On our first night in Saariselkä, we headed to Ravintola Rakka which is part of the Holiday Club Hotel. The restaurant is quite large, with a bar area down the middle. Menus are available in multiple languages. We chose Rakka because we wanted something simple and reasonably priced.
To our delight (or rather, mine), we arrived during their Happy Hour, which meant cheaper alcoholic drinks. I chose a cranberry Lonkero, and Darren took a pint of Koff beer.
Two large pizzas and alcoholic drinks set us back 37,50€. We both went for the ‘build your own’ option. I modelled mine on the Pizza Armenienne that I had eaten in Avignon during the summer: onions, peppers and minced meat.
The pizzas were hot and fresh, and well-sized, and service was prompt and to the point. We decided against desserts as we were both full, and they seemed somewhat overpriced.
We stopped by Porotupa having read numerous recommendations on Social Media. As the name suggests, it is quite literally a former reindeer hut in the middle of Saariselkä. It is run by a Finnish-Israeli couple who take pride in the fact that their produce is homemade with love.
There is seating both inside and outside, with al fresco diners being provided with reindeer furs and blankets. Inside, it is rather cramped, with a log fire roaring away in the corner. The menu is limited, but this is certainly not to the detriment of the owners!
Each day there is a selection of homemade cakes, soups and pancakes. I recommend the hot berry juice and pancakes. The food is delicious and inexpensive, two factors which are very important to me personally.
The owners are wonderfully friendly, and they take time to chat with their customers. It is clear to see that the cafe is a labour of love, and I recommend it to anyone passing through!
Kaunispään Huippu is situated at the top of Kaunispää Fell. You can access it either via the hiking trail from the centre of Saariselkä (2,7km), by ski-lift, or by road.
There is a small gift shop and a cafe/restaurant selling a range of meals and snacks. We ordered two cakes (berry pie and Laskiaspulla) and two drinks. The bill came to approximately 13€ which is on the pricey side, but I cannot complain about the food.
As well as lighter meals, there was a more extensive lunch menu. I noticed that most of the people around us had opted for the salmon soup. We visisted at the beginning of the lunch rush, but were able to find seating next to the fire. Window seats which offer fantastic views of the surrounding landscape were quickly snapped up!
Within the rather extensive Kuukkeli building is a cafeteria style restaurant. There are a number of options available, including takeaway options. In search of a quick fix, we opted for a burger and pizza. This, with drinks came to just under 20€.
I thought this was good value for money. My pizza, which cost 11,90€ was large and tasty. The base was thin, and the cheese and salami melted beautifully. Darren had a burger and reported that this too, was very good (if not a bit too full of sauces!) Fries were crispy and well-seasoned.
This option was very popular with foreign tourists. There were fewer locals here, and there is a marked difference between the menu choices of the two groups! Tourists seemed to go for the fast food options, whereas I noticed a number of locals were heading for the lunch buffet which is a very well-priced option! I chose to abstain from this as I was not too enthralled by the choices of main meal, however I can confirm that the portions and salad bar was good!