Restaurant review: Fishmarket

22 09 2013

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Fishmarket, restaurant for seafood lovers! Could be the best of the best fish restaurants in Helsinki, if………

Restaurant Fishmarket was re-opened in May 2013. It serves wide selection of sea and fresh water cucine 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). New decor is modern and luminous after change in ownership and property renowation.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

You could choose from different kind of seafood platters and even eat those at seafood bar and kind of recommend to do that.

We decided to choose “basic” fish portions which meant this time long waiting times. We chose one Helsinki Menu consisting of Finnish fish goodies; for starter Baltic herring, cheese from sour milk and whitefish roe, for main course Grilled pike perch from Inkoo, pumpkin, sage dressing and for dessert Chocolate fondant, black currant with vanilla ice cream. Another menu included for starter Finnish vendace roe with brioche, sour cream and onion, for main course Catch of the day with a price of the day which was Smoked trout with carrot and salvia sauce and for dessert mixed combination of milkless products which was not so easy task for the restaurant.

Dinner started with kitchens greetings Whitefish tartar which was excellent and served in small glass jar. Unfortunately starters were served right away after we got the jars. So we had to keep them in our hands while plates were put on the table. Timing mistake from the restaurant.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Sweet archipelago bread and home made yeast bread with salted butter were awesome.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Both starters were perfect. Baltic herring was not too salty and side dishes complemented the flavor well. Same but odd way to set the food on the edge of the plate as was in Sasso. Finnish roes always require black pepper which now had to be asked as it was not served with portion.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

Main course dishes were prepared with skill, not overcooked and hot. Pumpkins with pike perch matched well, in the future must use pumpkin more ofter when cooking at home. Think waiter said that with trout there should be carrot pyre but maybe it included milk and was left out.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

Helsinki Menu chocolate fondant was scrumptious. Double the size and you are there! Waiters were not exactly up to date which kind of milk was used; therefore mixed dessert for one of us. Again food was set on the edge of the plate.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - 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 Gun Metal Riesling Eden valley 2009 from Hewitson because of two reasons. First reason was the name Gun Metal which describes the grey-coloured stone amongst the vineyard, nothing to do with guns. Second reason was that Hewitson is more known of it’s red wines, not whites. But think Hewitson should stay in red wines because this riesling was too “soft” lacking acidity.

Fishmarket has all prerequisites to be the best seafood restaurant in Helsinki. Food was excellent but maybe one waiter was missing because waitering took so long time. Therefore it might make sense to order platters for starter or main course because you can pass the time by opening crabs.

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

http://www.fishmarket.fi/en





Restaurant review: Ristorante Como

13 09 2013

Como - reijosfood.com

Ristorante Como, spacious promising Italian restaurant located on the 2nd floor between shopping centers Forum and Kamppi.

Ristorante Como was established 9 months ago in the same location where there used to be theater restaurant which did not gain on popularity. Therefore dining room is spacious, maybe even too big in order to achieve Italian type athmosphere. On the other hand it is sometimes convenient to be able dine in privacy because in most cases you have to listen what other diners shout because of background noise. Como is owned by same the Tampere based company as Stefan’s Steakhouse (review can be found at reijosfood.com by using search). First Como restaurant was also established in Tampere.

Ordered for starters 6 Antipasti from 9 different alternatives which were grouped in Verdura, Carni and Pesce. Our choises were Pan fried zuccini rolls, Artichoke and mascarpone, Pan fried scallops and water cress, Lemon marinated white fish, fennel, peas and carrots, Prawn tails and endive salad and Prosciutto with melon. 

All antipasti were delicious except artichoke stuff because articchoke did not taste at all, main flavor was mascarpone. Each starter costs 7€ each which would be too much but as you get volume discount by ordering 2 or 3, it makes sense to try them.

Bread basket was brought after antipasti plate which was a mistake. If basket includes Grissinis which should be eaten with aperitif not with starter, it is served too late. In this case waiter forgot to bring bread basket in time. Foccacia was great and olive oil complemented wholeness.

Starter in Como - reijosfood.comComo - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Pike-Perch pan fried in olive oil, lemon and rocket and Como’s raw sausage and tomato salad. For side dishes (one included in the price) we chose Green salad with olive oil and Potatoes.

