Picking up three best brunch places in Helsinki is a bit like recommending three single mushrooms in the woods of Central Park around the autumn rains. There is plenty of supply and enough competition to keep the quality stable. However, a genuine maritime vibe is a solid argument! Deep’s TOP3 brunches cover experienced brunch eaters two most recent discoveries and one all-time-favourite.
In these restaurants you do not eat under some strip lights, here one favours more a laid-back mood for fine dining, though. Money spent per diner is less than 30 euros.
1. Restaurant Faro – a cosy and versatile brunch with modern facilities right on the channel bank
The relaxed and airy Faro at the seaside channel of Ruoholahti offers a rich brunch on weekends, a good selection of drinks and smooth service. The pearls of the menu were at the beginning of August 2019 luscious, tasty salads and chips prepared of sweet potato. The dessert table hands out both delicious pastries and fruit as well gives you a chance to bake waffles. The dessert and beverage really hit the spot and delighted each of our troupe members from baby to grandpa. A carefully chosen selection of wines was also descried to offer as a side of the brunch. The large bright space accommodates even large groups of friends and with a fair weather, time on the terrace just flies.
One of the absolute assets of Faro is its location. The neighbourhood of Jätkäsaari and Ruoholahti channel area has truly developed in recent years from the noisy and rugged construction site into a real oasis. Weekends easy feeling breathes from Sunday hikers and from vessels floating along the channel and where families sat carrying their picnic baskets, also young party folks and urban veteran fishermen. From the Faro terrace you might even hit a jolly high five with boaters (see the main picture)!
Faro can be reached easily from both the Ruoholahti Metro Station and from Ruoholahti and Jätkäsaari tram stops, as well with your own boat.
2. Meripaviljonki terrace in Hakaniemi – South European light and excellent service for seafood lovers!
Meripaviljonki restaurant was complemented in the summer of 2019 with the terrace which atmosphere lifts you from the ground at its best. For us the terrace of Meripaviljonki was a real thrill with its superior strengths of – from Finnish point of view – unusual warm light and fabulous service. Good wine selection and tasty fish made the day. The waiters who on a sunny Saturday in July served customers in sunglasses (because of the brightness of the terrace) spoke pleasantly not just from the menu but also from the terrace history. Any request that we came up to ask was performed with a big smile on the face. The staff was delightfully cordial and considerate both to the families with a baby as well to disabled seniors.
Meripaviljonki is easily reached from Hakaniemi and with help of your own boat to the moorings just behind the restaurant. Sea brunch is served on Sundays.
3. Restaurant Salve – The most classic Sailor’s Restaurant
With its splendid 120-year history Salve is one of the MUST visit places of the City. For example in John Irving’s Until I find you -novel Salve was presented in its 60’s style fashion as a bit wicked harbour pub where both sailors and criminals enjoyed hanging out. Salve’s colourful history is apart from rough sailors linked in addition to a swarm of celebrities. As for my part I have spied in the restaurant over the years poets, actors and actresses and even a former president.
Salve is included in our brunch listing despite the fact that there won’t be served any traditional brunch. A hearty, delicious breakfast has on the other hand remained unchanged for at least 15 years. Its classic plate of crispy Baltic herring with mashed potatoes is already known for decades. Affordable portions are simple and not that posh, but give a realistic picture of the traditional Finnish food.
When the restaurant due to some big juicy scandal moved to the current location from the other side of the harbour basin, many frequenters got worried. However, the big and powerful S Group (Finnish food chain) as an owner has managed pretty well to stick to the original spirit of the Salve.
Salve’s infallible and unquestionable strength is its unsurpassed history which can be noted in the restaurant’s interior, and also in the environment; the Market of Hietaniemi and the port area in which shipyard boats and vessels have been built even for over a hundred years ago. (btw: one example of these old Helsinkian vessels is the magnificent ms JL Runeberg).
Sometimes on a clear, sunny day the best maritime summer brunch is prepared by a self-composed picnic basket that can be carried on a misty, dreamy atmospheric tender or cutter ride. Lets say; to Vallisaari, Pihlajasaari or to Suomenlinna or even by land or along the land lines to Vuosaari, Kivinokka, Meilahti, to the rocks of Seurasaari Island or to Little Huopalahti.
You know; Finnish specialty – “everyman’s right” – is a wonderful thing! By the sea and on shores of little channels of water there is plenty of room for all of us, as long as we remember to behave and clean up after ourselves!
Journalist & Storyteller