The Helsinki café scene has taken off in recent years, and as a big fan of the weekend brunch I am in love with Helsinki for its plentiful offerings. Chatting with friends over copious cups of coffee and delicious food is one of my favourite pastimes, equally so is enjoying it on my own with a good book or watching the world go by from a window seat. However you chose brunch, a good spot isn’t far away, if anything the problem is having too many options. But we’re going to help by giving you the low-down on just a few of the great places that you might want to try!
To start with, I have to mention my favourite little local cafe, just down the road from Kamppi – Pause. This small and simple coffee shop has a warm inviting vibe and an even more inviting cake cabinet full of exquisite homemade treats that change with the seasons.
But I mostly love going in the late morning to enjoy their Breakfast Plate which features all of my favourite things. You can choose from either yoghurt and granola, or a chai pudding, alongside a slice of toast with avocado and smoked salmon, topped with a sunny side up fried egg, a light salad, fresh orange juice and coffee. This is the perfect choice for someone who loves to have a little bit of everything in their brunch but struggles with self-control at a buffet – like me!
If you’re looking for a downtown destination you might like to check out El Fant, a coffee and wine bar, tucked between Senate Square and Market Square. This place is popular on the weekends, so I recommend booking a table. In a beautiful old building the restaurant brings together the old architecture with clean modern designs and has a menu to match, all the classic combos you might like, but with a modern twist.
If you go for weekend brunch you will find a combo for any appetite. Personally, I like the ‘dressed up’ which includes the classic duo of avocado and poached egg with hummus and fresh seasonal fruits on the side. And the best bit – it comes with bottomless coffee!
Then there is of course the classic option of Ekberg on Boulevardi too. And when I say classic, I mean it – Ekberg is Helsinki’s oldest café and bakery, and with more than 150 years of practice you can bet they’ve got their pastries perfect! On Saturday and Sunday they offer the definitive Finnish brunch buffet with all the trimmings. Their bakery fresh bread and croissants is the perfect base for the cold cuts and some creamy soft cheese, while their signature souffle-like baked omelette takes eggs to a new level. And although I wouldn’t usually bother with oatmeal at a café, there’s something about the way they make it here that makes it feel weekend brunch worthy!
If you’re over in Kallio you have a whole lot of options, all serving up Instagramable dishes to please the hipster crowd – but they’re not just about looking good, these plates are full of flavour!
Harju 8 always transfers me back to Melbourne, Australia with it’s bohemian chic vibe and menu to match. The weekend brunch menu is short but well executed and so beautifully plated you might not want to eat it – but do, I promise it tastes even better than it looks.
I recently tried the vegan plate and was mighty impressed. Where sometimes the vegan option means something without much substance this was rich and satisfying. Although I did have a little bit of food envy for my friend’s serving of exquisite French toast!
My favourite place in Kallio for brunch though might be Way Bakery for their perfect sourdough.
To keep their signature bread the star their breakfast and brunch offerings keep it simple, serving up generous slabs of that chewy bread with a crispy crust alongside simple cold cuts and cheese with artisan butter and hard boiled smiley eggs (they also have vegan versions too). I’m sure the sides they offer are lovely too, but Way for me is all about the bread!
If you’re in the mood for a buffet for maximum variety on your plate head over to Onda. Their Peruvian style brunch is perfect for vegans and vegetarians but has enough options to please the omnivores too! Their warm hearty dishes with amazing spices and flavours make it a perfect place to warm your belly on a cold and wintery day, but then the cold buffet is so colourful and full of fresh and zesty flavours you won’t mind coming in the summer either. It all tastes so healthy and wholesome you won’t feel bad for the third helping either!
Whether you’re in the mood for a simple plate of bread and cheese or want to go all out and fill your belly to the brim with new flavour sensations, and anything in between, you can find something to satisfy your hunger around Helsinki.
While COVID-19 restrictions are changing the way we can socialise, and how restaurants can operate, remember to check opening times and possible changes to dining options before you go. Many restaurants are now offering new take away options, including incredible brunch packs so be sure to support your favourite restaurants, and some new ones however you can, and enjoy the great food Helsinki has to offer while staying safe. And don’t forget to enjoy great deals from our Snappmeal App!