Restaurants in Finland reflect the wild food of the land. Even nowadays, Finland remains quite an exotic destination for many tourists. Still relatively unknown, its magnificent nature remains intact from its sweeping vistas to endless pine forests. Lake Saimaa in particular has its own unique beauty with a sprawling lake system and archipelago, and many thousands of miles of shoreline. Restaurants in the region have menus to match this wild wonderland with a palette of flavours taken from its woodlands, its freshwater lakes, and its local farm produce.

What to expect and what to look for – Saimaa’s cuisine

When in Finland’s Saimaa region, you’ll want to know the best places to grab a good meal. Even seasoned travellers say that Finnish restaurants hit the mark with a broad range of internationally inspired recipes as well its own local ingredients and traditional foods. The many restaurants of the region offer a wide variety of foods, so you can be guaranteed some kind of local delicacy that suits your taste.

Local ingredients and popular recipes

The cuisine of Lake Saimaa is fairly similar to the rest of Finland with a few local delicacies. Expect to find tasty dishes of beef and pork, as well as the more exotic moose, boar, reindeer and even bear meat as mains or appetisers. Lingonberry sauce is popular with game meats, as are other sauces from cranberries or chanterelle mushrooms.

Restaurants around Savonlinna, Mikkeli and Varkaus will also always have many freshwater fish dishes on offer, typically straight from the local lakes. Vendace is a local favourite and often fried in butter. Be sure to give “kalakukko” a go too, a deep pie made with rye flour and filled with bacon and fish.

For dessert, check out sweet pies made with delicious, locally grown fruits and jams. Berries such as European blueberries from the local woodlands will always find a place on the table, along with summer strawberries and cream.

Hints on the best restaurants of the region

When looking for restaurants in Savonlinna or Mikkeli, if you want a taste of the truly local food, head over to marketplace. Highly recommended and affordable, it serves freshwater fish straight from the local waters. It proves very popular with locals and tourists alike, outside in the sunshine and right on the waterfront.

Popular restaurants in Mikkeli include the charming Tertin Kartano, which is set in an old manor house on a functioning eco certified farm. Both offer delicious food and great service.

Bon appétit! Or as the locals say, hyvää ruokahalua!