Travelling when you have specific dietary requirements can sometimes be a downer, especially if you can’t find somewhere that accommodates you. I found that restaurants in Helsinki, and actually Finland in general, were streets ahead when it came to finding dairy free and gluten free options.
In fact, most restaurants in Helsinki, you can just request a gluten free option of whatever is on the menu, so you never have to miss out on local cuisine while there.
My first morning in Helsinki, I was in awe of the breakfast buffet – so many different types of gluten free cereals, pastries, cakes and cookies (I even stuffed a couple of cookies in my bag as I wasn’t sure if I would see this much gluten free food again – but guess what, I did!).
Just a few minutes walk from Helsinki Cathedral, you’ll find one of the many Kotipizza branches in Helsinki. And if pizza is what you’re craving, then this should be your first stop. They have a variety of pizzas on offer, all with a gluten free option.
2. Naughty BRGR
Founded by Top Chef Duels winner, Akseli Herlevi, Naughty BRGR is in fact just that, naughty! He spent over 10 years searching for the best burger recopies in the world. For their dairy free and gluten free customers, Naughty BRGR have dairy free and gluten free burger buns, vegan burgers, along with other lactose, dairy and gluten free treats. Do yourself a favour and check out the founder, Akseli Herlevi’s, picture on their website – impressive beard right?
Just a few minutes walk from Helsinki Train Station, in Kamppi Shopping Centre, you’ll find Sandro, which serves a mixture of middle eastern and north African cuisines. With breakfast,lunch and dinner on the menu, Sandro’s menu has dairy free and gluten free options, from pita breads and hummus to ice-cream and sorbet.
4. Han Ko Sushi
Who doesn’t love sushi?! One of the best restaurants in Helsinki for gluten free and vegan sushi lovers is Han Ko Sushi. They have a huge variety on their menu for various dietary requirements, including the lactose intolerant. From salmon, tuna and chicken to avocado sushi, there’s something for everyone at Han Ko Sushi.
5. Happy Waffle
Have you ever had a bubble waffle? You’re missing out if not! Originally a Hong Kong specialty, Happy Waffle has introduced Finland to the bubble waffle and it makes the top of my list of restaurants in Helsinki for tasty treats. All of their waffles are gluten free and they have various dairy free and lactose free options when it comes to toppings
Just a few minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of downtown Helsinki, Toca’s menu is a fusion of Italian and Finnish food. The restaurant serves you according to your diet, whether it be dairy free or gluten free.
7. Sante Fe
Located in the middle of Helsinki city center, Santa Fe is a famous Mexican restaurant that serves Tex-Mex, Cajun, and international foods. The majority of their menu offers burgers, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas to the gluten intolerant. And let’s not forget their vegan ice-creams and sorbets.
8. Brooklyn Cafe
Famous for their cupcakes and delicious baked goods, this Helsinki restaurant is located in the Punavuori neighborhood, a vibrant foodie area in the Design District. With vegan bagels and waffles and gluten free cupcakes and sandwiches you’ll have all the treats you need at this New York style cafe.
9. Mari's Smoothie
Especially one for coeliacs, Mari’s Smoothie is 100% gluten free so there is no chance of cross-contamination. They’ve got sandwiches, pastries, salads and cakes to choose from. Even if you’re not gluten free, this place has amazing food and smoothies!
10. Classic and Vegan Ravintola
So named as they offer a fusion of both classic and vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free food. So if you have family members with different diets and taste buds, then this should be your choice of restaurants in Helsinki. They even have a separate vegan seating area amongst green decor – don’t worry, you won’t be separated from your family if you’re choosing the vegan option if you don’t want to!
Of course, you’ll need a beer to wash all that food down. Kukkos beer have a range of different flavours in various restaurants in Helsinki. Just be sure to check for the GF label as not all Kukkos beers are gluten free.