Do you know a better way to start the weekend than an evening out dining with friends?
The outing on last Friday was perfect. I hopped on a bus to Helsinki straight from work. It is so convenient to take the bus and I really prefer it to driving. You come straight into the city to the shopping areas, restaurants and museum. I did a bit of shopping round at the sales finishing and stopping at the Forum shopping centre for dinner in ristorante Italo.
The restaurant is located in the top floor of the refurbished shopping mall of Forum. They have created a restaurant world there.
Along with the welcoming waitress there was a ripple of conversation and laughter welcoming me as I stepped in. There were smaller groups and couples there and the restaurant was nearly full around eight o’clock. The decor is cozy and Italian inspired with small wooden tables and chairs. There are even olive trees and murals. The lamps made of magnum wine bottles. The pictures on the walls take you to Italy; photos of famous sights and typical snapshots that could be from anyone’s camera colorful doors, gates, windows, landscapes, balconies etc. They take you easily back to Italy and the holidays – before the tastes do it.
Once you have stepped in to the restaurant you see that the area is quite big with an open view to the kitchen. There is a larger dining area under a glass roof which I believe could resemble an Italian piazza and possibilities for bigger tables, and cozy smaller area in the back.
The menu is varied. You’ll find almost anything and everything – antipasti, insalta caprese, vitello tomato, pasta bolognese, spaghetti, vongole, pecorino, carciofo, gorgonzola, risotto, pizza, tiramisu, pannacotta etc. The abundance made it difficult to decide what to order. We started with an antipasto platter still undecided what to have as mains.
The platter was full of delicacies served on a wooden platter: Parma ham, olives, salami, figs. As the main we tried rump steak, trout and risotto with pig’s cheek and finished off with dolci of chocolate, lemon sorbet and ice cream.
The pig’s cheek ristotto (risotto con guanciale di mailae) was buono! The pig’s cheeks were really tender and delicious. The risotto al dente as it should with distinct taste of Italy – hints of white wine, lemon and Parmesan. It was made with a bit of cream but was delicious despite of that. The risotto I’ve learnt to make in Tuscany does not have any cream but there are of course many variations. The portion was generous, plenty for two I thought.
My friends had trout and rump steak. Both delicious! Have a look at the great pictures by Vison51 and Kim Ekman!
Deciding on the dolci was not easy. Plenty to choose from. You went for lemon ice cream and sorbet (gelato di limone e sorbetto di limone). They actually had lemon sorbet with Limoncello on the dessert menu (see the picture!). I was tempted to take the misto di cioccolato with chocolate mousse, petit fours and chocolate ice cream but decided on something lighter. It looked very good and my friend tells it was so gooood! I know what to have next time.
Sorbetto e gelato
Check out the place if you happen to be in Helsinki. It’s really centrally located and a place easy to pop in for a meal – a late lunch after a shopping spree, before going to the cinema or an evening out after work.
Ristorante Italo, Kukontori in Forum Helsinki.
You can check the menu here, I’m sure you can read it even though it is in Finnish