Restaurant Day in wintry Helsinki
Guest Blogger April 3, 2016

”Restaurant Day is a worldwide food carnival when anyone can set up a restaurant, café or a bar for a day. It can happen anywhere: at your home, at the office, on a street corner, in your garden or inner courtyard, at a park, or on the beach – only your imagination is the limit.” This is the concept of the Restaurant Day in brief.

It was one Sunday in February when we got our first touch to the local Restaurant Day in Helsinki. Despite of the somewhat wintry weather, the atmosphere was warm and friendly and there were loads of people wandering around. We decided to head straight to Esplanade Park, because it was as well as Ruttopuisto Park and Karhupuisto Park, one of the most large-scale restaurant and coffee concentrations in Helsinki.

Pieni kulinaristi. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Little foodie. Photo: Elisa Clarén
Kuumaa kaakaota & pistaasibaklavaa. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Hot chocolate & baklava with pistachios. Photo: Elisa Clarén
Pallogrillausta & erään ravintolan virallinen maskotti. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Kettle grills & the official mascot of one of the restaurants. Photo: Elisa Clarén

We got there by 11am when most of the participants were already making food or selling what they had made at home. Esplanade Park was filled with exciting scents and marvelously yummy treats! There were restaurants and coffees of different sizes, and both first timers and pros. Some of had a tent with chairs and tables, some had just a little stand. Some also had music, and/or other performances. We even saw a group with few small kettle grills! Even though everyone had a different set of cooking skills, they all loved food passionately.

So we started by eating baklava and then other sweeties as starters. Then there were hot and spicy currywursts, some chilifries and Moroccan bbq.

Most of the portions were small, tasting size, but also the prices were reasonable. One should bring cash along although some accept also credit cards. If possible, download the little app called Mobile Pay. Please see more information on the website of Finnish banks (in Finnish).

Peruna- ja sienipiiraita. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Potato & mushroom pies. Photo: Elisa Clarén
Käsinvalmistetut toffeet. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Handmade toffees. Photo: Elisa Clarén
Kahvia ja pullaa. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Coffee & cake. Photo: Elisa Clarén

On the 21st of February there were all together 1 245 different kinds of restaurants participating in the Restaurant Day around the world. The next one is on May 21, 2016! Basically, anyone can join and be a masterchef for a day. Please see more from the official Restaurant Day website.

Currywurstia kaikilla mausteilla. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Spicy currywurst. Photo: Elisa Clarén
Grilli kuumana. Kuva: Elisa Clarén
Bbq treats. Photo: Elisa Clarén

If you merely have time for just one visit – try the Esplanade Park, Ruttopuisto Park or the Kallio neighborhood in genereal, where one can find loads of different restaurants. Have a whole day to spend? Wander! The best, the funniest and most peculiar restaurants are waiting to be found. How does Cup of sulk, Chili society, Rhubarb heaven or ice cream only for adults sound like? You might even get to peek into someone’s secret garden or see the most beautiful local homes!

Read about Restaurant Day in summery Helsinki here.

Written by Elisa Clarén.

Read more about guest blogger Elisa