Helsinki: Day one

June 13th, 2011

My thoughts about Helsinki writing this first day post is that Helsinki has everything going for it. It has a design district where everything is within walking distance from each other, it easily has the best coffee, and has the best food for the best prices in all of Scandinavia.

When we last visited we arrived near the beginning of mid summer, so we had to rush to see everything before things shut down for the holiday. This time we wanted to really sink our teeth into this city, and see as much as we could in our few short days.

We stayed at Hotel Anna, which is a small hotel in the middle of the design district (this is a return visit – comfortable, wifi, tv, great location, big rooms). We arrived, checked in, and immediately headed towards Ravintola Tori for some lunch.

Take note they also offer a great breakfast here during the week!

I think this was fried herring and root vegetables.

I had the ragu with eggplant and potatoes.

The interior is nice and bright with a good amount of seating.

The must see of Helsinki design is the Design Forum shop, which stocks everything from ceramics, to glassware, modern puuko knives, and always has an interesting exhibition going on.

Too bad we’re not allowed to take photos in here!

A window we always like walking by is the counter-part showroom to ““, except this carries more of their rare furniture pieces. If you visit Helsinki you will walk down Annankatu and pass “Modern Design” and you will be curious enough to enter. It’s a store that has everything that you’re looking for, but at a very high premium.

I love the Wirkkala coffee tables, and the Aalto side table with rattan handle. I’ve never seen that piece before.

Another favorite spot is this underground Antique market, a couple of years ago it had an amazing assortment of cool things, including old Aalto exhibition posters and Finnish glass. This time around they looked more spare, I regret not grabbing some posters last time we were here.

They had a couple 1950s Spanish chairs that were just beautiful, it’s a piece that ages like wine.

A quick snack across the street at Cafe Succes.

They serve arguably Helsinki’s best Cinnamon buns on plywood trays, super tasty and the coffee is pretty good after all the bad cups we’ve been having!

We stumbled across a beautiful little Japanese gift shop called Common, they had an amazing collection of Japanese stationary and ceramics.

A bunch of cast iron pot by Timo Sarpaneva.

For dinner we went to Lupolo which was only a couple blocks from our hotel.

It’s a cosy local place which had some interesting vintage details, including a teak paneled ceiling. Plus the Kartio glasses are a nice touch.

Watermelon salad.

We followed with a melt in your mouth delicious scallop with a white asparagus puree.

Our main was a hamburger with potato wedges. The burger and lager really hit the spot for us. We really loved this place, and if you visit Helsinki, you will love it too!

Filed under: Travel | 11 comments

11 Responses to 'Helsinki: Day one'

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  1. Good to hear you had a great time in Helsinki! I’m just about to pack up and move to Helsinki myself, can’t wait!


    13 Jun 11 at 3:24 pm

  2. Looks amazing! Did you say cheap food? Sold! Liz x


    13 Jun 11 at 7:52 pm

  3. Helsinki is looking delicious!


    13 Jun 11 at 8:22 pm

  4. Sometimes I forgot how much I love my city but pictures like these are a perfect reminder of it! And hey, if you’re still in town on Friday, you should check out the local music scene. For example there’s a great gig at Liberte: NT’s white trash and others are playing. Liberte is located in Kallio, and the address is Kolmas Linja 34.
    There are other cool places in Kallio, too. Pacifico in Helsinginkatu offers a great brunch on saturdays and sundays, so does Cafe Talo in Hämeentie and Siltanen in Hämeentie.


    14 Jun 11 at 12:20 am

  5. worth visiting! hope you have a lovely days here in helsinki!


    14 Jun 11 at 6:54 am

  6. Nice to see my hometown from another perspective!


    14 Jun 11 at 12:07 pm

  7. Helsinki is one of my big favorites! For background, check out the Palace Hotel for its seminal history in putting Finnish design on the map, as well as great views overlooking the harbor from its uper floors. Also, as an ode to the uber one, make sure to check out Vuokko Nurmesniemi’s shop on the Espandi if its still open.


    14 Jun 11 at 3:03 pm

  8. Are you planning to come in Berlin? If you do so, let me know…would like to ask you some questions about your shop and project, around a coffee.


    15 Jun 11 at 11:53 am

  9. Dear Lasse,

    I’m so sorry! We’re already home! Thanks for the offer anyway.

    John & Juli

    17 Jun 11 at 8:43 am

  10. Another Finland recommendation… connecting with the excellent design bloggers “Road Trip in Finland” or “RTIF” – seems like you would have a lot to share.


    16 Jun 11 at 10:06 am

  11. My home town looks fantastic though your pictures!


    19 Jun 11 at 1:05 pm

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