Foodie Madness: the Best Restaurants of Helsinki and Tallinn

Hi all, welcome to Foodie Madness, a new bi-weekly section of Journey Wonders where we’ll explore one of my biggest passions in the world: Eating yummy food. But not just any kind of food.

You see, I am a firm believer that the weirder the better and that’s why this month of January I decided to try at least one new dish every week or so.

From sea urchins to bull’s balls, here’s a recap of the best eats I had in Helsinki and Tallinn. Are you ready for the Foodie Madness? Bring out your forks and start drooling now!

Foodie Madness #01: My birthday sea urchin foodie madness

For my 25th birthday, my friend Camille surprised me with a visit to one of Helisnki’s best restaurants for meat-lovers like me: The one and only Grotesk (I promise you that it’s name has nothing to do with the English meaning of the word).

Inside, she arranged for us to have a tasting of every single one of the starters and a couple of the main dishes. “All this meat just for me? You’re the best!!!!” As you can imagine, it’s one of my top 5 Birthday dinners ever, especially because of that tasty Angus beef.

Highlights of the day? Sea Urchin, 14 days dry-aged Black Angus sirloin, Finnish fish roe.

Weight gained so far: 2 kilos/4 pounds.

Sea Urchin at Grotesk

Sea Urchin at Grotesk

Birthday steak at Grotesk

Birthday steak at Grotesk

Foodie Madness #02: A Moroccan brunch? Yes please!

Next morning, while still recovering from the amazing food and wine of the previous day, we went to Sandro, a Moroccan themed restaurant located in the Kallio neighborhood of Helsinki, home of hippies and bohemians (plus the occasional annoying hipster).

Inside we were invited for a Moroccan traditional brunch buffet which brought back flashbacks of my amazing time at Chefchaouen and the similar food I had there. Having a mint tea sure helped against the cold Finnish winter!

Highlights of the day? Baklava, black bread with Humus, Moroccan beet salad, shots of juice.

Weight gained so far: 4 kilos/9 pounds.

Moroccan food at Sandro

Moroccan food at Sandro

Brunch buffet at Sandro

Brunch buffet at Sandro

Foodie Madness #03: The Hawaiian-Finnish Connection

During the night, we got an invitation for dinner at this interesting restaurant founded by a Hawaiian expat who married a Finnish woman and who has made Helsinki his home. At his restaurant, Hoku, he managed to bring the exquisite tastes of Hawaii while using organic and local products.

The owner, was so kind to us that he made sure we tried every single item of the menu, from starters to desserts while also including the succulent 7 main dishes. I haven’t been to Hawaii yet but after this night’s dinner I simply cannot wait to book those plane tickets!

Highlights of the day? Oxtail Adobo, Chicken Katsu, Snow Crab Croquets, Beef neck.

Weight gained so far: 7 kilos/15 pounds.

Chiken Katsu at Hoku

Chiken Katsu at Hoku

Hawaiaan Food at Hoku

Hawaiaan Food at Hoku

Foodie Madness #04: Saumon and seafood galore

This time our foodie madness took place between Helsinki and Tallinn during our ferry ride with Tallink Silja Oy. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Raphael…ferry food is usually plain and bad” and that’s why we were both pleasantly surprised by the incredible organic quality of the food there.

Can you imagine a buffet with unlimited seafood, red meat, vegetables, bread, cheese, desserts plus all you can drink beer and wine? Trust me when I say that the ferry lunch buffet still remains one of the highlights of our epic journey to Estonia.

Highlights of the day? Smoked saumon, confit duck, kefir ice cream, unlimited red wine.

Weight gained so far: 8.5 kilos/19 pounds

Buffet lunch at the Tallink ferry

Buffet lunch at the Tallink ferry

Tallink Silja Oy Buffet Lunch

Tallink Silja Oy Buffet Lunch

Foodie Madness #05: What? Are those really the balls of a bull?

For our first dinner at Tallinn, we went outside of the city walls to visit Umami, a very kitschy restaurant that servers both international and local food with an unique twist (I mean, come on, Bull’s Balls?). What I loved the most about Umami is that they even have an open kitchen so costumers can actually see how their food is made.

And yes, as you can imagine, we travel photographers felt the urge to stay there and keep shooting photo after photo of those unique words of art, especially the amazing dessert called the Bird’s Milk which contains blackcurrant and kefir ice cream.

Highlights of the day? Hake, Bull’s Balls, Mackerel, Bird’s Milk.

Weight gained so far: 9.5 kilos/21 pounds.

Bull's Balls at Umami

Bull’s Balls at Umami

Bird's Milk at Umami

Bird’s Milk at Umami

Foodie Madness #06: The quirkiest beer ever and the Leib bread

Leib is both a restaurant located within Tallinn’s city walls and also a special kind of bread that people from Estonia love to eat. The restaurant, located on a place that was once the Scottish Club of Tallinn serves the best traditional Estonian food that is grown both locally and organically.

