As mentioned in my Helsinki post, a restaurant that is definitely worth checking out in Helsinki is the 1 Michelin Starred Palace Restaurant.
I had no idea about Palace Restaurant or really any of Helsinki’s fine dining scene until I was doing my research for the trip. Palace Restaurant was the first Finnish restaurant to receive a Michelin star and has been one of the oldest and longest running fine dining establishments in Helsinki. It was founded in 1952, when the Palace Hotel was built and opened for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. The hotel has since closed and the building is now an office space, but the restaurant remains in its home on the rooftop. It is helmed by Chef Eero Vottonen.
When I looked online a few days before my trip, the restaurant was already fully booked and there was no online waitlist option. I instead emailed the restaurant and soon received a response that I would be placed on a waitlist and they would notify me if anything became available. Luckily just as I boarded my connecting flight to Helsinki in Amsterdam, I was told a spot opened up. But given my weird work remote schedule I asked if it was possible to be in and out within 2-2.5 hours instead of their recommended 3 hours, they noted this and said it was certainly possible.
In short, absolutely worth it. And it is a fantastic fine dining experience for a fraction of the cost of many other similar Nordic or even European establishments. The service was phenomenal, friendly and professional and not pretentious at all. The space is warm, minimal and inviting with a dash of Finnish sophistication. The food is all around delicious, and the beverage program is also on point. All this paired with one of the best views in Helsinki creates a memorable experience worthy of its own blog post.
There is only one menu at 180 euros, with a few supplement items you can add. Wine pairing is 170 euros, and non-alcoholic/juice pairing is 75 euros. A sample menu is available to view online. The menu changes daily and seasonally. The wine list and cocktail menu is also available to view online. If you cant get a reservation or are not up for a tasting menu experience, why not pop by the bar for a delicious cocktails paired with some house truffle popcorn and amazing views from the outdoor balcony (they have heat lamps and blankets for the colder evenings during the summer).
You walk into the Palace building, the restaurant has its own entrance, and take the elevator directly to the restaurant. The receptionist check-in another person in, before welcoming me. They promptly sat me at my table. As mentioned, every single person delivered fantastic service. They noted my slight time crunch. I had, upon receiving confirmation, already noted I wanted the wine pairing, had no allergies and would do still water. All of which was well noted. The only thing they wanted to confirm was whether I wanted to add any of the supplements. Upon getting the description for the House Bread Service, a 20 euro supplement, I said absolutely lets do it. Then bam, my dinner began. Despite my need to be in and out in 2.5 hours, they service never once felt rushed and was still well paced, well orchestrated and well presented.
First up was a pour of Millesime 2012 Champagne
Palace 100 year’s old rye sourdough with Juniper and cured herring (right)
100 year old eye sourdough really is 100 year old yeast that they keep feeding. Was bought in the 1950s!
Crayfish taco, vendace roe and dill (left)
Finnish Wagyu “Rossini” with goose liver, Umbria black truffle
Forrest Mushrooms (Japanese and Finnish chanterelle), aged parmesan and lemon thyme and spruce. This one was so good. Earthy and fresh, salty but balanced our with the citrus that cut through.
Egon Muller Scharzhof Riesling 2019, Mosel, Germany, Sweet but not too sweet, semi-dry riesling,
Danish Hirmasa (yellowtail) tomato, grilled jalapeno,.yellow pepper. This one was fantasti, especially the sauce: sweet/ spicy/ refreshing; perfectly balanced taste of summer
Ca’del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta Extra Brut, Italian prosecco
Hand-caught Scallops from Hitra, Norway; sauce of granny smith apples and dill vinegar with horseradish ice. Super good, nice and light but still complex and balanced and nicely textured.
N25 Caviar, Sturgeon farmed in Southern Germany, Fukuoka bonito and Kombu for the sauce, last of Finnish sweet pea and dashi butter. Pretty good but sadly the sauce overpowered the caviar (which means salty), but the sweet pea was delicious
Palace Housemade Finnish Schnapps; made of: Palace “Kymppi” Snapsi, “Agras” Akuavit, Palace Gin, Gustav’s Dill Vodka, Mancini Vermouth
House Bread service: Finnish rye Blini served with Slightly smoked and salted Small whitefish, whitefish roe, Pickles cucumber and mustard seeds
Domaine Jamet Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2019, Rhone, France.
Grilled sweet corn, lobster and salted lemon Sabayon sauce, slates trout roe. Organic Finnish egg salted lemon sabayon , Finnish sweet corn pudding.
Chateau De Plaisance Savennieres 2019, Loire, France
Turbot, Langoustine, Palace reserve XO Sauce: made from langoustine claws, White cream Sauce made form langoustine shell with Kombu. This dish was incredible. surprisingly not too salty, but so good, probably because to me it was slightly Hong Kong – Finnish fusion
Domaine Chanson Gevrey-Chambertin 2016, Burgundy, France, fantastic Burgundian Pinot Noir
Duck from Challans, girolles and sauce poivre “Oriental”, Sauce is black truffle and duck jus and other ingredients that I have since forgotten. While the duck was perfectly cooked, the dish itself was over all too salty
Mushroom brioche topped with duck fat infused with lemon and thyme and 3 day dry aged duck. Probably the most flavorful brioche I have ever had
Bilberries and forest preserves, topped with spruce and pinecone, Sauce is spruce oil and bilberries, Milk ice cream
Alois Kracher Beerenauslese Zweigelt 2017, Burgenland, Austria
Chocolate and Sour Cherry: Sour cherry sauce sauce is infused with reduced cocoa nibs; mouse itself is a mix of milk and dark chocolate. Nice balance of tart, sweet and bitter.
Grande Maison Monbazillac Cuvee du Chateau 2019, Southwest, France
Pear, Almond, and Honey Truffle Ice Cream. sauce of trimming of pear. Truffle honey, Truffle from last year marinated and aged in honey. Almond and seasonal pear. This dessert was simple divine. So good.
Gift: House made porridge
Ethiopian Geisha Coffee
Petit Fours: Wild Raspberry “Wine Gum”, Apple and Vanilla, Cloudberry Fudge, Chocolate and Lingonberry
This Tiger Cake was so good, chocolate and white cake batter mixed together for the pattern.
I ended my last night in Helsinki with a round of drinks at the Palace Bar rooftop, because I just loved it that much:
Amazing house cocktail at Palace: Champagne, rum, reduced Jasmine tea, and truffle popcorn
House gin Gimlet
Online booking: https://palacerestaurant.fi/
Seatings start at 18:00, every 15 minutes and last seating is 19:30
No waitlist option online, but you can email or call to request to be placed on a waitlist
Bar: walk-in welcome