29.7.2014 Gourmet food in worker´s town –style “Black sausage is the only gourmet food that you can eat while wearing a cap. “ The food that Tampere is known is black sausage. It is pig blood sausage with rye. “It has to be enjoyed with lingonberry jam and semi skimmed milk, otherwise the experience isn’t same.” Said an original citizen couple. If I list top 10 Tampere things black sausage must be there in top 3. Now I´ll tell you how to eat it like locals.
Step by step HOW TO EAT BLACK SAUSAGE IN RIGHT WAY 1. Choose the place. Tampere is split to two fields; some love the traditional noisy Tammelantori market and the others support ´Alaranta´ Laukontori market. Both have their own good sides: Tammelantori wins in atmosphere and Laukontori with lake landscape. During the winters citizens take cover at an indoor market and enjoy the sausages there. There are pigeons in Tammela and gulls in Laukontori. If the black sausage will be an once in a lifetime´-chance you must eat it in the market.
2. Queue calmly. The gourmet food is popular also among of locals. Often the whole family comes to enjoy.
3. Are you hungry or super hungry? It’s sold by telling how much you’ll pay for your portion. The sausage is quite cheap but filling. For tasting take one euro portion and for two euros it serves as a lunch. Drink ice cold semi-skimmed, never non-fat milk.
4. Enjoy by sitting on a paving or traditionally eat it by standing. With this food you CAN eat mouth open, that´s why we have birds in a market. 5. You are ready to access to surrounding market so thank yourself of a brilliant choice and throw papers to rubbish bin. If you are vegetarian or salty yummy don´t inspire, wander around the market. There is huge selection of everything: raw food salads in Bööna, fish, ethnic food. Winner of ethnic places is Malaysian restaurant Borneo. Yesterday I tried Veijon Kokkitykki fish restaurant in right side of Tammelantori. Regulars and critics praise Veijo´s place. “Fresh simply fish with level-headed prices.” Veijo himself was really nice guy and he told me about his business. “I’ve always done this. We are open also in the winter-time; beastly weather doesn’t stop us” I ate fish selection of day. There was everything: pike, vendace, flounder rolls even salmon omelet. Customers got a creamy soup for a starter but for me that was already too much. Portions were quite big which is understandable because of the location next to market. But I enjoyed. Atmosphere was like our cottage in Lapland; hand crafted food, cute family pictures on the walls and warm smiley people. Finnish market is must-experience on site, especially because of food.
30.7.2014 How to focus on everything surrounding? Attention chowhounds! This is your paradise. 39 stands are full of all you need from everyday services to specialties. Tampere Market Hall doesn’t leave your belly to trouble but you have to be able to choose from all these booths. There are both high end crafted products and suitable prices. Here even hot dogs get market twist.
Nowadays when we have very clinical supermarkets and processed food, ecological and non-additive food has found its lovers. Market hall is must place for them who like to know exactly what kind of food they eat. “Eco food” is healthier, tastes better and is better for environment than mass produced food. Here you really know what you are buying and experts will always help you with your purchase.
They have said Tampere Market Hall is one of the best market halls in Finland. At least it is the biggest in Nordic Countries. The market hall was established in 1901. Architecture is from those days. I love the edgy stone walls, tight pavements and shadowy light. Take notice of Main door´s decoration. There is two statues of Mercuries, god of merchants. Architect Hjalmar Ånberg has done brilliant work. Practical yet beautiful.
The market hall is protected because of its cultural value. Did you know that the markets of Tampere where so chaotic that the indoor market was established to calm down situation. You won’t find here fine-dining places. This is not a secret: the best restaurant in Tampere is Neljä vuodenaikaa (four seasons) in the market hall. Yes. You don’t have to pay hundreds of euros for fine-dining dinner. Neljä vuodenaikaa combine French and Finnish food in new way. They have also specialties like fresh made hot dogs. You should really try these
Market hall will impress you with its original atmosphere. I just wandered around. So much to experience! Would I stop to enjoy fresh baked cake? Would I watch shining fishes in tables? This is yet again one of my first world problems..
