Taste of Helsinki on 14 – 17 June, 2012

26 02 2012


Taste Festifals in Helsinki, Finland!

Taste Festivals are unique events where the host city’s most acclaimed restaurants and chefs gather in a stunning venue to present their signature dishes to thousands of ‘foodie’ visitors.   Taste Festivals have now set a new benchmark for food and drinks worldwide with many Taste Festivals being hosted around the world, now also in Helsinki.

At each event, hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy signature dishes from the world’s finest restaurants, purchase top quality food and drink from our exhibitors and meet the most loved celebrity chefs.  For Taste of Helsinki already following chefs have indicated participations:  Tomi Björck, Kari Aihinen and Sami Tallberg.

Several restaurants will be there too:

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/ (site will be opened on 14.3.2012)


Namaste! at Nepalese restaurant Lumbini

25 02 2012

Ravintola Lumbini offers a delicious Nepalese menu reflecting the delicacy of Himalayan flavor. Most popular items are Chicken, Vegetable and Tandoori. You can enjoy beer, wine and tradition yoghurt lassi with wide range of menu items.

Restaurant offers 10% discount on the normal price for the take away. You can also order the food by phone as they don’t have the delivery service you have to visit the place to pick up the order. Normally, it takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare the food.

Lumbini is quite similar to other nepalese restaurants, modest and main thing is to offer traditional good food. Portions are enough big to make you saturated and they are affordable. You do not have to order starters; however Lumbini serves traditional biscuit type of appetizer for free.

But we decided to taste for starter Chicken Pakauda (deep-fried chicken with vegetables and sauce). Very tasty and enough for two to share. First picture up on the left.

For main courses we ordered  Garlic Tikka (Tandoori Chicken marinated in herb and yoghurt with garlic, onion, ginger and capsicum sauce )  and Chicken Saag (Stewed Chicken with ginger, garlic and mild spinach sauce). All portions include basmati rice, naan bread baked in Tandoori oven, raitha and vegetables. Garlic Tikka was quite generous; you would not have to eat starter in order to be full of eating. Chicken Saag is mild as it says in a la carte list which is sometimes welcomed in so spicy kitchen.

Restaurant is quite quiet in the evenings but do not let it scare you. Food is excellent as the service as well.

REVIEW: Food 4-/5 – Service 4/5 – Overall grade 3,5/5


Restaurant review: Minos

24 02 2012

Restaurant Minos is 25 years old restaurant which serves traditional Greek food. For example you can get Tzatziki, Pita bread, Souvlaki, Moussaka and of course Ouzo for aperitive. Minos has pleasant covered terrace which can be used also in winter time as it is heated. We chose to dine at covered terrace and it was warm and pleasant place to dine; outside temperature was 0C degrees. In the summer Minos has own spot in popular Kamppi terrace area. Note that restaurant is not open on Sundays.

In Helsinki there are only few Greek restaurants as interest for asian food has increased a lot. Minos is one of the two genuine Greek restaurants focusing only on traditonal dishes; not mixing kitchens from other Mediterranean sea countries. Wine list is also based on Greek wines which provides fresh alternative for otherwise quite similar wine lists in many restaurants. But the prices for Greek wines….not the same as in Greece.

If you want to speak Greek language you can practice it in this restaurant as you could hear it all the time during dinner.

Recommend to book table by phone because we did not receive reply for email in 60 hours and decided to check the status by calling.  No comment about the email…Restaurant was full when we arrived at 6.30PM, so do not expect to get table without reservation.

For aperitives decided to taste Ouzo Plomari  and Campari. Ouzo is always fascinating….

For starters we ordered Octopus marinated in herb vinaigrette 7,90€ and Dolmades, vine leaves stuffed with rise and herbs 5,60€. Octopus was tasty and not too chewy. Dolmades were warm and at least did not seemed to be canned.

For main courses we had Catch of the day, grilled fresh fish which was Dorada with salad and Gyros, grilled pork with pita bread and tzatziki. Waitress offered to open the fish which is rare in Finland if fish is served as a whole. Must say that it is rare to get whole fish in generally in restaurants and if you are able to order it you have to fight by yourself to get rid of fishbones. Pork in gyros was fatless which is extraordinary compared to original Greek gyros taverns. So, you can happily order this portion although you would need to watch calories.

Minos is genuine Greek restaurant, would say most honest restaurant compared to many other country specific restaurants.

http://www.minos.fi (you can find english menu via link)

REVIEW: Food 4/5 – Service 4/5 – Overall grade 4/5

Restaurant review: Tony’s deli

18 02 2012

Tony’s deli was founded out of love for the Italian kitchen. The cozy restaurant offers everything you will need to enjoy an Italian dinner. It was originally found by Sikke Sumari, nowadays famous TV chef and cookbook writer.

When you enter Tony’s deli you can see Lounge diVino on the right, which is a pleasant winebar with affordable prices and a wide sortiment. To accompany the wines restaurants recommed Antipasti. Antipasti plays an important and obvious role in the italian coulinary. There was interesting offer for by-passers; antipastotable and a glass of sparkling wine for 10 euro. Many customers used that offer during the evening we dined at Tony’s. Maybe antipasto table should be better sheltered?

