Social Burger Joint
Social Burger Joit won the award for best burger in Europe at the European Street Food Awards for two years running. Founder and Master Chef Mika "Pikkis" Tuomonen has a passion for quality dishes, and you can taste it. Just about everything from the toasty brioches to the spiced ketchup is hand-made, and the burgers themselves are no-nonsense: just perfectly cooked steak. Vegan versions of all burgers are also available, made with pea protein and mushroom steaks from the beloved Moving Mountains. One burger plus a serving of delectable parmesan fries will run you 15 euros. The Social Burger Joint can be found in the shopping malls of Citycenter and Redi.
Citycenter, Kaivokatu 8
Redi, Hermannin rantatie 8
Fat Ramen in the Hietalahti Market Hall is one of the best ramen spots in Helsinki, and despite its rise to fame the noodle shop's prices have remained very reasonable, considering the high quality of their meals. You can order up a bowl of noodles whipped up by the first ramen machine ever brought to Finland from Japan, served with traditional tonkotsu pork broth, smoked salmon and dashi broth, or with the celebrated vegan ramen bouillon. These are joined by either cold-smoked tofu, cauliflower, or shimeji and pearl oyster mushrooms. In addition to the traditional Hakata style, Fat Ramen also breaks out noodles made from spelt, rye, hemp, and buckwheat. Delicious steam buns filled with pork or tempeh come with each serving.
Hietalahti Market Hall, Lönnrotinkatu 34
While the staple ramen and udon dishes are also available, Mashiro specializes in Japanese donburi rice bowls, which could be described as fancy comfort food. Nothing in Mashiro is fried; beds of rice are neatly decorated with shrimp, pickled cucumber, and sesame seeds together with slices of salmon either marinated raw (zukedon), flambéd (aburidon), or cooked in an oven (majodon). The bowls are the same price for lunch and dinner.
Xiao Mei Lin
Xiao Mei Lin on Annankatu in Kamppi does wonders with Chinese cuisine. Hand-made traditional dumplings, dim sum, wontons seasoned with chili oil, siu mai meat pies, and steamed char siu pork rolls are their forté. Their Sechuan dandan noodles with chili pork and Chongqing rice noodles in a sour-and-spicy chili broth are also well worth experiencing.
A connoisseur of modern dumplings will want to make their way to Kalevankatu, where Hills Dumplings serve their grade A cuisine boiled, friend, or steamed. Helsinki Original dumplings are filled with ingredients such as beetroot purée and toasted pumpkin seeds, while the Hills fish dumplings come with a yellow curry sauce. The menu also features delicious bao buns, noodles, and noodle salads. Add in a few affordable cocktails, and you'll soon be spending a full evening at Hills Dumplings.
The dishes at this modern Filipino restaurant are all hors d'oeuvres; the check, too, stays small if you order two appetizer-sized servings per person for a table of diners. Paisano's style is based on traditional Filipino foods and flavors, while paying respect to local ingredients and worldwide influences. A pike perch may be seasoned with tamarind salt, or an eggplant in a black bean XO sauce. Thanks to its relaxed bar atmosphere and tropical drinks, you will be tempted to spend more than a quick moment at Paisano.
At Vibami, classic Vietnamese dinner dishes such as pho soup in a 12-hour stew and fresh spring rolls are prepared in the Southern Vietnamese style, costing customers only a few euros more than lunchtime meals. Hits such as lemongrass chicken, pork, or shrimp and the bun thit noung rice noodle salad with fresh herbs prove that Vibami is one of the city's most authentic Vietnamese dining hotspots. Almost all dishes are available as vegan options.
Helsinki's number one kebab restaurant Döner Harju arrays its spits with the classic lamb as well as seitan, elk, and even bear meat. But their true hightlights are their hand-made tomato and yoghurt sauces, superb foccaccia-style bread, and various salad sides (often pickled). Döner Harju's plates are broad enough to feed the hungriest of mouths, without being too hard on the wallet.
Citycenter, Kaivokatu 8
Restauranteur Stiina Kuisma brought her whole staff as well as the spirit of the classic Tori eatery over to coastal Jätkäsaari from Punavuori in 2017. She set up shop in the Jallukka building, a community house for musicians, and Malaga Bar still serves the classic Tori meatballs marinaded in Jaloviina liquor. Another must-taste is the house pizzetta French style, with dijon mustard instead of tomato sauce. Malaga Bar is also one of the best places in Helsinki to spot music industry professionals and maybe even find yourself on stage in an improvised jam or in the audience watching a headlining band rehearse their material live.
Don't forget these:
New Bamboo Center
This Chinese restaurant has served customers on Annankatu in Kamppi for more than 20 years. The spirited elderly lady who owns this little slice of local history as well as the menus with their detailed ingredient lists are legendary. We recommend the Malaysian chicken or tofu curry.
If Japanese street food is what you crave, make your way to Tokyo Street in the Hietalahti Market Hall. You'll find some of the best deals on friend noodles and gyoza dumplings in the city.
Some of the finest sushi in the city can be found in this Vallila restaurant at dinner time. Kokoro's rice is juicy and warm, as it should be, and the merest hint of rice vinegar ties it all together. You can also order nigiri one at a time.
Café Bar No 9
Another classic Helsinki spot, "the 9" on Uudenmaankatu has a legacy more than two decades old. Reasonably priced meals like pollo limoncello and chicken coriander wok are available as late as 11 pm.
Treat yourself to some Russian classics from sweet or savory blini pancakes to borscht, fish solyanka, and pelmeni dumplings in this affordable and charming fast food restaurant.
Bites is a restaurant known for its gorgeous, minimalistic burgers. They moved their shop over to Kamppi from Vallila; their new Backyard terrace hosts top DJs and fantastic parties in the summertime.
A trendy newcomer to Kallio's restaurant repertoire, Harju 8 is a combination between a florist's boutique and a little corner coffee shop. Harty salads and pasta portions are available as late as 11 pm.
A truly cosy old school pub, Mäkikupla is adored for its high-quality pizzas and relaxed Kallio vibe. Try their spinash pizza for under 10 euros, it's a winner.