Restaurant review: Taverna Vaelsa

18 06 2017


Ristorante e Taverna Vaelsa opened spring 2015 at the Market Square, at Pohjoisesplanadi 9 in the historic Govinius building. At the 2nd floor there is restaurant serving with wider menu and downstairs is taverna, which serves pizzas and some salads. Vaelsan’s kitchen combines local food and classic Italian cuisine with a modern touch.

Visited taverna at late lunch time on Saturday and tried pizzas. Ordered them from the menu under Pizze Speciali headline.

Chose Bresaola Mozzarella, Rucola, Bresaola, Parmigiano, Lemon Vinaigrette and Vegana Zucchini, Paprika, Eggplant, Parsley, Vegan Cheese.

Pizza Bresaola was delicious, but quite dry as there was not tomato sauce. Pizza base was quite thick and had to cut quite hard pieces. There was enough fresh rucola, which is not always the case when pizza includes rocket salad.


Pizza Vegana was also tasty and it was pleaseant surprise to see that taverna served also vegan version including cheese. That definately increases points.


Wines were a little bit problematic, only 3 red wines available and 2 out of them had run out and replaced with other brands. Of course pizzas do not necessarily require full-bodied wines but for instance the one we enoyed was quite light.

Location is excellent, just opposite to Market Square. And if you get window table like us, it is nice to watch the crowds outside.

Service was a little bit limping, maybe due to busy lunch hour, which was ending. If you want to visit ristorante, better make table reservation, to taverna you can just walk in and check if there are free tables.

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

http://vaelsa.fi/taverna/





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: Picasso (Puerto Banus, Spain)

25 08 2013

Picasso - reijosfood.com

Best Pizzas and longest queue in Puerto Banus and Marbella! There are also quite fancy boats and cars to be viewed.

Picasso - reijosfood.com

Visited Picasso about 10 years ago, so obvious choise was to refresh the memories. We came just in time, because after we were seated, continuous queue was waiting for free tables. What makes this restaurant most popular in Puerto Banus is excellent price/quality ratio and relaxed athmosphere compared to any other restaurant. Of course you have decided to enjoy pizzas or pasta. Or you might just want to eat biggest ice cream desserts you have ever seen.

Decided to order Pizza Tricolor Tomate natural, mozzarella búfala, jamón ibérico, rúcula y parmesano (in english Diced tomatos, buffalo mozzarella, serrano ham, rocket and parmesan shavings). Quite interesting combination and most suprising observation was that there was no tomato sauce or melted cheese on the pizza. All pizza toppings were placed after baking pizza dough and therefore they were really fresh! Crispy pizza with well chosen combination of toppings made Tricolor one of the best pizza experiences so far.

Pizza Tricolore - reijosfood.com

Pizza Tricolore - reijosfood.com

We had for starters Andalucian Gambas Pil Pil Gambas picantes, aceite de oliva, ajo,vino blanco y chili (in english Spicy prawns in oil, garlic, white wine and chili) which were quite normal staff but this review is focusing on pizza experience.

Recommend to order pizza or pasta, no starters, and leave some room for dessert. As mentioned earlier ice cream portions are huge but it was impossible to try them after Pil Pil starter and pizza.

In most busy vacation time, you have to stand in the queue from 5 up to 60 minutes depending on your arrival time. If you are guided to 2nd floor and are not with children, prepare for some noise and action because there are more families upstairs.

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

And after dinner some photos of fancy boats and cars…

Lady Haya - reijosfood.comLady Haya - reijosfood.comBoat - reijosfood.comBoat - reijosfood.comBoat - reijosfood.comCar - reijosfood.com

http://www.pizzeriapicasso.com/en/index.php





Restaurant review: Martina

7 03 2013

Restaurant or Ristorante Martina has 16 restaurants in Finland (two in Helsinki). One of the Helsinki restaurants is situated in Ruoholahti shopping center which was reconstructed recently. Decor and menu is Italian style as well as music played background. Dining room is really high, must have been in industrial use before. Interesting detail of interior; “laundry” was hanging from the strings near the roof.

