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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Sea Horse is a pure Finnish melting pot.

Sea Horse is a pure Finnish melting pot.

Sea Horse is one of the oldest restaurants in Helsinki. It opened in 1934 and has been a favourite of sailors, workers, artists and locals. The Jazz legend Dizzy gillespie once visited the place and had the fried herring, which I also like alot. He ate everything and run into the kitchen demanding more. I can undertand his reaction.

The menu is rich with Finnish specialities, pure food made of natures best ingredients, with a genereous spoon of butter for that extra rich taste.

The fresco on the wall was according to the legend either done by a starving student or by students breaking in one late night. It was painted in the 1940's and is actually very trendy by modern measures.

Sea Horse has an interesting nick name it is called Sikala, which is Finnish for 'animal house', the Belushi style or a simply a place where you get really drunk and outrageous. The nickname does the place little justice. It is a friendly place without frills, the clientele is a mix of locals and foreigners. The service is down to earth. In my experience people who come here, talk about big and small issues, while having a solid meal or some drinks.

The menu is a nice mix of meat and fish. I prefer the fish side of the menu. This time I had my favourite, their fried herring on top of mashed potatoes. This culinary experience is honest, the real thing. It tried to capture it hereFried Baltic herring a Sea Horse speciality. It comes with pickled beet root on the side with some dill as garnish. Four ingredients resulting in a full stomac.

Another classic, a bit more sophisticated is the Kuhaa Marski, which is a tribute to the late Marshal Mannerheim, who was a founding father of the state of Finland. Mannerheim was not only an awesome soldier, but also a great gourmet. I guess the dish Kuhaa Marski is an adaptation of the Kuhaa Walewska, the classic favourite of the Marshal, served i numerous restaurants in Finland.

If you are in Finland and want to experience the true Finland, without any tourist frills, go to 'Sikala' and order fried herring, just like the thousands of locals do every year for the past 74 years.

08:51 PM in Play, Restaurants | Permalink


That is great-looking wall painting! I must have something like that painted in my living room...

Posted by: Joona Petrell at Apr 2, 2004 2:28:15 AM

Hi. We met briefly at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. Thanks so much for the pictures and recommendations (especially cafes and restaurants) in Helsinki. It is helpful to put a face to a place before I go. I look forward to my trip to Helsiniki this summer. (I am interested in understanding the culture generally but especially around innovation in Scandinavia --also visiting Stockholm and Estonia).

Posted by: Evelyn Rodriguez at Apr 18, 2004 1:20:09 AM

I think I ate there years ago

Posted by: Dallas Texas at Jul 15, 2005 11:37:39 AM

i visited sea horse in the early 70's with a Finnish friend of mine who lived on kapteeninkatu. even then, the fish dishes were prepared better than the meat dishes. i believe this holds true today in most finnish restaurants due to the methods of raising beef in Scandinavian countries. Back in those days, however, we were always more interested in the beer, wine, and those uniquely Finnish alcohol concoctions, than the food itself. Today, if my stomach is any measure, food has won out. MOI, TERVE.

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