They also serve what I think it’s one of the quirkiest beers I’ve ever seen, I mean, look at this grumpy Estonian? Ain’t he cool or what?. The decoration of the place really matches the delicious food and of course, lighting is more than perfect for those foodie madness photos!

Highlights of the day? Mushroom ragout, pork cheek, pan pardue, cured duck salad.

Weight gained so far: 11 kilos/24 pounds.

Quirky Beer at Leib

Quirky Beer at Leib

Amazing food at Leib

Amazing food at Leib

Foodie Madness #07: The eggs Benedict Arnold at the shoe store

And finally, the last brunch of this foodie madness took place at Sfaar, an unique restaurant slash shoe store located near the port of Tallinn. Here we enjoyed some traditional breakfast plates mixed with an unique Estonian flavor.

Food, shoes, wine and selfies sure made for an amazing combination and yes, I was definitely not expecting to enjoy the Eggs Benedict Arnold as much as I did. How come this awesomeness hasn’t reached Mexico yet? I want to to eat them every single day!

Highlights of the day? Eggs Benedict Arnold, Porridge with bacon, Orange Smoothie, Fried Cheese, Steak.

Weight gained so far: 12 kilos/26 pounds.

Fried cheese at Sfaar

Fried cheese at Sfaar

Steak at Sfaar

Steak at Sfaar

From Wanderlust to Hungerlust and Beyond

So there you have it folks, the best 7 restaurants of Helsinki and Tallinn. Be sure to grab a bite or two next time you visit those two cities and stay tuned for my upcoming articles about the amazing time I had there. Now, if you excuse, it’s time for me to grab a train to Lapland and chase those perky Northern Lights.

Last but not least, don’t forget to use our Affiliate Link of Wonders for making hotel reservations.

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

Until next time my friends!

Foodie Madness: The best restaurants of Helsinki and Tallinn

Foodie Madness: The best restaurants of Helsinki and Tallinn

Travel Bloggers taking photos of Travel Bloggers taking photos of food

Travel Bloggers taking photos of Travel Bloggers taking photos of food

Disclaimer: All the restaurants mentioned in the article sponsored our food and drinks. As you already know, all opinions are 100% honest and my own. I mean, just take a look at my food photos, doesn’t it all look yummy and tasty?

Top Restaurants in Helsinki, Finland Lapland

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50 Responses

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    Look at all that good food. One of my favorite things about traveling is trying out local foods that I can’t get here at home.

  2. Samantha Angell

    Oh wow, those do look like some great restaurants! I looked at traveling to both Helsinki and Tallinn from Stockholm, but ended up selecting Riga. I’ll be doing the Tallink Silja line for the trip- hopefully our food is as good as yours was! Just a few weeks until I depart!

  3. Krystal

    Oh wow! That’s the most amazing food I’ve ever seen! I’d love to visit these restaurants.

  4. Kungphoo

    These foods look very good.. i like different food to try and these are some that i would like to try..

  5. Courtney

    Of course I read this right before lunch time! This post has me hungry because this restaurant looks beyond delicious ;-)

  6. Echo

    All of this global cuisine looks amazing! It is almost lunch time here and I am suddenly very, very hungry. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous pictures.

  7. Jeanine

    Wow this all looks amazing.oh how I wish I could travel and try all these foods in different places. I’d love to check this out! Yum.

  8. Nancy

    A new dish every week hey? Pretty awesome, and yes adventrous. I’m not sure I’d do it – I remember having raw tuna back in December. It tasted like tomatoes, but as soon as I had the thought of “raw tuna” back in my head I wanted to gag lol :(

    I’d be interested in hearing what you thought you might’ve not liked but you did. And what your favourite meals were throughout the year!

  9. lisa

    I am not a big fan of trying foods with funny names, but some of these dishes look fantastic!

  10. kendall

    Oh my goodness all of that food! Those dishes look amazing!

  11. Liz Mays

    You seriously have the best adventures. If I had access to food that good I would definitely gain some weight too!

  12. Elizabeth O.

    With all that food, I wouldn’t leave the gym for a year! Looks absolutely delicious!

  13. Myrabev

    oh wow this food looks so delicious, a bad idea on my part reading the post at 5am this has made me really hungry.

  14. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    Oh wow, the way the food is presented in those restaurants is so lovely! They’re like works of art and so delicious looking.

  15. Lynndee

    Oh my! You are making my mouth water. Seriously! That sea urchin is interesting. I want to try that one. :)

  16. Sammi Wanderlustin'


    Yet such a shame that Porgu didn’t make this list, their food is affordable and to die for, as well as a stunning beer selection!

  17. Debi

    All of that food looks so good. You are so lucky to be traveling to eat all of that yummy food

  18. Stephanie

    What amazing foods! It must be so wonderful to travel see & TASTE all these amazing new foods/drinks.

  19. Bradley Finnearty

    The Chicken Katsu looks fantastic. I am a huge chicken fan and that looks like something I would devour in a few minutes. This blog is making me hungry.

  20. Rosey

    The buffet is such a good idea for trying a bit of more than just one dish. The pictures make everything look extraordinary.