30.7.2014 Tampere -What to eat if you have restrictions? Food. The element that usually keeps our bodies going. Most foods here in Finland are made automatically low lactose or lactose free nowadays. That’s probably because more and more people are getting diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Most allergens can be spotted on the menu, in the ingredients of the food and at least if you open your mouth and ask. Some allergies can be even fatal, for example fish and nuts are considered as such. My own restriction is only annoying. I’m allergic to cereal, and not just one or two, rice is the only one that doesn’t affect me at all. This makes it quite hard to find a suitable place to eat out, luckily you can always ask. Sadly, it is pretty difficult to look for a place to eat in advance, because all restaurants don’t tell on their websites if the foods contain lactose or gluten. Restaurants do seem to tell most ingredients of the foods on the menus, but if they tell the food has “sauce” of some sort on the side, no customer can tell what it contains. The city centre of Tampere has a wide variety of restaurants. So whether you want Japanese, Nordic, salads or just plain old fast food, there is something available. Luckily there are also a lot of places that do consider food restrictions very well indeed. On Aleksis Kiven Katu there is a small coffee shop Kaffila that offers many different gluten free products to go with your coffee. In Tampere Market Hall you can also find the only totally gluten free bakery in Tampere, Viljaton Valinta. Today I learned that most of their products are suitable for me too. They use a flour mix that contains rice, potato and maize. The maize is a bit of a risk for me, but if I don’t make a habit of it, I’ll be fine.So I got a couple of salmon rolls along to have a taste. Just a couple of hundred yards away from the Central Square is the Viking Restaurant Harald. Their list has a notion on it that says most foods they serve can be made low lactose or even lactose free and also gluten free. This seems to be the case nowadays in many places, when asked at least. Today we took a tour around the Tampere Market Hall with my co-worker Siina. Our goal was to test the lunch possibilities there. Siina is a vegetarian, which was an additional challenge to find a restaurant that suited both of us. And eventually we ended up with getting our foods in different places. Still we ate at the same table. We had passed the new Japanese restaurant Umami while walking around the Market Hall and I couldn’t get it off my mind. So I headed there to get my lunch to go. When I got there and asked what their “omakase” contained, they told me it is actually chef’s choice, but if there are any restrictions or allergies those would be taken into account. So even if you’re a vegetarian you could get your sushi here. All the foods are made from fresh ingredients before the customers own eyes so you practically see how the food is handled. The fish is mostly from Kalaherkut Nygren, which also is located in the Market Hall, so the portions are dependant of what sort of fish there is available each day. The chef, Liqun Zhang, wore gloves while doing the portions. Points for the hygiene! The portion was rich and colourful. It contained one slightly roasted salmon nigiri, two Japanese omelette rolls and various vegetable makis. So what I got was fresh and good-looking, but most of all heavenly tasty! Siina found her portion from Kauppahallin Kotilounas. The dish was a lasagnette made with sundried tomatoes. To be honest, it looked tempting to me too and probably was at least three times as big as mine. Kauppahallin Kotilounas is a student friendly restaurant. All dishes are available for students for 5 euros. I have to say that the normal prizes are not too high either. Everything was under ten euros. The larger sushi sets in Umami go a bit beyond ten, but that is still cheap if you consider the fancier a’la carte-restaurants. The ten bits I had were totally enough. I’ll probably be hungry again when I get home, but it is said it’s healthier to eat a little at a time but more often. So this is a great excuse for me to brew a nice cup of French-like coffee to go with my salmon roll. More lunch adventures of the foodwisely restricted during this week! -Nina
31.7.2014 The city of ideas In the end of 18th century entrepreneurial people noticed chances which had hidden in the shadow of rapids. Finland belonged to Sweden those days. Kustaa III king of Sweden established Tampere. The city was a testing ground for entrepreneur-free city. Everyone was able to try their luck by the river. An improvement went on and on; Finlayson came, many factories were established, the “Northern Manchester” was born. Tampere still offers chances to everybody. Many good products have come from Tampere even today and they are developed in citizens minds all the time. We have really interested attitude towards new innovations. This summer I became inspired for new lunch restaurant Tom & Crill.
At last quality food for fair prices. No frills with milieu and food, always friendly personnel. What could be better? Tom & Crill lunch restaurant was established in 2013 autumn. Catering firm of Tom & Crill had already acted some years with success. Entrepreneur Tomi Koskenniska knew the ploys of the restaurant world yet being on his own have done well. Yesterday I was eating a lunch in Tom & Crill and Koskenniska who is the Main Chef of restaurant sat down to neighboring table. We had a very interesting conversation during lunch. By chilly-spiced soup he started to tell me: “I have been high-level restaurants´ main chef like Hotel Ilves. After seven years in Ilves I decided to go and look for new challenges.” Okay. But how it’s possible to serve three dishes lunch with so level-headed prices? Yesterday I ate a plentiful salad table, fresh crispy bread, salmon with tartar sauce and dessert. I wasn’t able to eat starter soup. I was too full. “I use season´s ingredients and I have a power to decide what kind of food I prepare” He told. Then I asked eco things: “Local food is media’s idea. It was invented already in years of war. Sometimes is hard to see which is more ethical. The same coin has two sides: Our zander from Näsijärvi Lake costs five times more than fishes from abroad. Why?”