MartinaMartina laundry

You can start with simple appetizer table which is in the middle of the dining room. This buffet is available for diners ordering main courses. Unfortunately cucumber and bread had dried; we ate late afternoon couple of hours after regular lunch time.

Appetizer at Martina

We also ordered for starter Antipasti for two citrus marinated shrimps, salsiccia sausage, roasted sweet pepper, half dried tomatoes, cantaloupe melon, salad, provolone and ricotta cheese and roasted foccacia.

Antipasti plate consisted mainly tinned and pre-packaded food. Best part was provolone cheese, warm and salty, partly smelted tidbit.

Antipasti plate

For main courses had Martina’s Lasagne and Arrabiata Chicken Chicken breast, arrabiata sauce, grilled vegetables and cipollata.

Lasagne was scrumptious and serving in iron pot made enjoyment even better. Absolutely best part of dinner, can recommend! Only if you do not like greasy cheese you might hesitate because on top of lasagne there was quite a thick layer of cheese. Arrabiata Chicken was too salty. Unfortunately grilled vegetables were cooked in too much oil which made whole side dish quite fatty. But waitress did a good job as we requsted to leave onions away because this really had been done in the kitchen before portion arrived to the table.

LasagneChicken

After quite “heavy” portions decided to stick to basics; Chocolate ice cream and Rasberry sorbet with suitable drinks.

Ice creamSorbet

Restaurant has modest wine list; house white and red (not drinkable) wines + 3 other choises for both. Decided to drink Lumina Pinot Grigio which was 5 euros cheaper than price at the restaurant web page. However, still overpriced.

You might want to order pizza when you decide to dine at Martina. Have heard positive feedback about them. Athmosphere is cozy and informal, easy to drop by.

REVIEW: FOOD 2+/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3/5

http://www.martina.fi/ (pity that there is no english version of site)





Restaurant review: Il Siciliano

13 10 2012

Ristorante Il Sicialiano is located at Aleksanteri street near Kluuvi and Kämp shopping centers. Sister restaurant is located in Flamingo shopping center, Vantaa. Restaurant takes only table reservations for larger groups, at least that was told on the phone.

At 3PM restaurant was full but after 5 minutes waiting we got table. A la carte list in the restauranat differs a little bit from web site, but that is not a problem. Music of course is Italian but also international soft music was played. Guests were local Helsinki shoppers with children, but most of lunch guests came from Russia, Spain and Italy. A little bit annoying were small flies around the table.

For aperitives and starters ordered FOCACCIA DELLA CASA (For 2 people) Garlic-pesto-tomato-rucola bread. Quite misleading as we got slices of pizza or pizzetta which were actually really delicious. But as I ordered pizza for main course thought that would get real foccacia. Also ordered PASTA ALL’ARRABBIATA (PICCOLA) tomato sauce, garlic, chili, parmesan, fresh basil and PROSCIUTTO E MELONE 2 pieces of melon, parmaham and honey. Pasta was cooked with professional way, however would have prefered more strong chili taste than which was served. Traditional prosciutto crudo with melon is always tasty, but we are used to Cantaloupe melon, not Honey melon which was on the plate.

For main courses ordered POLLO ALLA SICILIANA Sicilian Style Chickenbreast Filet, eggplant, Pecorino cheese Rucola, oil and PIZZA IL PADRINO Italian salame, chilli, radicchio, Rocket and sundried tomatoes. Ordered rice as side dish for Pollo but got potatoes; restaurant fixed mistake quickly after we pointed it out.  Chicken was not dry which was good. Pizza was also tasty because Italian salami piccante is always juicy and spicy. But as said earlier would have prefered something else for main course if would have known foccacia is pizza in this place.

Il Siciliano is genuine Italian pizzeria (maybe not ristorante) because you can order Averna and Grappa which are proofs of real Italian flavours. Seems to be busy all time which is proof of good food and casual athmosphere. Nice figure next to the door.

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

http://www.ilsiciliano.fi/1/





Restaurant review: Virgin Oil Co.

2 09 2012

From nice dining to stage diving!