Fish was well prepared but too salty. Otherwise it would have earned high scores. Sausage was perfect and even better end result would have been achieved if one side dish would have been Potato, zucchini and spring onion which was on the restaurant web site. Boiled potato did not match so well as for instance potato salad would have.

Como - reijosfood.comComo - reijosfood.com

Because portions were not so huge there was room for desserts. Tried Rhubarb with sorbet and Limoncello pie. Desserts should be prepared at the restaurant, but think they were not in this case.

Sorbet was icy, full of “hailstones”. Limoncelle pie was tasty and dessert was well placed on the plate. Something seemed missing, maybe flavor of limoncello should have been stronger.

Como - reijosfood.comComo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Como competes toe to toe with best Italian restaurants in Helsinki, would say mostly with Sasso and Gastone. With some improvements in portions Como might be leading restaurant when it comes to Italian food.

When paying the bill we were given gift card which offered one main course for free when purchasing two by end of 2013. Lack of customers or attempt to grow loyal customer base? We might go again to try pizzas because they seemed to be polular and looked promising.

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

Como - reijosfood.comComo - reijosfood.comComo - reijosfood.comComo - reijosfood.com

You can not find this restaurant on English pages http://www.ravintola.fi/en

http://www.ravintola.fi/como_helsinki





Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

22 07 2013

Restaurant Valo

Dined at restaurant Valo the third year in a row, is it becoming a habit?  Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it would be important to have a good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same. Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for it are names of local producers on the a la carte list.

Started the dinner with Saimaa duo Perch terrine, pike perch tartar and fennel salad. Really fresh, tartar was best part of the portion. Terrine was a little bit dry. Remembering last visits, think the portions were now smaller…

Saimaa duo

For main courses had Wild boar and pork cheek Overnight braised wild boar belly and pork cheek, pomme anna with sautéed chorizo and white cabbage and bbq sauce. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked enough long. Portion had been changed as there was no chorizo in potatoes neither bbq sauce. The name of portion was the same as last year but it was then better. Also had Pike perch from Saimaa Pan fried pike perch with salmon raviolis and creamed leek which was pimped by request and side dishes replaced by vegetables and olive oil. Fish was a little bit over fried and therefore dry.

Meat in ValoPike perch in Valo

For desserts had Chocolate cake Chocolate cake with strawberry filling and vanilla ice- cream but shared the portion. Again quite small dish but delicious.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade would have exceed food and service grades. But unfortunately this year weather did not favor us; therefore same grade. Without heaters it would have been too cold to eat outside.

Wine list is short and includes only one rose wine, shiraz from JACOB´S CREEK. Wineyard was well presented as there was red, white and sparkling wines available.

Rose wine

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

http://www.savonmafia.fi/products/product/82/

Restaurant Valo





Pocket guide: Order right fish in Helsinki restaurants

7 06 2013

Pike perchFishSmoked whitefishFishFishLavaret

This is an updated copy of post from July 2012 with some new pictures. As holiday season comes closer, hopefully you find this useful if you dine at restaurants in Helsinki.

Sometimes it might be difficult to order local dishes if you have not tried them before. Meat dishes are easier because chicken, pork and red meat arequite similar in each country. When it comes to fish there are more differences, therefore below is short guide for ordering right fish in restaurants.

1. Whitefish or Lavaret (Siika)

Whitefish or sometimes Lavaret is number one favourite. If it is available in the restaurant, order it. For starter marinated or spiced whitefish is excellent choice, better than salmon. For main course either roasted or fried, this non greasy white colored fish is delicious if properly prepared. It might be over roasted but fish restaurants know what they do. Whitefish roe is also tasty and again better than rainbow trout’s. First picture (Glogatan 4) below is smoked and second (Copas y Tapas) fried whitefish. Third one is home made oven baked fish, see the white fish meat.

Smoked whitefish2012-09-07-637Whitefish

2. Pike perch (Kuha)

Pike perch is one of the most expensive Finnish fishes. Meat is white and soft and tastes best when it is roasted or fried. Pike perch even suits for preparing sushi because it can be quite big fish. Pike perch will be familiar to you if you have eaten Mediterranean white meat fisheses, like sea bass. First picture from Meche, second from Havis and third from Copas y Tapas.

