Every year, we travel abroad for Christmas. And not just abroad, but preferably far far away from cold Sweden. We like spending the holiday season somewhere warm. Other prerequisites are safety, good food and preferably good drinks. There are plenty of travel destinations in the world, but only a few of the fulfill our requirements. So despite a tough analysis on all of the possible options, every year we end up going to South-East Asia. This years destinations include Thailand (Bangkok and Hua Hin) , Cambodia (Siam Reap) and Singapore. And whats best, we leave already next week. Next week! Awesome! But before that, we have been spending some time in Helsinki to make up for the lost Christmas with my family. We did some fun stuff. Here are a few tips for Helsinki in December.
Meatlovers ahoy, Werner is a cool, new grill on Bulevardi in the heart of the city. The kitchen has a large open fire grill where the chefs prepare different cuts of meat, fish and vegetables. The bar is skilled with cocktails, and the wine list makes a winecurious happy. Even though the menu features fish and veggies, Werner is really a meatlovers paradise. You can even reserve some special cuts of meat for you party from the kitchen.
Just to be clear from the start. I do not recommend going for dinner at this restaurant. Chapter is a fine dining restaurant right next to the Senate square. The surprise menu features ten courses, and you can pair it with a nature wine heavy wine flight (there is also a juice flight available). We went to Chapter for the whole experience, but only really enjoyed half of it. The service was unprofessional and slow (not mean, but just all over the place), and the food very mediocre. I am sure that the kitchen meant well, but the combinations in the flavors were just off. Three out of ten dishes were good; the rest, unimpressive. But the wine flight – that was great! Ten different drinks, mainly wine, small glasses and well presented by our waiter. Chapter must have a good sommelier, because the pics were not at all easy. The restaurant also has a nice bar in the back, so I suggest going there just for the wines.
Carelia is an old favorite. I have written about them before. It is a restaurant and wine bar built in an old apothecary just a stone throw away from the Helsinki Opera House. It is the place for the opera-goers to have dinner and/or a glass of wine. Carelia also has their own wine-importing business. They are excellent at Champagnes, Rieslings and different smaller wine regions in France. Right now, they have Champagne-weeks going on. A 3-champagne tasting costs only 24 euros. We had such a fun guessing game with the sommelier. He brought us small tasters and we tried to name the grape and the region. I picked out the Nebbiolo from Valtellina, and the white Bourgogne, but the rest were a bit too hard. I am not at all good at blind tastings. At Carelia, you kind of feel like coming to someones living room. You are treated by the staff like family.