Read on for the complete guide to vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Helsinki, as recommended by locals!
When I visited Helsinki for my second time back in March, I made sure to contact my friend Christina to ask her if she knew of any good vegan restaurants in town. After being diagnosed with colitis, I felt a massive improvement in my health from cutting out dairy and definitely didn’t want to feel poorly on holiday because of eating something I shouldn’t have.
Luckily, there was absolutely no need for concern. My wonderful friend, not a vegan or vegetarian herself, made sure to ask all her vegan friends and colleagues and send over an entire list of places I should check out while in town. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try them all as my Helsinki visit was rather short, but I thought I’d pass the recommendations on to you! Let me know in the comments should you visit and try any of the places I haven’t been able to visit personally and let me know what you think!
Just Vege is a Middle eastern and Mediterranean falafel shop that comes highly recommended by locals. All their falafels are vegetarian and gluten-free, and they have a separate vegan menu as well.
I definitely regret not having had a bite here as a look at their menu researching for this article definitely makes me super hungry. Then again, maybe writing this before breakfast wasn’t such a good idea either…
Just Vege is located at Vaasankatu 15 in Kallio (just north of the city centre) and is open 7 days a week. Apart from falafels, they also serve burgers and salads.
You can find their menu here.
VG Wok Jänö
Jänö is a 100% vegan grill and kiosk and the first one of its kind in Helsinki. Originally, they started out as a french fries stand serving french fries, sweet potato fries, vegan sausages and nuggets, as well as vegan kebabs - however, as of 2019, they have shifted cuisine and are now serving vegan Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
You can find the kiosk at Museokatu 12, just next to the National Museum of Finland, however only during the summer months! The kiosk is closed during the winter.
OmNam is a 100% vegan restaurant in Helsinki focussing on organic, unprocessed and seasonal produce of Ethnic and Scandinavian cuisine. The restaurant is a little hidden in a courtyard at Annankatu 29B, not far from the main shopping mall Kamppi, and I found it to be an absolute gem.
The place was packed on a Friday evening (always a good sign) and I got to enjoy a delicious sushi rice bowl with tofu and a chocolate-cherry dessert afterwards. Both dishes were gluten-free and you’ll find loads of gluten-free dishes on OmNam’s menu anyway - for example risotto, raw pizza, BBQ tempeh and salads.
OmNam serves lunch and dinner (both also as take-away) and they also always have cakes and other delicious desserts to choose from. They even have a “zero waste” option on their menu of a dish with fresh left-over ingredients which I think is a really cool idea!
Roots Kitchen at Hakaniemi
Roots Kitchen is a vegetarian restaurant in Helsinki and Turku. They can be found at the Hakaniemi Market Hall north of the city centre and only serve lunch. Their lunch menu, however, also always has vegan and gluten-free options such as soups, salads, curry or burgers.
Roots Kitchen has a focus on nutritional vegetarian cuisine full of protein and fresh vegetables. They are open 6 days a week from 10.30 am to 4 pm (6 pm on Fridays and 5 pm on Saturdays).
You can find their lunch menu of the week here (use Google Translate as it’s in Finnish).
Friends & Brgrs
Friends & Brgrs is a Finnish burger chain with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free burgers on the menu. All ingredients are prepared locally - meaning that even the burger bread is baked in the kitchen of Friends & Brgrs. No pre-packed food allowed!
Gluten-free bread does not cost extra (which sadly is the case in so many other restaurants) and all burgers can also be ordered as take-away.
Friends & Brgrs can be found at Mikonkatu 8 in downtown Helsinki and their menu is available in English here.
Karl Fazer Café
The well-known Finnish chocolate brand Fazer also has several cafes in Helsinki, of which the biggest is the Karl Fazer Café at Kluuvikatu 3, just off the big boulevard of Aleksanterinkatu. The Fazer cafes are definitely all a little bit on the pricey side, but the Karl Fazer one in particular is just super elegant and cosy, and they have an enormous selection of cakes and pastries - some even vegan and/or gluten-free!
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of ordering a cake that wasn’t 100% dairy-free, only lactose-free (make sure to read more about Finnish explanations when it comes to allergies further down in this article), which I came to regret later that day, though the cake was certainly super delicious for sure!
To avoid my mistake, definitely double-check with the staff if the cake you’re eyeing really is vegan/gluten-free before ordering!
Fafa’s offers gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian and organic falafels, as well as vegan and vegetarian kebabs and salads. They have 5 kiosks all over Helsinki (and more throughout the country); the most central being the one near the shopping mall Kamppi (at Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 21), though they also have one stall at Hakaniemi Market Hall.
I’ll definitely make sure to keep an eye out for Fafa’s next time I’m in Finland!
Yes Yes Yes
Yes Yes Yes is a 100% vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options and apparently also a great spot for brunch! On their menu you can find naan bread, halloumi fries, filled sweet potato, risotto and lots of desserts.
The restaurant is located at Iso Roobertinkatu 1, not far from Helsinki’s Design District, thus inviting for a Saturday brunch before visiting Helsinki’s Design Museum. I sure know what I’m going to do when I’m headed back to Helsinki…
Not a cafe or restaurant but one of the best stores in Helsinki to buy vegan, gluten-free and/or organic snacks, or ingredients for a homemade meal if you’re staying in an apartment or hostel with kitchen access, is Ruohonjuuri. There are 5 different stores all over Helsinki with the most central being the one right next to Kamppi’s shopping mall at Salomonkatu 5.
You’ll find everyting from vegan chocolate and biscuits to fresh vegetables, plenty of natural juices, vitamins and even vegan cosmetics here. So, should you run out of anything or have forgotten to bring something for your trip, chances are you’ll find it here.
Things to look out for when ordering vegan/gluten-free food in Finland
I have no idea how things are organised in your country, but here in Norway, all the items that contain milk or gluten are clearly marked on all restaurant menus. In Finland, to make things easier I suppose - only that I personally found it more confusing, all items that do not contain certain ingredients are highlighted on menus.
This means that vegan dishes usually come with a (V), while gluten-free dishes come with a (G). Then again, some dishes are also declared as “lactose-free” which doesn’t mean that the dish is free of dairy or vegan. Finland is actually super progressive and lots of people have lactose allergies, so dishes that are declared as “lactose-free” usually just contain lactose-free milk as opposed to dishes that are actually milk-free (often declared as such with an M) or vegan.
Finnish Crash Course:
Vegan = vegaani
Gluten-free = gluteeniton
Milk-free = maidoton
Lactose-free = laktoositon
Low in lactose = vähälaktoosinen
Organic = luomu
More posts to help you plan your trip to Finland:
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