Breakfast in Helsinki – Cargo coffee and vegetarian food


For the past year I’ve walked by Cargo coffee every week but haven’t had the chance or a perfect time to actually visit the café. It’s been on our to-do list for a while but sometimes things that are too close (only a couple of blocks from our home) get forgotten. Today, however, we decided to actually do something about it and went for a Saturday morning breakfast at Cargo.

Cargo Coffee is situated just between Kamppi and Ruoholahti at Ruoholahdenranta. It’s built from sea containers and has a bit of an industrial look and feel from the outside combined with Scandinavian design inside. Tram no 9 stops right in front of the café (stop called Länsilinkki) but you will get quite close by also with tram no 6 or tram no 8. You could also continue a late breakfast at Cargo by walking next door to Clarion Hotel’s Sky Room for a drink or two to enjoy the view (opens at 3 PM on Saturdays).


It came as a nice surprise that Cargo only serves vegetarian breakfast and food and there’s also vegan options on the menu. I decided to have a breakfast plate with yogurt, homemade granola and berry compote, hummus, salad avocado, bread and cheese, served with juice and coffee. The rest of the crew choose some vegan pancakes and hot chocolate and a parmigiano omelette. All were very happy with their choices. The omelette was excellent. And the pancakes with fruits &  got a convincing two thumbs up from a junior carnivore.

The breakfast is served from 7.30 to 11 on weekdays and from 10 to 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week Cargo also serves vegetarian lunch and in the evenings there’s a separate dinner menu. The open terrace upstairs draws quite a crowd in the summer afternoons and evenings. They do serve wine, after all.




Perfect (Saturday) Shopping in Helsinki, Part I


How to spend perfect shopping day in Helsinki? Well, there are surely many different answers but let me introduce one. This text concentrates on shopping (and bit other things as well) around Punavuori area in Helsinki.

Best way to start shopping day is to have breakfast at Café Ekberg (1 in map). This wonderful Café is situated in Bulevardi 9 (less than one kilometre from Railway station or Stockmann). Since pretty popular breakfast place, it is good to make reservation beforehand. Café Ekberg is also perfect place for afternoon snack in case you have had your breakfast at the hotel.

After breakfast I recommend visiting flea market Hietalahden Kirpputori (pictures above, map 2) which I’ve written before. After checking all tables you probably feel like it is good idea to sit down. For that you find small terrace café in front of Hietalahden Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall). After resting a while I recommend to visit Old Market Hall which is next to flea market, where you can find some Finnish handicrafts, vegetables as well as restaurants.

Walking along Fredrikinkatu is a great choice for shopping – you can find many small shops and boutiques. Here I just mention few, but there are plenty more around! Good starting points are three great clothing stores (map 3) in Fredrikinkatu: Liike, Asuna and 2OR+BYYAT. Addresses for these stores are Fredrikinkatu 35 and around (they are really close to each other so when you find one, you will find the others as well). All these stores represent Finnish design (some international as well). Liike and Asuna have labels from different designers, so you get very wide overview of Finnish contemporary fashion in these stores. My favourite label in Liike is “Miun” – I have so many dresses designed and made by them! Also other labels are very interesting. Since smallish labels, you can be pretty sure others will not have the same outfit than you when buying from these small stores. 2OR+BYYAT is more “international”. Their collection is sold worldwide but the brand is based in Helsinki. I especially like their leather designs.

After lots of cloths it is time for some old books – antiquarian books shop Hagelstam opposite of Liike is really worth for visiting. When you have had enough books continue along Fredrikinkatu – after one block you find tiny Fredrikintori market place (map 4) . This time there were flowers, sometimes there are antiquity furniture or vegetables. Right after Fredrikintori market place you find vintage store Ruuturouva (map 5) – that is fun place to drop by and find some vintage bags, shoes and dresses.


And after all this shopping you need some nutrition for you soul – for that you have to continue walking Fredrikinkatu and turn left to Merimiehenkatu. At the corner of Fredrikinkatu and Merimiehenkatu you find very cute candy store called Roobertin Herkku (map 6). That is a great place to stop by and buy some sweets. With mouth full of candy continue along Merimiehenkatu towards beautiful Johanneksen Kirkko (Johannes Church) (map 7). If doors are open, you may wonder around there, if not, just admire this 19th century church outside.


Still some energy left? Continue to Annankatu. You find old Finnish tableware and other oldish Finnish design from not so fancy antique store at Annankatu 8 (map 8). After popping by continue to the corner of Annankatu and Uudenmaankatu. There you find Formverk (map 9) where you can find nice and handy items for home. After Formverk walk few meters right along Uudenmaankatu and you find Ivana Helsinki, Finnish women cloths designed by Paola Suhonen (map 10). I strongly recommend visit there (also downstairs). I have bought many dresses from there. Next to Ivana there is Punavuoren Peikko which has cute kids clothing offering.

