After attending the PING conference in Helsinki, the conference’s organizers were nice enough to send all of us food-obsessed types to Turku. There, in cooperation with Visit Turku, we enjoyed authentic Finnish food in a few of the best Turku restaurants.
I honestly had no idea what to expect from Finnish food. Some of my friends had warned me that Finland doesn’t have much in the way of food culture, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that not true!
From my experience, Finnish cuisine seems to make heavy use of what is in season at that moment. Since I visited in the summer, we were treated to many meals of fish and fresh vegetables. Overall, it felt healthier than many other cuisines I often have.
In this post, I’ll share my favorite Turku restaurants from our visit!
Visiting other destinations in Europe? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 10 Best Trento Restaurants
- The Best 10 Barcelona Foods & Drinks You Must Try
- What is Traditional Swiss Food?
- 13 Best Reykjavik Restaurants
- Where To Find The Best Fish And Chips In London
While in Turku don’t miss out on activities that will help immerse yourself with the city (hurry while they’re hot!):
- Turku: Christmas Magic Walking Tour
- Turku: 2-Hour Romantic Guided Walking Tour
- Turku: City Highlights Walking Tour with Local Guide
5 Must Try Turku Restaurants
Graniittilinnankatu 2 // +358 44 2230201
Easily the coolest dining experience we had in Turku, this restaurant is situated inside a former prison! Now repurposed into a restaurant that comes off trendy without trying too hard, I loved how they made such good use of the space.
The small but well-thought-out menu is made with seasonal ingredients from local producers. Dishes here are served family-style and meant to be shared.
You can dine off their a la carte menu, but if you want to try the best of everything on the menu, I recommend you do as we did and indulge in Kakola’s feast — a 5-course family-style dinner.
We feasted on poached pike-perch with pickled cucumbers,
perfectly grilled steak brochettes,
and baked summer potatoes that had been covered in herbs and served with soured cream. Finally, the desserts and wine pairings were spot on. I definitely recommend trying the feast — you won’t leave hungry!
Linnankatu 32 (Inside the Radisson Blu Hotel) // +358 20 1234710
Situated on the bank of the River Aura, which winds through town, Grill It’s menu focuses on grilled dishes (obviously) of fish and meat. But they also serve vegetarian options, such as tofu/veggie skewers and falafel burgers.
The restaurant features a daily rotating lunch menu, but we all went a la carte and were treated to some of the best-grilled fish of our entire stay.
During my next visit, I plan to try a steak, as they looked great as well.
Läntinen Rantakatu 3 // +358 2 5369445
E. Ekblom is housed in a gorgeous old building with a perfect central location. The restaurant features a rotating simple set menu made with whatever is freshest and in season at that moment. I found the menu to be a good value for the price.
Their bar staff was knowledgeable with wine pairings, and their craft cocktail menu has been designed by an award-winning mixologist.
Läntinen Rantakatu 57 // +358 40 0908877
The night we dined here, we were treated to the NOOA dinner, a 4-course menu complete with wine pairings. Every plate of food that appeared before us was gorgeous, and the flavors were amazing. We were all very impressed with the smart wine pairings as well.
At this point, it might sound a bit redundant to discuss how this restaurant also focuses on the freshest local ingredients — it does seem to be a central focus of Finnish food, at least at the better Turku restaurants.
NOOA won us over with its gorgeous plating, spot-on wine pairings, and unique and interesting flavors — some more bold than others. What else is there to be said? It was a crowd favorite.
Läntinen Rantakatu 3 // +358 2 5369444
Another contemporary riverside restaurant, SMÖR is so serious about keeping their menu fresh and seasonal that they revamp the entire menu every eight weeks.
This means you’ll always find what is fresh and in season, all prepared in modern Nordic fashion. (Sometimes called New Nordic, which I have to admit was my favorite term I learned on the trip!)
SMÖR also had some of the best service we experienced at any of the Turku restaurants we visited.
And now for a bonus: I know these last two aren’t technically restaurants, but they’re both so great they must be mentioned.
Läntinen Rantakatu 5 // +358 40 1583383
CafeArt is the undisputed best place in Turku for coffee. We had a few coffee snobs on our trip, and they raved about this place, alongside every local that we asked about where to find the best cup of coffee.
The cafe has won many awards, their beans are the best available, and their roasting techniques have been perfected. Seriously, if you like coffee, just go. And once you fall in love with their beans, you’ll be happy to know they even sell them to go, so you can (try to) make the same coffee at home.
I also found their selection of baked goods quite impressive.
Graniittilinnankatu 2 // +358 44 3380767
This brand new craft brewing company produces some unique and delicious brews. We were fortunate enough to tour Kakola and be treated to a tasting afterward.
Along with their signature labels, they also plan to brew seasonal and specialty beers. If you can’t make it up to visit them (but they’re located near Kakolan Ruusu, so you should plan a combined visit) you can find their beers in select restaurants and stores around town.
I recommend you try to tour the facilities and meet the enthusiastic owners — we enjoyed learning about the process and tasting the variety of beers they produce.
Which of these Turku restaurants would you most like to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Practical Information: I would like to thank Visit Turku for hosting me during my time with them. All opinions however remain my own, as always.
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.