Finnish Lappish food

a little while ago, my husband & i celebrated our 8th anniversary. by ‘celebrate’, i meant we ate out (of course). this time our place of choice was a restaurant in Helsinki which specializes in Finnish Lappish food, Saaga restaurant.

neither of us had been here before, but we once tried another restaurant from the same group which also serves Finnish delicacies. based on that nice experience, we decided to try this one as well.

when we arrived, the restaurant was just opened for the night, so it was still quiet. it was as if the whole restaurant was opened for us! 😀 we went to the balcony, and after ordering our food we took a look around.

the interior was made to look like someone’s wooden cabin in Lapland: thingamabobs made of wild animal bones, decorations made of animal skins, fishing equipments, pictures of the snowy Lapland. i don’t really like real animal fur myself, but as a decoration in this restaurant i think they serve the right mood. we felt like walking into someone’s home, who hunts wild animals to eat them & make use of them, just like people used to do in the old days. if you imagine what Santa Claus’ house would look like, it would probably look like this. 😀

so… what exactly is Finnish Lappish food? well, it’s actually kind of exotic, even to my Finnish husband. and since we don’t eat this kind of food everyday, we chose to try the most exotic ones we could find. namely bear and reindeer meat (with all sorts of berries).

after ordering, the waitress quickly served us a small first bite as a complimentary. then, the real appetizer came. it was an assorted mix of Lappish specialties.

that appetizer alone was worth the trip to this restaurant! i personally had never eaten any of those before, except for the fresh salad and mushroom salad. and i mean, every single thing was soooo good, you will want to lick the wooden plate clean.

next, the main course. we chose 2 different main courses, so that we could share them.

we could barely finish the main course, since they were so fulfilling! but they were so yummy so we ate as much as we could… and still moved on to the dessert afterwards. 😀

the cranberries were sour like crazy! 😀 it was painful to eat because of the sourness, yet so good that we couldn’t help taking more and more.

it was a really nice experience, starting from the atmosphere, to the friendly waitresses & waiters, and of course the delicious food. quite an unforgettable night for us both.

some people (mostly locals) might think the interior is cheesy, but we actually like it. the way the food were served was not as fancy as at some other overpriced restaurants, in fact it was rather modest. but that is just what Finnish people are like, modest and humble.

some would probably also think that there’s nothing special about Finnish food. well, i am a living proof that that is completely wrong! if you ever visit Helsinki, if you only have a short time but want to get to know traditional Finnish Lappish food that are actually good, then i highly recommend this place. you won’t regret it!

more info on Saaga restaurant here.

PS. sorry for the bad quality pics… it was dark and i only had my mobile phone camera, of course.

PPS. again, i am in no way paid by anyone to advertise this restaurant. this review comes from the heart. 🙂