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“An excellent and imaginative downtown eatery” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ravintola Karljohan

Ravintola Karljohan
Yrjonkatu 21, Helsinki 00100, Finland (Kampinmalmi)
+358 9 6121121
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Ranked #99 of 1,010 Restaurants in Helsinki
Price range: $37 - $147
Cuisines: European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: Kampinmalmi
Helsinki, Finland
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
“An excellent and imaginative downtown eatery”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2012

We tried this place some months back for a quick pre-theatre dinner, and enjoyed the mains we limited ourselves to, so we resolved to go back and push the envelope a bit further. It was well worth it. Good food, attractively served and in a friendly, buzzing environment - what's not to like?

I had the KarlJohan menu at EUR 42.00, with a delicious veal carpaccio and caper & carrot jelly, followed by pike-perch done to perfection and floating in a terrific foamed and tarragon-flavoured beurre blanc sauce that required an extra order of bread to wipe the plate, and a crème brûlée nicely set off with a tart apple sorbet bursting with flavour. The green salad starters chosen by others were strikingly imaginative and went down well, as did the morel soup. I forgot to enquire about the vorschmack - it's not something I've ever much fancied, to be honest - but the responses to the Arctic char fish-of-the-day were also very positive. To my palate, the real tour-de-force was actually something we got by accident - I was wrongly given the chavroux cheese-flavoured chocolate parfait with cherry melba, which had a stunning mint- or lemon melissa-tinged sauce to it and a few berries as well. Since my own dessert came in short order, I mostly had to watch other mouths devouring this unscheduled delight, but I'll remember it for next time, assuming it's still on the list.

All the items were nicely set out, and the service was attentive but very cheerful, and things happened at the right times with no sense of haste in a room that was pretty close to full. The flub with the dessert (apparently they were in the process of a menu-change and the chef slipped up) was rectified instantly and with no fuss, and we were naturally not charged for it.

It's not a large space, and I would second some comments that it can get a bit noisy, with tables set pretty close to one another, but it never became irritating. The English (!?!) sparkling wine we had in lieu of a Prosecco with our starters was pleasant enough, though rather overpriced in my view, but then this IS Finland. Wines by the glass weren't too hard on the wallet. One other point that colours my favourable opinion of this restaurant is that they regularly have items one doesn't find so often elsewhere, such as lambs' kidneys or most noticeably the wonderful sweetbreads I enjoyed the first time around. Yum!

All in all, a good result, and without the burden of the wine it would not even have been overly expensive. It's not WOW-cuisine, but they know what they are doing, and they do it very well.

Recommended.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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120 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    55
    43
    17
    3
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Helsinki, Finland
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Fantastic lunch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2012

Had a fantastic fish dish for lunch with an excellent sauce.

  • Visited March 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sweden
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Great food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

We just happened to pass by, when we stopped to look at the place, as we had been recommended it. Fortunately they had a table for two. The food was really great! Will definitely visit again.

Visited November 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crete, Greece
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Not bad (especially for Helsinki) but nothing great for the price”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

I visited with 3 more friends, after reading that has nice traditional Finnish food and good prices. We were quite dissapointed. First, it had no traditional Finnish food. It had classic European cuisine, trying to be "gourmet" style. ABout prices , I will be spesific. Starters about 10 EUR, main dishes about 25 EUR, desert about 10 EUR. Portions not tiny but small. The atmosphere was nothing special, but was nice especially for business or romantic dinner. Candles, soft music etc. Some of the tastes were quite nice however. We regretted going there because we were hungry and also wanted to try Finnish food. In spite of that it can be a good choice in some cases.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Espoo, Finland
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Average at best”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2011

Dinner after board meeting had high expectations. Cabernet sauvignon from Washington state was good. Porchini soup excellent. But rest of the experienc including famous Vorsmack was not good. Service is best discribed by the waitres'es fairwell: it so nice to get this place empty so early....

  • Visited December 2011
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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