Café Esplanad is probably Helsinki’s most popular and busy café, because of its location by Esplanadi park in the center of the city. Like its namesake park, the café with its style has a central European flair to it.
I have three reasons for frequenting Café Esplanad: people watching, salmon soup and cinnamon rolls – two of which are a great introduction to Finnish kitchen.
Salmon soup is a very typical Finnish food and café Esplanad makes a wonderfully creamy one with large chunks of potato and salmon. The Finnish cinnamon rolls, Korvapuusti, are big, fresh and tasty as well. They are so big, actually, that I always ask for a paper bag from the counter so I can take the other half with me – or share it with a friend.
Some people find Café Esplanad terribly crowded, but I love the vibrancy and bubbling conversations around. You can also always take a seat outside. Especially in spring, when the sun starts rise higher in the sky again, Café Esplanad is one of the most popular places to go and celebrate the promise of summer by sitting outside for the first time that year.