Tom & Crill has both famous chowhounds like our University’s hospital TAYS´ main doctors and workers of construction site. Relaxed atmosphere keeps doors open for everyone. Location in edgy functional style house next to Koskikeskus mall is original. “ We are so popular that we have moved a back wall three times to get more space for customers.“ Koskenniska laughed. My personal hope is that Tom & Crill will stay the same even though it has success and will be able to grow up. Intimate area, excellent diverse lunch and awesome quality-price ratio have made it a wonderful place. Believe in yourself. This is the way this city was built. It takes hard work, you will be helped on your way, but in the end you have to believe in yourself to get the prize.
1.8.2014 Lunchtime magic around the east side of Hämeenkatu When you look at Tampere from Hämeensilta towards the railway station, you are probably unaware that you’re actually looking at the richest and most variable restaurant district in Tampere. You could almost talk of the Cornucopia of Tampere. There are quite a few restaurants along Hämeenkatu itself, but the variety rises into completely different spheres if you take a side step into the blocks around.
Because of the restrictions that my diet forces on me, I left out all pizzerias and other Italian restaurants. Starting from my workplace there were many high quality Italians along the way. Tammerinpuiston Trattoria, Como, Dennis (that originated in Turku) and the most famous pizzeria in Tampere, Napoli, just to mention a few. They actually do serve gluten free pizza in Napoli, but I don’t know the ingredients in their dough just yet, so I decided to pass it this time. There are many different experiences to treat your taste buds with. There is a taste of Spain in the form of tapas bar Inez or the legendary Bodega Salud. Salud changed its owner earlier this year and I haven’t been able to visit it after the change. The feedback from customers has stayed mostly positive though, so I suppose it is still worth its reputation. For those who crave for a taste of the continent of North America there are different options in the form of texmex, wings and a culinary mixture of the Big Apple-spirit. The biggest hit in texmex restaurant Pancho Villa are the hamburgers, even though they have a variety of other foods available as well. I decided not to tempt myself with the hamburgers that are actually my most desired offlimits-foods beside pizzas. Sticky Wingers was not open yet, so it will have to wait its turn for later. Siipiweikot, the oldest wing restaurant in Tampere offers their sauces at the local stores as well. New York, the taste of Big Apple in the middle of Tampere, got renovated a while ago. At some point I need to check it out again, but not while it still is so hot. Heavy foods don’t mix well with high temperatures. Lighter parts of the lunch platter are the various coffee houses that offer salads and different sorts of breads. Wayne’s Coffee offers also baked potatoes during lunch time. My favourite, or should I say my living room outside home, is Café Europa. There are great lunch salads available in addition to the normal list. Siilinkari has been a part of the traditional coffee house culture in Tampere since 1960, so I can recommend a visit there as well. I usually treat myself with some specialty coffee there, since there are such exciting brews available. The newest additions to the salad bars are PureBite and Greli. Greli is concentrated on lunch salads and fulfilling customers’ wishes, but trying not to get categorized to any specific customer segment. PureBite says it offers pure food with an Asian twist. Other oriental tastes in the area come from Japan, Thailand, India and China. There is also Asian fusion kitchen Masu. Japanese restaurant Watami Sushi is located next to the orthodox church of Tampere. I decided to skip the Japanese due to the visit to Umami yesterday. Thai restaurant Faasai in Koskipuisto is the only completely Thai on this side of Tammerkoski. There is also Thai & Laos restaurant Nittaya in Suvantokatu. Due to the weather I decided against the Indian restaurants New Swagath and Namaste. I would probably have started to consider jumping into Tammerkoski because of the heat. It will have to wait for the winter when I need the warmth. There are very different sorts of Chinese restaurants around. The Lotus Garden in Rongankatu is the fine dining part of the Chinese food culture. Last time I was there I had duck and my avec had giant tiger shrimps. Both portions were absolutely delicious. So if you want something hot but fancy, I recommend Lotus Garden. Most Chinese restaurants have a lunch buffet, but I was so late with my search for food that it wasn’t really an option anymore. Besides I was starting to hear the call of take away food. So my target became The Little Chinese, Pikkukiinalainen, or officially Ngyuen Cao Su. There were a couple of groups eating there, which is quite rare. Most people consider it a take away restaurant, myself included. The restaurant is small, but it has a tip in the competition. The food is extremely tasty and affordable as well. And the portions are massive. I eat from one portion usually three meals. This time I got Chicken Beijing, cost 6,50€ (take away prize). Suitably hot, a bit sweet and a bit sour. Simply great food. And in addition, it is also a safe option for a person with restrictions, such as me, since they use mostly maize in their sauces instead of wheat.
