A Girls’ Weekend in Wintery Helsinki

It is common to plan a get-together with friends, but until a date is set in the calendar it often just gets pushed further into the future. We have a dear friend that lives on the outskirts of Helsinki. She is also the Godmother of our oldest daughter. During one phone call we decided to get our calendars out and set a date. We have been friends for many years and so when we meet up, we just pick up from where we left off. It is a comfortable type of friendship. The plan was that I would take our two oldest with me for the weekend. They counted nights and were a little antsy from anticipation. I too, was excited for our girls’ weekend but I have learned to conceal my anticipation a little better. We had wonderful weather both days and so we did a little skating, took long saunas, went out to eat, did a little shopping, enjoyed Sunday brunch and celebrated the birthday of our nine-year old.
beef in a fresh ginger sauce

On Saturday we ate at the Empire Plaza, a Chinese restaurant in the Kamppi shopping center. It is a sit-down restaurant that has friendly service and it is not overpriced. We have been there several times and will come back again sometimes in the future.
Our birthday girl decided before the meal arrived that she would use chopsticks. I was quite impressed that she stuck with it for the entire meal. Even the peas went down without complaint (she is our pickiest eater). Maybe we will need to invest in a pair if it makes eating easier!
In the past few years, brunches have really gained popularity in Helsinki. If I lived closer to Helsinki I wouldn’t mind exploring all of these brunch possibilities as a hobby. After searching the net we decided on going to Cafe Piritta. They are best known for their outdoor terrace that looks over a bay of water and the city of Helsinki. If we would have had our snow pants on, it would have been lovely to sit outdoors. Many strolled across the ice and stopped for a cup of coffee on the terrace.
Cafe Piritta
ice trail
ice trail 2

We arrived just before noon, and indoors the place was hopping. We fortunately found a table and did not have to wait. Reservations should have been made a little earlier and since we called that morning we were not able to reserve a table. The savory brunch menu included a soup, hors d’oeuvre-type little open faced sandwiches, a selection of breads, a feta salad, a potato salad, Carelian pies, mini croissants, meatballs, sausages, omelets and chicken. There was so much to choose from that I did not end up trying the meatballs, sausages, omelets or chicken. They were popular with the kids. The dessert table offered a fresh fruit salad, ice cream, cake and a whipped lingonberry porridge. We left with quite full stomachs and if we would have been dressed properly a Sunday stroll across the ice would have suited perfectly.
cafe piritta

Next time the place I would like to explore for brunch is the whimsical French style flower shop and coffee shop, Fleuriste.
Maybe the opportunity will come sooner than expected, you never know!


  1. I always enjoy your posts and your excursions. Your photos are wonderful, and the picture of your birthday girl with her chopsticks is adorable. Thank you for the smile. 🙂

  2. The key to taking action on these kinds of plans really is to pull out the calendar. I am envious of your fun-filled weekend with your longtime friend and your kids. There is nothing like reconnecting with a good friend …over brunch, coffee, skating…it is all good. Did you have the lingonberry porridge? Sounds like a Norweigen specialty.

    1. It was a wonderful weekend! The lingonberry porridge is very common here and we have it fairly regularly. I will have to share the recipe since it is very easy to make, and using cranberries works just as well…and it has a beautiful pink color that your girls might like!

  3. Loved the photo of your birthday girl finding her own way to use chopsticks. Must give her an “A” for effort. Nice that you were able to get some time with you friend, bringing along the 2 girls. They must have felt grand! I don’t think I’d mind out winters near as much if we had more days with the kind of sunshine seen in these photos.

    1. I was impressed that she did not give up! I definitely enjoy the winters here after we pass January, until then it is quite dark and we have plenty of gray days. This time of year is splendid!

  4. Congratulations to the birthday girl! I’m impressed, I still have a hard time with chopsticks!! Looks beautiful, the sun is so bright and the food looks wonderful. Aren’t girls getaways the best!!

  5. What a lovely weekend. The kind of friendship where you can just pick up from where you left off is wonderful. I hope your birthday girl will remember this weekend and the friendship surrounding it.

    1. I agree. These kinds of weekends are special treats and often the kids will talk about them for a long time. As my friend said, it is like you take the trip three times. The first time is when you plan it and imagine all the fun you will have, the second time is the actual trip and the third time is reliving it afterwards. 🙂 And I must say that it was an quite accurate observation.

  6. Chopsticks really is an amazing creation. It just gives that extra style when eating certain dishes. Thank you for sharing your fun trip with beautiful photos. The lighting is so nice.

    1. I would love to become a better chopsticks user and learn how to use them elegantly! I’ve often thought that learning to use chopsticks at a young age requires a developed level of fine motor skills.

    1. Those chopsticks were quite long in fact 🙂 This week we have been having quite warm days, so that even our road has melted and the gravel has come into view! Spring is on its way!

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