Pike perchPerch

3. Perch (Ahven)

Perch is maybe most common fish in Finland and also our national fish. Meat is white and tasty. Main issue are small fishbones, if not properlyremoved. But if you are in a better restaurant which has perch in their menu, it is worth to order. Meat of perch looks like meat of small sea bass. First picture is from Havis and second from Nuevo.

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DSC02709

4. Arctic char (Nieriä or Rautu)

Arctic char is close to rainbow trout or even salmon. Meat is very lightly reddish and a little bit greasy. It is very popular and affordable fish and very often available in most restaurants. Main issue is over roasting but again good restaurants know how to prepare it. It is popular to combine morel sauce with this fish as well as with salmon. First picture is from Nuevo and second picture from Le Havre.

DSC02706Arctic char

5. Crayfish and Signal crayfish (Jokirapu and Täplärapu)

If you visit Helsinki, Finland between 21st July and end of October, you must try Crayfish (crawfish, spiny lobster), most popular shellfish in Finland. Many restaurants have crayfish menu’s. Although they are expensive, escpecially signal crayfishes, which have been imported from North America to Finland in 1960’s, you can also order them as a starter (usually 5-6) and enjoy hilarious athmosphere. If crayfish is really cheap make sure it is Finnish, it might have been imported as frozen from China.

Bon Appetit!





Restaurant review: Meche

2 06 2013

Aperitives

Right away to shared number one place with exotic specialty HEAD OF PORK!

Meche was opened a year ago in June 2012. Food is based on European, mainly Finnish, cuisine and menu is seasonal and frequently renewed. Eating is a social event, starters and main course side dishes are to be enjoyed together between friends, around a table. We did not order Head of pork, but if you decide to do so, notice that both diners or 4 diners must share it and it has to be ordered two days beforehand.

Restaurant Meche is quite difficult to discover because there is no sign on the street, only window stickers to be noticed from the street when you drive past it and look for the restaurant carefully. Name comes from the street restaurant is located, Mechelininkatu.

For starters ordered “small plates” which can be shared among diners: OLIVE BREAD AND AIOLI, LANGOUSTINE AND TOMATO, LAVARET AND POTATO, LANGOUSTINE CARPACCIO and GAZPACHO WITH SHRIMP. Olive bread you should order anyway because it was marvelous due to tasty bread crust and olives. Because Laungoustine and tomato was warm waiter suggested to start with it; one of the best starters ever eaten! Lavaret was as good as it should be, basic Finnish spiced fish. Langoustine carpaccio was supplemented with perfect veggies and spices hiding well raw langoustine. Suggest you order Gazpacho only for your self because it is difficult to share; you may not even want to share it….All starters were well balanced and affordable priced. You might even want to take them all and forget main course.

 Gazpacho

For main courses had “big ones” CATCH OF THE DAY and BREAST OF DUCK. Fish of the day was pike perch which was maybe a little bit too salty. Side dishes included pieces of chorizo sausage. Maybe for fish it was too complicated but for duck excellent. Duck was well prepared, really tender. Black currant sauce for the duck was perfect companion. Fresh salad was to be shared among diners.

Pike perchDuck

For desserts ordered “small plates” CHOCOLATE AND MINT and RHUBARB AND ALMOND. Both ended dinner in style. Mint ice-cream was one of the best restaurant ice creams ever eaten.

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Although Meche was quite empty due to graduation parties it has winning formula. Excellent Finnish food supplemented with European savors and professional service. Wine list is short but all wines are carefully selected, no “me too” wines at all. Was going to order Spanish rose wine Radix Syrah from Bares Palta which was on the web wine list but unfortunately it was finished. Maybe next time can try it and look back on a holiday in Spain. Instead had German riesling and glass of Italian red wine suggested by the waiter for the duck.

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

Meche

http://www.meche.fi/en/index.html





Restaurant review: Copas y Tapas

21 12 2012

Copas y TapasCopas y TapasCopas y Tapas

Second visit to restaurant Copas y Tapas prepared us to our winter vacation to Spain. First time at the restaurant was great when it came to food and service. Because of these important facts restaurant was placed high in Restaurant and wine review ranking list. Also therefore expectations were high.

https://reijosfood.com/2012/09/08/restaurant-review-copas-y-tapas/

Novelty is that restaurant has started co-operation with Chef Sami Tallberg, maybe one step forward to chase Michelin star? Some adjustments for echoing was also made regarding to restaurant website.

