Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cafe Regatta

So....where does one go on a warm, sunny day in Helsinki? To Cafe Regatta! Duh!
Sam and I had this small (in size, not personality) cafe on our list for quite some time. She had come across an image of this it's red exterior on an obscure website a few months ago, and was so intrigued by its design and location that we had to go. 

After navigating the Helsinki public transportation, and wandering around a beach, we found our way to Cafe Regatta, and what a sight to behold! The deep red paint against the deep blue ocean creates quite a beautiful contrast, and the many people happily lounging outside; reading a book, chatting with friends, grilling a hot dog (the usual) was met with delight. 
Upon approaching the door of the cafe, a waft of cinnamon buns reached our noses, and a line of people halted our entrance. You can presume that this is quite a popular place in the summer. It is right on the water and provides two large outdoor seating areas for people to lap up the sun and feel the ocean breeze on a warm day. We took a hint from the locals and ordered a cinnamon roll, two cups of coffee and ran out the door to find a table.

Cafe Regatta has been open for 10 years, but the building has been a cafe since the Olympic games in 1952, and prior to the current owner, was run by the Canoeing Club. The little red building was originally a fish drying shack owned by the biggest coffee roasting family in Finland; the Pauligs, who lived about 50 meters away. The waters edge, where the cafe occupies, also holds an Olympic stadium that was used for the watching of water sports. Therefore, the Pauligs revamped their fish drying shack, and reopened as a cafe for the onlookers to buy refreshments while watching the competition.

Now the cafe is a popular place among locals and tourists. It attracts a wide range of customers, from fireman, to church groups, to people on their afternoon stroll. The cafe is just as popular during the winter months as well. The interior is quite cosy, and the oven keeps the place very warm and fragrant from the baking cinnamon rolls. Not so bad.

So, if it is a sunny day in Helsinki, make sure you stop by Cafe Regatta. Or, do as the locals, and come when its cold and rainy as well.

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