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Helsinki, Finland

Bistro buzz: the top 15 Helsinki bistros for every palate

The taste-tested guide to Helsinki’s best bistros

Helsinki’s bistro scene is undergoing a remarkable evolution, introducing a wave of establishments that vary from sophisticated, well-designed spaces to charming spots with mismatched plates and cutlery. Each venue brings its own approach, creating a diverse array of dining options that showcase everything from high-end culinary artistry to hearty, rustic fare. This new era of bistros in Helsinki is marked by an invigorating blend of tradition and innovation, making the city a vibrant hub for food enthusiasts seeking both familiar comforts and new tastes. We’ve scoured the city for the top bistros to guide you to the best.

01

Bistro Gina

Bistro Gina in Helsinki is a contemporary Italian bistro with a twist. Managed by Hans Välimäki and Arto Rastas, this restaurant infuses Helsinki’s culinary scene with traditional Italian dishes, served with a modern flair. The interior, designed by local design firm Fyra, creates a relaxed yet vibrant dining experience. The design incorporates sturdy pillars to divide the space, while bespoke ceiling light fixtures and mirrored walls add depth and intrigue. Serving a variety of Italian classics, Bistro Gina emphasises high-quality, seasonal ingredients, offering homemade pastas, piadinis and focaccias, with a focus on quality olive oil, garlic, sardines, cold cuts, basil, sun-ripened olives and – naturally – amore.

Bistro Gina
Korkeavuorenkatu 34
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Bistro Gina

02

Café Savoy

Café Savoy stands out as a celebration of culinary expertise and architectural finesse. Under the guidance of Chef Patron Helena Puolakka, this venue captures the essence of Southern France with flair. The interior, designed by Studio Joanna Laajisto, offers timeless elegance through oak flooring, panelled walls and bespoke furniture, creating an inviting atmosphere. The food menu, featuring dishes like the robust entrecôte and our personal favourite, the exquisitely balanced salad Niçoise, emphasises simplicity and authenticity with a focus on seasonal ingredients. Additionally, the wine list is a treasure trove, from easy-drinking options to rare vintages.

Read the entire article on Café Savoy.

Café Savoy
Eteläesplanadi 14
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Café Savoy

03

Ravintola Nolla

Ravintola Nolla in Helsinki exemplifies its name, meaning ’zero’ in Swedish, by pioneering a zero-waste philosophy. This ethos permeates every aspect of its operations: the restaurant avoids packaging from suppliers, repurposes materials like bed linen for staff uniforms and processes organic waste with an on-site composter. Furthermore, its in-house microbrewery, visible from the dining area, enhances the dining experience. Our go-to dish, the deer tartar with black walnut emulsion and goat cheese, showcases Nolla’s commitment to combining locally sourced, sustainable ingredients with culinary innovation. These practices underscore Nolla’s role as a model for how restaurants can minimise environmental impact while delivering a creative and engaging dining experience.

Ravintola Nolla
Fredrikinkatu 22
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Ravintola Nolla

04

Le Coucou Vert

Le Coucou Vert is a delightful French bistro that captures the essence of Parisian dining. Designed by Koko3, it boasts a vibrant atmosphere, with a colour palette inspired by its functionalist building. The restaurant’s interior is a mix of red wine, cream, olive and herb hues, highlighted by whimsical vintage bistro chairs and handmade brass lighting. Classic Finnish fabrics on banquette benches and stylish cutlery add to its allure. Chef Teemu Aura helms the kitchen, offering innovative takes on French classics. The open kitchen and bar create a perfect setting for an evening of culinary exploration, making Le Coucou Vert a little piece of Paris in the heart of Helsinki​​​​​​.

Le Coucou Vert
Bulevardi 32
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Le Coucou Vert

05

Ravintola Nolita

Ravintola Nolita in Helsinki, a bistro-bakery hybrid, begins each dining experience with its divine bread, setting a scrumptious standard from the start. This eatery excels in its rustic yet modern ambience, inviting patrons to indulge in a convivial sharing experience. The menu encourages a communal table dynamic, featuring items like the bread plate with dips, charcuterie and a selection of vibrant starters such as pumpkin tempura with shiso and vadouvan crème and rainbow trout with orange and dill. Main courses like Nolita’s burger and the catch of the day ensure that every palate is catered to.

