A guide to food and drink in Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi’s popular restaurants include everything from a cosy lodge to the only ice restaurant in the world, plus fine dining options steeped in rustic decor. The vast majority of restaurants here offer local Lappish and wider Scandinavian cuisine, which means fresh fish, exotic berries and meat aplenty.
Exploring Rovaniemi's delicacies
As Rovaniemi is located on the confluence between two rivers, you’ll find many freshwater fish on the menu here. They include herring, Arctic char, trout and salmon served steamed, cured, smoked or turned into sushi. One of the most iconic dishes is salmon soup, which you’ll discover in many local restaurants.
Book a holiday in Lapland and you’ll find that reindeer is also at the forefront of the cuisine, with the most common meals being sauteed reindeer served with mashed potatoes and fresh lingonberries, depending on the time of year. Lingonberries are bright red berries that look a lot like cranberries, and are often too tart to eat on their own so are infused into a jam, juice, syrup or just mashed with sugar. Many locally grown berries are also used in the liqueur here, while a popular local dessert is leipajuusto – a fried squeaky cheese served with fresh or jammed cloudberries.
Wrap up warm for the Snowman World Ice Restaurant and Bar
This is the world’s only ice restaurant and not to be missed. Located on the Arctic Circle in Santa Claus Village, it’s a large igloo that contains many impressive ice sculptures. Traditional Lappish food is featured on the two set menus – either Wild Lapland, which includes reindeer tenderloin, or you could go for the Arctic Sea menu, featuring Arctic Sea salmon.
As everything is made out of ice, even the glasses, wrap up warm for this unique Lapland holiday experience. Booking is recommended.
Local traditions highlighted at Konttaniemi Reindeer Farm Restaurant
Konttaniemi is a family-run farm and restaurant located just seven kilometres from the centre of Rovaniemi, near the Ounasjoki River. This working farm is the source of the family’s livelihood so they’re happy to get you acquainted with the herding culture and husbandry of the semi-wild deer.
The restaurant is located in the authentic surroundings of a wooden lodge with a welcoming, cosy feel, and the chefs rustle up some fantastic traditional Lappish food to keep you warm and toasty.
Mysticism and Japanese food at Wakkanai Sushi
The Japanese are attracted by Lapland’s mystical Northern Lights as well as northern minimalism and tranquillity. So it’s perhaps no surprise that there’s a good sushi restaurant in the city, an ideal location to eat some freshwater fish. Open all year, you can enjoy the freshly-prepared sushi as well as traditional Japanese Ramen. This unique dining experience will also give you the opportunity to use chopsticks handcrafted from Lappish curly birch.
Romance and fine dining at Arctic Boulevard
This fine dining restaurant offers a stylish black interior mixed with natural wooden furnishings. Finnish and Scandinavian food make up the set menu and a la carte options. Dishes include Norwegian crab, Nordic moose and juniper, plus vegetarian options such as parsnip and wild herbs, with gluten-free options too. And for dessert, try the lingonberry and sweet hay, consisting of sweet hay marshmallow, lingonberry cake and salted butterscotch ice cream.
Service and the wine selection are impeccable so this is the perfect choice for a romantic night out.
A Nordic atmosphere at the central Restaurant Nili
Located in the centre of Rovaniemi, this fantastic restaurant is hard to miss. Settle around a handcrafted table surrounded by reindeer antler chandeliers and old tools and lanterns. This is another family-run business serving up traditional Lappish cuisine combining ingredients, scents and flavours familiar in this region. A speciality is alder-smoked salmon seasoned with cumin potatoes, cloudberry honey, root vegetables, pickled cucumber and crab sauce. And for dessert try the traditional Lappish cheese fried with cinnamon bread. Speak to the friendly staff about gluten free options.