A Friendly Guide to Restaurants in Lapland
Welcome to the magical land of Lapland! Known for its stunning landscapes, the Northern Lights, and, of course, Santa Claus, Lapland is a dream destination for many. But did you know that it also boasts a fantastic selection of restaurants? In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best dining experiences Lapland has to offer. So, get ready to indulge in traditional Lappish cuisine, as well as some international favorites!
1. Nili Restaurant
Located in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, Nili Restaurant is a must-visit for anyone seeking authentic Lappish cuisine. Housed in a cozy, rustic wooden building, the restaurant’s warm atmosphere is perfect for enjoying a hearty meal after a day of exploring. Nili offers a variety of traditional dishes, including reindeer, Arctic char, and Lappish cheese. For a true taste of Lapland, try their set menus that showcase local ingredients and flavors.
2. Aurora Sky Restaurant
Perched on the top of the Levi Summit, the Aurora Sky Restaurant offers breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and a chance to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights while dining. The restaurant specializes in modern Nordic cuisine with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Make sure to try their signature dishes, such as slow-cooked reindeer shank or the Arctic char with a side of foraged mushrooms.
3. Laanilan Kievari
In the heart of Saariselkä, you’ll find Laanilan Kievari, a charming traditional Finnish restaurant that’s perfect for a family meal. With its wooden interiors and roaring fire, it exudes a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The menu offers a range of Lappish dishes, as well as Finnish classics like Karelian pastries, salmon soup, and reindeer sausages. Their all-you-can-eat buffet is also a popular choice, especially for those with big appetites after a day of outdoor activities.
4. Restaurant Haltinmaa
Located in Kilpisjärvi, Restaurant Haltinmaa offers a unique dining experience in a stunning glass igloo. The restaurant serves a seasonal menu that blends Lappish and Scandinavian flavors, using ingredients like reindeer, Arctic char, and cloudberries. As you enjoy your meal, take in the 360-degree views of the surrounding wilderness, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights.
5. Ravintola Rouhe
Another gem in Rovaniemi, Ravintola Rouhe is a stylish restaurant that offers a modern take on traditional Lappish cuisine. The chefs here are passionate about using local ingredients and put a creative twist on classic dishes. The result is a menu that features dishes like slow-cooked reindeer with lingonberries and potato galette, as well as a delicious selection of vegetarian and vegan options.
6. Saaga Restaurant
For a truly memorable Lappish dining experience, head to Saaga Restaurant in Ylläs. Housed in a beautiful log cabin, the restaurant offers a warm and inviting ambiance, complete with traditional Sami handicrafts and art. The menu is a celebration of Lappish flavors, with dishes such as smoked reindeer carpaccio, Arctic char with horseradish sauce, and a mouthwatering cloudberry dessert. Don’t forget to sample their homemade bread, served with a selection of local spreads and butter.
7. Rakas Restaurant & Wine Bar
Located in the Santa Claus Holiday Village in Rovaniemi, Rakas Restaurant & Wine Bar is the perfect place to unwind after a day of festive fun. The name “Rakas” means “beloved” in Finnish, and the restaurant lives up to its name with its warm and inviting atmosphere. The menu offers a mix of Lappish and international dishes, with an emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Be sure to try their slow-cooked reindeer with parsnip purée or the grilled Arctic char with roasted vegetables. And don’t forget to explore their extensive wine list, featuring a range of local and international wines.
8. Aitta Deli & Bistro
Located in Levi, Aitta Deli & Bistro is a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike. This trendy eatery offers a casual dining experience with a touch of Lappish flair. The menu features an array of comfort food classics, like burgers and pasta, as well as traditional Finnish dishes, such as salmon soup and reindeer stew. Be sure to check out their daily specials, which often showcase seasonal ingredients and local produce.
9. Restaurant Kotahovi
For a taste of history along with your meal, visit Restaurant Kotahovi in Rovaniemi’s Arktikum Museum. Housed in a traditional Finnish kota (hut), the restaurant offers an authentic Lappish dining experience. The menu features a range of traditional dishes, such as Lappish cheese with cloudberry jam, reindeer fillet, and fish soup. During the summer months, you can also enjoy your meal on the terrace overlooking the serene Ounasjoki River.
10. Laavu Restaurant
Located in the picturesque town of Inari, Laavu Restaurant is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of Lappish and international flavors. The chefs at Laavu take pride in using only the freshest local ingredients, with a focus on sustainability and quality. The menu features a mix of Lappish dishes, such as reindeer tartare and Arctic char, as well as international favorites like Thai curry and pizza. Make sure to save room for dessert, as their cloudberry cheesecake is not to be missed!
As you can see, Lapland has a rich culinary scene that is sure to satisfy any foodie’s cravings. From traditional Lappish fare to modern interpretations and international cuisines, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We hope this guide helps you discover the delicious flavors of Lapland and makes your visit to this enchanting region even more memorable.