In Helsinki, you need to know the good places, and it takes a bit of an effort to find them out.
Miki Kuusi is the CEO of the tech company Wolt and one of the founders of the start-up event Slush. Kuusi was born and grew up in Helsinki. He has lived in many different corners of the city: Pitäjänmäki, Töölö, Kamppi, Roihuvuori, Kallio, Punavuori, and now in Ullanlinna.
Miki Kuusi comes from a family passionate about food. His grandmother's recipes were cherished keepsakes. "I grew up into a thinking that a bad day can be salvaged by good food", he says. Miki Kuusi's Helsinki is dotted with restaurants and cafés that he visits on a daily basis. His home meals are usually limited to breakfast, if even that.
Kuusi loves exploring the city's best restaurants and is always eager to try out a new recommendation from food blogs. Nowadays, Kuusi makes pilgrimages to all sides of town to check out promising cafés and restaurants.
"In Helsinki, you need to know the good places, and it takes a bit of an effort to find them out", says Kuusi.
Miki Kuusi's theme for his list is "Helsinki in a day". Kuusi often hosts international guests who only have 24 hours at their disposal. Kuusi keeps a foolproof list of his favourite places to visit and shares it willingly.
The breakfast at Hotel Haven is amazing. The place is lovely, as is the view onto the Market Square. It's not always easy to find a good Saturday brunch in Helsinki. Haven's breakfast is a little secret that many don’t know about – but those who do go there regularly.
Even with just a few hours of free time, I might take my guests to the Nuuksio National Park. You can go right into the woods in just half an hour. We'll have a walk, fry some sausages by the fire, or make some cowboy coffee. It's always really spectacular and special for foreigners.
I love Richard (McCormick) and Ville's (Relander) restaurants. The Cock is one of my favourite places for lunch. In the past, the choices in Helsinki were either fine dining or fast food, but luckily nowadays there are also laid-back and good places in between. The Cock has a nice atmosphere. It's a low-key place with a lot of young English-speaking patrons. Yes Yes Yes is another good new place.
I tend to make pilgrimages to places that I enjoy. One of these is Regatta, a small red cabin by the sea. Winters get tricky for me sometimes with the lack of sunlight. If the weather report promises a sunny day, I always make room for a walk in the sun – for instance, to Regatta and back to work again.
Löyly is a great place with cool saunas and a nice overall design. The best thing is to go to Löyly before dinner. I can walk there in 15 minutes from work, even in the middle of the day. Being an entrepreneur, I love to keep untypical working hours. Löyly gets sun all day and has an amazing view of the open sea. Whenever I visit, I also take a dip in the sea, summer or winter. The combination of hot and cold brings you to life. After having a sauna, I might get the salmon soup or the venison meatballs.
Sometimes I jump on the metro towards Kallio to enjoy the amazing lamb kebab at Döner Harju, along with a walk from end to end on the Vaasankatu bar street. A great way to spice up the everyday.
I often take my international guests to Tomi Björck's restaurants. My favourite ones are Gaijin and Farang, but Bronda and Boulevard Social are also good. They are not too expensive and have great food and a laid back atmosphere. The food always has some kind of catch and twist. They also have portions for sharing, which is good for socialising.
Savoy is my absolute favourite among the classic restaurants of Helsinki. I used to think that only old Helsinki ladies go there but I immediately loved it when I first went for a visit. Savoy is completely no-frills. They serve traditional dishes like the legendary signature Vorschmack. Savoy is quintessentially Finnish. And the view: Helsinki Cathedral, Uspenski Cathedral, Esplanade Park. If Tomi Björck's restaurants are for visiting with friends, Savoy is where you take your parents or international investors.
I like to go partying at the Kaiku, Siltanen, or Ääniwalli clubs around Kallio. Out of all of these, Ääniwalli is the most special. It's like a Berlin nightclub where people line up in an industrial lot and all of a sudden you're inside an underground venue with great lights. Quite often, when I have international guests visiting, we'll do a bar tour around the Kallio district and then end up in Ääniwalli.