About 12 years ago when I’ve first visited Helsinki, there weren’t as many hotels as there are now in the very heart of the Helsinki city centre but one of the first hotels I did stay at back then was Scandic Simonkentta.
Swedish chain of 4 star hotels right away “got” me with their minimalistic design, effortless check in/out and great comfort. Couple of years after, I have stayed at hotel Marski as well and while it was not any different looking than the other Scandic hotels I’ve been to (in other cities such as Turku and Oulu) I did love the very central location of it, right on the main street Mannerheimintie and right across the best department store in Finland, Stockmann as well as the historical Swedish theatre and 3 blacksmiths square.
About a year and half ago I have heard that hotel Marski is under the reconstruction and the whole new look and concept will be given to it!
Oh and it was so! Beautiful new hotel Marski by Scandic was (re)opened couple of months ago and the new , very stylish and fancy design had complemented the “old fame” of the place.
I love the cozyness of it, the upgraded bedrooms and amenities as well as the restaurant Kuusi Palaa which served us amazing dinner and a wonderful breakfast table. I found the rooms to be very stylish, more spacious than before and I have loved the new “splash” of colour it got versus the other Scandic hotels I know of.
Gym, sauna access, parking garage and super friendly and helpful staff would be definitely what I’m looking for when staying at a hotel in any city’s centre. Something that is also great about Marski by Scandic hotel is that WiFi is free of charge, pets are allowed and it also proudly carries the Nordic Swan eco label for the sustainability.
Thanks to already mentioned hotel’s restaurant Kuusi Palaa, I have dined well and have enjoyed to the max Noridc / Finnish cuisine at it’s best. The name of the restaurant is quite entertaining as it can mean many different things and some of them are: “Burning Tree” or “6 slices”. You even get a small pamphlet on your dinner table explaining the name and all of the variations of it. 🙂
It’s rare that I like any of the hotel’s own restaurants, but Kuusi Palaa has definitely satisfied my foodie standards as well as my tastebuds. 🙂
From the starter plate or so called Finnish tapas to the main course and finishing off the dinner with a rich but just perfectly combined brownie with coffee cream and popping candy was nothing short but great!
I can definitely recommend you to try out the Marski bar, besides live music played by the DJ you can also enjoy many great cocktails among which I’d like to point out Grandma’s pickle cocktail and Raspberry boat, both of them you can also get as a mocktail. 🙂 For avid beer lovers, there’s an extensive list of local and Finnish beers as well.
If you find yourself visiting Helsinki sometime soon and are looking for a 5 star hotel treatment and vibe but at much affordable rate, give a chance to Marski by Scandic, you won’t regret it!
*This article was made in collaboration with Scandic hotels / Marski hotel but all of the opinions are my own.
*Photography by Natali K. photography
*Thank you Ms. Elina and Mr. Jouko for this opportunity!
Zinfandel’s restaurant is one out of the two restaurants which you can enjoy inside of the Esplanade hotel. While LeBistro is more of a laidback “bistro” for a whole day dining, Zinfandel’s is perfect for a romantic night out, foodie experience or the best hotel breakfast you’ve ever had.
Let’s start with the breakfast, big variety of cold cuts, dips, spreads, fruit platter, overnight oats, smoothies, numerous cakes, selection of breads… All of those are part of the breakfast buffet table where you can serve yourself and eat as much as you like but if you wish to have something more special like warm porridge, grilled pineapple or poached eggs, you have a a-la-carte menu and the servers will do their best to spoil you with something warm and delicious. 🙂
I would say that you should definitely try the “star” of their breakfast table and that’s traditional Croatian strukli, a dish like no other, which quickly became my favourite breakfast choice. Dense yet “melt in my mouth” dough, filled with the fresh cheese and topped with the sour cream and eggs, baked to perfection in the oven. It’s a well known fact that Esplanade’s breakfast strukli are the best in Zagreb, if not in whole Croatia.
Zinfandel’s got it’s name after a special sort of grapes originating from the South of Croatia. Main chef, Ms. Ana Grgic has been devoted to crafting her special signature at Zinfandel’s for 13 years. What begun as an apprentice in training, developed into something very fruitful and it ensured that Ms. Ana becomes the main chef of Zinfandel’s and LeBistro.
If you are looking for a delicious lunch with a 5 star service and a cozy, home like vibes, I suggest you to go to LeBistro. It’s a perfect place to try traditional Croatian dishes but interpreted in a “finer” way with a modern day twist to it. What stood out for me were definitely a carrot risotto and ricotta gnudi.
For a dinner at Zinfandel’s, I’d suggest you to leave about 2-3 hours of free time to enjoy all of the beauty of the interior, complex but delicious bites of food and some of the best wines from an extensive drinks list.
It’s impressive to see how much an interior can change from the breakfast to dinner service. From a bright, “comfy” and bistro like vibes in the morning to the luxurious, dimmed lights and candlelit dinner tables at evening. Zinfandel’s menu is changing very often but some of the dishes marked as “Zinfandel’s classics” never go off of the menu and there is a reason for that. Traditional dishes, which don’t need any adjustments and are visually as well as tastefully perfect just as they were years before and will be in years to come.
Part of Zinfandel’s a-la-carte selection which does change has been for years putting it’s chef and the restaurant in the top of the Croatian restaurant scene. Loved by the critics as well as by the visitors and foodie enthusiasts, Zinfandel’s have set the bar very high to all of the other hotel restaurants in Zagreb. So far none of them have even got a close to Zinfandel’s in this “silent competition”.
