There is little doubt that the Finnish are an attractive and healthy looking race. There was little or no sign of obesity anywhere in Helsinki despite the city having a plethora of the same restaurants that in UK seem to carry the blame for obesity. There were a few shocks however.
A typical Helsinki couple. Element of distance between them.
In all my travels I was not prepared to see a restaurant OLO Creative Kitchen in an ordinary central Helsinki street advertising a meal for 149 euros.
I stood there for 5 minutes pondering both my eyesight and my cognitive ability to recognise the currency, but in the end it was euros and the cost was 149 euros. The option of then paying a higher price 315 euros to have what I take to be unlimited drinks seemed a sensible one for the reason that drinking enough might allow one to forget the cost of the meal. Amnesia may have its benefits. But the maths are curious. 166 euros gives you these unlimited drinks, but wine by the glass is 21 euros , so essentially you need to drink 8 glasses minimum to get value.
The food generally here in restaurants is expensive compared with many other European cities, and substantially so. Eating a dinner in the Radisson Plaza hotel in Helsinki would be a nice event, nice restaurant and good service in good surroundings. Until the bill arrives. A few examples. Fried sole 36.5 euros, grilled Reindeer fillet ( like beef actually) 34 euros. An average starter such as reindeer mouse ( yes that is average here), 11.90 euros, the same as a cheese salad as a starter. Desserts again look particularly attractive but you will not pay less than 9.50 euros for Creme Brûlée, and “old-time” ice cream does not have an old-time price tag weighing in at 11.50 euros. Should we decide that reindeer and cloudberries are too exotic for a chilly and rainy April evening then a Club Sandwich will set you back 18 euros. The same price as a caesar salad with chicken.
There are a few ways around this if you are prepared to eat a main meal at lunchtime. There are a plethora of restaurants with either lunchtime buffet choices, which was my option, and in the Radisson Plaza I ate a nice lunch of unlimited salads and bread, and various choices that included Pork and Elk stew, fried trout and plentiful roasted root vegetables for 12 euros. Many other restaurants had their equivalent.
Street food was however plentiful and delicious and available in many places.
The real way to eat? Clearly sample The Reindeer hotdog.
Could Reindeer hotdogs catch on at football?
Helsinki street food.