Restaurant review: El Greco – Greek cuisine in Helsinki

19 10 2014

 

El Greco - reijosfood.com

Restaurant El Greco

El Greco was opened in April 2014 in the same building as restaurant Ragu. Restaurant serves traditional Greek food and Greek wines. In the summer there has been some evenings with live music, which at least we have missed. Mandolin in the picture was just for our amusement.

Greek dinner must start with Ouzo accompanied by some ice cubes and water. Fresh bread with olive oil also is a must, small olive oil bottle hidden under bread slices made experience more personal.

Ouzo - reijosfood.com

Cheese pie at El Greco - reijosfood.com

Dolmades at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

For main courses chose FISH OF THE DAY Fried zander or whitefish fillet, sauce from fresh tomatoes and SUVLAKI KOTOPULO Chicken and vegetables skewered on a spit, lemon & olive oil sauce.

Fish was zander or pike perch, which is rare in Greek kitchen, but we are in Finland. Fish was perfectly fried and tomato flavor in sauce matched well.

Chicken pieces in skewer were soft, not dry at all, which is too often typical for souvlakis. We shared fried potatoes but actually you did not need those. And without them main courses were extremely healthy.

Zander at El Greco- reijosfood.com

Souvlaki at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

And for dessert to digest the food some Mango sorbet. Two sorbet balls are quite a lot to be eaten, but anyway excellent food melter.

Sorbet at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

For wine restaurant owner suggested Kanenas white wine from Chardonnay grapes produced by Tsantali wineyards. The shape of the bottle is not typical, it is lower and more stylistic. Bouquet of wine was mild, you just recognized chardonnay. Also the taste was light but wine paired well with starters and main courses.

Greek wine - reijosfood.com

 

El Greco earns to be named best Greek restaurant in Helsinki when it comes to food. Dining area consists of three dining rooms; one with views to Ludviginkatu, one smaller in the middle and one under covered glass terrace. Only Greek music is played on the background, naturally.

But maybe we are used to a little bit more worn and more noisy tavernas, which we have visited during holidays in Greece. El Greco is located in the same building as Ragu with similar outlook (you can actually see Ragu terrace in the background). Building suits well for Ragu, but is it too solemn for Greek restaurant? Maybe not. If you dine there, share your thoughts. We are going to visit El Greco anyway again.

El Greco terrace - reijosfood.com

 

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

English — El Greco

Tsantali.





Restaurant review: Fishmarket – only fish available

12 10 2014

Fishmarket menu. - reijosfood.com

Fishmarket menu

Restaurant Fishmarket was re-opened in May 2013. It serves wide selection of sea and fresh water cuicine like fish, roe, lobster, craysfish, oysters and shellfish. If you like to eat meat choose some other restaurant, because there is no single meat food on the a la carte list.

Fishmarket is located in Torikorttelit next to the Market Square (Kauppatori) on the ground floor of the same building as restaurant Sasso (see Sasso review by using search). Decor is modern and luminous after change in ownership and property renowation. Visited Fishmarket last year, review also can be found at reijosfood.com.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

You could choose from different kind of seafood platters and even eat those at seafood bar, if you do not like standard dinner tables. We decided to choose “basic” fish portions, which meant again long waiting times.

Last time restaurant served kitchen greetings in glass jar but not anymore. Menu had changed also; sorry for the Finnish menu in the first picture. Menu is not so ambmitious anymore, even Fish and Chips are available.

Excellent Sweet archipelago bread and home made yeast bread with salted butter were brought to the table first. No changes for these goodies.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

For starters ordered Snacks and Pan fried scallop with mini octopus. Snacks was new on the menu, maybe tapas type of dishes are becomming more common?

For snacks chose Smoked pike mousse with root vegetable chips, Light soy marinated salmon with baby gem.

All three snacks were enjoyable. Hoped that mousse would incude some pieces of pike, but it was pure mousse with taste of pike. Salmon is always delicious but could not find any taste of soy in this case, maybe forgotten. Combination of small scallops and crayfish on cockleshell tasted good.

Unfortunately pan fried scallops were already cold when they were brought to the table.

Snacks at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Scallops and octopus at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Main course dishes were Grilled turbot with carrot sauce and Pan fried salmon with deep fried fennel and spinach-pesto.

Turbot included some fish bones and scales, which was odd for this restaurant. Fish was also a little bit overcooked.

Salmon was perfectly fried, some rose still inside of fish. As salmon is quite greasy itself, maybe oily pesto is not perfect partner for it.