After all shopping, best place to enjoy Helsinki is Ruttopuisto (official name of this park is Vanha Kirkkopuisto) which you find when walking along Annanatu towards north (map 11). However, there might be some Pokemon hunters who will disturb your resting like Marjo wrote earlier


If you are hungry, there are many good restaurants near by, I would recommend Soil which I have written before of something in the corner of Ruttopuisto – for example Gaijin with modern Asian flavors or Italian style Toscanini (both situated in Bulevardi, walk along Bulevardi towards Mannerheimintie and you will find them) are great choices.

And even mainly shopping the whole day you have also seen some of the most beautiful neibourhoods of Helsinki – many great buildings along your way – hope you have noticed also them!



Weekend Getaway: Copenhagen

Sometimes, as much as we’re fond of her, we want to get away from Helsinki. Like this past weekend, when we chose beautiful Copenhagen, to visit friends who’ve moved there.

We’d booked a super-central flat through AirBnB for six. Bit of a posh location, easily within walking distance from the center of the action. With some early-bird flight tickets, the weekend ended up being more than reasonably priced, too.

Friday: Snowfall

Tuborg_julebryg_hat.jpgWe’d chosen to arrive on the day when the snow falls. On other words, J-dag, the first Friday in November, when Tuborg’s Julebryg Christmas brew is launched in all bars at 20:59. That means it’s definitely a party all around, with plenty of commercial silliness, cheap drinks and liters upon liters of dark Christmas beer. Imagine a Nordic St. Patrick’s, in blue instead of green.

Tuborg_julebryg.jpgIn 2016, it’ll be  4 November. If you’re going, remember to stock up on Santa hats, beanies, bunny ears, capes, bow ties, t-shirts, stewardess’ skirts and more. Bunny ears especially seemed to attract attention, right to the point of people offering to buy them off your head . If you fancy making a quick buck 200 DKK seemed to be the going rate.

Saturday: Foodfest

Sparvejen.jpgTo regain our strength we went for lunch at one of our all-time Copenhagen favorites — Sporvejen – that offers some of the best burgers in all of CPH, along with some quality craft beers. What makes the place special, apart from the food, is the lovely service and the absolutely lovely décor.

IMG_9997For anyone from Helsinki, trams are a key symbol of our city, and although CPH did away with theirs decades ago, this one has survived. The place feels like you stepped into a tram that’s parked inside a building. Inside, it’s small tables and a near-intact tram interior, complete with old tram seats and old-time advertising. Outside there’s tables for bigger groups, with heat-lamps and blankets, so you can enjoy your meal outdoors too. Sporvejen’s very kid-friendly, as well, so if you’re travelling with kids, make sure to look them up on Gråbrødretorv, right off of Strøget.

The rest of the day we spent shopping and sightseeing around, Nyhavn, the Round Tower (Rundetaarn) etc. before heading for dinner at the Australian-themed Tight.

Tight_copenhagen.jpgThe place proved to be pretty nice. The envy-inducing Flank steak as well as mussels proved to be the best mains. The burger wasn’t really up to its rep, especially after Sporvejen. In the evening we also did a quick hop over to the hipper Østerbro neighborhood before returning to the city.

Lazy Sunday 
Fiskebar_food.jpgOn Sunday, we headed west, to Copenhagen’s very own meat-packing district — Kødbyen — as hip as its NY namesake and a brilliant brunch at Kødbyens Fiskebar. Oysters for starters, followed by mussels and more. Tasty, super-fresh. Definitely worth a visit if you’re around.

IMG_0306.JPGIMG_0315.JPGWe followed that with a beer-tasting at the neighboring Warpigs craft beer and bbq bar with some Mikkeller and 3 Floyds beers. It’d be easy to spend the whole day in Kødbyen, especially if you come on a street-food Sunday (we didn’t). If you’re feeling peckish, Warpigs has the most protein-rich Bloody Mary we’ve ever seen. (Hint, it comes in a stein, with bratwurst, pork, pickles and more.)

To finish the day, we had some going-away smørrebrøds and did some last minute shopping back in the City.

Then it was down to the metro, and 20 minutes later we were at the Airport. Convenient, fast and back in Helsinki by midnight. Not bad for a weekend getaway.

So, whether you do as locals do and head for the countryside or choose to go abroad to another Nordic or Baltic Capital, or even St. Pete for that matter, you’re continuing a local tradition. Helsinki is well connected.

Find all places on Foursquare/Swarm
Heidi’s Bier Bar
Tørst Bar
Cafe Bopa

Kødbyens Fiskebar