There is no sensible way to tell about all the different restaurants in the area. It is better if you go and take a look for yourself around the restaurant district of Tampere. I can assure you, you won’t be short of options! -Nina
4.8.2014 The restaurants of Finlayson The Finlayson area is a part of the history of Tampere, but also a cultural centre and has also many restaurants to try. You could almost say that the Finlayson area is a miniature version of all the restaurants in Tampere. When you walk into the Finlayson area through the gate, the first thing you see on the left is Plevna. It is the most German restaurant in Tampere. Their specialties are their hand made sausages and locally crafted beers, just like in an authentic German Bierstube. Whenever I start to miss Germany too much I head for Plevna. Of course the menu consists of more than just sausages and everything is made of quality ingredients, with love. Due to my diet, I have to leave some of the tasties to other people, but there is quite a large variety of gluten free foods. And instead of beer you can always enjoy their ciders or try the mead. Onwards from Plevna the next thing you see is the terrace of Tivoli smørrebrød & øl. On the inside you can enjoy the authentic Danish atmosphere in the form of a smørrebrød. It is a Danish sandwich, and very unlike the club sandwiches most people think of. The restaurant offers the sandwiches also available lactose free and gluten free. And there are something for the vegetarians as well. Near Tivoli you can find Classic American Diner. This place is worth a visit just to see the interior! The whole place is a trip back to the 50s. Many of the hamburgers on the list can be made gluten free and many dishes on the list are either lactose free or low in lactose. The menu consists of salads, sandwiches and steaks in addition to the hamburgers. There are some dishes that suit vegetarians as well. Right next door to Classic American Diner is Speakeasy. The most famous speakeasy in the city! Also for many people THE place to eat wings. Available on the list are burgers and sandwiches, so the options for restricted people are a bit slim. Luckily, the wings are always alright! Then there are the Italian restaurant Bella Roma, Indian restaurant Taj and coffee shops Nostalgia and Pala Café. Bella Roma offers quite a lot of other dishes in addition to pizzas and pastas. Italy is also known for the risottos and on the a’la carte list there is a variety of poultry, beef, pork and fish. If you’re craving for something hot and spicy, you should head for Taj. Like all Indian restaurants, most of Taj’s foods are lactose and gluten free. Some lighter lunch is offered by the coffee shops, including salads, baked potatoes and soups. Especially nice the coffee shops are for desserts, but for cereal allergics and those with coeliac disease I recommend a visit to Tampere Ice Cream Factory’s ice cream bar stand. They at least can offer ice cream without a waffle. Right next to the ice cream bar is the restaurant of the day. The Grill. This time we went there with a larger group of the workmates. The lunch was mostly basic Finnish homely fare. Not exactly a heaven for vegetarians, since there was only a cheese salad available. The normal list also consisted another cheese salad, with a different cheese. The place, like its name kind of hints, is pretty much concentrated on meat. Almost all foods are low in lactose or lactose free. And the grilled dishes on the a’la carte list are mostly gluten free as well. On the lunch list everything was low in lactose and everything but the salad was also gluten free. I’m quite sure that the salad itself was gluten free, it was the bread that’s to blame. I think it would have been possible to order the salad without the bread. Instead I decided to try pork with mushrooms and root vegetables. The root vegetables in this case meant only potatoes and carrots. But they were seasoned with rosemary, my favourite herb, so I think I can live with this. On the positive side, there was a bright spot of colour on my plate as well. That was carrot purée with a broccoli on the side. So tasty looking colours that it looked almost like it was fresh from the garden! The pork was nice, not too big and surprisingly not too heavy either. The others seemed to enjoy their dishes as well. In addition to the salad and pork there were salmon and reindeer-root vegetable casserole available. So every item on the lunch list was tested and approved. The atmosphere in our group was a bit melancholic since this was a farewell lunch for two of our group. The girls were obviously moved when they got their gifts. Otherwise the place was charming, atmospheric and the service was great. I think I need to try the a’la carte someday. -Nina
5.6.2014 I’m on a boat! Tampere is strategically located between two large lakes and both of them have a harbour. And a harbour means ships, and not just any ships, I’m talking about restaurant ships. There are quite a lot of different sorts available in the ports of Tampere. First I headed to Ratina, since that is the Promised Land of restaurant ships within Tampere. Since my stomach was already telling me it’s about lunch time, I decided to start my tour from Gastrolaiva m/s Tampere. The boat is an old one that used to cruise between Tampere and Hämeenlinna. This summer it got a new life as a restaurant on Pyhäjärvi. They did dinner cruises on Pyhäjärvi in June and July, but now in August they cruise only if ordered in advance.
