Perhaps you are visiting Helsinki, the capital of Finland for a cultural event or for a short city break and you want to treat yourself with a culinary experience at the same time without paying too much for it. You have come to the correct place since I have just done the restaurant research for my own trip to Helsinki in May.
Tasting menus are popular in Finland and you can find them also outside the Michelin star restaurants for quite affordable prices. Please don’t expect the prices to be cheap but you can usually find tasting menus for a lot less in non-Michelin star restaurants so they are very affordable in comparison.
Michelin-star restaurants in Helsinki
Michelin Guide briefly explained
Michelin is known as a French tire manufacturer and some find it strange that they rank restaurants. Ranking restaurants is quite far from their core business but it all started out as a means to increase the demand for cars and car tires respectively offering helpful information for motorists.
The Michelin Guides are a series of guide books published for more than a century. The term normally refers to the annually published Michelin Red Guide, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards up to three Michelin stars for excellence.Wikipedia
There has been some confusion on are the Michelin stars awarded to the restaurant or the chef operating the restaurant. From an interview, I listened to with a senior Michelin inspector who stayed anonymous I learned that the stars are awarded to the food and not the restaurant or the chef. Still, in everyday conversations and articles, it’s very common to talk about Michelin star restaurants and Michelin star chefs.
Michelin stars have a huge impact on how a restaurant is perceived by the public and therefore they do attract more customers and those restaurants tend to have higher prices. However, there are also exceptions to this and some Michelin star restaurants aren’t actually that expensive.
Restaurants in Helsinki with one Michelin star
Currently, Helsinki doesn’t have any two or three-star restaurants but it does have six one-star restaurants.
Listing the restaurants from the Official Michelin Guide web site from lowest to highest price:
- Grön (From 58€)
- Palace (From 62€)
- Demo (From 65€)
- Ask (From 65€)
- Ora (From 89€)
- Olo (From 121€)
Please note that the From prices are starting prices as noted by the Michelin guide. The price might be the price of a full menu at dinner time like in the case of Grön one gets a full menu for 58€ including water as a drink. In the case of Palace, the from price is the price for a lunch menu and you do pay a lot more at dinner time.
Restaurants recommended by Finlands Gastronomic Club
Finland’s Gastronomic Club is Finland’s oldest food club and it has over 300 members.
The Gastronomic club selects each year the restaurant of the year and I bet any of the recently selected restaurants will be a good experience. I contacted the club for a recommendation of a tasting menu and will update the post once I get a reply from them.
Restaurants offering tasting menus in Helsinki
There are plenty of other restaurants in Helsinki which have no Michelin stars or are not even mentioned in the Michelin guide and they still offer excellent tasting menus.
The restaurants Inari, Charter, Muru, and Basbas have been recommended by some friends living in Helsinki.
I will be coming back to give an overview of the restaurants in the near future.
Chapter tasting menu
We visited the restaurant Chapter in May 2019 as a group of five people and had the 7-course surprise menu (currently priced at 74€ per person without drinks). They also have a 5-course surprise menu for 54€ per person.
The atmosphere and service at Chapter were great and we really enjoyed the evening there. The food was good and for example, the homemade bread with beetroot in it was really fun. There are so many restaurants to try out in Helsinki so I probably would try a different one next time.
Some photos of the food we had can be seen below. The surprise menu, however, changes after a while so the time you go it will be something different.