Our food experiences in Lapland, Finland
We spent one week in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland from 28th October to 4th November, living in an Airbnb flat. We were self-catering so had to go to shopping every day, bought foods and drinks for breakfast and dinner. Once in a day we ate hot meals in restaurants, it was a good opportunity for us to try different restaurants each day.
Diverse and delicious
Before our travel we were afraid of getting meals without any spices, expected lot of fish and potato, simply and tasteless meals. Despite of our expectations we’ve got really delicious meals. We tasted not only the Lappish cuisine, but also Chinese, Swedish, Russian and Mexican ones. Foods were tasty, portions and prices are correct.
In most of the restaurants we could find a smart and cheap solution: buffet lunch. Available on several places, price is 10-12 EUR and you can choose from lot of meals: soup, fresh cold salads, main courses and soft drinks, tea or coffee.
Shopping in supermarkets
Almost every day we went to shopping to K-supermarket, which is the most frequent food store in Rovaniemi. Selection of foods and quality is very high (I think more than in some UK supermarket), we could find delicious foods for breakfast or dinner: cold meats, tomato, paprika, salads, fresh crusty breads, rolls, biscuits, ice cream, yoghurt, fruit tea and many more… Prices are incredibly high (3-4 times more expensive) compare with those in the UK.
In supermarkets you can find the classical Lappish foods: smoked salmon, fresh salmon meat, reindeer, moose or bear salami, reindeer chips (dried smoked sausage), local fruit jams (blueberry, cloudberry, raspberry…), cheese and many more. Prices of reindeer, moose or bear meat products are rather high.
Fazer chocolates is the most common locally produced chocolate (from Vantaa, Helsinki), large selection on the shelves, worth to buy some bars for your loved one
Food experiences in Rovaniemi city center
Lordi square and shopping malls are popular spots in Rovaniemi , where in the neighbourhoods tourists and locals can find several very nice restaurants, cafés, eateries.
We taste-tested them:
Freija Cat Café (Freija Kissakahvila)
Xiang Long Chinese restaurant
Buffet lunch after lunchtime in Inari
Inari is a nice small town on the far North, with breathtaking landscapes, reindeers, about 50 cm thick of snow blanket at the end of October. It took about 5 hours to get there from Rovaniemi on the snowy and icy roads, driving about 370 km. Inari is the capital of Sami Land, with a nice museum and nature center of Siida, with a lovely restaurant inside, Sarrit. There is a lunch buffet every day from 11am to 3 pm.
The road to Inari was so snowy and slippery, so we had to drive carefully and unfortunately we arrived 5 minutes after 3, but staff was very nice and served us the buffet lunch. There was a tortilla day so we could taste the “authentical” reindeer tortilla. It was very delicious taste like a beef.
Time-travellers’ lunch in the Finnish-Swedish border
We planned and took a day trip to Tornio (Finland) and Haparanda (Sweden) sister cities along the Finnish-Swedish border located in two different time-zones, and visited the northernmost IKEA store (our favorite store) in the world. In the IKEA Restaurant we took some time to relax and enjoyed the lunch buffet with Swedish-style dishes (salmon, meatballs), salads, drinks, desserts for reasonable price.
Top destinations in Santa Claus village
Santa Claus Village is the most popular destination in Rovaniemi, magical winter wonderland with lots of different services for visitors: accomodations, tours, activities, souvenir shops, Santa Claus home, post office and excellent restaurants. More details from our experiences in a separated post.
7 travel tips on eating in Lapland, Finland
1. Visit Rovaniemi’s most popular restaurants (see above for more details)
2. Take trips in the surroundings of Rovaniemi, visit local restaurants and cafés (see above for more details
3. Eat and drink in lunch buffet and save your money
4. Taste local specialities in eateries, restaurants: salmon, reindeer, bear meat, cheese, fruit jams
5. Taste meals from different cuisines (Russian cuisine is heavenly delicious)
6. Drink glögi when you are outside in the cold weather
7. Don’t leave Rovaniemi without taking some local souvenirs (reindeer fur, reindeer meat products, chocolates….) and postcards for your loved ones