During a stay in the heart of Lapland, Rovaniemi, you will probably get hungry eventually, and why not then try some local Lappish food. But where could you find just that special Lappish, delicious meal?
The typical Lappish restaurant Nili downtown Rovaniemi is definitely worth a visit if you are out for the special atmosphere and local food. The restaurant is not big, but very cosy inside and while waiting for your ordered meals, you could admire all the typical Lappish decorations and items on the walls inside the restaurant. It is always good to make a booking before going there because the restaurant is popular and not really big. Check also out the opening hours. A visit to restaurant Nili is a combination of tastes, scents and atmosphere. In the restaurant you can watch the chefs preparing your meal through the open kitchen shutters.
The tasty portions will not leave you hungry. On the menu you will always find for instance fish caught in the pure Lappish lakes or reindeer, bear and berries. If you feel a little unsure what to eat, there are menusuggestions on the home page of Nili. You will definitely get an interesting eating experience there. It is not a low-budget restaurant, but I think the food and the atmosphere are worth the price. Actually, here I saw some years ago, for the first time, people taking photographs of the meals. Two Chinese girls took pictures before they started eating, and I found it kind of amusing at that time. Nowadays I myself, and many others, use to take pictures all the time of nicely served dinners.
The word Nili is a Finnish word for a little building where people used to store their food out of reach for animals in former days in Finland.
In the year 2011 Nili restaurant was voted the 37th best restaurant in Finland and the same year the Lapland hotel Sky Ounasvaara restaurant in Rovaniemi was voted the 34th best restaurant in Finland. This is a Chaîne de Rôtisseurs-awarded panoramic restaurant.
In the restaurant on top of the Ounasvaara fell near the city center of Rovaniemi you can admire the stunning natural scenery in front of you while enjoying a perfect meal. Here you can get the “Rovaniemi menu”, meaning it is food prepared according to Lapland’s own cooking traditions. Clean, pure taste experiences and delectable raw materials which vary according to the season are dynamically served here.
If you want to have a meal with traditional sautéed reindeer, you should stop by at Reindeer Cafe Restaurant Sirmakko at the Arctic circle. It is open in winter- and summer seasons. They serve well done tasty reindeer meat from their own farm near by. You can also get french fries and burgers here, but I suggest you to taste reindeer with mashed potatoes. Absolutely delicious! I eat sautéed reindeer always when possible. In Lapland you can be sure you get a tender, well prepared reindeer.
Sirmakko is the Lappish word for a reindeer calf, who is more cheery than other calves in the herd.
During Christmas time there are special Christmas menus in the restaurants in Rovaniemi. One of the most popular Christmas buffets is served at the legendary Pohjanhovi Hotel by the Lumberjack bridge in Rovaniemi. The buffet consists of up to 60 different traditional Finnish Christmas dishes. You can check out the different dishes here. (I hope they will update the page soon). The varieties of fish prepared in different ways are very popular, especially jellied salmon. The baked, salted ham is the crown of the Finnish Christmas meal and it is eaten with oven baked potato and swede casseroles. The Christmas buffet is served from mid-November to mid-December. Check out the opening hours. There are 500 places in this restaurant.
Pohjanhovi Hotel opened on September 12th in 1936 and its nationally famous restaurant has already celebrated its 70th anniversary. The original Pohjanhovi was an impressive building but is was destroyed in the WW II as many of the buildings in Rovaniemi. A new one rose from the ashes to reopen in 1947. This legendary place fills up in January every year for the Arctic Lapland Rally.