Kuopio is a relatively remote place on Earth. Perhaps you shouldn’t expect too much with respect to food culture. While I like some of the Finnish culinary curiosities, like Rosvopaisti or Kalakukko, I have found Kuopio to be relatively poor in world foods choice. Other than Finnish, like Sampo or Kummisetä or Wanha Satama, we had, and still have, Greek, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and Viking (-like) restaurants. And then there are the beasts, which you may enjoy only occasionally because of their quality, such as Amarillo or Memphis or Hesburger or Buffa, and there are the beauties, which you may enjoy only occasionally because of their price, such as Ravintola Os or Musta Lammas or Isä Camillo. There is even Sushi, if you drop by the Matkus shopping center. And then there are a few more which I forgot, I don’t want to remember, I utterly dislike, or I have never heard of. Oh, and are the IKEA meatballs still around?
One of the more disconcerting facts is that many of these restaurants are somehow chained. Ravintola Mestarit seems to dominate and I am sure S Group plays its cards well, too. Moreover, it is unfortunate that, at least in my opinion, only Ravintola Os is a true experience. Some restaurants are good, most are average, and some mostly to avoid.
This being said, over the past few months, Kuopio has seen a veritable awakening in matters of food culture. With Ravintola Shalimar we now have Indian, Nepalese is served at Ravintola Mount Sherpa, a great lasagna and the best pizza can be found at Trattoria Sorrento, and – still to test myself – Ravintola Rustik, which hopefully serves food as tasty as their ambiance is tasteful.
Though some time ago I was suggesting some coffee shops should extend their opening hours, I have never owned, and unlikely ever will, a restaurant in Kuopio. Still, I think it is not easy for newcomers to break into this market with new tastes, flavors, dishes, even silverware. So, good luck to you brave newcomers, I wish you a bright and happy future in this nordic city. You certainly serve Kuopio well by adding to its diversity.