Dinner starts with assortment of three, four or five tapas, depending on hunger. As we were going to eat main courses, 3 tapas seemed to be enough as last time. You do not know what you get because restaurant chooses what to offer; but of course you can influence on it.

Hot capsicum (sweet pepper) soup, Filled capsicum and Pork neck mousse on rye bread. Recommendation was to start with hot soup which was good and suitably salty. Next ate filled capsicum which was filled with cream cheese and crayfish, excellent. Overripe organic pork neck mousse was scrumptious. Could have eaten 5 of them. On top of tapas were two pieces of licorice which suited well for salty mousse. (NOTE, only soup was changed from last visit)

Tapas at Copas y Tapas

You can choose from four different main courses which differ almost every day depending on fresh ingredients available. Today alternatives were Marble steak, Rooster, Pike Perch and Vegetable portion. Chose Rooster with carrot, zucchini and orange sauce and Pike Perch with beetroots, zucchini and parsnip pyre. Rooster was a little it over cooked, otherwise simple and delicious portion. Pike perch needed salt but otherwise portion was great.

For dessert ordered Assortment of 5 cheeses: Manchego, Comte, Livarot, Gruyrere goat cheese and Ossay-Iraty. Excellent combination! When it comes to NOSE Livarot was most tempting. But all cheeses were excellent, even Manchego which might be quite ordinary.

BUT, recommendation of wines was so interesting it needs other blog because both white and red wines were not sweet!

Cheeses at Copas y TapasCheeses at Copas y Tapas

Copas y Tapas will be one of the rising stars at Helsinki restaurant area, especially if you want to have serious discussion about Spanish wines. And selection of Spanish brandies is wide. Service. really importantpart of esxperience, was excellent again!

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

http://www.copasytapas.fi/





Restaurant review: Piccolo Mondo

19 08 2012

Restaurant Piccolo Mondo, located at Aleksi’s coutyard, is a family owned restaurant which has been operating in the same place since 1991. Inside dining hall has room for about 80 people and during the summer season terrace holds about 100 additional seating. Piccolo’s kitchen combines Mediterranean influences with Finnish traditional cuisine. You can order pasta, risotto, pizza, salad and seafood dishes as well as desserts. Restaurant has had same tables at the terrace quite long, suggest to replace them.

There are also two other restaurants at Aleksi’s coutyard (Aleksin Piha), Santa Fe and Grande Grill. Santa Fe serves tex mex food like fajitas and from June to August from Monday to Thursday you can enjoy live music performed by local artists. Piccolo Mondo customers can also hear and watch music. Grande Grill serves meat and sandwiches nad have same tables at the terrace as Santa Fe. Would say that Santa Fe is most popular restaurant of the three at Aleksi’s coutyard.

Started dinner with large Antipasto (8 pieces) including Mozzarella, gorgonzola, cold smoked salmon, prosciutto, marinated champignon mushrooms, olives, marinated artichoke and melon. Mozzarella was Buffala which was bonus, mushrooms tasted best, artichokes shoud have been grilled but now tasted too much for vinegar. In overall appearance of antipasto plate looked too much tinned food. Also ordered Bread Basket fresh bread and tapenade spread, maybe the most expensive bread in the restaurants but good.

Restaurant suggested to order Pike perch in August which we did. Fish came with steamed vegetables, potato cakes and shrimp remoulade. Wondered if chef had used white pepper instead of salt. Had to also add salt which is really rare for us. Also ordered Surf & Turf  Fried chicken breast fillet, jumbo shrimp skewer, coconut-citrus sauce and creamy white wine risotto. Chicken and shrimps were ok but risotto was more or less like porridge. For side dish ordered Mixed salad which balanced main courses well.

The terrace of Piccolo Mondo is casual and perfect place to eat pizza in the summer. It is more quiet (no own music and less noise) than other two restaurants at the Aleksi’s coutyard which makes conversation easier. If you decide to dine at coutyard and all tables are occupied, wait for a while close to the tables and run to released table right away because you are not the only one trying to do the same.

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

http://www.piccolomondo.fi/piccolomondo/english








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