Tunnot at Fishmarket - reijosfood.comSalmon at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

For desserts had Dark chocolate fondant with black currant sorbet and Sorbet.

Actually asked to replace sorbet with vanilla ice-cream but is was first forgotten. Got vanilla ice-cream in separate cup after reminding it. Replaced the sorbet with vanilla ice-cream, therefore plate seems a little bit messy. Maybe new portion would have been better idea.

If you like black currant, then you like home made sorbet, which was the choise for another dessert.

Chocolate fondant at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

One extremely positive thing is the wide selection of riesling wines. Too often you have to choose from few alternatives because chardonnays and savignon blancs dominate wine lists, but at Fishmarket you really can celebrate with rieslings. Chose Sepp Moser Riesling von den Terrassen from Austria, which was excellent. Definately right balance of acidity, minerals, fruits and taste of petrol. Not too much, but enough. The color of wine is more yellow than rieslings usually are.

Riesling at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Fishmarket had all prerequisites to be the best seafood restaurant in Helsinki. Food is good but maybe again one waiter was missing because service was quite slow. Therefore it might make sense to order platters for starter or main course because you can pass the time by opening crabs.

Had to drop points for food and overall grade from last visit. The change in menu impacted to portions, which were on the other hand also more affordable.

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

Front | Restaurant Fishmarket.





Restaurant review: Copas y Tapas – Spanish cuisine by Finnish chef’s

5 10 2014

Copas y Tapas

Copas y Tapas

 

Copas y Tapas is an independent family-owned business which serves Spanish food and wines with Finnish flavor. Restaurant or actually Tapas Bar is located at Fabianinkatu, close to Senate Square. Dining rooms are on two levels and both areas were booked-up on Saturday evening.

Have visited Copas y Tapas couple of times before; earlier reviews can be found by using search. Previous visits have been successful, therefore expectations were again high.

Actually our experience started 5 minutes after reservation, which was made via TableOnline one week before dinner. We have requested to avoid some ingredients and restaurant chef sent email asking some additional info. That was quick and definately customer friendly.

Three course dinner costs 46€ (not bad) including tapas as starters, main course which can be chosen from 4 alternatives and dessert. 4€ additional payment for one of the meat dishes. Dinner starts with assortment of three tapas. You do not know what you get because restaurant chooses what to offer. But of course you can influence a little bit on it.

This time restaurant served for starters Carrot soup, Filled capsicum and Smoked pork.

First we enjoyed soup which was flavoured with saffron. Very tasty! Next we ate capsicum filled with cream cheese and crayfish, excellent. Pork was accompanied with kohlrabi to lighten up greasiness.

Tapas plate at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

You can choose from four different main courses, which differ almost every day depending on fresh ingredients available. Today alternatives were Duck, Rabbit (4€ extra), Pike- Perch and Vegetarian.

Both enjoyed portions were delicious and healthy, not ruined with potatoes. Rabbit was prepared with two ways, you get fillet and pressed meat. Two sauces, chioggia beet and tomatoes paired well with both meats.

With roasted pike-perch was also chioggia beet, small chanterelles and pear pieces. Correct degree of ripeness made the gusto perfect.

 

Rabbit at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.comFish at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

Decided to share 3 pieces of cheese before dessert. Delicious home-made crispbread should be available in supermarkets, because it was so tasty. Cava paired especially well with smelted cheese, no need for port or red wine or other “cheese drinks”. These cheeses were chosen to match with white wines.

Cheese plate at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

For dessert restaurant served Pannacotta with black currant pyre.

Sweet, but not too sweet, dessert ended the dinner nicely. One portion included chocolate pieces and one pistache due to milk in chocolate.

Pannacotta at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

For wine ordered bottle of cava Gramona III Lustros Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2006, which is produced from Xarel-lo (70%) and Macabeo (30%) grapes. Wine is also really dry as it includes only 2 g/l sugar. Must be one of the driest cavas.

Was going to order III Lustros in Malaga in May, but it was finished from the restaurant we visited. Had instead Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva Brut, which includes Chardonnay grapes. In Finland these wines cost at restaurant 40€ more than at restaurant in Malaga, believe or not, because of VAT.

Cava at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

Copas y Tapas is one of the most promising affordable fine dining bistros in Helsinki restaurant scene, especially if you want to have serious discussion about Spanish wines. Fusion cuisine blends brilliantly best parts of Spanish and Finnish food cultures. Michelin guys should check it for Bib Gourmand label.

And selection of Spanish brandies is wide. Tried Torres 20 which tastes more like cognac.

