Inari, Finland

Located in small village of Inari (Aanaar in Sami language, hence the name) sits on beautiful place by rapids of river Juutua. On the same building is also a hotel, if you decide to stay here longer. The restaurant was placed 46. on the latest best 50 restaurants in Finland list.

Until 3pm lunch is served and after that, you can order from à la carte menu. I went with a preset menu “Inari 5”. You can order the same dishes separately, but you save few euros by getting the menu. Menus was priced 59 euros and matching wine package 24,80€ (not bad price, 3 x 12 cl + 8 cl).

The menu started with amuse-bouche made from lichen (that is what reindeers eat) and grated reindeer heart with a creamy sauce. Fantastic and interesting start making you curious what is about to come. First thing from the menu was whitefish & roe from Lake Inari whitefish on a toast, prawns from the Arctic Ocean, and cucumber and dill granita. Very generous portion and flavors that complemented each other perfectly. You could have this one alone for a small lunch. Second appetizer was also fish, this time pike (Lake Inari dried pike Brandade, pike mousse, marinated Angelica, fennel and lemon emulsion and Bottarga). If the first “appetizer” was good, this one was amazing. Also more “fine-dining” like portion.

For main dish the menu had reindeer meat, the portion was name “Reindeer and its pasture”. It consisted of roasted reindeer smoked with pine needles, reindeer blood dumplings, lichen seasoned with bilberry and Lappish potato purée. The blood “dumpling” was a bit dull part and tasted like dry-ish “verilettu” (blood pancake), but otherwise it was excellent. The meat was brought to table in separate pot and once opened, amazing smokey pine flavors came out.

After this, two desserts. First very fresh tasting “bridging dessert” from bilberry, angelica and lingonberry and then birch leaf sorbet, chocolate mousse flavoured with tar licorice. The second one was called “smokedsauna” as the sorbet was on top a cup in a separate glass, so that the lower part was filled with smoke.

Altogether, worth of making a trip from longer distance and reasonable priced in my opinion. They use local products as much as possible and also all parts from a reindeer, for example, which I count admirable.