Restaurant review: Toscanini

24 07 2012

Restaurant Toscanini has received its cheerful and relaxed atmosphere from Tuscany, Italy. There they offer  modern country style kitchen under the Tuscan lilies. Menu is based on the most essential elements of Italian kitchen, such as olive oil, herbs, tomatoes and Tuscan cheeses and cold cuts. In addition, bread is baked daily by restaurants own baker. Means that one gets fresh bread with olive oil and balsamico in the table quite after ordering food.

Location is perfect, almost opposite of Svenska Teatern and Stockmann. Being part of Klaus K hotel means that many of the dining customers also enjoy luxorious hotel premises. Recommend to spend at least one night there. Design hotel with white decoration in the lobby. In the same building there are Finnish gourmet restaurant Ilmatar and Ahjo night club.

Italian a la carte includes familiar italian goodies. Meant that in the nearby table language was italian. Wau, one of the waitresses spoke italian!

For starters enjoyed Lemon and herb flavoured salmon pastrami, poached fennel and Buffalo mozzarella, caramelized tomato, mangold beet and barrel aged balsamico. Salmon pastrami was delicious, coud have eaten double portion. Some problems with poached  fennel as asked it without lactose, got first portion with zucchini. After pointing out, got fresh fennel but not poached, unfortunately. Buffalo mozzarella is always delicious but tomatoes were a little bit difficult to eat. Mangold was chevy, but interesting experience anyway.

Olive oils and balsamico are favourites of Toscanini, can admire their dedication because we are talking about vintage oils.

For main courses ordered Homemade rigatoni with spicy italian sausage and chili flavoured tomato sauce and A whole fried sea bream served with caramelized tomatoes, green beans and spinach. Too few pieces of sausage, otherwise extremely delicious pasta dish. Portion sizes were more close to entrees. Fish was perfect, but little bit over fried, but delicious and enjoyable. Some more please!

For dessert Dolce della casa: Black currant and milk chocolate truffle, espresso and 4 cl Vecchia Romagna and  Lemon sorbet mixed with Prosecco. Italian brandy is as enjoyable as Spanish brandy. Espresso and chocolate are always nice way to end dinner. Lemon sorbet with vodka is our favourite, prosecco served with sorbet was maybe too mild combination.

Toscanini is one of the best Italian restaurants in Helsinki. Visited already Sasso, Tony’s deli and Gastone, some genuine Italian restaurants to visit still…..any suggestions?

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

http://www.toscanini.fi/en/frontpage

http://www.klauskhotel.com/en

Klaus K sponsored Taste of Helsinki and Toscanini was one of the 10 restaurants in the event.





Restaurant review: Gastone

1 07 2012

Note! Kitchen under construction until Christmas 2012!

Restaurant Gastone represents Italian kitchen with style. It is privately owned one of the best Italian restaurants in Helsinki. In the summer one can dine at the small terrace. Inside tables are quite close to each other and at busiest time it might be quite noisy.

Home made bread with olive oil is always served as soon one has placed the order. Wide selecion of Italian wines to choose from the wine list.

For starters ordered Carpaccio organic beef carpaccio with parmesan cheese and aioli and Capesante marinate al lime e gamberi tigre Lime marinated Scallop, Grilled Tiger Prawn and Aioli. Carpaccio was tender and but not frozen as it might sometime be. Would have changed aioli to plain olive oil. Scallops are better when they are fried, prawns were a little bit too salty.

For main courses Pasta del pescatore Fresh Linguine Pasta with Tiger Prawns, Octopussy, Garlic and Herbs and Arrosto di Salmerino con sughetto di zafferano Roasted Arctic Char, saffron Broth and Fennel. For the fish ordered one of the four available side dishes Patate novelle alla Gastone Gastone Summer Potatoes.
Pasta
was delicious though it was a little bit over cooked. Fish portion included also onion which was not listed and neither waitress mentioned about it when asked. Archtic Char was also a little bit over roasted.

Ristorante Gastone has proven to be genuine Italian fine dining restaurant. Would have given 4 for food in several earlier visits.

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

http://www.gastone.fi/eng/index.html

On the other side of the street locates Grill Glöd https://reijosfood.com/2012/04/01/dinner-at-grill-glod/





Restaurant review: Casa Mare

27 05 2012


Restaurant Casa Mare is most popular all year round bistro in the suburb. Especially families with small children come to eat pizza with salad buffet which includes to all main courses. Sometimes place is close to kindergarten; actually there is also playgroud for children.

Restaurant is owned by Ravintolakolmio which owns also Tony’s deli where we dined few months ago. Review available.

