Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Foodie tourism in Töölö

Töölö will always have a special hold of my heart. It was the first neighbourhood I lived in when I first moved to Helsinki and something tells me it will the be last. It's not as obviously beautiful as Eira and nowhere near as street-cred as Kallio. I's missing the trendiness that makes all the hipsters in their Roy Orbison glasses and funny hats pine for Punavuori and the intoxicating closeness of the sea that fills ones lungs with every breath in Kruunuhaka. 

But for me a bourgeoning bourgeois born in pearl earrings Töölö and its traditional spirit have been right up my alley. Though the past years have brought with them setbacks such as the death of Nyberg's deli (twice!) Töölö makes a great foodie destination. 

In addition to classics such as Töölönranta and Carelia Töölö has surprisingly many new and exciting addresses. For beautifully presented quality food there's the neighbourhood bistro Meche (just back from their summer hols, by the way!). Another good place for a nice dinner is Ateljé Finne, one of the pioneers of reasonably priced quality food in Helsinki restaurant scene, that won me over years ago with their home-made horse sausage and liquorice crème brûlée.

Twisted kitchen spoils with their clean and fresh take on Asian streetfood. For sushi, there's Umeshu, even if they don't have sea urchin (one of my absolute favourites!) on their menu.

And even though the appearance is far from convincing, there's so much more than meets the eye with Villetta. Their relaxed, quaint but always authentic atmosphere has seen me and my friends through several going away dos. Sometimes simply for the joy of going there.

My tapas bar favourite in Helsinki is in Töölö as well. The unwavering success of Bar Teos is a combination of many things. Unbeatable prices, sunny service and (at least for me!) their chipirones. Right across the street from Teos there's one of the latest foodie destinations: Yobot. On their Facebook page you can vote and help choose the weekly special flavour for their frozen yoghurt...

...which you then get to top with these. Any of these. Any quantity of these. 

And then there are the weird and wonderful curiosities. Like this kiosk in front of Elite that specializes in salty liquorice. Come on! Now that's black gold!

The tour of Töölö can be finished in equally bizarre spirits. We have a Bollywood bar! Where else in Helsinki do people understand the genius that is Shahrukh Khan? Where else do they have swings inside a bar (note, I did say swings, not swingers...) ? Where else can you enjoy a sub-tropical climate and freshen up with mango-habanero shots?

Shot roulette, Bubbly Sunday, Wine Monday, Tiger Tuesday... and of course the hilarious bar staff make sure every day is a perfect Bhangra day!

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