Service, really important part of experience, was excellent again.

Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

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

http://www.copasytapas.fi/





Restaurant review: Putte’s Bar & Pizza

28 09 2014

Salami pizza - reijosfood.com

Pizza Salami

Putte’s Bar & Pizza is located in the center of Helsinki city at Kalevankatu. It is easy to walk past, because there is only small signboard telling the existence of combination of bar and nightclub. Interior is also unpretentious, even rugged.

Putte's bar & pizza - reijosfood.com

We arrived between lunch and dinner time and for a while the bar was almost empty, more staffer than customers. I am not sure, if this affected the quality of pizzas, but have to say waited something else. Expectations were quite high because couple of local journals (for instance Nyt) had chosen pizza’s of this place the best ones in the city.

Pizza list is short and it should change regularly. Ingredients seemed to be creative and even some names like Silence of the Lambs (remember the movie….?). Positive thing is that mozzarella used comes from Italy. Story also tells that pizza base is unique and made from best flours after detailed studies in Italy and USA.

Pizza list on 26th September

Margherita
tomato, mozzarella, basil

Puttenesca
tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, olives, capers, garlic, chili, basil

Chevre-Aubergine
chevre, aubergine, tomato, mozzarella, rucola

Salami
tomato, mozzarella, salami

Funghi
mushrooms, mozzarella, rucola

Quattro Formaggi
Peltola Blue, Kolattu goat’s cheddar, Valio Emmental, ÅCA Kastelholm, tomato, rucola

Silence of the Lambs
lamb with north-african spices, tomato, mozzarella, rucola

We chose Salami and Funghi pizzas. Appearance of the pizza’s seemed to be delicious but….

Salami Napoli (was it, I am not sure?) pieces were quite thick and some parts tasted too much for pepper. Or was there too much pepper in some parts of pizza base? Anyway, on the pizza base there was too much salami, tomato sauce and cheese, which made the pizza quite pulp. I would rather use Salami Picante in this type of pizza in order to add some flavor.

Mushrooms were replaced by chanterelles which might sound sumptuous. But as all “funghi’s” were complete, even the big ones, chewing of them was not so pleasurable. Rucola was fresh and good-looking, sometimes this salad can be too thin and contains mostly rucola arms.

Salami pizza at Puttes bar - reijosfood.comFunghi pizza - reijosfood.com

Putte’s Bar & Pizza is primarly bar and hot spot. Pizza’s are add-on and actually only food you can get. Wide wine list raises overall grade. That is not typical for pizza places. Had excellent glass of Ripasso with salami pizza.

As you have to order pizza and drinks mainly from the bar counter, have not reviewed service. However, we were served by three different waitresses/waiters behind the bar and when pizza’s were brought to the table. These encounters were likeable.

REVIEW:  PIZZA 2/5 – SERVICE N/A – OVERALL GRADE 2,5/5





Restaurant review: Strindberg – one of the best views of Esplanade Park (Espa)

27 09 2014

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Strindberg is located in Galleria Esplanad at North Esplanade. Restaurant dining room is at the 2nd floor. The atmosphere at this restaurant is urban, but at the same time pleasantly tranquil.

Sometimes loud discussion might break it, but not too disruptively. On Thursday evening restaurant was almost full booked, which is a proof of popularity.

Strindberg dining room - reijosfood.com

At street level is Strinberg café, very popular among tourists and Helsinki citizens. Just sit down, if you find a table and wait to be served, there is table service available. In the summer time table service applies also terrace, which is usually crowded, if weather is good. Maricafe is behind main cafe; there you can use Marimekko dishes and see Marimekko textiles.

Library bar has become a popular rendez-vous spot for many. Worth a visit too, although you would not dine, because you can observe diners through glass window. For us, most visited bar for glass of wine after shopping or before dinner. There is also lunch spot Bakfickan behind the bar at the open gallery area.

Strindberg library bar - reijosfood.com

If you order sparkling water, you get San Pellegrino, one of our favourites. Bread basket included soft white bread and thin crispbread supplemented with hand made butter. Additional olive oil was brought to the table, because butter included lactose.

Bread at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For starters had King prawns with sweet pepper mousse and fennel and Tartare of slightly salted lavaret with beetroots and Dijonnaise sauce.

Prawns were tasty as well as portion as a whole. Missed, however, more flavor for mousse because taste of pepper was quite mild. Whitefish tartare was also scrumptious and as beetroot is one of the best roots in Finland, could you ask more? Whitefish roe, egg yolk and white and sauce supplemented perfectly.

