Restaurant Aino: Fine dining in the best spot of the city
Text: Mari Koskinen | Photos © Restaurant Aino
Praised for its warm atmosphere and friendly service, Restaurant Aino has established itself as one of the top restaurants in Helsinki. Serving the finest Finnish food using seasonal ingredients is at the heart of the restaurant’s culinary philosophy.
The restaurant is situated along the popular Esplanade Park, a lively, green promenade in Helsinki city centre. “It is a great spot – we are near all the famous sights and major shopping centres,” explains restaurant manager Pia Moilanen. “You can also see the sea sparkling behind the market square from our tables by the window.” The restaurant is open seven days a week, all year round.
There are 50 seats on the main floor and four charming private rooms downstairs. “They are popular places for birthday parties and other private functions,” Moilanen explains. “The smallest room is actually our wine cellar, and it always leaves a great impression on our guests. We don’t charge rent for the private rooms, just a moderate minimum spend applies.”
Guests can also choose to dine al fresco during the summer months. “In the front, there is a covered terrace, where you can enjoy watching the lively city in action,” says Moilanen. “Alternatively, you can sit on the cosy and calm inner court terrace out the back, where you can dine outdoors even in September with the help of gas heaters.”
Pure Finnish flavours on the plate
“Our food is based on pure Finnish ingredients,” says the restaurant manager. “The à la carte menu changes three times per year. In addition to the à la carte menu, there are seasonal dishes: for instance, asparagus in the spring and game in the autumn.”
Restaurant Aino’s exquisite wine list was built together with Essi Avellan, Finland’s renowned master of wine. The dishes come with both wine and beer recommendations. “We offer beer from top Finnish craft breweries. Our signature summer ale is brewed by the brewery Bryggeri, situated literally just around the corner, so it doesn’t get more local,” Moilanen laughs. “We also have fantastic Finnish dessert wines from the award-winning Ainoa Winery, including bilberry and cloudberry dessert wines.
Restaurant Aino’s guests know what they want. “Some arrive here with photos from TripAdvisor showing what they want to eat,” says Moilanen. No wonder many guests keep coming back. They know they get top-level service and food, guaranteed every time.
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