Restaurant review: El Senador (Spain)

4 01 2013

El Senador

Restaurante El Senador is situated by the Maspalomas beach and very popular at lunch time. Have visited El Senador several times since 2006.  Because of the location it is quite expensive compared to the restaurant facilities. Afternoon restaurant is always quite full both dining areas and bar.  Tapas have always been fresh and portions large; sometimes too salty.

For starters usually have Pimientos de Padrón fritos fried salted small green peppers, Ensalada de tomate y cebolla tomato and onion salad and of course Papas arrugadas con mojo picón boiled potatoes in salt water and spicy sauce and Pan con ajo, crujiente.

Mojo sauce is the best at nearby locations and potatoes always soft (not too dry and crusty). Too much too eat for two person if ordered with few other tapas at the same time.



Of course you have to order Pulpo a la gallega con pimentón de La Vera. Very tasty and crisp tapas but usually can be shared with 3-4 person if one of the tapas dishes.


El Senador is cozy place to sit for beer or glass of wine or even enjoy long lunch including Paella which is very popular at this restaurant.

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

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.

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!


Restaurant review: Nuevo

10 11 2012

Restaurant Nuevo is situated in a old pedestrian precinct (Sofiankatu) between the Market Square and Senate Square. Nuevo’s decor and profile is modern.  The kitchen is inspired by the gastronomic regions of Spain, with regularly changing themed menus providing variety throughout the year. This time of the year Barcelona menu was served. Dinner can also started with Tapas.

Decided to start the dinner with Tapas Calamar Marinated octopus accompanied with chilli alioli and Tostada de rabo de toro Oxtail toast and with starter Ensalada de remolacha y queso Valdeón Salad with roasted beetroot and Valdeon cheese. Octopus was great, soft and tender.  Oxtail might have been more delicious without toast but it was nice combination. Basic beetroot salad was tasty as it should be. Promising start for the dinner.

For Platos principales (main course) chose Perca Fried perch accompanied with citrus potatoes and Piquillo sauce and Truhcha ártica Fried arctic char accompanied with oxtail risotto and caponata. Perch was well prepared and not too dry; shape was nice surprise, it was like roll. Archtic char was over cooked and if it would have been grilled without fish skin it might have been bulls eye. Now fish itself needed some salt, but risotto and sauce were really good.

For dessert coffee and tee but also original Spanish brandy…..this time Lepanto.

At 8PM restaurant was full; two big groups propably already celebrating little Christmas.

Nuevo is Spanish restaurant with Italian flavour as risotto and rocket salad were used. It is not usual to see rucola in spanish food. But so delicious….Maybe restaurant is a little bit old fashioned, but if you like Spanish gourmet food Nuevo is close it and also recommend  to visit Copas y Tapas which is quite near.

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – Overall grade 4-/5

Restaurant review: Copas y Tapas

8 09 2012

Restaurant Copas & Tapas started at Esplanad but luckily their previous landlord decided to use all premises by themselves. Means that you can always sit on half empty terrace at Cafe Aschan. But if you want to taste delicious tapas or even dine prepare to book table beforehand. Restaurant is not so easy to find but it is worth it.

You can choose Tapas assortment of 3, 4 or 5 tapas and continue with main course. This time daily selection were whitefish, duck or black angus steak prepared on “horno brasa”. Means charcoal grill. For dessert assortment of 3, 4 or 5 cheeses or sweets. Most of the wines come from Torres wineyards including 20 and 30 year old Torres brandies.

For tapas got Zucchini soup, Filled capsicum and  Pork neck mousse on rye bread. Recommendation was to start with cold soup which was good and suitably salty. Next ate 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.

Chose for main courses Whitefish with fennel pyre, beurre blanc sauce, season vegetables and chantarelles. Asked one portion without milk products and restaurant managed to meet the request perfectly serving fish with sweet pepper sauce. Both portions were delicious, would say achieved gourmet level. Fennel pyre was relish, onions so sweet and it always makes difference when food is prepared on charcoal grill.

Would say that service was also admirable. Lots of useful information about portions, wines and brandies.

Copas y Tapas is not traditional Spanish tapas restaurant because it uses Finnish foodstuff and also tapas are prepared partly Finnish way. What makes it extraordinary are fresh tapas which are prepared at the restaurant. With some modifications to the dining room (too much echo), it will be one of the most successful concepts.


Restaurant review: Blue Peter bistro

9 06 2012

Restaurant Blue Peter is our local favourite. Modern decor by Vertti Kivi, good service and especially pleasent terrace. Mid May was so rainy we decided to dine in Bistro inside. Still quite quiet but warm athmosphere.

Decided to take salad buffet as starter; fresh green salad, shrimp and smoked salmon salad with home made focaccia were as good as always. One could also choose from various tapas if  one prefers to pay for starters. Salad buffet is for free if order main course.

For main course ordered Grilled tuna fish, vegetables and wasabi-teriyaki sauce and Grilled chicken, red wine sauce and potato wedges. Tuna fish was ordered as medium but is was anyway a little bit chewy. Sauce with vegetables was best part of this portion. We have tried grilled chicken with various choises several times and it is always enjoyable. Can recommend e.g. pepper sauce with french fries also.

For dessert green tea and double espresso; calvados etc…please try!


Second visit early June, bistro was full as well as a la carte dining area. Most popular dish seemed to to be Cheeseburger,which is actually very good. Have tasted that several times. Blue Peter had few trainees trying to do their best. Refreshing was suggestion for dessert wine and the way how it was presented.

This time ordered Fried salmon, forest mushroom sauce, dill potatoes, vegetables. Salmon was fresh and mushroom sauce is perfect choice for greasy fish.

For dessert always so delicious Crepe with jam and ice cream. Restaurant has best crepes in town!

