Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

17 07 2014

Savonlinna is an active and vibrant summertime town in Finland. The town itself and its surroundings are one of the most popular holiday regions in Finland. Beside enjoying the opera, admire the breathtaking scenery in and around the town, have a giggle at some of the eccentric local events, and listen to the legends associated with the historical sites.

Savonlinna Castle - reijosfood.com

Dined at restaurant Valo (in English Light) the fourth year in a row, is it becoming a habit? No it will not, read futher…..Other 2 reviews can be found by using search and writing Valo.

Valo in Savonlinna - reijosfood.com

Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant by Saimaa lake, 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 Valo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for that used to be the names of local producers on the a la carte list. This year the names of local producers had almost vanished. Reason? Many local residents and summer vacationers had pizza which seems to be quite nice looking. We decided to keep up traditions and order form a la carte list. But in the future….

For starters we ordered Salmon & dill Sugar and salt-cured salmon, fennel salad, dill maynonnaise and potato crisps and Snails.

Nice looking small fish portion was a little bit too salty. It included two potato chips. I would not mention those in explanation of portion. Snails were soft with lot’s of smelted butter.

Salmon starter at Valo - reijosfood.com

Escargots at Valo - reijosfood.com

Main courses were this time Trout Pan fried trout fillet,warm new potato salad with crab sauce and Fish of the day from Saimaa with trimmings of the day.

Kitchen made some changes to trout portion as we requested them, which was  proofpoint of customer service. But amazing was that waiter said that fish of the day should be pike-perch but we got Arctic char! That kind of mistake we have not seen for a long time.

Unfortunately both fishes were over fried and therefore dry.

Fish at Valo - reijosfood.comFish at Valo - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had after long discussion with waitress Chocolate cake and Berries.

Berries were not on the list but as there were no lactose-free desserts, berries were only ones kitchen could serve. Delicious chocolate cake included same berries as well as vanilla ice-cream.

Chocolate dessert at Valo - reijosfood.comBerries at Valo - reijosfood.com

For wine we had rose because only riesling on the wine list was too light and without any riesling character.

Rose wine at Valo - reijosfood.com

Next time when or if we dine at Valo we try pizza. Small and therefore over priced portions (but it is opera month) do not earn more than 3. Location and terrace increase overall grade.

The problem with Savonlinna restaurant scene has, is the lack of small privately own Finnish restaurants. Most in the center of town are owned nowadays by S-Group co-operative company. But it is difficult to keep up restaurant business, if there are customers only during summer months.

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

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

 





Hotel review: Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone (Savonlinna)

4 08 2013

Room with a view

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone is located in the centre of Savonlinna next to the Market Square and the Passenger Harbour. The medieval castle of Olavinlinna is few hundred metres away. Hotel has 84 rooms, 8 of them are Superior in which we stayed.

Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Hotel has several restaurants and it specializes in night life as there are two night clubs, Night & Bar Tamino for younger adults and Dance Restaurant Mefisto for “grown ups”. We did not visit those places but usually there are quite crowded in the summer time; and the beats goes on….Be sure you do not get a room above restaurants on Friday or Saturday nights.

Dining is not in focus as there are two really modest restaurants, Muikku Terrace (in the picture, see separate review) and Restaurant Piatta where breakfast is also served. Piatta has small terrace and dining room which is really dark. There is also small Cafe Opera (in the picture) with terrace on the right when you come in. Seemed to be quite empty all the time.

All public areas would need some furbishing because they are worn. Problem of course is that July is the most busiest month and in the winter time hotel must be quite empty. But this summer has been more quiet for hotels because customers are seeking more affordable accommodation due to recession. First summer can remember there were free rooms available easily although Opera Festival tickets have been selling well.

Muikku TerraceCafe Opera

Rooms are modest compared to the price level during Opera Festival. Air conditioning seemed to be replaced with fan which we did not need because of cool weather. If there should be warm and sunny, fan would not be enough.

Superior roomSuperior room

Best part was the view from the room at 5th floor. You can watch steam boats taking passengers for short sightseeing cruises and by-passers on their way to Market Square or to Savonlinna Castle. First picture was also taken from the French balcony.

