This website uses cookies so we can ensure that our pages will serve you as well as possible. If you continue without changing any settings, we will assume you accept the use of cookies on our website. Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy Close
13 December, 2019

Why Helsinki’s at the forefront of an incredible new food revolution

The EU’s northernmost capital is home to a new food philosophy with its roots far to the south. Why did the new Anatolian kitchen movement — dedicated to fusing thousands of locally sourced ingredients — make an entrance here? Let’s meet the man who’s made it happen to find out.

Helsinki’s well-known for many things. Being home to a new genre of Anatolian cooking is not one of them.

However, thanks to Mehmet Gürs, the Finnish-Turkish executive chef at Restaurant Andrea in the Finnish capital, that’s now changing.

But what exactly is Anatolian cooking and why should food-lovers worldwide get excited about trying it?

A kitchen of many different cultures

– The reason I prefer to talk about Anatolian rather than Turkish food is the fact that national borders are so temporary and artificial. Turkey has only been around as a nation for a century, but the natural borders of the region, like the mountains, will be there forever, says Gürs, the pioneer behind the new Anatolian kitchen.

In the new Anatolian kitchen, barriers – whether ethnic, religious, or national – are ignored.

Products from every corner of Anatolia, which includes parts of Greece, Armenia, Syria, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran and Iraq –  come together to create a cuisine that thrives on diversity and varied cultural layers.

Andrea's calamari is seasoned with olive oil, Antep chili flakes from Turkey and fresh coriander.

- Eastern Turkey borders with the Middle East, while in the West we get close to the Greek islands. The food cultures of these areas are about as different from each other as the French and Chinese cuisines, Gürs elaborates.

Gürs’s new fusion of tastes takes those traditional Turkish ingredients we all know and love ­— yogurt, lamb, olive oil and fresh vegetables ­— as the base.

Then he adds yummy ingredients from the wider region of Anatolia. Spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as local fish and cheeses abound.

Pide is a traditional Turkish flatbread. Andrea's most popular pide comes with a Nordic twist: salmon and dill.

A new perspective is on the menu

So, what’s inspired Gürs to combine all these fantastic flavours?

– I kept coming back to the question of how we could respect and showcase the work of our ancestors, but not be crushed by their traditions, says Gürs.

The philosophy behind the new Anatolian kitchen dares you to look at products, habits and techniques from a new perspective — in fact, Gürs believes that every tradition should be up for discussion.

In Helsinki, he’s blending the fire and passion of the Anatolian kitchen with the calm honesty of Nordic cuisine, using locally-sourced Finnish products, too.

Mehmet Gürs. Photo: Design Hotels.

When it comes to ingredients, think small

And this doesn’t just benefit Helsinki diners and foodies. "No Farmer, No Food, No Future" are words to live by when it comes to Anatolian cuisine.

The survival of farmers and producers who work honestly and ethically to respect the environment — especially small farmers — is essential to the survival of the kitchen. That’s not just good for our palate, it’s good for the planet as well.

According to Gürs, when we lose touch with traditional production methods and ingredients, we lose touch with our identity.

This is why sourcing fresh, local products from ethical producers on a seasonal basis is vital to the new Anatolian kitchen and why, so far, he’s collected an incredible 5000 ingredients from villages all over the region.

While this alone is an impressive achievement, just imagine what happens when Gürs works his magic to combine his selection. Happily, it’s easy turn your imagination into reality at Restaurant Andrea

Visit Restaurant Andrea's website

Enjoy Anatolian flavours at Restaurant Andrea

Restaurant Andrea is located in Helsinki city centre and is open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, and during the weekends for dinner. Book a table at Andrea and enjoy the fusion of Nordic and Anatolian kitchens.

Book a table

Read next

Ultra fresh skin care is nature’s latest luxury

Cocktail Trendit 2020

A toast to holiday spirits

How Lapponia Jewelry captured the beauty of Nordic nature

St. George Design Market

Saturday 14 December, 2019

Hotel St. George Event Calendar

St. George awarded Hotel of the Year

Wintergarden Live: Pihlaja & D.R.E.A.M

Friday 11 October, 2019

Winemaker's Dinner Oct 3rd & 4th

Thursday 03 October, 2019

Wintergarden Live Moments: Bossa Nova

Friday 27 September, 2019

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice 5.-15.9.

Thursday 05 September, 2019

DJ Moments at Wintergarden

Friday 06 September, 2019

Helsinki Festival Pre-Party with Ylva Haru

Thursday 22 August, 2019
Tips what to do in Helsinki in the summer

Our tips for summery Helsinki

With over 40 diverse restaurants to choose from, Flow Festival is the place to be for those looking to experience not only the best up and coming bands but also the most delectable food trends of the year.

Why Flow is Helsinki’s most delicious festival

Restaurant Andrea steals the show at Flow

Ravintola Andrea x Omara Portuondo

Saturday 24 August, 2019
As Helsinki Festival's official partner, St. George offers like-minded program and inspiration. See all the program below and join us!