We visited Blue Peter a la carte at the beginning of this year and it was extremely enjoyable experience. We expect the same in the future and you can count of quality level also!

REVIEW: FOOD 3/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5 (May review)

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5 (June review)

A la carte review

Pictures below are taken at bistro dining room. First one from May and second from June; little bit better weather 🙂

Restaurant review: Sevilla

21 04 2012

Had late lunch at restaurant Sevilla which serves also Sokos hotel Presidentti customers. One can find Sevilla also in St. Petersburg where there are Sokos hotels. Sevilla tries to be Spanish restaurant with wide tapas selection, Spanish name and menu which is also in Spanish.  Having dined there couple of times tapas portions have been quite well prepared and tasty as there were this time. Location; 50 meters from shopping center Kamppi.

Ordered 4 tapas portions which we shared.  CHILI MARINATED SHRIMPS AND AIOLI Gambas peladas y macerados en salsa picante con alioli,  SELECTION OF SPANISH CHEESES Selección de quesos españoles i.e.  Cabrales blue cheese Mahón and Manchego cheese, figs and fig balsami,  LAMB MEATBALLS AND CHORIZO Albóndigas de cordero y chorizo  GARLIC BREAD Pan de ajo. Shrimps were good but aioli needed more taste. Would have ordered something else instead of cheeses as they were quite modest. One meatball with chorizo was OK and garlic bread with whole cloves of garlic was almost better than in Spain.

For main course 2x PEPPER CHICKEN Pollo a la pimienta i.e. Succulent wing-boned chicken breast, creamy brandy pepper sauce, Spanish-style baked vegetables and French fries. Chicken was OK but pepper sauce could have included more pepper in order to be enough spicy.

Restaurant Sevilla is easy place to go and have something to eat if one likes Spanish flavours.

REVIEW: FOOD 3-/5 – SERVICE 3+/5 – Overall grade 3+/5


By the way, when visiting Sevilla about year ago, ordered speciality of the house. Had to send it back to the kitchen because chicken was so dry and chewy. Better luck next time 🙂

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

Virtual presentation:

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: BBQ House

10 03 2012

Restaurant BBQ House is situated by Greek restaurant Minos at Kamppi shopping center. They even share toilets. Restaurant also has heated outdoor terrace which expands in the summer for large bar and terrace area. BBQ House states it provides latino kitchen and it is specialised in steaks, no suprise by the name. When we visited restaurant there was Aussi weeks with special menu,not so close to latino? Interesting is that BBQ House has lava rock grill, quite unique in Helsinki and Finland. Also you can watch how chefs manage to do they work in open kitchen.

If you are co-op member you can get discount for some portions and collect points.

Also interesting detail is that dishes on the menu are also in portuguese but of course also in English and Russia. Latino flavour?

Tried to make table reservation same day but was told it is not possible anymore. Restaurant was full when we arrived and we were offered call back if we liked to dine. After 1/2 hour waiting time in a near by bar we got polite call; our table was ready. Great service!

For “Entrades – Appetizers” we chose Tapas which were not like Spanish Tapas. From different alternatives we decided to taste Springbok antelope, glazed with passion fruit and Caramelized pork flank. Antelope is not so common; as a matter in fact can not remember any other restaurant offering it. In portion there were quite small pieces of antelope and the shape was like cold meats. Pork also was like cold meat; not exactly what you would expect, but anyway very tasty. Most of the portion consisted of potato salad; small suprise as it was not mentioned in menu. Another choices for us were Giant shrimps and Bloody Mary soup and Artichoke with veggies. Interesting name for the soup and both were good.

“Prato principal à sua escolha da nossa grelha de pedra vulcânica – Main course of your choice from our lava rock grill” Sounded good, so we ordered Beef tenderloin and Breast of corn-fed chicken. You could then choose “Com um molho à sua escolha – With a sauce of your choice” from six different sauces and “Acompanhamentos – With a side dish of” 4 different choises. Decided to dine low carb food and chose Caesar salad  and Country-style salad, no potato fries this time. Beef tenderloin was ordered as medium, but  it was medium minus  minus… However Rum and pepper sauce was one of the best ever tasted and perfect match for meat. Also salad under Caesar sauce was crisp but Country salad was maybe too simple although it included quinea; quite rare in Finnish kitchen.

With few amendments in starters ingredients we would have given 4 as a grade for food.

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

Visited again restaurant in July; fewer appetizers in the list but otherwise as good experience.

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

Restaurant review: Kaarna

9 01 2012

Restaurant Kaarna is located in shopping center Forum and serves Finnish traditional food. Ask for window table and you can the follow passers-by. If they say that restaurant is fully booked (phone or email) you might anyway get the table on the spot.

Helsinki is one of the design capitals 2012. To celebrate this restaurant chain including Kaarna offers bottle of champagne (Piper-Heidsieck) at affordable price 39€, if you have customer loalty card.

The food itself:

From the Nordic “tapas” list we chose Toast Skagen which is traditional shrimp on the white bread combination. This time too much onion and quite dry. Could recommend though Kaarna fish plate from previous visit.

Main course was roast salmon with false morel sauce and dill-potato bake. First of all salmon was much too salty and potatoes were more or less just fried without taste of dill. Waitress claimed that sauce has always been in separate jar as it was this time which was not true as we had asked for sauce jar when we visited restaurant last time.

We were requested an order several times quite right we arrived although we had not been read the menu. But we also had to ask for water three times before we got carafe. Obviously we were even 😦

Grades below represent the visit this time. Earlier visit would have been generated better grades due to professional chef and waitresses.

REVIEW: Food 2/5 – Service 2/5Overall grade 3/5

Click to access kaarna_menu_english_2011.pdf

%d bloggers like this: