At OLO Ravintola something is very fishy

At OLO Restaurant something is very fishy |  Helsinki, Finland  |  OLO in Finnish means Feeling. At OLO Ravintola (aka. Finnish for restaurant) something is very fishy, and not in a bad way. If I would have to choose my favorite Finnish gourmet while in Helsinki, I would not hesitate for a second to say OLO Restaurant. Michelen star restaurant offering a modern Nordic gourmet cuisine experience. A set menu to showcase the amazing fresh fish from the region. Clarity of design and generous flavours as known from their grandmother’s times. Their menu follows the yearly cycle of the Nordic nature, bringing to the table only what is at best at a given time.
Starter: Lavaret from Kvarken with dill (European white Fish), match with a Langenlois Terrasen Riesling 2007, Loimer Kamptal – Austria. The main dining area seats 48 people in a pleasent environment. Interior design by Kari Lappalainen features forest inspired ornaments on the wall, dark wooden furniture and classic white table clothes. But the restaurant (or ravintola how is said in Finnish) also features a Small Room, an intimate space for 24 people. OLO Cabinet and Wine Cabinet, both for 10 people. OLOKolo, where you can have your own kitchen to host your own group, and cook to your invitees with the assistance and supervision of Olo’s cooks. And starting May 2013, they will also launch OLO Terrace Bar, comfortable city terrace with a lounge atmosphere. The bar will be located in the courtyard of the restaurant’s building, so it’s the natural place to start and end your evening.
Main Course: Pike perch from Hoytiainen with cauliflower, matched with a Pouilly-Fuisse 2007, Joseph Faively, Rhone – France. The Nordic kitchen is fairly tolerant with various wine tastes. The classics as well as wines from the new world find their match with varying flavours of different seasons.
 As a Dessert they had to twist my arm over and over… Pan Cake or Pannukakkua, matched with a wonderful sweet wine Errazuriz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Casablanca Valley – Chile. Imagine that after this lovely lunch and all the various types of wine, I have to take my train, the ALLEGRO, from Helsinki to St Petersburg, Russia. So I had a long nice nap. Please do not leave Helsinki without trying OLO Restaurant. For more information www.olo-ravintola.fi. Bon Appetit. !!! CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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REGATTA my favorite Cafe in Helsinki

REGATTA my favorite Cafe in Helsinki  |  Helsinki, Finland |  Such a lovely small local cafe overlooking the waters of the city of Helsinki. Unique, relaxed, cozy and very very local. I think I only counted five tables inside the cafe. A great selection of local Finnish delights ranging from the classic Cinnamon Buns to my own choice the Karelian pasties. During summer time they also have a whole outdoors area. Open daily from 10AM till 11PM.
A must try are the traditional Karelian pasties with eggbutter “karjalanpiirakat”. Nowadays in the most familiar and common recipe the pasties are made from a thin rye crust with a filling of rice. Butter, often mixed with boiled egg, is spread over the hot pasties before eating.
Something very characteristic of this cafe is that they do not charge your for the second cup of coffee, instead they pay you if you have it, quite unusual right. Located at Merikannontie 10, Helsinki, very close to Sibelius Monument. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends


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Finnish Cuisine at JUURI Restaurant

Finnish Cuisine at JUURI Restaurant  |  Helsinki, Finland  |  If you are interested on sampling some of the traditional Finnish delights, with a modern interpretation, then I would recommend you visit JUURI Restaurant during your visit to Helsinki. I came over and enjoyed a lovely dinner. The specialty of the restaurant are the SAPAS.
Sapas are an authentically Finnish hors d’oeuvre, handmade according to Finnish culinary traditions. At their kitchen they transform Finnish gifts of nature in an innovative manner to suit modern tastes. In addition to Sapas you may savour main courses, which have been prepared following the same philosophy. I went for the fix menu with recommendations by the Chef (EUR 45 plus drinks, with the option of wine pairing for extra EUR 25). My options were: Mushrooms Creamy Warm SoupCarrot casserole with goat cheddar creme and Beetroot loaf with Brussels sprouts.
With my sap as, I tried a local Cider. Yes ladies and gentleman, I LOVE Cider, is out on the open. Some people call it the Champagne of the masses, shame on me then, but I truly enjoy a good Cider. This one in particular was rather dry and with a sour side.
The food was so tasty and interesting. For my main course I tried the Pike cake, with creamy Scandinavian hash and pickled cucumber. This time I moved to a glass of French Organic Sancere. Nuance, Sancerre, Vincet Pinard, Loire, France.
Dessert options where multiple and very tempting, but I am a big fan of Cheese, specially when traveling around the world, discovering new local offers. In this case, a selection of cheeses from Finnish small producers with red onion and gooseberry jam
To finalize and get ready for the cold weather outside, a nice cup of Mint Tea. And I mention this, because it is SOOOO nice when a restaurant gets it right. Dear restaurateurs, this is the way to serve tea, avoiding those dreadful tea bags. Kudos to JUURI.

