All Aboard Part 1, Finland

21:11 Melissa G 0 Comments

When the weather is good, you just can’t beat an escape to the sea side.
And when in Helsinki my favorite way to do so is to take a boat from the Market Square and sail off to an island.

There are over a dozen islands around Helsinki and thousands around the entire country, so might as well take up the opportunity to break away from the city once in a while.

Grab some friends, a pair of trustworthy shoes and sunglasses and let’s go!

First our adventure started off at the Market Square. While everyone was queuing for ferry tickets, I walked around the stalls sampling fresh local fruits and watching the tourists wander.

Regrouped, we boarded the ferry and sailed away to Lonna Island.

Lonna is a tiny island just 10 minutes away by sea. It is so small that you can walk around it in 15 minutes, unless you’re me and stop every two meters for pictures.

The island has very recently been opened up to the public. Historically Lonna was used for storage of gunpowder by the Russian Navy in the 1880s. During and after the Second World War it was used to clean up mines and demagnetize ships (so that they could avoid setting off mines).

Today, the island houses old red brick and yellow wooden buildings, but most importantly it is the home of the hidden gem; the Lonna Restaurant. If you are planning to visit the island this is where you must have lunch.

The restaurant is led by Jouni Rahikainen, a popular contestant on Top Chef, and his creations are truly delicious. The place itself is cozy and requires a table reservation if you want a seat inside, however the tables outside cannot be booked ahead, luckily we were able to grab one.

Enjoying great food with a view of the sea has always been one of my favorite activities.

The restaurant prides itself in its pure summery flavors; most (if not all) produce is fresh, organic and locally grown. The menu changes almost every day but I’m certain that whatever is available will be delightful.

I started off with a lamb appetizer served with a fragrant somehow smoky sauce that balanced out with the fresh dairy, this was my favorite dish.

The other appetizers included a vibrant and fresh carrot salad, and a lightly smoked salmon, nothing more Nordic than that!

I followed with the chicken; crispy yet soft inside, perfect for a summer day.

My mother ordered grilled whitefish, which she absolutely adored. It was accompanied with a fennel salad, a vegetable that I usually dislike but actually ended up enjoying. She definitely thought it was the highlight of the day!

After a truly lovely meal we explored the greenery and abandoned buildings of the island, imagine what it might have looked like during the war. 

 We then reluctantly headed back to the city, though the views did make it up a bit.

We were accompanied (or maybe guarded) by a small friend.
Watch out though, they are known for snatching up your ice cream! 

Once back, we paid a visit to the old indoor marketplace, if I lived in Helsinki that’s where I’d do my shopping.

Lonna is accessible by the JT Line, more info can be found here. (Same ferry as the one that goes to Suomenlinna).

More info, including opening hours of the restaurant can be found here.