Walking tour: Vallila’s wooden houses and cosy restaurants

Puu-Vallila Helsingissä
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The district of Vallila to the north of the city centre was traditionally a residential area for the working classes. Vallila gets its name from the Swedish “Vallgård”, referring to the fact that it was once grazing land; locals would pay a small fee to bring their cows there. There was also a “punishment room” (today Sörnäinen Prison), tannery workshops and later even a college of veterinary medicine. These days, the district has lots of small apartments that are home to students, artists and other creative people. Vallila also has lots of restaurants serving dishes from around the world!

Plein is a cosy local restaurant that serves natural wines and excellent food in the pink house on the corner of Suvannontie. The intimate Japanese family restaurant Mashiro serves fresh and healthy dishes, including sushi, rice bowls and ramen. You can try authentic Ethiopian food at Addis, where the meat and vegetarian dishes are always served with injera bread baked from barley and wheat. Chalupa serves Mexican treats made from fresh ingredients and strong flavours – my personal favourite is the chicken and avocado quesadilla! On Sturenkatu you can eat Helsinki's most wanted burgers at Naughty Brgr. Italian street food, in turn, can be enjoyed at Daily Dose, which opened in 2021.

The second automated pizza kiosk in Finland has opened on Mäkelänkatu, Fizza, where you can get freshly baked handmade pizza in just three minutes around the clock. The best basic food in town can be enjoyed at the adjacent King Kebab. Another good option if you get the munchies is Bites Vallila, which serves juicy hamburgers. Another bistro, Bistro K, can be found next to the Music Theatre Käpsäkki and serves delicious and simple lunches, snacks and dinners in European style. If you have a craving for sushi, head for KOKORO Sushi on Elimäenkatu – it’s the only restaurant in Helsinki where you can order individual sushi items pick ‘n’ mix style, and it also serves dumplings and bowls. Dylan Corner in turn is a bohemian lunch restaurant that you will find on Kuortaneenkatu.

Helsingin kahvipaahtimo -Päiväkahvibaari
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Opposite the restaurant Plein on Suvannontie is Klein, a small winebar that is open during evening hours. One of the smallest yet most revered coffee roasteries in Helsinki – Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo – is situated in Puu-Vallila. Not far from Vallila Library you can also find Kahvila Päijänne, a small café that sells mouthwatering treats – its hit item is freshly baked cardamom buns. The newest entrant in the area is the Green Bake bakery on Mäkelänkatu, whose almond croissants bring joy to the inhabitants of the area. All these cafés are open from Monday to Saturday. Roots Helsinki is a yoga studio that also houses a vegan café that is open daily. The lively Pikku-Vallila is situated on the ground floor of a wooden house and has been fully renovated by its new owners; in addition to drinks, it serves light bistro food and pastries. Sture Jazz Bar has live music on Sundays and chess evenings on Tuesdays!

Other local attractions

Moody Monday offers a relaxed atmosphere in which you can enjoy a new kind of second-hand shopping with an assortment that changes daily. Harjun Kukka in turn sells the most beautiful cut flowers of the season, as well as long-lasting dried flowers. The studio can help with designing installations and planning events, and it also hosts workshops.

For an authentic Finnish public sauna experience, head for Sauna Hermanni, which has served locals since the 1950s. The nearby Tropicario on Sturenkatu is the biggest tropical zoo in the entire Nordic region where you can see lots of lizards and snakes. Metka in turn is a popular flea market thanks to its low prices and a huge selection of items that changes regularly.

The impressive St. Paul’s Church (Paavalinkirkkois located nearby and can be located from afar by its 52-metre-high tower. The church was completed in 1931 and was once considered the most beautiful church in Helsinki. Mäkelänrinne Swimming Hall is the biggest swimming hall in Finland and naturally has the longest swimming lanes as well. After your swim, you can enjoy a delicious Finnish donut in the Uppopulla café, which also serves salads. 

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The district of Vallila to the north of the city centre was traditionally a residential area for the working classes.