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​Helsinki Classics: Top 3 Culture Restaurants

These unique restaurants have catered to the culture and arts crowds for decades. The atmospheric neighbourhood restaurants are known for no-frills home-style cooking.

ELITE

Found in the Töölö district, restaurant Elite opened in 1932 and has since been a living room for the country's most popular actors, musicians, writers and painters, reminding of their legacy both on the walls of the restaurant and even on the menu - such as the steak with creamed onions and pan-fried potatoes carrying the name of legendary actor Tauno Palo.
elite.fi
Eteläinen Hesperiankatu 2

KOSMOS

Time stands still at Kosmos, still breathing the original elegance of the 1920s-30s. In the 50s, painters and journalists would convene here, and in the 60s writers and leftist radicals. The art collection of the restaurant has since received additions from contemporaries Miina Äkkijyrkkä and Alvar Gullichsen. The sculptural outdoor terrace is crafted by Stefan Lindfors. The kitchen is praised for classics like vorschmack and fried Baltic herring and vend ace.
kosmos.fi
Kalevankatu 3

SEA HORSE

Running since 1934, this legend is a living embodiment of Finnish restaurant culture, with its no-frills interior and menu. Everyone should at least once in their life sample the crispy fried Baltic herring here, as well as the tasty onion steak. The main room is decorated with a famous wall painting depicting sea horses. Many stories circulate on the painting's origins. One is of a scene with art students in the 40s breaking in and painting the wall. Another is of a penniless artist who paid for his meals with the wall painting.
seahorse.fi
Kapteeninkatu 11

Photo: Elite / Aleksi Pahkala