Ravintola Nolita
Kankurinkatu 6
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Ravintola Nolita
Baskeri & Basso Helsinki Finland restaurant review
Baskeri & Basso Helsinki Finland restaurant review

06

Baskeri & Basso

Baskeri & Basso, affectionately known as Basbas, is Helsinki’s cherished late-night wine bistro. This venue is renowned for its straightforward and exquisite French-Italian bistro-osteria cuisine. Set in a cosy and inviting atmosphere, Basbas offers a relaxed dining experience that is both unassuming and sophisticated. The menu features a variety of pastas and starters, thoughtfully paired with a selection of organic and trusted wines. We recommend visiting late in the evening for a serene experience, as the restaurant warmly welcomes late-night walk-ins. Ideal for those seeking a late meal, Basbas is perfect for enjoying their signature pasta alongside two or three starters in a laid-back setting.

Baskeri & Basso
Tehtaankatu 27-29
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Baskeri & Basso
Mat Distrikt Helsinki Finland restaurant review
Mat Distrikt Helsinki Finland restaurant review

07

Mat Distrikt

Mat Distrikt stands out as a vibrant neighbourhood bistro, celebrated for its handcrafted, seasonal dishes. Developed by the creative minds behind other successful culinary ventures, the bistro offers a focused menu that emphasises freshness and local ingredients. Signature dishes include beef tartare paired with bone marrow mayonnaise and pulpo with romesco sauce, alongside a tomato risotto that embodies the simplicity and depth of flavour characteristic of the venue. The atmosphere buzzes with a lively and stylish clientele, enhancing the dining experience. Mat Distrikt’s commitment to homemade and sustainable cuisine is mirrored in its wine list, which highlights natural wines from boutique producers.

Mat Distrikt
Tehtaankatu 12
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Mat Distrikt
Ravintola 305 Helsinki Uusimaa Finland restaurant
Ravintola 305 Helsinki Uusimaa Finland restaurant

08

Ravintola 305

Ravintola 305, a modern neighbourhood restaurant in Helsinki’s Hakaniemi district, has a unique approach to dining. The culinary team, led by chef Janne Keskevaari, focuses on creating unforgettable flavours with respect for seasonal ingredients. The restaurant offers a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere, featuring dark walls, playful artwork and an open kitchen that adds to the bistronomic experience. Guests can enjoy the music at just the right volume to allow for easy conversation. Signature dishes include artichoke & roe, fish and almond potatoes, as well as waffles with autumn apples, showcasing the chef’s creativity and skill.

Ravintola 305
Toinen linja 3
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Ravintola 305
Wellamo Helsinki Finland restaurant review
Wellamo Helsinki Finland restaurant review

09

Wellamo

Wellamo, in the tranquil Katajanokka district, is a culinary institution revitalised by Chef Dani Hänninen. The restaurant marries traditional charm with a contemporary touch, offering a seasonal menu that honours Nordic ingredients sourced from local purveyors. Noteworthy dishes include the delicately prepared perch ’premiere’ and the rich beef & cabbage, echoing the establishment’s fusion of comfort and creativity. The ambience at Wellamo is both cosy and romantically Nordic, with a curated wine selection that complements the innovative cuisine. Wellamo’s offering is a testament to timeless Finnish culinary artistry, serving as a quiet haven for those who appreciate an evolving yet respectful take on classic Nordic cooking.

Wellamo
Laivastokatu 18
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Wellamo
The Grand Bar & Grill Helsinki Finland restaurant review

10

The Grand Bar & Grill

Never too grand for a bottle of Heinz ketchup, The Grand Bar & Grill offers a down-to-earth culinary adventure amidst its sophisticated ambiance. Led by Chef Sylvester Soisalo, this Helsinki hotspot blends traditional grilling techniques with contemporary flair, presenting signature dishes like the marbled sirloin and dry-aged prime rib. The architecture pairs modernity with comfort, creating an inviting space for both casual diners and gourmet enthusiasts. Unique features like an extensive béarnaise sauce selection and innovative sides add to the allure, making it a standout destination in the city’s vibrant dining scene.