King prawns at Strindberg - reijosfood.comLaveret at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted Arctic char with beetroot risotto and tarragon butter and Chargrilled salmon with béarnaise sauce and poached egg .

Arctic char was perfeclty roasted, still some rose color inside the fish. Usually it is cooked too well-done and that ruins the enjoyment. Beetroot risotto matched well with fish, almost sweet, which complemented nicely salty fish.

Salmon dish is one of the classics, which has been on the menu for ages. Main course includes 3 salmon slices and starter 2, otherwise same. Chargrilled salmon is always delicious and if you like bearnaise sauce, this is a dish for you. Asked the sauce in separate bowl, because it might have ruined the taste of fish. Suggest to do that, if you try this portion.

Arctic char at Strindberg - reijosfood.comSalmon at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For desserts of course one of the classics, French toast (Köyhät Ritarit) and Cloudberry chiboust with cardamom financier.

French toast is traditional dish and sometimes it is still made at homes. With add-on’s it makes your mouth drool, worth to try! Also other dessert was toothsome. The cake in this dish was unfortunately so small, that almost ordered a second similar dish. And Finnish berries; cloudberry, strawberry and blueberry freshned up sweetness.

French toast at Strindberg - reijosfood.conDessert at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For wine we had some white wine; Chablis la Pierrelée , AC Chablis, La Chablisienne.

Excellent choise for fish dishes, not available at Alko. Also some variation in the enjoyment of white wine as riesling has dominated so long.

Chablis La Pierrelee - reijosfood.com

Strindberg never lets you down when it comes to food. There must have been some extra efforts for service, because it has always been professional, but this time also extremely attentive.

And location at the 2nd floor, if you are able to get window table, completes dining enjoyment. So, remember to ask for window table!

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

http://www.strindberg.fi/en/restaurant

http://www.galleriaesplanad.fi/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Restaurant review: Strindberg – one of the best views of Esplanade Park (Espa)

27 09 2014

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Strindberg is located in Galleria Esplanad at North Esplanade. Restaurant dining room is at the 2nd floor. The atmosphere at this restaurant is urban, but at the same time pleasantly tranquil.

Sometimes loud discussion might break it, but not too disruptively. On Thursday evening restaurant was almost full booked, which is a proof of popularity.

Strindberg dining room - reijosfood.com

At street level is Strinberg café, very popular among tourists and Helsinki citizens. Just sit down, if you find a table and wait to be served, there is table service available. In the summer time table service applies also terrace, which is usually crowded, if weather is good. Maricafe is behind main cafe; there you can use Marimekko dishes and see Marimekko textiles.

Library bar has become a popular rendez-vous spot for many. Worth a visit too, although you would not dine, because you can observe diners through glass window. For us, most visited bar for glass of wine after shopping or before dinner. There is also lunch spot Bakfickan behind the bar at the open gallery area.

Strindberg library bar - reijosfood.com

If you order sparkling water, you get San Pellegrino, one of our favourites. Bread basket included soft white bread and thin crispbread supplemented with hand made butter. Additional olive oil was brought to the table, because butter included lactose.

Bread at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For starters had King prawns with sweet pepper mousse and fennel and Tartare of slightly salted lavaret with beetroots and Dijonnaise sauce.

Prawns were tasty as well as portion as a whole. Missed, however, more flavor for mousse because taste of pepper was quite mild. Whitefish tartare was also scrumptious and as beetroot is one of the best roots in Finland, could you ask more? Whitefish roe, egg yolk and white and sauce supplemented perfectly.

King prawns at Strindberg - reijosfood.comLaveret at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted Arctic char with beetroot risotto and tarragon butter and Chargrilled salmon with béarnaise sauce and poached egg .

Arctic char was perfeclty roasted, still some rose color inside the fish. Usually it is cooked too well-done and that ruins the enjoyment. Beetroot risotto matched well with fish, almost sweet, which complemented nicely salty fish.

Salmon dish is one of the classics, which has been on the menu for ages. Main course includes 3 salmon slices and starter 2, otherwise same. Chargrilled salmon is always delicious and if you like bearnaise sauce, this is a dish for you. Asked the sauce in separate bowl, because it might have ruined the taste of fish. Suggest to do that, if you try this portion.

Arctic char at Strindberg - reijosfood.comSalmon at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For desserts of course one of the classics, French toast (Köyhät Ritarit) and Cloudberry chiboust with cardamom financier.

