Opened in 1952, Palace has a long-standing reputation as Helsinki’s top restaurant. It was the first Finnish restaurant to receive a Michelin star in 1987, and holds two stars today. The restaurant was renovated in 2017, when chef Eero Vottonen joined the team. Vottonen brought the Michelin star back to Palace after 30 years in 2019, and Palace received its second star in 2022. If you’re looking for a full package fine dining experience for a special occasion in Finland, this place is sure to wow. The setting, the food, and the service are all on point, at a very solid two star level. Keep scrolling to read our full review of Palace.
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PALACE Address & Contact Information Eteläranta 10, Helsinki, Finland Website Instagram Facebook Price: €210 for the tasting menu
Palace is situated on the top floor (the 10th floor) of a big building overlooking the marina. We began our Palace experience in their lounge, which has a terrace that offers our favorite views in all of Helsinki. It was here that we were served two of the best drinks of our trip. (Did you know you can pop up to the bar without a reservation in the restaurant? It’s true! You can have some of the city’s best cocktails and views without paying for the full meal – it’s one of Helsinki’s best kept secrets.) We adored the “Palace Signature Cocktail 2.0,” with rum, bergamot liqueur, and white tea. One sip and we tasted spring – this was so light and easy to drink, floral and balanced. Palace’s pineapple daiquiri was also fantastic, with a blend of Plantation rums and pineapple juice. It was sweet, tart, and totally chuggable. All cocktails are priced at €16. While sitting in the lounge, the chefs served us our first snacks of the evning: house-made potato chips with sour cream, and (our favorite!) a pretzel wrapped in mangalitsa pork lard, with mustard and onions. This combination was so good – so fatty and so balanced. (Next time, we’ll take a bag of these pretzels, to go, thanks!)
Palace has always been a pioneer of Finnish gastronomy. The menu is Nordic, using local ingredients as much as possible, with some inspiration from Japan and France. Our meal began with some small bites; the first combined whitefish, Icelandic wasabi, nori, and finger lime. The flavors in this one reminded us of maki (a Japanese roll wrapped in dried seaweed), while the second bite (a tart with smoked trout, horseradish, and sour cream) evoked memories of bagels and lox on the streets of New York. Two more snacks followed shortly after: a fresh and citrusy tart filled with Norwegian langoustine, artichoke, lemon gelée, truffle, and frisée salad, and then a richer final snack, with Finnish goose liver, dry-aged wagyu, caramelized onion, sherry wine, and madeira. The snacks were stunning, but this was a dining experience where we felt that the flavors escalated and improved over the course of the meal.
Already things began to ramp up with the first dish on the menu: Danish hiramasa with tender kombu and gooseberry ponzu. This was served cold, which made it feel incredibly fresh – as if the fish had just been plucked from the icy Nordic sea. The next course also highlighted raw seafood, combining shrimp with preserved tomatoes, grilled jalapeño oil, and Arctic char roe. We loved the shrimp and tomatoes in this dish, but the roe was a little bit fishy for our palates.
We were quickly comforted by a bowl of umami: mangalitsa-pork infused mushroom dashi, toasted pine nuts, and, the showstopper, Palace Reserve Rossini Gold caviar. This serving was super rich, a dish worthy of Rossini’s fine caviar. We loved it – and there was more caviar still to come…
Norwegian seafood arrived on the scene next, strutting down the red carpet to the cheers and gleeful shouts from the paparazzi. Poached king crab was served with organic egg and white asparagus, with some more Rossini caviar (Oscietra, this time), and a whole lot of butter. This dish was so fluffy that it felt quite sinful to spoon it – it felt almost like we were eating a bowl of hollandaise.
At this point in the meal, the dishes just kept getting better and better. Dry-aged turbot was served with grilled Basque Country sweet peas, turnips, mussel, fermented fennel, and butter sauce. This was so tasty, with a sweet and creamy sauce that tasted of spring. We scraped the bowl clean.
More Norwegian seafood followed – this time, hand-dived scallops from Hitra served with chilli butter and a house-made XO sauce made with reindeer heart. If that’s not a Kaitlin and Anders dish, we don’t know what it is. Divine! But it was the Norwegian langoustine (a €40 supplement dish) that stole our hearts during this meal, served with yellow kosho, citrus juice, and a lot of butter. All our favorite things on one plate! Naturally, we had to short list it for one of the best dishes of the year.
Finally, we had arrived at the main course: Quail Royal. The breast of the quail was served with confit quail leg, verjus, stuffed morel mushrooms, and spring condiments. Small potato brioche buns with home-churned butter accompanied the meat. These small buns were light and airy, easy to pop in the mouth, with a fun, crackling texture on top. They were also a great vehicle to soak up that rich sauce!
Even though we were quite full, we couldn’t say no when they wheeled out their cheese trolley (a €25 supplement). Their selection comes from the local cheese purveyor Rolling Cheese, and it was served with a lot of condiments, including breads, crackers, honey, jam, and an extremely addicting nut butter. We definitely recommend adding this course on to the meal.
The palate cleanser was an Amalfi lemon custard with lemon zest, bay leaf-flavored olive oil, and a milk foam. This was creamy and tart, a perfect refresher before the main dessert: a rich chocolate pudding with Sicilian almonds and crème cru (burnt cream) ice cream. We love when a dessert is not too overpoweringly chocolatey. This had lots of salt and cream, which masterfully balanced the deeper cacao notes.
To finish, we enjoyed some petit fours: a chocolate filled with licorice fudge, a chocolate filled with passion fruit and darjeeling tea, a choux pastry with apricot, pistachio, and long pepper, and an umeshu (salted plum) jelly. All were very nice, but our favorite of the final sweets was the warm chocolate brioche that came on the side. This was insanely decadent, drizzled with caramel. Our only regret was that we couldn’t finish it – we were fully satiated at this point.
Overall, we had a wonderful meal at Palace, with the seafood dishes being the standouts for us. This is a restaurant that is definitely deserving of their two stars. We loved the venue, and the vibe was extremely warm and friendly. We can see why this restaurant has become an institution in the Finnish fine dining scene.
Have you been to Palace? Let us know in a comment below.