When you walk down the Esplanadi park, right before the harbor you see a very posh building with ornamented glass walls straight from a fairytale! Especially young people usually pass by the place thinking it’s expensive, but being the Helsinki history nerd that I am, I love Kappeli. There are fancy chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, statues and paintings by famous artists around, but don’t be fooled by the glamour: the café-bar side of Kappeli is at the same Finnish price level as any other café in the city center.
The place has been called the Chapel even before the legendary restaurant was established in 1867 and there are two different stories that go around about the origin of the name: Some think that it was because of the temple-like looking lemonade kiosk situated in the place, others because a young herdsman used to sell milk on the spot, and the Latin name for a herdsman is pastor.
Originally Kappeli was a summer restaurant where the crème de la crème of Finnish poets, musicians and painters like Eino Leino, Jean Sibelius and Akseli Gallen-Kallela, spent their evenings talking about The Future of the Finnish Nation, but I prefer it in the winter time and maybe with lighter topics as well. When it’s dark outside and there’s snow on the streets, it’s lovely to look through the beautiful windows and sip your warm gluhwein, glögi.