For me, going out with friends for dinner means first researching what Helsinki has to offer. It’s a tough task as there are new restaurants coming up here and there and there’s just not enough time (or money!) to sample them all. One Saturday we decided to visit Regina in the Ullanlinna neighbourhood with another couple.
The name of the restaurant “Regina” comes from a Finnish movie from the 1940’s. It’s a Cinderella story based in the Kaivopuisto neighbourhood, Regina being the Cinderella in question. I think it’s a lovely touch for a restaurant to have a name that has a story behind it related to the area it’s located in.
On the menu we found portions that you could order individually or set menus. What was nice, albeit a bit confusing, was that you could substitute portions in the menu with something else that caught your eye on the regular list. Some of these would bring some extra cost to the set menu.
As typical for the season, blinis were also on offer. However, we decided to skip those and chose the menus making some changes here and there. Us ladies went for three courses and the gentlemen for five.
The first course was the marinated tuna fish with pomegranate and roasted aubergine. It looks lovely but apparently this was the weakest link. As I did not taste it, I cannot say exactly what was wrong with it but I could see that the gentlemen were not totally happy.
Then, the mussel risotto with Chorizo sausage and salicornes. This was lovely and creamy, excellent in fact. Although I may be a bit biased since I am a risotto and a chorizo fan.
Third on the entree list – white bean soup with garlic cream and escargot. I only had a quick taste of this from my husband and it tasted very nice, although a bit floury, as it often is with beans. Personally I thought the escargots were a bit too much, a simple bean and garlic soup would’ve done it.
Did you notice the brown tableware? These were designed by Ulla Procopé for Arabia in the 1970’s. Actually I happened to have these in my childhood home. I thought they were really ugly at the time but now they have a cool vintage air to them. Unfortunately ours have been sold at some flea market or other. Who would’ve known that these brown plates would be hip again some day?
Next, onto the main courses. All but me had the ox with foie gras and goat cheese-potato puree. Mmmm… this tasted like something your grandmother would make. I scraped my husband’s plate clean.
I had the gratinated pike-crab “meatloaf” with dark crab sauce. It came with a zesty salad. This was very tasty as well, with the crab sauce having a very strong crabby taste. I liked that it came with a salad which evened out the tastes.
The restaurant is not very big, as it can have 30 guests at one time.
For dessert most of us had the passion fruit mousse with mango salad and raspberry sorbet. It was gorgeous and the mango and raspberry went beautifully with the mousse.
My husband was the black sheep and he had the plat de fromage. If you would order this individually, I do think 12 euros is a bit steep for four small bites of cheese. Apparently the cheese was very nice though.
I love these retro looking Louis poulsen ph 4 lamps.
The meal and the atmosphere was lovely. I would rate this restaurant 4/5 based on service, food and decor.
If you are going to Regina – make sure you reserve a table in advance. It’s quite a hike from the city centre and you do not want to find it fully booked.
After your meal you might want to have digestive at a nearby bar before heading home. One cool one nearby is Brewdog. Brewdog specializes in beers but you can also find lingonberry cider there.
Or then you might want to go to the nearby Old Skiffer. In summer Skiffer has a really cool restaurant on an island. When it’s warm people love to drink Aperol Spritz there but it goes down well in winter too.
Have you had a chance to visit Regina yet?