The city of Turku, Finland has been our home for nearly three years now, yet there is still so much to discover and re-discover! Lately, we've been so caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life that there hasn’t been must time to explore our own beloved city.
However, this summer we decided to try out a few fun activities in our home city to make the most of the warm and long Finnish summer days. And today we are sharing with you one activity that we absolutely loved – the Turku food walk.
What is Turku food walk?
The Turku food walk is an initiative by Visit Turku and its partners to showcase the best of the city's culinary scene with just one card. The tour is ideal if you're new to the city or visiting Turku and are interested in the food culture of the Nordics. But it seems like a fun activity for just about anybody, especially for foodies like us!
And just not to confuse you, this is no ordinary tour where a local guide guides you around the city recommending best places to eat and experience. Instead, you can buy or order online the food walk card for just 48 euros* and then try out this activity either by yourself or your family and friends. The card will grant you access to five restaurants of your choosing among ten participating restaurants. We chose our five restaurants based on the offered food walk meals that seemed the most interesting to us! The five restaurants we covered in our tour are: di Trevi, Café Art, Gustavo, Smör and Grill it! Marina.
*Please note that the price of the card doesn't include drinks.
1. di Trevi
What is a better way to kick off a food tour than with a tapas platter and drinks? di Trevi has the perfect food and relaxed ambience to get you in the mood for a fun day or evening. The restaurant offers a long list of wines with a generous selection of complementing tapas. We enjoyed a small tapas platter with an assortment of cheeses, cold cuts, marinated olives, and bread. The platter consisted of both hard and soft cheeses along with other Spanish meats such as chorizo (thinly sliced fermented sausage with smoked paprika) and Jamón (dry-cured Spanish ham).
Enjoying this bistro and their selection full of Mediterranean flavours, we could almost picture ourselves in a real Spanish tapas bar with flamenco playing in the background and sea salt in our hair.
2. Café Art
After enjoying a medley of savoury flavours at di Trevi, we decided to indulge in our sweet tooth. Café Art (website only in Finnish) is well known for its fresh and tasty cake selection.
Enjoy a slice of Turku's finest cake with coffee while gazing over the Aura river at the heart of Turku!
The cakes of our choice were strawberry white chocolate cheesecake and raspberry meringue. The sweet baked goods lived up to their name for being fresh and delicious. If you avidly love cakes, pastries, savoury snacks, and coffee and haven't had a chance to try this art café yet, you should definitely put it on your to-do list.
Feeling full already?
Too full to head to the next restaurant straightaway? Take a stroll down Aura riverside! Most of the restaurants are situated on the riverside of Aura river or near it, giving you the perfect opportunity to take a walk along the riverside and build up your appetite.
Our journey with Mediterranean food continued as we headed to the next stop of our food walk - Gustavo. The restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine with a Scandinavian twist sits right by the riverside with a view overlooking the Turku Cathedral.
The 13th century cathedral is impossible to miss in Turku, and if you want a restaurant with a view of the cathedral with your dining experience, Gustavo would be the right choice!
Here we had the chance to enjoy two pintxos (or pinchos) of the day. First, we enjoyed their grilled quail legs with bolete foam. The bolete (a type of mushroom) foam was memorable with a rich creamy mushroom taste. The second was their Pimientos de Padrón or fried Padrón peppers. We paired these snacks with a summer cocktail, Limoncello Spritz, which was ideal for a warm day. While the food at Gustavo did not quite impress us, maybe two small snacks do not represent the essence of their whole menu.
The next restaurant on the tour has been on our radar for a while, so we were very excited to be finally visiting Smör. Restaurant Smör offers a fine dining experience focusing on Nordic cuisine with the best of local produce.
The minimalistic medieval ambience and their modernistic food is a beautiful clash of the old and the new.
We tried their starter of the day – lamb tartare with lovage emulsion, toasted quinoa, and pickled mustard seeds. What really stood out was how their talented chefs brought out the flavours of each ingredient. And more, all ingredients complimented each other without any ingredient overpowering the others. We paired the tartare with a glass of organic Rietsch Tout Rouge Pinot Noir 2019, a light and well balanced French red wine. While our visit to Smör was short, the impression was long-lasting. It's now on our must-try list to return and try their full menu. And if you're looking for a memorable dining experience, Smör might be just the one for you!
Four restaurants done, one more to go. Starting to feel exhausted?
In case you’re starting to feel exhausted after spending a few hours outdoors and trying all that delicious food, we know the feeling! Lucky for you, the food walk card is valid for three days from your first visit at any of the restaurants. This allows you to space out your restaurant visits and continue the gastronomy journey some other day. However, if you'd like to do the tour in one day, there are plenty to things to do in between. For instance, there are plenty of stores in the vicinity if you'd like to squeeze in a shopping session, or head over to a terrace bar instead for a drink or two.
5. Grill it! Marina
The last stop on our food walk tour was Grill it! Marina, after all, how could we skip out on warm chocolate cake? Another cool feature of the tour is a 15% discount on a meal in one of the participating restaurants after completing all 5 restaurants of the tour. We decided to make use of this discount at Grill it! Marina and treat ourselves with their grilled steak consisting of Finnish beef sirloin with grilled vegetables, garlic butter with herbs, and a side of fries. We devoured every bite of the juicy and succulent steak and paired it with a glass of medium-bodied Spanish red wine, Murviedro Cepas Viejas Bobal.
Our last meal from the food walk tour menu, the chocolate cake, was served warm with a side of ice cream and raspberries. When you take your first bite into the cake, ooey gooey chocolate oozes out. The combination of chocolate, ice cream and berries is a classical dessert combo which never gets old for chocolate enthusiasts!
Cheers to a memorable experience and trying new things!
We ended our tour toasting to what a fun experience we had trying the Turku food walk tour! As internationals living in Finland in the middle of a global pandemic that is ongoing for over 1.5 years, there are two things we desperately miss – meeting our families and traveling. We've been coping with this by trying out new hobbies, activities, and travelling within Finland. While sometimes we are successful and other times not, the Turku food walk shed some light on how there are many must-try restaurants in our home city. As culinary enthusiasts, we hope to return to some of the places mentioned above for a more elaborate experience.
Our takeaway message from this food adventure is to continue trying new things wherever we are, because there is so much out there still undiscovered!