In many tourism and travel research surveys, culture is one of the most important reasons to visit a certain destination. The problem is—if there is any real one—that what actually makes “culture”. Of course, there are numerous definitions fur cultural tourism or culture as a motivational factor for travelling. The broad concept of culture includes almost all human interaction. I started to ponder this as I thought of my own perceptions of city culture. The food and beverage culture is one of the main things, at least for me.
Tampere Market Hall can be considered as one of the “must-visit” places at Tampere. It is the biggest market hall in the Nordic countries consisting a large variety of different shops, cafes and restaurants. Tampere Market Hall has preserved a very good grocery shop—restaurant/cafe ratio which is a really good thing for a visitor: there is a lot of things to do for everyone, depending on your needs. The atmosphere at the Market Hall is unique—here you can still see something from an age that doesn’t exist anymore.
My favourite restaurant at Tampere is—surprise surprise—located in the Market Hall. The French restaurant 4 Vuodenaikaa (Four Seasons) by Yoni Ichtertz is an excellent place for lunch and also something to consider if you are in a need of private restaurant space (the venue is available for private events after the Market Hall has closed). One of my birthdays was celebrated there and I have to say that it is quite an extraordinary feeling being in the Market Hall with no other people.
During lunch hours (11–15:45 (15:30 on Saturdays), the place might get crowded as there can be even a small queue waiting a table. My favourite lunch dish is bouillabaisse: the fresh ingredients come from across the aisle, Kalaherkut Nygren, which is selling all kind of fresh fish products. But there are a lot of other dishes to choose from, so it definitely is not all about fish.
Another place in the Market Hall that I visit regularly is the lunch café Vesta. This place serves very good homemade-like dishes and portions are big enough to satisfy even a bigger appetite. Especially chicken salad and salmon soup are dishes that I eat time after time. Bonus points for good customer service and homemade cakes!
Besides the Market Hall, one ‘speciality’ that I like in Tampere is the gastropub scene. I have to admit that I had to check, what gastropub means by definition (even if I know what it is in reality): Merriam-Webster: “a pub, bar, or tavern that offers meals of high quality” orr Oxford Living Dictionaries: “A pub that specializes in serving high-quality food.” So good food and drinks in a pub should be a fine translation?
Gastropub Soho has been my favourite pub in Tampere since it was founded in 2004. The reason it became my pub was that the othes pub nearby, O’Connell’s (a really good pub, too), was always very crowded when we went there to watch some Premier League football with my friends. So when Soho was opened 50 meters away, we changed the place and there we have stayed since then.
The food (hamburgers, fish’n’chips, English breakfast etc) is really good in the pub food scene and beers by local Nordic Brewery are very decent as well. The bar staff are friendly and professional, too. For me Soho really is a public house: it is possible to meet friends almost every time I go there. One of the reason for this might be that Soho has its own football teams that I have played in (and two ice hockey and a Finnish baseball team, too).
There are also many dj nights in Soho, a pub quiz (in Finnish) on Thursdays and Premier League (+other major football leagues) is shown on screens. During match days the venue might get really crowded, so if you plan to watch a game in Soho, you should go there in advance, not when the game starts. And it has to be said, that if there is a ManC game, it has always a priority if there are several TV matches at the same time.
Besides Soho, there are other gastropubs owned by same owner. Two of them, Tuulensuu and Nordic, are my alternative favourites, if I want to have some variation in pub visits. The former is a Belgian style pub, while the latter is—as the name indicates—more of a Nordic style pub. Gastropub Tuulensuu has been awarded many times for its beer selection. The only ‘problem’ for me is that it is situated in the western part of the city center. Gastropub Nordic, by contrast, is located very close to Soho (which makes it a bit problematic place to visit for me). But in any case, these two are really good choices for a pub night at Tampere.
And in the summer you should pay a visit to Rillinki, which is located in the Hämeenpuisto Park on the western end of Hämeenkatu (the main street). It this only place that I know in Finland that serves Kapsalon, a traditional street food from Rotterdam!