried or cooked. Seafood salad was slight dissappointment because there was only one artichoke (look the plural in the name) and somehow portion was a little bit wet. Maybe too much water from tuna fish can?

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Salad of Chicken Breast and Halloumi Cheese

Seafood salad at Minos - reijosfood.com

Salad of Seafood

For wine had glasses of Greek white and red wine. OK with food, but not so enjoyable without it.

Minos is one of my favourite restaurants in Helsinki for meny reasons. I like Greek food and Minos prepares it well. And dining at the terrace, either under glass roof our outside is always pleasure. Therefore overall grade is high.

Note that restaurant is not open on Sundays.

Another, a little bit more sophisticated Greek restaurant El Greco, is also worth to visit. Review can be found by using search.

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

Restaurant Minos.





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2015 – 5 restaurants awarded but 4 exists

26 02 2015

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.com

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland today. Five restaurants got 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. Other cities are not yet included in Michelin reviews.

So five restaurant kept their stars, but as Luomo closed it’s doors in the beginning of this year, Helsinki actually has four Michelin star restaurants. Difficult business environment for fine dining restaurants. Postres changed name and concept, which meant that we have now 2 restaurant less carrying Michelin star.

 

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – Restaurant Ask.

Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – Restaurant Chef & Sommelier, Helsinki / Chef & Sommelier – Organic restaurant in Eira.

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – Restaurant Demo | ”Share a laugh in the middle of culinary excellence”

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki – OlO Restaurant treats you to a Gastronomic journey of Nordic influence

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Pictures are from restaurant Demo which has had Michelin star since 2007.





Restaurant review: Boulevard Social

22 02 2015

Boulevard Social was third BW restaurant and it opened its doors in May 2012 on the Boulevard Street (guess where the name comes?). The kitchen and bar offer combination of traditional flavors from Greece, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco and other Mediterranean countries. The quite simple bistro decor used in the restaurant has been designed to enhance the restaurant’s flavors.

All BW restaurants share idea that dishes are to be shared. You can choose from two tasting menus with matching wines or order from a la carte list. We decided to order first few snacks, one starter to be shared and two main courses to be shared.

But before dinner we ordered for aperif Pumpkin el Greco, which was recommended by waitress. It included thyme, which suits well for many meat dishes, but with this drink end-result was not so successful at least when it comes to our taste.

Aperitif at Boulevard Social

We started the dinner with snacks 2x GRILLED GREEN MUSSELS `ON A STICK grilled green shell mussels, almond and chorizo salsa and 2x MINI CHICKEN KEBAB `SOUVLAKI´ grilled chicken kebeb marinated with herbs, coriander, dill yoghurt.

Mussels with salsa were extremely delicous, almond and chorizo paired well with grilled green mussels.

Grilled meat tastes usually better that fried. Chicken pieces were juicy but at the same time firm due to way of cooking. Sauces were again scrumptious and with them whole dish was bull’s eye.

Snacks at Boulevard Social

For starter we ordered GRILLED TIGER PRAWNS `CHERMOULA´ grilled tiger prawns and lemon, honey roasted sesame seeds, saffron mayonnaise to be shared.

Four tiger prawns for 28€ is quite much but of course they are also quite expensive comperad to basic prawns. Grilling made shellfish perfect and with sauce worth of 5 points.

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For main courses enjoyed WHITE FISH, ROASTED RED PEPPER & SAFFRON fried white fish, roasted red pepper and saffron broth, merquez sausage, mussels, squid, turmeric aioli, chick peas and ROASTED SEA BASS & HERBS roasted sea bass, parsley, coriander, tomato, roasted almond butter, fennel labneh.

The degree of ripeness of both fishes was consumate. Fish skin of whitefish was easy to eat and of course no fish bones disturbed. Only disruptive thing was the salinity. When dish included lot’s of herbs, sauces and many flavors as you can see and read from the name of dishes, you do not actually need salt.

For side dish ordered Patatas Fritas which were great but actually you do not need them unless you are really hungry.

White fish at Boulevard Social

Sea bass at Boulevard Social

Fish at Boulevard Social

What makes Boulevard Social cuisine interesting and inviting are the various sauces, which are served with each dish. Actually sauces formed an important part of dining experience. You really get a chance to taste flavors from all Mediterranean countries.

Sauces at Boulevard Social

Wine list focuses on wines from southern France, Italy and Portugal regarding to restaurant web site. But there are lot’s of wines from other countries and regions.

We had bottle of Rudesheim riesling which has been created by Swedish cellar master Markus Lunden. Wine is produced at Weingut Georg Beuer. This riesling paired well with all dishes we had, enough crispy and dry.

Riesling at Boulevard Social

Usually it is difficult to get table from restaurant unless you make reservation at least week earlier. We made the reservation a day before and dined on early dining time (2,5 hours time to eat). Tables are close to each other but we had table for 4 person and therefore plenty of room.

Restaurant Boulevard Social

Snacks and starter were really enjoyable but contradictory tastes and saltiness in main courses affected food points.

Service was polite and professional. But as dishes came so quickly, had to ask to slow down the pace before sea bass.

Boulevard Social has unique cuisine in Helsinki and especially flavors from North Africa add exotic impression. Dining room is twilight, therefore pictures are a little bit dark, sorry for that.

If you want enjoy well prepaired portions and especially desire exotic not so common tastes in Helsinki, restaurant is for you.

