Restaurant Day in Helsinki

Last month we visited the so-called Restaurant Day in Helsinki. In Finnish it is called “Ravintola Päivä” , was first held in 2011 and is apparently today the world biggest food festival in the world (17th of August 2014 in 30 different countries). Anybody can participate and sell their self-made food during that day, both professional restaurants and normal people you may encounter there. I hope I got the basics right as I have not much experience with it and rather focus more on the food offered there than on the idea or system behind it.


RP3As I understand people are either offering food  in their own homes or sell it on the street at their own stands. We decided to visit the biggest cluster of stands this August in the Helsinki city center at Esplanadi. First of all, it was a mess to find a parking space for our car! I don’t know how we managed but after endless driving around I found a spot very close to the event. The next problem was to get through the masses of people. It was seriously packed there, it reminded me on some public events in China where you are basically stucked and can’t move anywhere. The biggest problem was then to get through with a baby stroller…


RP7What can I say, even though it was so troublesome to get around there due to the amount of people but it was also enjoyable. No not that I enjoy masses of sweaty people on a summer day but everywhere was food from around the globe! I tried to take picture of the different stands but that proofed impossible as every time I got close enough to a stand I had not enough time to take proper pictures before being pushed away again. There was so much food but my wallet was just not thick enough to support and all out eating event.


Few more pictures can be seen in the gallery. The restaurant day was the last “event” we attended in Finland and lets see when we attend our first event in Germany!

17 thoughts on “Restaurant Day in Helsinki”

  1. Ohhh, I’ve heard of that event (but never attended one)! It’s cool to see you write about it, along with some pictures. 🙂
    (btw, the category of the article has a typo “Crazy Eu*r*opean People”, you can edit out this comment once it’s fixed 😉 )

  2. Who doesn’t like a food event? I’ve never heard of this food festival that’s the biggest in the world. I can understand why your wallet couldn’t handle all the excitement – usually food stalls at food festivals like to beef up their prices quite a bit, maybe take advantage of the hungry folk there… Having been to a few Asian street food fiestas in Melbourne, this is always the case. Lining up and buying food is one thing, finding a place to sit and eat is another (which is sometimes impossible).

    That poor pig indeed. Roasted out in the open like that. Not too sure if that’s sanitary at all. Then again, street food always tastes so good. I hope Nathan enjoyed himself and didn’t mind the hungry people too much 🙂

    1. During these events I don’t really care about hygiene etc. I just want to enjoy the food and the atmosphere.

      The prices were actually not that high but of course on Finnish standards (buy two, get one…)

  3. Between this post and Marta’s post about her vacation in Portugal, I’m feeling very upset that I don’t live in Europe. I have a good friend who lives in Finland and I’m hoping to get a chance to visit her sometime soon!

    1. You should visit during summer time, otherwise it will be either too cold and dark, too much snow or just depressing. The summers are pretty neat, during mid summer you have practically 24h sunlight!

  4. Oh, they had one of these in Tokyo last year! It was fun. ^^ ….Maybe thet had one… or even more(!) this year, but I missed them. Whoops!
    That giant paella looks amazing, by the way. 😀

    1. I think there are two official international days. In Finland was one in May and one in August. I have to check now where they will have it in Germany, probably Berlin…too far away for me then :p

      1. Ahh I see! Hmm, I’m sure there must be more than just in Berlin. Well, I hope there is for your sake anywayーit’s such a fun event! 🙂

  5. This brings back memories of when I was in Helsinki for a fortnight in April/May at the time of the European elections. One of the political parties, SPD, was holding an election rally near the railway station and it had just started to snow. I noticed that the party supporters were ladling out large bowlfuls of pea and ham soup. As I was frozen right through, I thought this was too good to be true so I asked if I could have some, explaining I was not a Finn, and I was given a huge bowl. It was really good so I thought I had better stay to listen to the speeches, even though I couldn’t understand a word.

    Contrary to what is said in the Lonely Planet guide…a waste of money, there is a lot to see in Helsinki eg 50 museums! As for the weather, it can change at a drop of the hat from sunny to snowing so thick sweaters are needed even in May.

    1. Pea and ham soup can be pretty delicious when its cold outside and you are hungry!
      Though Finland is pretty expensive and many things appear to be a waste of money I must agree with you that there are still a lot of sights to check out! I am not really a museum person so I did not even know that we had so many museums in Helsinki but anyways I can recommend other interesting things such as the island of Suomenlinna just 15min away by ferry from the Helsinki harbour or the interesting “Rock Cathedral”!
      Thanks for checking out this blog 🙂

      1. I ran out of time so I was unable to visit the “Rock Cathedral” and I will have to check the ferries a bit better when I return to Helsinki so I go to Suomenlinna. Thanks for the advice. There is a booklet supposedly available in the Tourist Office (I didn’t see it) and some museums eg Olympic Museum near the football ground where I obtained a copy, with all the information in it about the museums in Helsinki. I agree Finland is expensive but I would recommend the Scandic hotel chain as being very good value and inexpensive for Helsinki. I stayed at the Scandic Paasi where they serve breakfast with 150 choices of dishes! Yum!! Great blog by the way..

      2. I was in Helsinki for over a week and I doubt if I could have seen all the places I wanted to visit in 2 weeks…museums, galleries, gardens, churches, exhibitions and just walking around savouring your lovely capital. I guess it is different if you have a baby or young child with you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.