Superior room with a view

There are two hotels in Savonlinna, reviewed Sokos Hotel Seurahuone and Best Western Spahotel Casino which we have usually visited. From these two hotels would choose Spahotel Casino because it is closer to nature, it has great terrace and basically most of the rooms are with balcony + free parking. And it is not too far away from Savonlinna Market Square, just walk over the bridge between island and town.

http://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/hotels/savonlinna/





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





Restaurant review: Muikku Terrace (Savonlinna)

21 07 2013

Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Muikku Terrace in Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone offers views over the Saimaa lake, the Savonlinna Market Square and the town. On the terrace in the 6th floor main food portions are vendaces (muikku in Finnish), which are fried in lots of butter. This used to be problem because the whole place was covered with grease. Due to that we have avoided Muikku Terrace but decided to try it now because we stayed at the hotel. Luckily there was less grease in the restaurant this time.

Muikku Terrace

The hotel itself used to be independent but was acquired a year ago by local cooperative business and was changed to Sokos hotel.

Restaurant is open only in the summer time and really popular during Opera Festival period in July. You can not make table reservation, just wait for free table as many has to do. Savonlinna Opera Festival is phenomenom and in some areas beats Verona. Recommend to visit if you are travelling in Finland.

You can choose from Muikku’s on wooden platter with lemon, salad and a baked potato or Muikku’s on wooden platter with lemon without side dishes. Ordered both of them.

Muikku platterMuikku platter

Not so impressive, best part was baked potato with sauce. Vendaces were crisp but would have required more salt. Amount of vendaces was enough to take your hunger away. Service was relaxed and quick. Anyway, Muikku Terrace is in a way must place to visit in Savonlinna. You can also try vendaces at Market Square which is really popular on summer sunny days.

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

http://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/hotels/savonlinna/restaurants/

http://www.operafestival.fi/en

Savonlinna





Restaurant review: Valo

3 08 2012

After 3,5 hour opera (The Magic Flute) in Savonlinna Opera Festival and 4 hour joyful Crayfish dinner and cruise on the Saimaa lake, it was relaxing to dine next day at restaurant Valo. Savonlinna Opera Festival celebrates 100 years history in 2012 and it gathers friends of opera each year. Maybe one can feel similar athmosphere in Verona but Savonlinna continues to live after opera as people dine and share opera experiences in nearby restaurants.

Dined at Valo second time and food was now better. Last year Whitefish was so over roasted it almost fractured. Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it is important to have 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 was mentioning local producers in the a la carte list.

In Savonlinna one MUST eat vendaces! As they were only available for main course asked to get Vendaces from Pielavesi for starter without side dishes. Succeeded and they were simple but excellent, salty and partly crispy but not too creasy. From check noticed that price and name for starter was the same as in childrens menu. Another choice was Cold smoked salmon salad, cold smoked salmon with salad, marinated red onion, deep fried capers, sun dried tomatoes, marinated olives, lemon compote and bread. Add-on’s were not so Finnish and neither this starter beat vendaces.

For main courses had Rib from the Koivunotko wild board, barbeque sauce with potato and chorizo bake. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked 48 hours. Chorizo harmonized with potatoes well and gave some stroger savor to portion. Arctic Char with new potatoes from Kulennois and dill and whitewine sauce was enjoyable but as usual a little bit over fried. Restaurant mentioned producer or place of catching in both portions.

Almost forgot to take photos of desserts! Grand Marnier Parfait and strawberries was fresh and fruity. Home made chocolate cake and lingonberry ice cream tasted delicious. Soft and moist cake as it should be and rough ice cream with luscious lingonberry taste, almost whole berries.

Restaurant forgot to invoice bottle of Riesling wine as it was ordered from another waitress. Told that and got 20% discount for it.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade exceeds food and service grades. Restaurant is full before and after opera, therefore table reservation at those times is needed. During opera there are free tables available without need to make reservation.

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

http://www.savonmafia.fi/cms/media/32/VALO_ALA_CARTE.pdf

http://www.operafestival.fi/In_English/Front_page.iw3








%d bloggers like this: