Review: Restaurant Näsinneula

To celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary, we went to Restaurant Näsinneula in Tampere as we were spending the week at my parents place there. They also graciously took care of Amanda so just the two of us could spend some quality time together and have a proper adults dinner.

Restaurant Näsinneula is supposedly one of the Top 10 restaurants in Finland, so our expectations were high – pun intended, because the restaurant is located near the top of the Näsinneula Tower, which at 168 meters (551 feet) is the tallest freestanding structure in Finland. What’s more, the restaurant actually revolves full 360 degrees every 45 minutes, so great views were guaranteed. Below is one example towards lake Näsijärvi: (you can click on this and all the other thumbnails in this post to get a bigger photo)

The interior decoration of the restaurant was low-key but quite modern and clean-cut; nothing spectacular and nothing to divert attention from the views and the food, which in this case was a good thing. All the standard stuff like cloth napkins and tablecloths, proper wine glasses and all that are a given in this category, so no more about those. Everything was in order. The middle of the circle-shaped restaurant area did not rotate, only the tables situated at the “rim” of the room. This made for semi-interesting views inside also, as one minute you’re looking at the kitchen and the next time there’s a bar. Still, the views to the outside trumped anything inside.

As for the food, we went with the Finlandia Menu (62eur), a six-course menu that started off with Deer pastrami with marinated green asparagus and a quail egg, pictured below.

Next up was the fish platter with three different kinds of fish and some hard roe – photo below. As a third starter there was morel soup (no photo of this). All of the starter dishes were quite delicious, but perhaps the fish could’ve used a little less salt. I’m also not typically a big fan of mushrooms, but the small, creamy morel soup really hit the spot.

As the main course, the menu called for reindeer fillet with lingonberry sauce. Somewhat disappointingly it was actually reindeer sirloin, not tenderloin – however, it was cooked very well and was tender, so one can’t complain. Why they stuck asparagus in this course also I don’t know, but it went along well enough. Many Finnish restaurants seem to be bent on serving asparagus during summer and I never quite understood why.

Finally, there were two desserts. The first dessert was a collection of local cheese – talking about local, Näsinneula is known for its emphasis on fresh, often local ingredients, sharing this trait with restaurant Nokka in Helsinki. The cheese were served with some special honey sauce that, while good, was also very very sweet and I was subsequently left quite thirsty afterwards.

Luckily the second and last dessert of the menu, sea buckthorn and white chocolate (photo left) along with excellent sea buckhorn sherbet, came to the rescue and took care of the thirst. This refreshing, sharp dessert was the perfect ending.

However, one important part of the overall dining experience, service, suffered from a common problem in Finland – multiple waitresses. We had at least four over our dinner. All of them did the very basics of what they were supposed to do well (such as keeping our glasses filled without asking), but I felt there was some kind of professional proud lacking. Some were more in touch with what they were serving than others, i.e. explaining what it is, where it’s from and so on but all could’ve used a little bit more knowledge, pride and enthusiasm. I would’ve preferred one waitress only, but multiple waitresses is often what you get in Finland. I’m just surprised they did that here, too.

So how was it? Overall, the experience was very enjoyable.

But did it meet the high expectations? Well.. the food was good, the price/quality ratio was also generally decent, the views great (even fine weather was good, but I would really love to dine there during a major thunderstorm), but some details left to be desired.

If you strip away the unique views and focus only on the essentials – food and service – I’m not entirely sure Näsinneula belongs to the Top 10 Finnish restaurants. Top 50 certainly, but personally I would place for example Nokka (now #21) before Näsinneula. So let’s say that I can highly recommend Näsinneula, but expect “only” a good restaurant with good food and great views, but perhaps not a world-class experience. With that frame of expectations I’m sure you won’t be left wanting.

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