Restaurant Day / Ravintola Päivä

All of my worlds have crashed together today. So I present one of my favourite Finnish bands The Crash singing Pony Ride. Sadly they are no longer together, fortunately for you, there is a wonderful collection on YouTube. Check them out. The front man (Teemu Brunila) is one of Finland’s prominent writer-composers, his name pops up everywhere.

Saturday was the 5th occasion of Restaurant Day. Anyone can set up a restaurant, anywhere. It’s a Finnish ‘invention’, the first one was held just 12 months ago and already it’s gone international. Over seven hundred restaurants around the world last Saturday. Early on Saturday morning I downloaded the app and had a quick look at the offerings before heading off to the harbour to do some market research. I passed the information on to my survey participants: I hope they managed to find something yummy 🙂

The city was very quiet on my way to the harbour, although by the time I was heading across town there were all sorts of restaurants setting up. We did a quick check of offerings and decided to head back into town and see what was available.  The app was ‘tipping’ a little bit due to far too many users at the same time. Their web site suffered the same indignity.

We found Riita’s ribs very quickly, and quickly grabbed ourselves ribs and salad to go. They were juicy and spicy with crispy bits. Yummy. The warm weather had brought the crowds out and some restaurants seemed to be running out of food.

I didn’t get any pictures (too busy eating), so instead I’ll direct you to Lumo Lifestyle’s blog all about Restaurant Day. This is one the first Finnish blogs I started to follow when I started writing my own. For the life of me I cannot remember how I found it, all I know is that her mail arrives first thing in the morning and the photos are always a joy to look at. (THIS blog has far too many words and not enough pictures!)

Anyway, there were far too many restaurants open to check them all. There were at least 2 that we should have gone to as they  were opened by friends. Next time… We visited an old friend serving afternoon tea in her garden. P is very proud of her garden and a huge fan of things British and Scottish. So we sat in the garden sipping tea and eating our scones with jam and cream. Oh so decadent. P’s husband J was hiding out in the basement watching Finland not earn a podium spot in the hockey championships.

We had a movie date with The Avengers. Iron Man rules and that’s all I’ll say about the movie. Oh, apart from ‘Hulk got the action and Robert Downey Jr got the best lines’. We decided to finish the day with burgers on the beach. On of the late opening restaurants. Their listing said enough for 100, and they’d only been open a couple of hours. So, we figured that there would be burgers left.

SOLD OUT. One chicken burger and a few tofu burgers was all that was left. So this meat-eater took the vegetarian option. I’m very glad I did, that was one seriously good burger. So we sat on sun-warmed rocks, ate our burgers and sipped on cold beers. Nice way to end a day out on the town.

PS: I’m thinking of participating in the next Restaurant Day as a restauranteur. I think I know just what to sell, just need to find a suitable spot! Stay tuned.


9 thoughts on “Restaurant Day / Ravintola Päivä

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  1. Wait – so anyone can set up a table with a cooler and a grill and start selling food?
    Very cool! Any reports from the hospitals about lots of food poisoning cases (just wondering).
    Liked the song, and I think your blog looks just fine.


    1. Yes Guap! Even you, in NYC can set up shop…that could be a challenge if you’re up for it! Next one will be in August I guess. It’s a great way to be a culinary tourist 🙂
      I haven’t heard of anyone falling prey to food poisoning although there was some chatter on some discussion boards about lack of accountability, no taxes, poor hygiene, etc. All the places we went to and also saw seemed to have it under control. As for the tax issue, all the restaurants on the day have to pay taxed prices, so taxman still gets his share!
      Side note about the clip for the song: Volvo gave away cd singles of this song when they released the C30 (my dream car btw).
      I agree: the blog is dandy the way it is – my blog, my style, my rules 😉


  2. Thanks for featuring me in this post.

    Restaurant Day “restaurants” are basically “illegal”; no permits, hygiene passes, taxes paid… Anyone can have a pop up café, grill, kiosk etc. for a day. Most people serving the food are very ambitious amateur chefs showing off their talent and quality of food has been very good (I have attended every time and visited several places every time, seven last Saturday).

    There haven’t been any published food poisoning cases this far and authorities at least in Helsinki have given their “silent approval” for Restaurant days (except that alcohol sales are banned).

    City of Helsinki actually awarder Restaurant Day founders with Cultural Act award last year.


    1. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      I think it’s a good thing that alcohol is not allowed! I didn’t know about the cultural award: well deserved.


    1. We have just as many rules and permits… Did you see Lumo’s comments (I think they are above?) If enough people do it…

      I hope that it doesn’t become all tied up in red-tape. That would just kill the spirit of the day 🙂

      Start your own Channel Restaurant Day: check out and open the map for May 19, no entries from the southern hemisphere! You could be first 🙂


  3. Sounds like an interesting event and one that I would attend. In order to plan for your Restaurant Day debut (for flight planning), are you in Helsinki? And thanks for notes on The Avengers.


    1. Yes Frank, I’m in Helsinki and the next event has been set for August 19. That causes me to rethink my debut as it’s right in the middle of my summer university course… let’s see a little closer to the date 🙂


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