The Grand Bar & Grill
Korkeavuorenkatu 21
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of The Grand Bar & Grill
Restaurant Elm Helsinki Finland restaurant review
Restaurant Elm Helsinki Finland restaurant review

11

Restaurant Elm

Mussels in white wine sauce and wild deer with tarragon sauce herald the menu at Restaurant Elm, nestled within a beautifully restored 1860s wooden villa in Helsinki. This all-day neighbourhood eatery blends Mediterranean cuisine with the rich cultural heritage of its Portuguese and Catalan chefs. The wooden architecture, complete with a quaint veranda terrace, invites diners to savour their meals amid a blend of historic charm and modern culinary craft. The atmosphere, enhanced by a thoughtful selection of music, mirrors the warmth and diversity of the Mediterranean.

Restaurant Elm
Puistokatu 4
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Restaurant Elm
Ravintola Muru Helsinki Finland restaurant review
Ravintola Muru Helsinki Finland restaurant review

12

Ravintola Muru

Ravintola Muru in Helsinki captures a unique niche with its blend of Italian-French bistro charm and Nordic ingredients. Founded in 2010 by a close-knit team, the restaurant is celebrated for its commitment to simple yet sublime dishes that emphasise the integrity of local produce and a thoughtful wine list. Recognised for its wine prowess, Muru has earned the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence repeatedly, underlining its status as a haven for oenophiles. The daily changing four-course menu is a testament to the kitchen’s creative and responsive culinary philosophy.

Ravintola Muru
Fredrikinkatu 41
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Ravintola Muru
Kuurna Helsinki Finland restaurant review

13

Kuurna

At Kuurna, we were delighted by the ever-evolving menu, brilliantly showcasing local and seasonal produce. The standout aubergine-filled pasta rotolo, enhanced with white beans and pine nuts, offers a sumptuous vegetarian treat. Equally compelling is the classic Kuurna pepper steak, perfectly seasoned and served with fresh seasonal vegetables. This bistro’s commitment to sustainability extends to its cosy, pet-friendly atmosphere and a thoughtfully curated wine list featuring classic and natural choices

Kuurna
Meritullinkatu 6
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Kuurna
Bona Fide Helsinki Finland restaurant review
Bona Fide Helsinki Finland restaurant review

14

Bona Fide

At Bona Fide, the ambiance immediately sets a welcoming tone, blending effortlessly with its fresh take on Finnish cuisine. The standout dish, deep-fried vendace fish with hot sauce, perfectly captured the kitchen’s innovative approach to traditional flavors. Chefs Ilpo Vainonen and Eeli Kaasinen ensure the menu, which changes frequently, remains exciting and reflective of sustainable practices. Adding to the experience, the wine list curated by Johan Borgar offers an excellent selection of natural wines and reasonably priced champagnes, making Bona Fide a must-visit for both food and wine enthusiasts.

Bona Fide
Vironkatu 8
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Bona Fide
Quartier Bistro & Bar Helsinki Uusimaa Finland restaurant
Quartier Bistro & Bar Helsinki Uusimaa Finland restaurant

15

Quartier Bistro & Bar​

Quartier Bistro & Bar in Helsinki combines the classic elements of European bistros with the fresh flavours of Nordic cuisine. This city centre bistro is an ideal spot for both brief visits and extended dining experiences. Its menu, comprising individual portions, allows diners to create their own culinary journey. The offerings include smoked burrata with herb-fennel salad, duck breast with plum sauce and Angus sirloin with béarnaise, among others. Complementing the food is a thoughtfully selected wine list. Quartier’s atmosphere is relaxed and inviting.

Quartier Bistro & Bar​
Korkeavuorenkatu 4
Helsinki
Finland

Photography courtesy of Quartier Bistro & Bar​

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