The menu was an intriguing combination of traditional Finnish mixed with Mediterranean flavours. The feta salad I ordered was not your every day salad, but any way you look at it, it was definitely delicious. Grilled vegetables, pine nuts, calamata-olives and rocket. All this alongside atmospheric soul-ish music and the lunch was pretty much perfect. Especially when it peaked at coffee, which was a special blend from Tampereen Paahtimo just for Gastrolaiva. Tastes from Nicaragua and Colombia suited my taste buds just fine.
The restaurant manager Miikka Murtoniemi told me that after they stopped the dinner cruises, people have found the restaurant just fine on the Ratina side of the port. That side of the bay is actually ideal place to have a ship. There is enough sunshine and warmth long in the evening. There are some challenges to run a cruising restaurant ship, but mostly everything is manageable. Next to Gastrolaiva there is Laituri, probably the sunniest terrace in Tampere. According to Murtoniemi Laituri is especially popular among a bit older people, around 30-ish. That is probably because the volume of the music is kept quite low and you can hear your own thoughts and have a proper discussion with your friends. The other neihgbour of Gastrolaiva is Little Joe. There is also food available in Joe, focaccia bread, pizzas and salads. The recipes were the result of a long planning process to get all the tastes just right. Their proud and joy in the ship is the Morelloforni pizza oven that was ordered from Italy. The oven has a circulating stone grate and all the stats can be adjusted from the circulation speed to the temperatures in the oven air and grate. When the stats are right the pizza will be ready in about two minutes or three rounds. The oven has also a grate in which they can burn wood. It is also used regularly. In addition of heating the oven it also provides a warm and cozy atmosphere in the ship.
The staff in Little Joe, waitress Jenny and cook Pauli, both enjoy working there. They say that the working environment is great and their co-operation works just fine. The smoothness of the service can also be noticed in the positive feedback from customers. Many people are overjoyed about the fact that the food is served to the tables. There is quite often also live music in Little Joe and more information about evetns can be found on their facebook-page. The sunshine that lasts long into the night seemed to suit the staff at Little Joe quite well. Many people stay on the ship until the small hours.
The next stop was on the other side of the bay in Laukontori. Suvi-laiva has stayed almost in the same spot since 1992. So basically it represents the summer spirit of Tampere at its most traditional way. The milieu in Suvi-laiva is described as a simple, sunny terrace. And people do seem to enjoy it. There are all sorts of people no matter the age or social status. There are enough people from the opening until the closing hours to form lines, especially on the warmer days. I take it as a sign of nice working environment when the waiter told me that he’s spent six or seven summers there already. They also told me that there mostly are no trouble in Suvi-laiva, unless someone suddenly wants to take a swim or a nap. Neither is recommended by the staff.
There is also a cruise available from Laukontori to Viikinsaari. This goes into the category of restaurant ships, because the ships have permission to serve alcohol and there is an a’la carte restaurant on the island itself. There is a possibility to many various activities on Viikinsaari. There is a summer theatre, a minigolf course, a couple of beaches (one with a sauna) and a nature trail around the island. It is really easy to enjoy outdoors on Viikinsaari. On the other side of Tampere there is Mustalahti Harbour. There are many events in the Mustalahti Harbour during the summer. Alongside Restaurant Kaisla and Coffee Shop Korte there are social gatherings, dance pavillion, perormances and musical events. Mustalahti is also the home harbour of the steamboat Tarjanne that cruises from Tampere to Virrat via Ruovesi. If you’re having a bicycle holiday Mustalahti Harbour could become very familiar to you. The Näsijärvi-route starts from Mustalahti Harbour. This means you can add a cruise into your bicycle route to have a little variation in your holiday. Tarjanne cruises start from Tampere every Wednesday and Friday at 10.15 and the return from Virrat start at the same time every Thursday and Saturday. There is also a coffee shop and a restaurant on Tarjanne, that offer snacks, lunch and a’la carte for the travellers, quite naturally the focus is on seafood dishes. Maybe next year I’ll find myself cruising to Virrat and cycling back to Tampere. -Nina