Classic restaurants in Helsinki

Ideal Helsinki presents here five of the most interesting traditional, long-established restaurants in Helsinki.

Helsinki’s legendary, historic restaurants offer popular, widely known food and surroundings, that date back to decades. The milieus of these restaurants might as well be found in Paris or any other metropol. Many of them have  Art Nouveau décor combined with art, and the dining rooms also respect the past decades and the style of the buildings where they are located.

Common to all of these five restaurants is traditional Finnish food, which people even from the other side of the world are coming to enjoy. For many foreign tourists a visit in a traditional Finnish restaurant represents exoticism while exploring the classic Finnish cuisine.

Visitors often compare these restaurants to the cinematic image of Finland. The style associated with Kaurismäki films lives partly in these intriguing places.

The menus of all these restaurants have familiar classics, but each of them also has a few unique dishes. These classical restaurants are rich in variety and definitely worth a visit.

Ravintola Kosmos

This restaurant in Kalevankatu was founded in 1924. The dining room style has remained the same since then. The reforms have been done in a subtle way, with regard to practical renewal needs. Presently they serve daily a changing lunch menu, whereas the a la carte menu lists classics such as Vorschmack, tartar bread or Sylvester bread with morel sauce and roe of trout topped with cheese.

The restaurant’s wine selection is extensive, and interesting specialties can be discovered in the restaurant’s wine cellar. In summer, the restaurant has an outdoor terrace on the promenade.


Kannas was founded in 1938. The restaurant is located on Eerikinkatu at the Ruoholahti district, and will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. In addition to traditional dishes, the restaurant is also famous for their large beer selection. There are also different themes in the weekly program. Classical dishes include fried salmon, liver steak and herring fillets.


Ravintola Sea Horse

The Sea Horse restaurant at the southern end of Korkeavuorenkatu is a true legend. The milieu originally dates back to 1934, but for practical reasons it has been renovated with due respect for tradition. A large sea horse mural decorates the back wall of the restaurant.

Classical portions include fried herrings, stuffed herring fillets, reindeer steak, and Oscar sandwich, that has a spectacular amount of shrimp and asparagus as well as choron sauce on a huge loaf of bread. In the summer, the restaurant has a lovely terrace in the nearby park.


Ravintola N:o 11

Located in Kuusitie and formerly known as Kuusihokki, this establishment changed its name with the new ownership, who preserved the iconic atmosphere. The restaurant Ravintola 11 is one of the absolute must-see restaurants in Helsinki. The dining room on the second floor of an apartment building is grand, and the large windows are decorated with stained glass.

Restaurant 11 offers a wide menu of Vorschmack, Oskar’s schnitzel, fried herring and vendace, but there are also Finnish meatballs on the menu; something, that many tourists are looking for. The Finnish white, light and delicious fish is presented here in the picture of a pike perch with wild mushrooms and potato mash.


Kolme Kruunua

This favourite is located in Liisankatu in the central Kruununhaka district. The dining room is decorated with Paavo Tynell lamps from the 1930s and 1940s, and colorful stained glass windows flood light into the space. The restaurant was founded at the time of Helsinki Olympic Games in 1952.

In the menu, customers favourites are fried salmon, creamy salmon soup, which highlight the Finnish salmon cookery culture. The range of meats is also great here.  The restaurant has an outdoor terrace during summer months.

Restaurant contact details:

Ravintola KosmosRavintola Kannas –  Ravintola Sea HorseRavintola N:o 11Ravintola Kolme Kruunua

Photos: Ideal Helsinki

English edition: Mirja Honkanen