First things first: Finnish people love rye bread (read: very, very dark rye bread). One nationally beloved variant is the sweet-and-sour Archipelago bread, baked with rye malt and syrup. Apart from the classics that remain untouchable, the bread-crazed Finns are not afraid to experiment with recipes and baking methods. According to the season, loaves, pies, and cakes are updated with rhubarb, berries, carrots, and beetroot – to mention but a few.
Many of the bakeries in Helsinki sell coffee too. Indeed, take an early stroll through the city and you’re sure to sniff out two distinct smells: coffee and cinnamon rolls. Although cinnamon rolls, often huge and covered with nib sugar, are traditionally served with a glass of cold milk, coffee complements the treat equally well.
To start your day like a true Helsinkian, head to any one of these bakeries, stock up on bread, bring home to be swiped with butter, and accompany with black coffee.
Anton & Anton
Anton & Anton has two grocery stores in the city, that sell fresh vegetables, meat, fish, to-go lunches, and plenty of baked goods. The brand delivers simple luxury for discerning, eco-conscious consumers. Their harmonious, Scandinavian aesthetics are pleasing to the eye, but they also fulfill a functional purpose: feeding you! Make sure to try their melt-in-your-mouth almond croissants.
→ Mariankatu 8
→ Kapteeninkatu 26
When in a mood for nostalgia, head to Ekberg, the oldest bakery & pâtisserie in town. This place has been around since 1852 and is an institution. It’s definitely more upmarket than your average bun shop, though Ekberg still has a heartfelt atmosphere that is completed with a wide range of sweet and salty treats. Professionally crafted delicacies include quiches, cinnamon rolls, and petit fours.
The quality-conscious regulars who have been enjoying Ekberg for decades give the place an authenticity. Getting served at Ekberg’s can require a little patience, but then again why not take that time to enjoy the finer things in life? Like nibbling on a macaron while mastering the art of people watching.
→ Bulevardi 9
This tiny artisan bakery is every city dweller’s dream-come-true. As the name implies, Helsinki Homemade’s mission is to provide handmade and locally baked products. The production chain is straightforward with organic flours coming from Malmgård State in Loviisa and the rest of the ingredients being carefully picked from the Old Market Hall in Eteläranta (a stone throw away from the bakery). At Helsinki Homemade, aspiring bakers can purchase flours or rustic granola for their own kitchen endeavors. Oh, and cute seasonal gift baskets are sold as well!
To ensure everything is fresh from the oven, the bakery makes a new round of baguettes, cinnamon rolls, and Karelian pies twice a day. On top of their everyday selection, Helsinki Homemade carries a flavourful bread of the day.
The weekend specialties include scones and banana bread. If the weather is nice, tiny tables are set outside, which makes up a great spot for both eating and – most importantly – petting the passing dogs.
→ Cygnaeuksenkatu 6
Kanniston Leipomo is a classic bakery. Its original location in Punavuori delighted locals for over a hundred years, then in 2008 it spread joy and opened six new spots. This dedicated bakery proves that basic, thoughtfully selected components make amazing comfort food; take wholesome multigrain bread topped with apricot, nuts, and seeds, for instance.
As you can’t hurry love, Kanniston Leipomo appreciates authentic methods and slow processes.
They favor organic, homegrown flours and all-natural ingredients free from artificial additives. If you have a dietary restriction, worry not! You are sure to find something suitable from their wide selection. Whether you decide to go for the whole cake, a modest slice, or a bag full of rolls, the prices are always friendly.
→ Runeberginkatu 32
→ Yliopistonkatu 7
→ Kaarlenkatu 13
→ Siltasaarenkatu 11
→ Annankatu 20
→ Munkkiniemen puistotie 1
Karl Fazer Café
Starting in 1891 as a fashionable French-Russian konditori, Karl Fazer Café carries an admirable legacy. The café & bakery shop has held on tight to its original premises in downtown Helsinki, where the milieu still echoes some old-time charm. The delicatessen has takeaway treats such as breads, pastries, and hand-made chocolates whereas the café is a busy meeting spot for those seeking brunch. Everything is made and packed on the premise.
The founder of Karl Fazer Café, businessman and sport shooter Karl Otto Fazer, also gave his name to the best-known Finnish chocolate brand, nowadays sold at every grocery store and kiosk across the country. For many Finns, Fazer Blue chocolate is the first thing they miss when abroad.
→ Kluuvikatu 3
Levain pays homage to Scandinavian baking traditions and while also celebrating continental cuisine. As one of the top destinations for sourdough bread, San Francisco’s Tartine has influenced Levain’s baking philosophy. No matter how the wind howls outside, Levain’s hearty slabs of bread and savory pastries will make it okay. Baked in masonry oven until dark, every loaf of artisanal bread and pastry is uniquely beautiful here. Satisfy your hunger with the generously filled sandwiches or spoil yourself with the caramel custard tart, pastel de nata, Portugal’s puffy and creamy gift to the world.
If you like freshly baked bread on your dinner table, Levain is your choice – they keep their oven busy throughout the day. Bonus points for gluten-free and vegan options!
→ Runeberginkatu 29
Patisserie Teemu Aura
Patisserie Teemu Aura is hands down the trendiest bakery in town. In the middle of a brutal concrete jungle, the staff welcome you with open, tattooed arms. Here, organic, gluten-free, and vegan options are basic requirements.
If you’re looking for Scandinavian classics with an exotic twist, try Teemu Aura’s trademark: cinnamon rolls and tapioca curd buns with salty licorice powder sprinkled on top.
On a summer day, you can purchase hot dog buns, collect your favorite toppings from the neighboring food hall, and head for a picnic in the nearby Tokoinranta Park. Make sure to grab some colorful macaroons for dessert!
→ Siltasaarenkatu 12
St. George Bakery
St. George Bakery is home to beautiful, crispy baguettes and rich, buttery pastries. The highlights, however, are sandwiches built on Finnish rieska – unleavened bread traditionally made from barley, oats, or potato flours. As the bread itself is thin, rieska pairs well with fillings like shrimp salad.
The bakery operates under the same name and roof as Hotel St. George, together with a restaurant, bar, and spa. Opened in 2018, St. George is the latest addition in a line of exclusive boutique hotels in Helsinki. Sightseers and shoppers, families and business people all appreciate the central location. The place already has a steady client base, consisting mostly of business-minded creatives and start-up wunderkinds holding casual meetings about their next tech ventures.
Grab a quick bite to take with you as you explore the city, or take in the vibrant and cool atmosphere over a long, leisurely breakfast.
→ Yrjönkatu 13
Way Bakery & Bar
Way Bakery & Bar is a local hangout in Kallio neighborhood, famous for its sourdough bread which is close to perfection. The interior has a homey feel and, given the limited number of seats, the atmosphere is intimate. On Saturdays, you can expect to see people enjoying seasonal pastries while immersed in a book or a magazine.
The daily closing times vary depending on when the place runs out of baked goods. You can swing by for breakfast or lunch and even opt for a late afternoon coffee break, but note that this place often closes by 4 pm. So if you have a sweet tooth or plans to stock up on bread loaves, make sure to go there early – or else you might leave empty-handed!
→ Agricolankatu 9