Our favourite places to eat in Scandinavia
Our staff have nominated their favourite places to eat in Scandinavia.
Our Scandinavian and Nordic team, and the one adopted “almost like a local” Australian all have their favourites in their respective home countries and the regions they love when it comes to food. We thought we’d gather some of the more cosier places; small cafes and quaint restaurants together to showcase some of the best Scandinavia has on offer, brought to you by our local experts. So when you travel through our region, make sure to take some time to just stop and relax, and taste the local flavours we love so much!
Leena Patrickson - (Finnish, passion: photography)
"My recommendation for a great place to eat is Café Ursula with it's large ocean facing terrace on the Helsinki harbour. On a summer's day, walk through the Brunnsparken and arrive at this lovely Helsinki institution. Operating since 1952, this cafe serves wonderful cinnamon buns & hot chocolate during winter, wine & lovely light lunches during the long summer days. Watch as yachts drift by and locals enjoy this lively spot."
Minna Syvänen - (Finnish, passion: outdoor adventures & snow boarding)
"When I visit my hometown, Helsinki, I always make time to visit Café Regatta; the cutest little cafe around. This cafe is easy to find down by the water close to Sibelius Monument in Töölö. This small red & white wooden hut with space for only about 4 tables inside, is stuffed with the most random items you can imagine: old kitchen appliances, musical instruments, old pictures etc. – it is so cozy and wonderful! . Try the traditional Finnish cinnamon bun (korvapuusti) or Carelian pie & eggbutter (karjalanpiirakka & munavoi).
Be sure to try the traditional Finnish cinnamon bun (korvapuusti) or Carelian pie & eggbutter (karjalanpiirakka & munavoi).
When you are travelling in Iceland, I have a surprising recommendation for somewhere to eat - the local petrol station of all places! They serve really nice flat bread rolls with smoked lamb and lots of different types of Skyr (sour yoghurt). Grabbing these supplies plus the coffee that self-heats, head to the best picnic spot along the road and enjoy the incredible landscapes of Iceland."
Leila Myllymäki-Hay; (Finnish; passion: design & fashion)
"I have always loved Saslikki in Helsinki with its imperial interior deco - great for visitors who will not have time to travel to Russia.
My other favourite is a real Finnish treat; Restaurant Savu, located on a tiny island of Tervasaari not far from the Helsinki Market Place. There is a great outdoor terrace to enjoy summer days by the sea."
Asko Meriläinen - (Finnish; passion: fine dining)
"My favourite cozy restaurant is Messenius at Töölö, Helsinki. This restaurant is one of the oldest restaurant in Helsinki, opened in 1937. It’s a small & cozy local restaurant with a traditional Finnish Ala Carte menu. My favourite time to visit here is in the winter months, when they serve Blinis with Caviar and also traditional Vorschmack made from Lamb. What would be a better way to keep warm, when is snowing outside with a glass of French red wine?
If you visit there summer months, why don’t you try their 3-course menu of the day, with white fish and crayfish sauce, or just a salad with smoked reindeer?
This restaurant is also a meeting place for many local actors and directors, including the most well-known Finnish film directors Mika and Aki Kaurismäki.
When you walk in here you feel like you a stepping back on time as not much has changed since the restaurant opened in the 30’s."
Tietse Stelma - (Norwegian, passion: hiking in the Norwegian hills)
"My favourite place to eat when I am in my hometown of Oslo is the Lanternen Kro, out on the island of Bygdøy. Formally the waiting room and office for the Bygdøy Ferries, this restaurant is situated right on the Oslo fjord, the balcony providing lovely ocean views. If you are cycling around Bygdøy during summer, be sure to stop by for a refreshing drink and light lunch!"
My idea of foodie heaven - Norwegian strawberries
Satu Vänskä-Westgarth - (Finnish, passion: outdoor adventures of all kinds and white water kayaking)
"What I love about Lillehammer, the small town where our Nordic office is located and which is most known for its Winter Olympics of 1994, and more recently for “Lilyhammer”, is not only all the outdoor adventure possibilities right out your own door, but the numerous cozy cafes we have here. Atelier Kakao is the place to go for a light lunch or hot cup of tea with slice of a gorgeous cake, where as on a sunny day, I love sitting on the terrace of the Park Cafe’n until the late hours of the evening. Both cafes have relatively small menus which change often.
For pizza, I would travel as far as to Oslo for probably the best pizza in Norway in Villa Paradiso, where the pizza chef from Naples creates authentic Italian flavours from Nordic ingredients for reasonable prices. And the title of best bakery in Norway, in my mind anyway goes to the Bakeriet i Lom. In my hometown of Tampere in Finland, a recent find is the tiny little Cafe Pispala in the residential district of Pispala, couple of kilometers from the city centre. There the menu changes weekly and table reservations are not possible, so you need to get there early for dinner or weekend brunch if you want a table. The word-of-mouth has gone around and this restaurant is becoming more and more popular, for a reason! And for something sweet, the Finnish style doughnuts of Pyynikki observation tower never disappoint!"
Jayde Kincaid - (Aussie, passion: family cooking & gardening)
"I recently visited Stockholm, staying in an apartment in the old town, Gamla Stan. Wandering around the cobblestone area on evening, we discovered really this quaint little restaurant, Slingerbulten. It was very busy and hard to get into but worth the wait. We enjoyed the lovely reindeer, traditional meatballs and excellent fish dishes. A casual, but very traditional and relaxing meal was had. On mild nights, be sure to take a table on the sidewalk to soak up the ambience of the Old Town.
I also enjoyed some of the cafes and restaurants I visited in the Stockholm archipelago. The Gateau cafe at Vaxholm had 'to die for' cinnamon buns & coffee – the long buffet lunch at the Vaxholm hotel with loads of traditional Swedish fish dishes was a great option on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Cycling around the islands of the archipelago on a rainy summer’s day, we stumbled across a small tent selling organic, home grown produce. The wonderful Swedish hostess/gardener served us delicious cake & cream as well as a traditional garden salad & herring sandwich. Sitting with some neighbours, watching the rain top up the lake close by was a lovely interlude in our cycling adventure."
Alice Chamoun - (Dane, Passion - travelling and new food experiences)
"Although the food scene of my home town of Århus has changed so much in the 4 years I have been here, so much so that eve a few of the very best restaurants have even been awarded Michelin stars. My favourite Restaurant to go to and a must visit when I go home is Klassisk 65, which is not located to far from the main train station - it is a French inspired bistro and wine bar, where if you order the pepper steak (Peberbeuf) it will be flambéed in front of you at your table. The atmosphere is very cosy, the owner Søren is chatty and very present in the restaurant and they have what is in my opinion the best cheese selection. They also do brunch on Sundays and this is a real treat - bunch is huge in Denmark and this place gets filled quickly, so make sure you book one of the 4 seatings.
Another cosy place to visit in the heart of Århus is Kähler Spisesalon. You can go there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They focus on giving you the full Kähler experience, as Kähler is a Danish brand of ceramics such as vases, cups, bowls, plates - a brand dating back to 1839. All food is served in Kähler products and they use local produce where possible. They focus on traditional Danish cuisine with a modern twist - breakfast is served buffet style with all the yummy Danish bread and cheeses and salamis from local suppliers. Lunch menu is a variety of Danish Open Sandwich classics and for dinner you can choose a number of dishes from an a la carte menu or even order the Open Sandwiches should you fancy this instead."
Images: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se, Visit Finland