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE – 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE – 4,5/5

Restaurant Boulevard Social

 





Restaurant review: Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri

15 02 2015

Kaartin Hodai & Hummeri - reijosfood.com

“Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri” is not actually restaurant, but as it serves mainly gourmet hot-dogs, it deserves to be reviewed. Direct translation for the name of the restaurant is “Hot dog & Lobster in Kaarti”.

Restaurant is owned by same chef’s and sommelier’s as Muru and Pastis. Hodari & Hummeri is located next to Pastis, which is in a way convenient.

Dining room is tiny, only 5 small tables. One option is to eat by window but the you have to sit on pillows.

You can not reserve table which is understandable.

Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri - reijosfood.com

Because of the name of the restaurant, had to order Shrimp & Lobster version of 7 alternative hot dogs.

Also tried French fries with salt although you could flavor the with truffle, parmesan, chili or herb-garlic.

And glass of pinot noir red wine pairs nicely with this stuff due to softer taste of grape.

Hot dog at Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri - reijosfood.com

Hot dog was fresh and tasty. It included of course sausage which first suprised me. Had to ask, if this really is shrimp and lobster version. Kind of was waiting to see visible pieces of lobster, like in the logo. Think I chewed one piece of lobster. Anyway with tomato, onion and other stuff inside the the roll made this hod dog really enjoyable.

Shrimp and Lobster hot dog - reijosfood.com

Hot dog was delicious, but overpriced compared to amount of lobster it included. Would you pay 20€ for hot dog? All other versions are under 10€, which makes more sense. Otherwise FOOD grade would have been higher.

Because you have to place the order at bar counter, service is not reviewed.

Overall grade is high because business idea is unique. If you like hot dogs, Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri is worth to try.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE x/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri.





SPIS – Restaurant of the Year 2015 in Finland!

10 02 2015
Snacks at Spis

Snacks at Spis

10th February 2015: The Finnish Gastronomic Society has nominated restaurant SPIS as the Restaurant of the Year 2015!
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“The tiny Helsinki based 18 seating restaurant is specialized on healthy Nordic cuisine. It stands out with the way its food is being prepared and how the chefs appraise the freshest Nordic ingredients. The menu of SPIS is based around vegetables, but they also offer at least one fish and meat entré.”
Sweets on Lego

Sweets on Lego

What a coincidence, we dined at SPIS last Saturday on 7th February not knowing of about this nomination. Congratulations to SPIS, it has earned the reward! Read our review Restaurant review: SPIS – genuine Nordic cuisine | Reijosfood.
Spis dining room

Spis dining room





Restaurant review: SPIS – genuine Nordic cuisine

8 02 2015

What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables in different forms. Food is not ruined with strong spices and therefore the original flavor of food ingredients is the main thing.

Spis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Spis is cozy 18-seat Nordic, maybe the smallest, fine dining restaurant in Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Because of the size and popularity, you have to choose to dine early at 0530PM/0600PM or to eat at later table setting at 0830PM. Spis serves two tasting menus, there is no separate a la carte list available.

Interesting detail are walls, which seem to be under renovation, but they are not. Walls just reflect the simplification of the decor.

Dinner started again with snacks; several of them, which really differentiate Spis from many “gourmet” bistros in Helsinki. We had 4 dish menu but got about 10 plates to be enjoyed during the dinner.

First we were served small tasty toast. With champagne perfect finger food.

Champagne at Spis - reijosfood.com

After toast we were served root fireworks! From right potato, yellow root, horseradish and lastly striperoot. Not sure, if striperoot is right translation for raitajuuri, but it is like beetroot. Each Finnish delicacy, which were eaten with fingers, included right seasoning or herb.

Forget potato chips and peanuts, offer this type of snacks also at home, if you can prepare them!

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The came greetings from the kitchen, which was warm potato soup. Kitchen also prepared special edition of the greeting because of cream in the soup. Carrots in different forms were warmly welcomed surprise.

Potato soup at Spis - reijosfood.com

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And only now actual dinner started!

For starter kitchen served portion, which was called Cabbage and Mustard. Sounds simple but combination of brioche flavored with mustard paired with cabbage perfectly.

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First warm main course was salmon with root salad. Salmon was almost raw, but it was not at the same time. It had been cooked or steamed at 42C degrees, which made it soft. Spoon would have been enough to take care of it.

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Between main courses we got sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth and prepare stomach for meat.

Spis served for second warm main course Pressed lamb which had been first cooked for 3 days and then roasted. Below lamb was vorschmack and some beetroots. Heavenly experience, must say!

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Intermediate dessert consisted of Västerbotten cheese sorbet and Blackcurrant sorbet, which did not include milk products. Västerbotten cheese is famous Swedish cheese, which suits well for main courses but suits in this case for dessert as well.

Although it is a question of 4 dish dinner, Spis serves two desserts.

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Sweet dessert consisted of cake, which melted in the mouth and ice-cream. More please!

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Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados, which is calvados from Åland, you have to try it. And with dessert drinks still some sweets served on huge Lego block. Great way to end the dinner.

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Restaurant Spis earns full points for food. Service is professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.

With starter we were served white wine produced from chenin blanc grapes. With salmon wine menu included Chablis, of course made from chardonnay grapes by Chateau de Beru and with lamb red wine from cabernet franc grapes produced by small Italian winery marco sara.

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To summarize, the food is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Spis also takes care of food allergies with skill although there is only tasting menu’s available.

If you are looking for great Finnish/Nordic food experience, try Spis.

REVIEW: FOOD 5-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

SPIS | Nordic restaurant








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