Quirky cafés that the locals love

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Helsinki is packed with quirky cafés that are much loved by locals and visitors alike. Timo Santala shares his picks of the most interesting places in Helsinki to enjoy a coffee, each with its own unique style!

A small red cottage by the sea with a traditional rug, an accordion, an eclectic collection of paintings and old copper coffee pots hanging on the wall. A rudder and even a pair of ancient hockey skates in turn hang from the ceiling. Customers get 5 cents back each time they fill up their coffee cup, and you can roast sausages on an open fire outdoors. The sympathetic Café Regatta has a legendary reputation and is enormously popular among visitors in particular, but many other equally quirky cafés can be found throughout the city as well!

A couple sit together at Sinisen Huvilan Kahvila's outdoor terrace, looking out over Töölönlahti bay on a sunny day.
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Wooden houses and villas create a cosy café atmosphere

Two small cafés can be found in the “Blue Villa” (Sininen Huvila) in the idyllic Linnunlaulu district. Both cafés offer beautiful views of the Töölönlahti bay. Sininen Huvila Kahvila is an outdoor café nestled among the trees, while the Art Café lets you enjoy not only the view but also the decorative interior and art inside the villa.

You can also experience the atmosphere of old wooden houses at Villa Angelica in the Meilahti district, Puhuri by Patisserie Teemu Aura, Villa Salmela, or at Café Vanille and Café Silo at Suomenlinna. Café Kampela on the Uutela side of the Aurinkolahti district has a great view to the sea and is especially popular among boaters. Café Metsäpaahtimo in turn is housed in a redbrick building on the rocky shoreline next to the historic Lapinlahti hospital grounds and has a somewhat hippy spirit to it.

Café Mutteri, located at the far end of the Lauttasaari bridge, is a cute little hexagonal mini-villa complete with a chandelier. Café Amore is another romantic little café in the wooden house district of Koskela, and Villa Ullas by Kallahdenniemi esker offers a time travel experience, surrounded by beautiful nature. Kahvisiskot, located at Hakaniemi market square, serves coffee, porridge, pancakes - and a true urban market square feeling.

Chez Janet macarons
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From cat cafés to futurism and fantasy

The Helkatti Cat Café has lots of endearing feline residents, and the cat theme can be seen everywhere: from cat bottles to cat matryoshka dolls and even coffee cups with cats peering out of them. Special mention also goes to the futuristic Outrun Café in Pasila that also conveys a strong theme and Chez Janet’s fantasy café, which is known for its macaroons.

Café Pequeno in turn is situated in a hairdressing salon on Vaasankatu and offers not only a homey atmosphere and quality coffee but also home-made Argentinian empanadas. Tin Tin Tango in the Töölö district operates together with a self-service laundromat and the Relove second-hand shop.

Bear Park Cafe "13"
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Vintage, retro and characterful owners

The Helsinki Coffee Roastery’s Päiväkahvibaarit coffee bars at Teurastamo and in Vallila are hipster-chic  fantasies with their colourful vintage interiors and premium coffees. Bear Park Café 13 by the Karhupuisto park in the Kallio district is another colourful establishment with retro décor and a really characterful owner.

In the same neighbourhood you will find the Taikalamppu cafe, which has its own strong personality – at times, you can’t even be sure if it is even a café or rather part of an art living room performance, as occasionally it is taken over by local art students. Roihuvuoren Rio is another local favourite with a mini-personality that organises a wide range of intimate events.

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Helsinki is packed with quirky cafés that are much loved by locals and visitors alike!