French toast is traditional dish and sometimes it is still made at homes. With add-on’s it makes your mouth drool, worth to try! Also other dessert was toothsome. The cake in this dish was unfortunately so small, that almost ordered a second similar dish. And Finnish berries; cloudberry, strawberry and blueberry freshned up sweetness.

French toast at Strindberg - reijosfood.conDessert at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For wine we had some white wine; Chablis la Pierrelée , AC Chablis, La Chablisienne.

Excellent choise for fish dishes, not available at Alko. Also some variation in the enjoyment of white wine as riesling has dominated so long.

Chablis La Pierrelee - reijosfood.com

Strindberg never lets you down when it comes to food. There must have been some extra efforts for service, because it has always been professional, but this time also extremely attentive.

And location at the 2nd floor, if you are able to get window table, completes dining enjoyment. So, remember to ask for window table!

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

http://www.strindberg.fi/en/restaurant

http://www.galleriaesplanad.fi/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Hotel review: AC Hotel Malaga Palacio

24 09 2014

Rooftop pool - reijosfood.com

Hotel AC Palacio in Malaga is part of Marriot hotel chain. The location between the Málaga Cathedral and the Paseo del Parque, and its spectacular views of the port, make this hotel one of the must stay hotels. Hotel has 214 rooms and was renovated 2007.

Hotel AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.com

ROOM

We chose to stay at AC Superior Room with sea view and balcony. No doubt the view is spectacular.

Room was basically fine and decorated with wooden interior.

Had some trouble with bathroom, as we had to wait for light bulb change quite a long time, although lady in the reception promised, it would be done during the same afternoon. We even removed “Do not disturb” sign, as she said that no one would come, if it would hang on the door. So we called next day again as no one has visited our room. Then the pipe under the sink began to leak and it had to be replaced. Quite a lot disturbance for 4 nights stay….

imageView from AC Malaga Palacio room - reijosfood.comView from Ac Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.comRoom at AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.comHotel room at AC Palacio in Malaga - reijosfood.comBathroom at AC Palacio - reijosfood.com

PUBLIC SPACES

The fifteenth-floor Ático Bar & Restaurant on the terrace of the Hotel AC Málaga Palacio, is for use in both summer and winter times thanks to its panoramic glass space. A entity where you can enjoy a dinner or have a drink. From its terrace you can enjoy stunning views of the city, especially the port and the Paseo del Parque. Reservation is required and it can also be rented for private events. In this case, the catering service and bar located on the first floor will be available for our customers.
 Atico restaurant - reijosfood.com
Consequently, the restaurant and its terrace may be closed certain days. During our stay there were bachelor party and wedding party. Pool area is anyway available all the time and in the summer evenings it is quite noisy.
Atico terrace - reijosfood.comLunch at Atico Bar - reijosfood.com

Atico Bar - reijosfood.com

Outdoor pool at 15th floor is perfect place to relax after walking around the city. Atico restaurant & bar services can be utilized at the pool area, no need to starve.

Below you can also see La Piscina Lounge at 8th floor, which is part of Hotel Molina Lario. Last time we stayed in that hotel, see review by using search.

Rooftop pool - reijosfood.com

Rooftop pool at AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.comPool at AC Malaga Palacio . reijosfood.com

La Piscina Lounge - reijosfood.com
Breakfast is at the 2nd floor. It is not so versatile as in many similar hotels, actually only tomatoes for vegetables.
Lobby area is to the right from reception. Same furnitures as in all AC hotels, for instance Barcelona chairs.
One hint concerning elevators; there are three main elevators which are often reserved during rush hours. There is one elevator, which is partly hidden. That is usually free, but it does not go to the 15th floor, where Atico Bar & Restaurant as well as pool are located. Take that anyway and use stairs from 13th to 15th floor. We used that elavator also during breakfast times.
AC Palacio - lobby reijosfood.com
AC Malaga Palacio lobby - reijosfood.com
If you like to keep-fit, you can of course jog along the beach promenade.
However, hotel has small gym, which is equipped with cardiovascular equipment and weights.
Gym at AC Malaga Palacio - reijosfood.com

Mobile check-in and check-out is extremely customer friendly service. With Marriot apps you can check-in 24 hours earlier, choose check-in time and you get notification, when you can pick up the room key. As we arrived early at 11.00, we were able to get room with the help of this brilliant system.

Without two maintenance operations in our room, grade for room would have been 4. 15th floor Atico Bar & restaurant and pool area are definately worth to see and visit although you would not stay at the hotel.

View from Atico bar - reijosfood.com

REVIEW: ROOM 4-/5 – PUBLIC SPACES 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5
 







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