Rovaniemi, a hometown of Finnish Santa – Joulupukki, is one of the most touristic places in Finland. The food scene is diverse and unique, and I was surprised with the abundance of restaurans in such a small city. If you have a hard time choosing between Rovaniemi restaurants, here are some ideas where to have breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as some delicious cocktails.
REINDEER SANDWICH AND BEER AT RAVINTOLA ROKA
Ravintola Roka is a bistro and street food restaurant which offers Lappish specialities, typical Finnish foods as well as international dishes. Me and my boyfriend ordered the Reindeer ‘Wich, Roka special ‘Wich, Roka fries with roasted garlic mayo for the side and two beers from local brewery Lapin Panimo.
I had the reindeer sandwich, and it was delicious and very filling. The meet is not a steak or patty, but a traditional Finnish way of cooking reindeer meet – poronkäristys (sauteed reindeer). If you would like to try reindeer meet for a reasonable price, Roka is a great place! Sandwich costs 13 €, while main course of reindeer filet will cost 42 €.
Address: Ainonkatu 3LH2, 96200 Rovaniemi
TACOS AND COCKTAILS AT YUCA
Yuca is a Mexican restaurant that specializes in homemade tacos and other Mexican dishes. I was so excited to see a Mexican restaurant here in Rovaniemi! The restaurant was established with help of a Mexican couple, so I was ready to try some authentic tacos with Lappish twist!
We ordered four tacos each out of eight options in the menu. I got pork, chicken, mushroom and salmon tacos, which cost 3,60-3,90 € per piece. My favorite ones were pork and salmon. For drinks, I wanted to try Mezcalito al Pastor cocktail (9,50 €) and it was really delicious and beautifully presented. Moreover, the restaurant has a nice vibe and stylish decorations. Overall, our experience in Yuca was fantastic!
Address: Rovakatu 21, 96200 Rovaniemi
CAFE & BAR 21
Cafe & Bar 21 is the neighbor of Yuca and has same owner. It is a modern cafe, restaurant and a cocktail bar in the city center of Rovaniemi. Its menu offers lots of food choices: salty and sweet waffles, premium salads, filled potatoes, salmon soup and tapas to pair with extensive cocktail menu.
My boyfriend and I have visited Cafe & Bar 21 twice, since we liked it very much! First time, we came for cocktails and tapas, and second time -for dinner.
Cocktails and Lappish tapas
Cafe & Bar 21 has a big cocktail menu of 14 drinks, plus serves other seasonal cocktails. I have ordered espresso martini, and my boyfriend ordered winter special – Glögi (warm Christmas drink) with Finnish gin Kyrö. After that, we ordered Lappish tapas plate to share. It consisted of fresh grav lax (cured salmon), reindeer sausage & lingonberry jam, house mustard, rye chips with smoked salmon and smoked reindeer cream, Lappish squeaky cheese (leipäjuusto) & cloudberry jam.
My espresso martini was really good and the presentation is so ‘instagrammable’:) Lappish tapas were extremely fresh and paired perfectly with jams ans creams. Definitely try some of these specialties when in Lapland!
At the time we came to Cafe & Bar 21 for dinner, they had pasta bolognese as their month’s specials, so I wanted to try it! My boyfriend ordered filled potatoes with salmon – quite popular dish in Finland. Pasta was great, and came with complimentary bread and butter. Also, restaurant had promotion on sparkling wine (a glass for 3,50 €), so I paired my pasta with some bubbly. To sum up, if you hesitate which Rovaniemi restaurant to choose – definitely come to Cafe & Bar 21!
Address: Rovakatu 21, 96200 Rovaniemi
BREAKFAST BUFFET AND LUNCH AT HOSTEL CAFE KOTI
Hostel Cafe Koti is a hostel in the city center of Rovaniemi, which also has a cafe on the first floor. Cafe serves breakfast and lunch during weekdays, breakfast and brunch during weekends and operates as a bar during evenings. We have tried breakfast buffet and soup of the day for lunch at Hostel Cafe Koti.
Breakfast buffet is quite rich, and has oatmeal porridge, which you can top up with berries, jam and seeds. In addition, they have muesli and granola to mix with milk or yogurt. Further, you can choose from homemade and toast breads and make a sandwich with cold cuts, cheese, boiled eggs and vegetables.
Watermelon was a nice addition to the breakfast. There are coffee, tea, juices and water available for drinks, as well as some cookies for dessert. The price for breakfast is 8,50 €, but it would be 7,50 € if you stay at the hostel. Breakfast is served since 7 am, so it is one of few places to eat in Rovaniemi pretty early before early flight or train, for instance.
The main course of the lunch is different every day and menu changes weekly. You can check it out on the website and choose which day you want to go. The lunch always includes salad buffet, bread and spreads, fruits, tea and coffee. We were lucky to try creamy reindeer soup during one of the lunches – it was delicious! Moreover, cafe has a very cozy atmosphere, books and games, and feels like koti (which means “home” in Finnish).
Lunch price is 9,50 €, and you can have it every weekday from 11.00 to 15.00. In addition, you can also purchase pastries and specialty coffee throughout the day and have a tasty brunch in relaxed homey atmosphere on weekends.
Address: Valtakatu 21, 96200 Rovaniemi
To conclude, I would like to recommend all these Rovaniemi restaurants to the visitors of the city. I hope you can experience traditional Finnish and Lappish cuisines, as well as international treats and delicious drinks. Safe travels!