 

My only comment with JUURI, while very friendly and cozy, I felt service was a bit too slow, despite restaurant was full, they still need to make the flow happen, avoiding waits of more than 10 minutes in between dishes. The ambience on low lights and candles, is very informal, with the feeling of being hosted at a local Finnish home. Great sampling of Finnish delights with a contemporary take. www.juuri.fi for more information or bookings, which are strongly advised. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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Panoramic views and coffee at Ateljee

Panoramic views and coffee at Ateljee  |  Helsinki, Finland  |  Located on the rooftop of the Torni Hotel tower, is Ateljee Bar and Cafe, featuring the best aerial panoramic views of Helsinki you will get. Maybe bordering the touristic trap side, with prices a bit too high, but totally worth it for the featured 360 degree views. Do as I did, come for a quick coffee, photo moment and leave. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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Sunday Brunch at Boulevard Social

Sunday Brunch at Boulevard Social   |  Helsinki, Finland  |  By recommendation of a local connoisseur , I became familiar with Boulevard Social, very close to my hotel in Kluuvi. For some reason, most restaurants in Helsinki are closed on Sundays, so I was desperate for a great option to have my first Finnish culinary experience, which despite of not being Finnish at all, it was indeed lovely.
Beautiful room and ambiance. New addition to the city of Helsinki, they opened their doors last May 2012. exciting and innovative combination of traditional flavors from Greece, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco and other Mediterranean countries.

The Sunday Brunch comes on a menu signature by Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg, consists on three steps, and the final cost with a glass of Spanish Rose and a tea, came to a total of EUR 43. Pretty reasonable for the overall gourmet experience. Starter (photo above) Turkish Scrambled Eggs crispy bread, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, spinach, tomato.
Boulevard Social is the first restaurant in Helsinki to focus on Mediterranean flavors. Think of fresh herbs and citrus fruits, ground nuts, roasted spices, the world’s best olive oils, juicy meat and the colors of a Moroccan market – that’s what Boulevard Social is all about. Main Course (photo above) Baby Octopus with cilantro, mint and fresh cream.
To finish, of course a classic for the region, a true festival of berries. Boulevard Social Soft Ice Cream and Berries self made soft cinnamon ice cream, fresh berries. I came for Brunch, but they are open seven days a week with a full menu. Visit www.boulevardsocial.fi for more information. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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My afternoon exploring Helsinki

My afternoon exploring Helsinki  |  Helsinki, Finland  |  Today I spent my whole afternoon, walking around Helsinki. From Kluuvi where my hotel is located, up to the area of Kallio, know to be the bohemian and edgier district of Helsinki. The city feels rather small, with only 592 ish Finns. Today was my informal introduction to Helsingfors – original Swedish name for this city – since tomorrow I will have a proper city tour courtesy of the people at Visit Finland.

Some facts: Sweden’s King Guytavus Vasa founded Helsinki at the mouth of the Vantaajoki River in 1550. As a result of the war with Russia, Finland became an autonomous grand duchy of Russia in 1809. Finland became independent in 1917, and Helsinki assumed as the capital of the new born republic.

Helsinki’s Cathedral and the Senate Square, might be two of the most iconic and photographed locations in Helsinki. Over 150 years old. Inside is very simple and modest, but featuring an important organ on the second floor.
Kallio, is known to be among locals as the Gay District of Helsinki, although I must admit I  did not see much other than one gay bar called FairyTale. Also home to the bohemian Finns.
The Central Train Station, has a beautiful facade, and this is from where I will be taking tomorrow my speed train to cross from Finland to Russia.
I have no knowledge whatsoever of Finnish, but from walking around today, I can share with your this few words I learnt. And keep them handy, since there is no signs or visible billboard in English.. Katu (street) every single street finishes in Katu. Ravintola (restaurant). Hieronta (massage) and Kiitos (thank you). Hei (hello). Hope you enjoy my photo gallery. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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Viking Line Stockholm to Helsinki


 Viking Line Stockholm to Helsinki  |  Scandinavia  |  Transitioning from Sweden to Russia, I found the perfect way to do it, including a beautiful destination as Finland and Helsinki in between. So I took the Viking Line Cruise from Stockholm, Sweden to Helsinki, Finland. Almost a 14 hours voyage along the waters of the Baltic Sea, with some spectacular  views of the Swedish Archipielago, and the coasts of Finland. Continue reading Viking Line Stockholm to Helsinki

Hotel CHECK IN at GLO Hotel Helsinki

Hotel CHECK IN at GLO Hotel Helsinki  |  Helsinki, Finland  |  Good Morning everyone. Today I arrived to Helsinki, after a 14 hours voyage along the Baltic Sea on board the Viking Line Cruise. Just check in at my hotel, right on the center of Helsinki, the GLO Hotel. See the video of my room.
GLO Hotels offers four hotels in the city of Helsinki, with multiple locations, including the airport. I am staying at the GLO Hotel Kuuvli, which is located n the heart of the city and close to the train station, where tomorrow I will catch the new speed train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in Russia. More upon check OUT. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

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(*) To book this property, do not hesitate to contact me either by email carlos@carlosmelia.com or phone # 917.754.5515. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.

 

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GPS Carlos Melia Sweden to Finland

GPS Carlos Melia Sweden to Finland  |  Scandinavia  |  Good Morning everyone. Just woke up to my last day in Sweden, after a beautiful stay in Stockholm. Today I will be transiting, this time by water, from Stockholm to Helsinki, Finland. I have secured a Luxury External Cabin on the Viking Line. The boat departs Stockholm at 4.30PM and arrives to Helsinki the following day at 10AM. Most of those to whom I mentioned this, looked at me and laughed… saying, Carlos this is going to be a revealing experience. Continue reading GPS Carlos Melia Sweden to Finland