This is how restaurant Virgin Oil Co. describes briefly itself – http://www.virginoil.fi/

In real life Virgin Oil Co. is american italian restaurant which serves maybe the best pizzas in Helsinki. Have several times ordered delicious pizzas which are prepared in wood oven and they have always been excellent. Restaurant and bar are in the first floor and terrace in the summer front of the entrance. In the 2nd floor there is a popular Club where you can enjoy live music and performances. Decor tries to imitate taverna or trattoria style with few peculiarities like painting/picture on the wall and roof lamps.

Imagine that at the end of August restaurant already sells Christmas Party events!

At 5PM on Friday evening restaurant is still quite empty, but could not make table reservation two days earlier. Usually you get table right away or in half a hour if they said it is full. At 7PM it actually was full.

For Primi Piatti or Antipasti ordered this time Gamberetti con Barbaforte Crayfish tails marinated with horseradish, Carciofi Marinated and grilled artichokes and Salsiccia Piccante Hot and spicy salsiccia-type sausage, grilled. Crayfish was OK but one could not taste horseradish. Artichokes were also OK but should have been longer in the grill. Salsiciccia sausage was as it should have been, salty and greasy.

For Primi Secondi had Chevre Chicken Grilled breast of chicken, potatoes à la Virgin, grilled goat cheese, blackcurrant sauce and vegetables and Chicken Fulmini
Grilled breast of chicken, linguine (pasta) in a creamy sauce with chilli, oil with herbs, parmesan and pine kernels. Grilled chicken breast
was a little bit dry but chevre well grilled and smooth. Linguine was also a little bit over cooked but chili sauce tasted perfect. Sauce reminded carbonara but without egg.

For wine ordered wines from barrels which usually are simple but drinkable. Maybe wine had stayed too long in the barrel because it was a little bit stale. All bottle wines come from Italy and USA; for american italian restaurant an obvious choice!

Virgin Oil Co. is perfect place to eat pizza with friends because of central location (near Stockmann on the Mannerheim Street) and relaxed athmosphere. For pizza would have given at least 4 for food, if comparing to many other pizzerias.

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

http://www.virginoil.fi/in-english/menu/





Restaurant review: Wanha Makasiini

4 08 2012

Restaurant Wanha Makasiini may be the best privately owned restaurant in Lappeenranta. After two experiences it earns recommendation; if you visit Lappeenranta dine at Wanha Makasiini! Old building itself is worth to see as it is “Old Storehouse”, pictures on the walls describe briefly the history of the building. Restaurant is located in the harbour near Sand Castle which is built each summer to attract tourists to Lappeenranta. You can dine inside or at the terrace depending on the weather. Although restaurant has fine dining menu you can also order pizzas which makes Wanha Makasiini versatile place.

Arrived to the restaurant at about 7PM and it was full; at 930PM it was empty; early dinner. Only Finnish diners this time although in Lappeenranta there are many visitors from neighbor country, Russia

For starters ordered again delicacy from the visit last time, no letdown this time either. Smoked vendace toast, smoked vendace mousse and roasted rye bread. Very simple but so delicious could have eaten 3 portions. Soft and suitably salty mousse blended in with rye bread roasted with butter tasted out of this world. Turkey pastrami, turkey on herb salad bed, marinated red onion and walnut vinaigrette was also simple dish. Turkey was tender; not too dry as it usually is.

Again fish for main courses. This time chose Fried salmon with spinach-pearl barley risotto and season vegetables. Chose this one because wanted to taste and compare barley vs rice as risotto ingredient. Taste and look was almost the same; a little bit bigger pearls but definately worth of trying, can recommend. Roasted whitefish and grilled prawns with lime sauce and grilled vegetables was the weakest link. Fish was over roasted and lime or bearnaise sauce not so attractive. Also prawns were quite small. Last year whitefish portion was excellent and roasted perfectly.

Because main courses were so generous decided to taste ice creams with tea and espresso. Home made Rasberry sorbet and Baileys ice cream ended the dinner appropriately. Next time have to try Mud cake because usually it “separates wheat from the chaff” when it comes to competence of the kitchen.

Because of easy-going athmosphere, renovation of the old building and location in the harbour, Wanha Makasiini earns 4 as an overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolawanhamakasiini.fi/

http://hiekkalinna.lappeenranta.fi/en/

Some figures from Sand Castle below.








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