St. George x Helsinki Festival 15.8.-1.9.2019

Helsinki Festival: Experience Jon Hopkins' voice installation at Hotel St. George Entrance Hall.

Helsinki Festival: Jon Hopkins' sound installation at St. George

Thursday 15 August, 2019

Events in Helsinki - summer 2019

Read what to do in Helsinki in the summer and how to spend it like a local

Helsinki Summer Tips - Soak up summer like a Helsinki local

Alvar Aalto A805: Artek’s iconic lamp shines in a new colour at Hotel St. George Helsinki

Alvar Aalto A805: Artek’s iconic lamp shines in a new colour

WATCH THE VIDEO: Quick and easy resistance band exercise with Hotel St. George's Personal Trainer Marko Dombi

VIDEO: A Quick & Easy Resistance Band Exercise

Enjoy cocktail in Wintergarden Hotel St. George Helsinki

Spring Moments After Work May 31st

Friday 31 May, 2019

Exercise smart, not hard

Sleep tight, feel alright! Why sleeping is the essence of well-being

Sleep tight, feel alright! Why sleeping is the essence of well-being

Celebrate good times! St. George’s Day is coming to Helsinki!

In Pornaistenniemi on the western shore of the bay, you can explore a black alder forest, and duckboards through the reeds take you from Arabia to the idyllic island of Lammassaari.

If you go down to the woods today – The 6 best nature destinations around Helsinki

St  George Care Spa Helsinki Carol Roine

Avoid the winter blues with Nordic skin care tips

Linda Ekholm helps the Hotel St. George guests sleep and recover better by analyzing their sleep at Sleep Lab -sleep consultations.

How a sleep consultation will help you maximise recovery

 Finland is officially the world’s happiest country in the world. But what is Nordic happiness and well-being made of?

In search of Nordic well-being

St. George Bakery Traditional Finnish Shrove Bun

Season's best: Treat your taste buds at St. George

Liam loves meeting different people from all over the world with different stories and cultural backgrounds.

How a few words of Finnish can make a man’s dream come true

The unknown design classic that invites you to relax at St. George Care spa, Helsinki: Arne Jacobsen's Paris Chair

The unknown design classic that invites you to relax: Arne Jacobsen's Paris Chair

What is lymphatic therapy and why you should try it

What is lymphatic therapy and why you should try it

In Restaurant Andrea everything is made for sharing

Anatolian dinner with Mehmet Gürs

Thursday 07 February, 2019

The art museums and galleries of central Helsinki

Lux Helsinki Event in Helsinki

See & Do in Helsinki: Lux Helsinki 2019

Hotel St. George Helsinki

Our New Year's Resolutions for 2019

Finnish History in 15 Short Chapters

Letting off steam: How to discover the perfect Helsinki sauna for you

DAYTRIP: Nuuksio National Park

Enjoy a memorable New Year's Eve at one of Helsinki's finest cocktail bars - Wintergarden bar at Hotel St. George.

New Year's Eve Party at Wintergarden, Helsinki

Monday 31 December, 2018
Wintergarden bar in Helsinki serves traditional Finnish mulled wine called glögi.

Winter Moments 14.12.

Friday 14 December, 2018

Christmas markets in Helsinki 2018

In international comparisons between nations Finland is always at the top.

Because We Are Finland and You Are Not!

How to taste natural wines and learn to love them

Living in a new Renaissance of Finnish bread culture

Lifestyle magazine Monocle’s travel guide series gets a Helsinki edition

In Restaurant Andrea everything is made for sharing

Don’t touch my plate! Are Finns no good at sharing their food?

Wellbeing first: St. George and Hintsa Performance are changing the world of hotels

Ai WeiWei's art piece in Hotel St. George's entrance

An art gallery in a hotel - Ai Weiwei’s dragon welcomes visitors to Hotel St. George

Let there be light! How a Nordic innovation banishes Helsinki’s winter darkness

Wintergarden is the living room of the Hotel St. George, place for the guests and locals to meet.

Pekka Jylhä's "Learning to Fly" spreads its wings in Wintergarden

Mehmet Gürs' Restaurant Andrea serves anatolian flavours in downtown Helsinki

How chef superstar Mehmet Gürs came home to Helsinki

St. George is a unique and elegant hotel in the heart of Helsinki city centre. Read more about the hotel, rooms, services and location!

From national awakening to Nordic design: Hotel St. George echoes Helsinki’s history

Monocle Shop at Hotel St. George is a Nordic first

Monocle Shop at Hotel St. George is a Nordic first

Environmentally friendly cocktails at Hotel St. George's Wintergarden Bar

Zero waste cocktails at Hotel St. George’s Wintergarden

Helsinki, the city where everything works

Helsingin upea saaristo: Isosaari, Harakka, Kaunissaari, Lammassaari, Liuskasaari, Pihlajasaari, Vartiosaari ja kymmenet muut saaret. Lue vinkkimme!

Art meets nature on Helsinki’s islands

Herring, blueberry soup and halva – introducing Restaurant Andrea