Feedback on Helsinki


My wife, Rose, and I stayed three nights in Helsinki in June ’06 and discovered two excellent places to eat. Both were quite near the central train station and square.

For lunch, we ate at a small buffet restaurant called Meze Point, at Wikonkatu 8. It was not an American-type, all-you-can-eat place. Rather, we got one “pass” at the food, which consisted essentially of a nice salad, three or four excellent entrées and wonderful bread.

Eating was inside or, as we chose, at tables outside in the sun where we could watch folks pass by. With a generous glass of beer and a plate very full of food, lunch came to just under €10 (near $13) each.

For dinner we ate at Papa Giovanni (phone 6226010), located in the World Trade Center. This second-floor restaurant featured a good assortment of pastas and other interesting entrées, including a fillet of lamb, which I found excellent. It really is a nice place, with a good bar plus candles and white linen napkins and tablecloths.

We liked it so well that we ate dinner there twice. With a 30-euro bottle of Merlot, dinner for three came to €80.

As we were part of a Cedar Rapids group on a trip to Russia and Latvia with Friendship Force (34 Peachtree St., Ste. 900, Atlanta, GA 30303; phone 404/522-9490 or visit www.friendshipforce.org), our hotel stay had been arranged for us, but I think the room rate was under €100 for a double, with breakfast. We stayed at Hotel Arthur (Vuorikatu 19; visit www.hotelarthur.fi), which is very centrally located (about three or four blocks from the above-named eating places).

The Arthur is a smaller, tourist-level hotel, but the rooms were clean, the desk staff was friendly, responsive and helpful and it was conveniently located for sightseeing, with both the trolley and a metro station only one block away.

In summary, we found Helsinki easy to get around in and not necessarily all that pricey, especially after having been told how expensive we would find things in Finland.

JOE PHELAN

Lincoln, CA