Food and drinks are a major part of all my trips. In the morning, I often find myself already thinking about where we could go for lunch, dinner or drinks later. It wasn’t any different in Tallinn and Helsinki, and we ended up finding some great places that I will share in this post.
Of course TripAdvisor is a great tool to find bars and restaurants. But it lists so many places that I often get a little lost, which is why I find it very helpful to read posts by other travelbloggers listing the places they liked. Hopefully this post will help you too if you visit Tallinn and/or Helsinki.
A warning beforehand: there is a high risk that reading this post will make you hungry!
We were surprised that Tallinn has a lot of restaurants specializing in healthy, vegetarian and even vegan food. Since we both love salads and I don’t particularly like meat, it was a paradise for me! Plenty of options to choose from, everywhere we went. We didn’t just eat salads and other healthy food though: we visited several bakeries too, trying lots of cakes and pastries.
Must Puudel (Müürivahe 20)
This place looks small from the outside but has a lot of seating and a patio in the back. It has plenty of vegetarian options. We had the burgers with vegan kebab meat, grilled peppers and pickled onions and they were absolutely amazing. Our starter, consisting of halloumi, watermelon, strawberries and balsamic dressing was very good too. Prices are affordable and staff was super friendly. The interior design is eclectic and very artsy.
Maiasmokk (Pikk 16)
One of Tallinn’s oldest and most famous cafés (‘kohvik’ in Estonian). It is a bakery with a large seating area. The interior is very chique and classy, with mirrored walls and ceilings and velvet red benches along the walls. The windows alone are worth a visit: in one you find a miniature moving ferris wheel featuring tea cups (pictured on the right), in another there’s a model train navigating through a landscape of cakes and cookies. It’s not all just show: the cakes, pastries and coffee really are as good as you would expect. They are not even that expensive. It does get very busy here, so you have to be lucky to get a table.
F-hoone (Telliskivi 60a)
We came across this place whilst exploring Telliskivi Creative City and went in for a coffee. During this visit, we noticed the food on the plates brought to other clients’ tables and immediately decided to come back for lunch or dinner later. And we did! Here, they let you assemble your own salad: you pick the ingredients, dressing and toppings. The portions were not that large, but you can pick up some ciabatta bread and olive oil for free, making for a good meal.
Carmen Café Rotermanni (Roseni 5)
A quite modern café in the Rotermann neighborhood, where our studio apartment was located. Upstairs you will find a seating area with some comfortable chairs, that offer a view of the square outside. It makes for a good place to have coffee or lunch. The café offers tasty scrambled eggs, served with salad, freshly baked bread (still warm) and bacon or mushrooms.
RØST (Rotermanni 14)
This bakery was also located around the corner of our studio. We walked past in the morning and after smelling the wonderful aroma of fresh bread and pastries, we decided to go inside for breakfast. The bakery has a small seating area – in fact, too small for the crowds it attracts. Business people, students and tourists all come here for their coffee, breakfast or lunch. I tried a cinnamon bun, because they smelled so good. They left me with super sticky fingers, but I would highly recommend!
During our stay in Tallinn, we took the ferry to visit Helsinki for a day. We had been told upfront that Helsinki was not the most interesting city. Turns out that’s true. The sights that Helsinki does have are mostly outside, and since the weather quickly turned rainy and cold after we arrived, we had no interest in seeing them. Instead, we spent the day in cafés and restaurants, until it was time to catch the ferry back to Tallinn. So even though I cannot say much about Helsinki’s sights, I do know a few places that are good for food and drinks.
Green Hippo Café (Punavuorenkatu 2)
A super hip café offering lots of vegetarian choices. My salad with goat cheese (yes, I really like salads with goat cheese) was really good. The café is located in a large square with plenty of seating outdoors, in case you’re lucky enough to visit Helsinki on a sunny (or at least dry) day. We noticed quite a few people working on their laptops here, either alone or in small groups, so it’s a good spot for that too.
Regatta (Merikannontie 8)
A bit of a journey outside the city centre, but easy enough if you have a public transport card. It’s only a short walk through a park from the bus stop. Regatta is located on the water and consists of a large terrace and a very small ‘kiosk’ with a few seats inside. It is known for its cinnamon buns and the hotdogs, that you get to roast yourself on a stick in the campfire. I reckon it’s especially good when the weather’s nice, but if you manage to find a seat inside, get a warm cinnamon bun and a large cup of tea, it’s not a bad place to warm up either.
Ihana Kahvila Baari (Aleksanterinkatu 7-9)
We came across this café and it looked so cosy inside, we decided to go inside for a tea. It has super comfortable old chairs (like the ones your grandma would have), rugs on the floor and old-fashioned floor lamps. On the wall right beside our table was a poster of Sevilla’s ‘ferias de abril‘, that I also have in my own home. It’s like this place was meant for me =) They sell pastries and cakes, and have a good selection of coffee and tea to go with it. A perfect spot to hang out on a rainy day.