MAIN PHOTO: The restaurant has a lovely terrace situated in a quiet square.
In this fast-paced, trend-chasing world, it is comforting to find a restaurant that offers simple yet sophisticated food with great attention to detail, and which is also praised for its attentive and friendly service and unpretentious atmosphere.
TEXT: MARI KOSKINEN | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT HEINÄTORI
After a long career as an engineer, Lauri Väänänen made his lifelong dream come true and started Restaurant Heinätori, meaning Hay Market, together with his wife, Irja Väänänen. “I have always been interested in good food and have always been the chef in our household,” says Lauri Väänänen, owner of the restaurant. “I knew exactly what I wanted to have on the menu when I finally got to open the restaurant. We offer traditional Nordic dishes from the ‘60s, using the finest, fresh ingredients.”
Lauri Väänänen enjoys serving tables and entertaining guests.
The à la carte menu has not changed since the opening. “We are not running after every trend; if and when we feel that it is necessary to change something, we will – but not because everyone else is doing so,” Väänänen says. The three-course Heinätori menu, that changes a few times per year, brings yet more variety to the menu.
The restaurant is situated at Pyynikintori, an old market square about a ten-minute walk from Tampere city centre. The building dates back to 1914 and actually used to be part of a real hay market. The restaurant has 60 seats in the open restaurant space, which can be dived into three smaller areas. It can also be booked for private events, and there is a cosy terrace away from the street seating up to 35 people.
Owners Lauri and Irja Väänänen in front of Restaurant Heinätori.
“We prepare all food ourselves, starting with peeling the potatoes – everything arrives fresh on the plate,” Väänänen explains. “Every morning we get fresh produce, mainly from the Tampere Market Hall, the biggest indoor market in the Nordic countries, and the finest fish directly from the fishermen. This way, we have 100 per cent control over the quality and the quantity we buy, and we’re proud to say that we have no food waste.”
Väänänen is often present at the restaurant, greeting the guests at the door and entertaining them with his intriguing tales. This is something you don’t come across very often in restaurants today and leaves a great impression on the guests. Restaurant Heinätori really has all the right ingredients for the perfect dinner.
Fresh ingredients are the key element on the menu.