What is Finnish food culture? It is a collection of different regional cuisines, long traditions and fresh innovation. It is taking influences from every direction. It is the present and past history. At Juuri, we explore our own history and Finnish food tradition. Everything we find we bring to this day because we hope that Finnish food tradition will also have a strong role in the future.

One of the great challenges of today is to preserve local food traditions in a world that is under the yoke of globalization and change. How do we retain the authentic Karelian pasty? How do we retain the appreciation for local fish species in the time of imported salmon? Unfortunately many phenomena of Finnish food culture have been born to destroy the old. Who remembers what the people ate before industrial sausages?

We want to protect the special features of Finnish food culture by raising food appreciation to the level it deserves. In this sense we are culinary archaeologists, guided in our explorations by the principle of deliciousness, in addition to being restaurateurs. But we do not want to become stuck in the past or to seek inspiration only from within Finnish borders. Dill is originally from India and the potato is from South America but still their combination is a truly Finnish whole.

All this can be seen in the food we serve: we make Finnish food by respecting its roots and traditional handiwork. We make everything from the beginning  ourselves. We do not use prepared or semi-finished products. Good food tells a story that will take you on a journey.

Juuri is especially well-known for its Sapas: small, unpretentious portions. They take inspiration from Finnish buffet tables and the sense of community surrounding them and the sharing of food. The originator of the idea, Ilja Björs, once fell in love with the rich culinary traditions of the northern Mediterranean and started to think of how to combine a straightforward way of enjoying various tastes to the local ingredients he loved.

Thus was born the Sapas. The basis for creating them was to plan a new kind of culinary experience so it obviously also needed a new name; a name that would anchor the concept to this millennium but would at the same time tell the story of past centuries. Somewhat surprisingly the word Sapas comes from the Finnish words for “small Finnish starters” (Suomalaiset AlkuPAlaSet). Any similarity to the Spanish word “tapas” is purely coincidental, according to Ilja, since also mezze, pintxo, antipasti and many other culinary traditions served as inspiration for them.

Sapas are small portions that work best as a shared experience. We want to offer customers diverse experiences, to create discussions and to feed the phenomenon of social eating. We want to create an atmosphere of spontaneity that is free from the traditional rigid and formulaic dining traditions. At the same time we want to pamper our diners’ taste buds with a cross section of local tastes.


15.11.2004 at 11 am Juuri opened for the first time!
The founders are Ilja Björs and Jarkko Myllymäki

2005 Juuri was a contender for the listing of 50 best Finnish restaurants, in 2006 it was listed as the 26th, and at our best we were in 2010 when we were placed 8th.

2008 we were first mentioned in the Michelin Guide where we have been mentioned every year since.

2010 restaurant of the year as chosen by the Finnish Gastronomical Society.

2010 in January the small producers’ shop Juuren Puoti opened and it was closed in September 2012.

2011 Latva bar was opened in June.

2012 Maritori was opened in Herttoniemi, Marimekko’s staff restaurant as well as Juuri’s bakery

2012 Taste of Helsinki

2013 Taste of Helsinki

2013 Helsinki Festival’s Huvila festival tent.

2014 First Pihka restaurant opens in Ruoholahti.

2014 May “Juuri Nyt – Suomalaisen keittiön uudet klassikot” book is published

2014 Taste of Helsinki

2014 August Helsinki Festivals’ Huvila tent and KoeHelsinki Bistro in Citizen Square Helsinki

2014 November second Pihka opens in Sörnäinen/Lintulahti

2014 60 regular employees by the end of the year

2015 May third Pihka opens in Kamppi/Mechelininkatu

2015 August, event & catering unit Juuri Tapahtumat is founded

2015 August, Juuri Tapahtumat takes care of Helsinki Festivals’ Huvila tent food and restaurant services

2016 January, restaurateurs Ilja Björs and Jarkko Myllymäki are awarded as Entrepeneur Of The Year in PRO 2016 gala.

2016 March, Juuri Tapahtumat takes care of Jussit – Finnish movie gala dinner and restaurant services

2016 June, Latva 5 years

2016 July, Juuri expands downstairs.

2016 August, Juuri Tapahtumat in Flow Festival

2016 August, Juuri Tapahtumat takes care of Helsinki Festivals’ Huvila tent food and restaurant services

2017 March, Juuri Tapahtumat takes care of Jussit – Finnish movie gala dinner and restaurant services

2017 June, Juuri Café & Bar opens in Design Museum Helsinki

2017 August, Juuri Tapahtumat takes care of Helsinki Festivals’ Huvila tent food and restaurant services