Restaurant offers also different ways to enjoy food and wine, e.g. antipasto table and wine tasting Selezione di antipasti alla Tony’s deli e degustazione di vini for 22.90€. There were also Blini’s (Bliniweeks) available which is not so typical for Italian restaurant. However, blini’s are offered in many restaurants in the beginning of the year, which might attract tourists which we noticed as they were ordered next to our table.

Back to real life……

We arrived half an hour earlier before table reservation time and decided to taste sparkling wine offered at Lounge diVino. Glass of sparkling wine in flute glass was only 2,50€ but service was fumpling. You should stand in one spot with all other other customers in order to be able to buy drinks although there was plenty of room beside the bar. So we waited to see customers ordering at that spot…..before us although we were 2 meters from that spot.

It seems that  couches should be renewed as they were quite dirty. After ordering in the table our waiter told that this was his first day as he was not able to answer to all our questions. However he asked from kitchen if he did not know right away. Later after ordering Ripasso red wine for duck we were told that it was out of stock although order was accepted; odd for Italian restaurant tolet Ripasso run out.

For Antipasti we chose:

CREMOLATA CHICKEN, TOMATO AND ROCKET which is Pollo, pomodori e rucola conditi con cremolata, FRITTATA WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO i.e. Frittata condita con pomodori essiccati, BUFFALO MOZZARELLA, TOMATO AND BALSAMIC so called Insalata caprese and WARM GARLIC BREAD which is Bruschetta all’aglio. Best starters were of course basic garlic bread and mozzarella. Chicken was tasteless and omelette (frittata) quite modest. Most used ingredients in all portions were rocket and cherry tomatoes. They are tasty but if you eat them also with main courses….

For main courses we chose:

SALAD WITH FRIED SALMON, VEGETABLES AND RED PESTO SAUCE  i.e Insalata di salmone fritto e verdure con salsa al pesto rosso and DUCK CONFIT WITH WARM COUSCOUS-VEGETABLE SALAD AND ROSEMARY SAUCE  i.e Confit di cosce di anatra, insalata calda di cous-cous e verdure, salsa di rosmarino. Duck was great, very tasty and crisp but otherwise the portion was not so attractive; a messy to be honest. Maybe the sauce should be in separate jar. Salmon in salad was overcooked; vegetables quite wet due to sauce.

Tony’s deli has changed from the times we visited there last time,  nowadays it is like a bistro without tablecloths on the tables. And wines are quite expensive compared to food.

It would been nice to have some spices in the table, especially black pepper and salt. One special observation from mens toilet, there was picture of Sophia Loren on the wall….

Noticed afterwards that payment was directed to Visa although asked for bank card payment.

REVIEW: Food 2/5 – Service 2,5/5 – Overall grade 2/5


After visiting Sasso and Tony’s deli we recommend to try Ristorante Gastone, which is private owned cozy Italian fine dining restaurant or Villetta, genuine Italian bistro.

Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne for 39€ at HOK-Elanto restaurants

11 02 2012

HOK-Elanto restaurants offer bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne for 39€ in all their restaurants until end of 2012.

This is one the World Desing Capital Helsinki 2012 offers. There are also many WDC menus available in the same restaurants. Usually you do not get bottle of champagne under 60€ in restaurants. All HOK-Elanto restaurants can be found http://www.kattaakaupungin.fi/en.html. HOK-Elanto is one of the main sponsors fo WDC Helsinki 2012. But you have to own S-Bonus card to get the bottle for offered price.

We tasted this champagne at Restaurant Kaarna and found it tasty and crispy.

You can not even buy this champagne  from Alko which is an independent limited company wholly-owned by the Finnish Government and administered and supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. You can find Alko price list in english behind this link http://www.alko.fi/products/hakutulos

More about Piper-Heidsieck champagnes http://www.piper-heidsieck.com/home.html

Also more info about World Design City Helsinki 2012 http://wdchelsinki2012.fi/en

Restaurant review: Parrilla Espanola

4 02 2012

Bienvenidos a Parrilla Espanola.

If you are looking for native Spain restaurant (not only tapas and cava) you must visit Restaurant Parrilla Espanola with 30 years history in Helsinki restaurant life. You could even get Paella if you would prefer.

We visited restaurant during the weekend when there were lots of culture and sports events in Helsinki.  Helsinki is the capital city of desing and there was Restaurant Day on the 4th of  Feb. Same day there was also outdoor hockey game at olympic stadium.  Due to these events several passers-by noticed that restaurant was full reserved which was true as we were already seated. By 21.00 all tables were in use.

For starters we chose Tapas for two consisting of Manchego cheese, Jamon Serrano, melon, marinated mushrooms, olives, marinated red onions, chorizo, spanish meatballs,…..Tapas were fresh which is rare nowadays as canned food is too often on the plates.

Pike-Perch a la Vasca and Grilled fillet beef-steak “Parrilla Española” were main course choises we ordered. Portions were more typical to Spanish than Finnish. This is important to understant for Finnish visitors!  Taste of fish was hidden under fish-white wine sauce, sothe taste of was not easy to identify. Meat was ordered as medium but it was more or less raw and parts of side dishes were burned.

But, restaurant is the one of the best original Spanish restaurants in Helsinki. You can get several Spanish brandies including Torres and Lepanto. Decor is timeless like in restaurants in Madrid or any other city in Spain; but not the tourist ones. Worth of visiting if you want original Spanish food, but do not expect visual experience.

REVIEW: Food 3/5 – Service 4/5 – Overall grade 3/5


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