Le Havre is a brasserie-style restaurant in Hotel Seurahuone. While the cuisine is French, the ingredients are primarily sourced from Finland.
The renovation of this one-hundred-year-old property respected and preserved its heritage: all of the furniture was replaced in the building’s original spirit. A minor change that has a significant impact on the use of space is an elevated section next to the windows on the Kaivokatu side, “the second floor”. The large windows of the double-height dining hall provide expansive views of the bustling city life outside, unfolding like a play on a stage. The changes have also made the restaurant, full of people seated around tables, appear even more enticing to those looking in from the outside. The second floor is connected to the main hall via arched balconies, and high up at the end of the hall, there is still room even for a full orchestra.
The setting is refined and festive, but at the same time, there is something intimate and cosy about the space.
– That was our intention. We want Le Havre to be a place where it is easy to stop for lunch or pop in for a cup of coffee in the middle of a busy weekday. The gilded surfaces and shiny chandeliers must not turn people away. On the contrary, it is nice to relax in a beautiful setting such as this, says Hotel Manager Petteri Vitikainen, and recommends that customers reserve a table ahead of time.
Vitikainen joined the hotel as a trainee 15 years ago and is still on the same path. As the years have passed, his career has progressed almost on its own, but he has not been drawn to seek challenges elsewhere, he says, adding that he has not even found the hotel’s famous secret passageway yet.
– If it really exists, I am sure I will find it one day. If anyone can find it, I can. After all, everyone here will tell you I know this place like the back of my hand.
Text: Hannele Koskinen