I was happy to share this dinner experience with my brother. We went a little “reckless” and have ordered some dishes which sounded interesting and innovative to us. There was no room for the safe options when trying to test and give a grade to Zinfandel’s food.
Starters were foie gras and truffles with truffle ice cream and cocoa cone and open lasagne with rabbit confit and chickpea foam. I must say I have never yet heard of truffle ice cream and esp. not served with the foie gras so I was excited to see how it’s going to be plated as well as what kind of the taste all together will have. Foie gras with truffles was delicious! I suggest putting it on a cracker bread to enjoy it fully. The ice cream part was bit confusing to me as I just couldn’t put/ mix it with the foie gras or eat on it’s own but that’s just the way my taste buds were, maybe you would go nuts about it so don’t hesitate to try something as innovative as this.
My brother had the open lasagne and before I could even ask him how does he like his dish, it was gone, licked off of the plate. 😀 He loved them as they were full of taste, creamy… Tomac Millennium Brut sparkling wine was perfect to match with our starters.
Main courses were reindeer fillets with roasted beetroot and rhubarb and a pork fillet with mustard seeds, pickled radishes and Bernaise sauce. Visually, both dishes were perfect but my brother who tested both of the dishes could conclude that the pork fillet was the “winner” out of these two.
Technically they were both prepped perfectly but the reindeer fillets were overpowering with the taste the rest of the food on the plate. Rhubarb and beetroot might be a good combination together in some vegetarian dish or even a dessert but together with the reindeer maybe something else would be a better choice. Pork fillet had nothing to complain about, everything matched well together and mustard seeds were a cherry on top of the taste explosion. Well done!
For the main course wine we were offered a merlot by Krauthaker from Kutjevo. I must say that the sommelier made us really entertained by the whole service of the red wine from out of the bottle to the glass. Very nice “touch” to the whole dinner experience.
Zinfandel’s dessert list consists of 4 equally great sounding options but we have decided to try their brownie and lemon sponge cakes. Brownie was a chocolate and nut dream, it tasted like a sophisticated version of Snickers bar. 😀 Lemon sponge cake was served with marinated pear and cinnamon ice cream – I couldn’t think of a better , Winter perfect dessert.
I hope that my detailed description of what you can expect from Zinfandel’s and LeBistro as well as the photos of the dishes have made you consider of visiting them both and experiencing a real food heaven oasis in the heart of Zagreb city.
*This post has been made in collaboration with hotel Esplanade, all of the opinions and photos are my own.
*Thank you to Ms. Sanda and Mr. Ivica for making this collaboration possible.
*Thank you to all of the wonderful staff at LeBistro and Zinfandel’s for giving us a remarkable service during our visit.
La Belle Vie restaurant is a newly opened hotspot by the sea in Vodice. La Belle Vie is worth making a stop for in this little city on the South of Croatian coast. La Belle Vie or Good Life in translation is clearly a guideline of the restaurant as their dishes and cocktails plus the incredible location truly make a trio which will guarantee that you will enjoy good moments in life – La Belle Vie way. Continue Reading…
YUM pastry shop and cafe are a little peace of delicious heaven which you MUST visit if you find yourself visiting Sibenik this Summer for instance. YUM pastry shop and cafe was born only a few months ago and it’s a very refreshing and much needed addition to the local gourmet offer. Continue Reading…
Gateau Esplanadi is OPEN!! 🙂 I have already previously written on my blog about this wonderful artisan bakery from Sweden which has crafted and perfected artisan breads since 1937. New Gateau Esplanadi opened only 3 weeks ago on one of the most beautiful and busiest streets in Helsinki city centre. Continue Reading…
Triple yes to the latest restaurant ran by a successful gastro duo of Richard McCormik and Ville Relander. Those who are locals or have been following bit closely Helsinki food scene must have already come across those two names as those are the same people to “blame” for eateries such as Sandro, TheCock and Holiday Bar. Continue Reading…
Visit Helsinki series have been one of the most read and also my personal favourite articles on the blog, therefore it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’ve been a constant on my blog for more than 2 years. Visit Helsinki? Why would somebody want to visit the capital of the Santa Land, esp. when it comes to a foodie experience? Well, there are many reasons why to visit this unique city which keeps on evolving in every direction all the time, food scene being one of them.
Pick up with Foodora is one of the latest options this food delivery service has to offer. Up until not long time ago, you could only order food to be delivered to your home or office address, but not anymore. Pick up option allows you to browse through the restaurants that co-operate with Foodora, decide on your preferred pick up date and time, pick up your food and either eat it/ have it right there or bring it home with you, avoiding the delivery charge or waiting in the line at the restaurant or cafe. Continue Reading…
Nobu Shoreditch, a newcomer to the ever growing restaurant scene in London. Dinner at Nobu Shoreditch was on top of the “must visit” places on my travel bucket list during my recent trip to London. Nobu restaurants are a worldwide group of top notch, Japanese cuisine and fine dining restaurants, coming from the celebrated Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Nobu Shoreditch is also owned by a super famous Hollywood actor Robert DeNiro who also attended the opening of this restaurant and the first Nobu hotel in London a few months ago. By opening Nobu Shoreditch hotel and restaurant, Shoreditch area got a big “upgrade” to already buzzing and growing area of London that is quickly becoming one of the coolest areas in town to live, explore, work… You name it! 🙂 Continue Reading…
Summer in Croatia was a bliss and it feels like I was there last week, when in reality it’s been almost 2 full months since I’ve returned to Helsinki. Can you believe that there are only 3 days left of August and pretty much after that the Summer is over? I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I had to pull out my Fall coat and put a scarf on for the first time in a while… Continue Reading…