Good food shared with good friends.
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Same great (and generous) bowls of delicious soup, same tasty bread, new bright airy location. They have some more things for sale here than at the Soppakeittio - riisipiirakka, sodas made with organic juices etc. Overall a great place for lunch.
The lunches are quite hearty and "meaty" - not in the sense that there is a lot of meat, but that many of them have that slow-cooked meat-broth full flavour (including the meat-free noodle dishes). The Udon noodle bowl is whopping, a good feed, best if you just accept you'll have to slurp away and enjoy it.
The lunch feels a bit more special than at other places. They have a great salmon dish with three different salmon preparations, served with salads and miso soup. A bowl of rice comes as a side, but the main dish will fill up you.
The sushi is very inexpensive, but it's also just laid out there in a box - it tasted a bit old - drying rice, tired fish. The Miso soup wasn't very flavourful. Experience wise I'm put off by the disposable everything even when having a sit-down meal. It really doesn't compare to going to a sushi place where the food is fresh, but it's a big step up from supermarket pre-packed sushi if you want to take something back to your desk.
I was at first a bit disappointed when my dining companion's soup hit the table - it looked so good and hearty I wished I'd ordered it. Then my shrimp caesar salad came along, looking absolutely perfect. It tasted as good as it looked - very fresh, beautifully balanced, delicious. The only thing that might improve the meal would be if they get their alcohol license. I tasted a cantucci on the way out, and it was similarly great. The chef repeatedly emphasised the all home-cooked, made from scratch nature of the produce. I'll be back.
Very good food, nice atmosphere, very knowledgeable wait staff who'll go the extra mile if they sense you're really interested in their wines. Speaking of which, the wine list is excellent, with some great dessert wines.
There's something very "home-cooking" in the best possible way about Cafe de Nopal - as if someone in Mexico invited you for dinner at their house. This extends beyond the food - the staff are incredibly warm and welcoming, almost like you're a guest. They have a cheeky sign proclaiming themselves mex-mex, highlighting this is real Mexican food rather than a US reinvention - the only place in Finland I've ever seen mole sauce. So far the only fly in the ointment is the lack of a liquor licence, which their in the process of acquiring. Well, that and the rampant popularity, fueled as far as I can see by local Latin Americans, makes it difficult to get in!
Good pizza, fast! The quality toppings make this stand out from the usual crowd.
This has to be the best lunch in Helsinki. The option of a small work-friendly glass of lunch for a couple of euros is a perfect indulgence. It really makes you wonder how they can manage to serve such tasty food for such a low price, and if they can do it, why can't anyone else?