For starters ordered Halloum cheese and tomato (grilled halloum, tomatoes, olives and rucola) and Salad buffet. Cheese with add on’s was tasty and not too salty. Salad buffet is simple; few basic salads and home made bread.

For main course ate Chorizo-Mozzarella pasta (spicy red pepper-tomato sauce, chorizo sausage, mozzarella de buffala, rucola and penne pasta) and Catch of the day (this time White fish with vegetables and potato mash). Pasta was great, too easy to over cook pennes, but now they were perfect. Sauce was enough spicy and mozzarella softened it suitably. But then started problems.

Catch of th day was ordered without potato mash, but it came with it. Kitchen decided to move pieces of fish to another plate and due to long waiting time, fish skin was already a little bit “soft” (see picture). For dessert ordered Crepes with strawberries; regarding to waiter there should have not been cream on it,  but there was. Had to ask to replace portion. On top of this, espresso had to be sent back because it was cold. Restaurant noticed these mistakes and we did not have to pay for dessert and coffees; well done!

Casa Mare has every summer special offer, two pizzas for price of one. Gonna utilize that in July as many other people will too.

REVIEW: FOOD 3-/5 – SERVICE 3/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3-/5

http://www.ravintolacasamare.com/page.php?language=1





Restaurant review: Loiste

18 03 2012

Restaurant Loiste is located in the heart of Helsinki at the 10th Floor of Hotel Vaakuna and Sokos department store. There is a fantastic view from terraces and part of the restaurant windows. If you are seated on the right side of the restaurant when you come in you can not enjoy of the view, unfortunately. Therefore ask for window table and you can take a look at Kamppi shopping center, old bus station and Lasipalatsi (in english Glass Palace). Loiste is casual type of restaurant but tries to put effort on the menu and food.

There is also playground for the children; if you do not need this “service” as many hotel guests might, be sure your table is not close to it because of the noise. For this reason we gave lower overall grade.

If you want to enjoy aperitif or you are not hungry enough you can always visit Bar Loiste which serves you on the same premises, at 10th floor.

You could choose three different type of starters. Restaurant has on the menu “Snadit”, small appetizers, as one option to start your dining. Two other options for starters and main courses are “Herkkuja Pohjolastaie. Delicacies from the North” and “Pohjolasta Etelään  ie. from North to South”. Menu includes mainly Finnish genuine food but also provides flavours of European kitchens; mainly Southern part and Italy.

From a la carte list we first chose “Snadit” i.e. Duck liver toast with fig compote and Goat Cheese with honey-beetroot syrup. Duck liver toast smelted smoothly in the mouth. Goat cheese should have been grilled a little bit more. Beetroot carpaccio and herb foam and Smoked reindeer with cowberry syrup. Both were delicious; one suggestion for improvement, should not use cold meat as restaurant obviously aims for high standards.

For main cource chose from Delicacies from the North Fish of the day with vegetables and aspargus potato pyre. Fish was typical Finnish fish Pike Perch and perfectly roasted. Excellent flexibility from the kitchen also when we asked some changes. And from North to South chose Red Mullet with shellfish risotto and crab stock which was generous portion, risotto properly prepared and surprise was the amount of prawns and pieces of scallop. Usually you can only taste the flavours of risotto.

For dessert chose only Red Currant sorbet which was nicely served as you can see from the picture above.

Wine list is short and consists of quality wines. Means also that bottle of wine increases quite a lot the total price of the  dinner.

Restaurant Loiste has upgraded it’s menu, a year ago served also hamburgers. Requires a lot from casual type of restaurant but succeeded well this time!

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

http://www.ravintolaloiste.fi/ravintola-loiste.html

Virtual presentation:

http://www.sokoshotels.fi/hotellit/helsinki/vaakuna/virtuaaliesittelyt/

But: if you just want to have a drink at Loiste and wine bar is closed, recommend to find another place because they are not able to serve you from the bar in mid of dining room (update on 21st July 2012)





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

http://www.tonysdeli.fi/en/index.php?pageId=1

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.





Restaurant review: Sasso

8 01 2012

Visited Restaurant Sasso already in November 2011. Used to be one of favourite Italian restaurants because of delicious food and cozy athmosphere. Some renewals should be made now due to a little bit worn interiors.

Downstairs you can find fish restaurant if you happen to prefer frutti di mare.

Pasta is always cooked al dente. Antipasti, Primi, wine + coffee for 2 close to 150€

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

http://www.palacekamp.fi/in_english/restaurants/sasso/








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