Forza in Helsinki: One of the World's Top Pizza Restaurants
Pizza-Jari has become a pizza superstar for the whole of Finland. In just a short span of time, he's amassed over 100,000 followers who are thrilled and inspired by his creative stunts on the balcony. Here, you'll get his top pizza tips.
"Finnish people have always loved pizza, but in recent years it seems they've really come to appreciate quality pizza."
"In addition, a number of excellent pizzerias have opened up all over Finland," says Jari Ontronen, better known as Pizzajarifinland on Instagram.
The pizza-loving Finn has become a bit of a social media star in recent years.
At the time of writing, he has 108,000 followers from around the world, who watch as he whips up the most delicious pizzas on his balcony in Jyväskylä, a three-hour drive north of Helsinki.
"It all started when my wife Viivi gave me a book about pizza as a Christmas present in 2019"
"I was completely hooked, and it quickly escalated from there. A few months later, I bought a pizza oven and started an Instagram account so I wouldn't spam my friends with too many pizza pictures," he says with a laugh.
Pizza-Jari works as an accountant by day, but his dream is to make a living from something pizza-related. Jari says that opening his own pizza restaurant isn't something he dreams of, despite having had great success with a number of popular pop-ups in recent years.
"In June 2020, I organised my first pop-up pizzeria here in Jyväskylä, and it quickly became popular. I also sell pizza from my own home once a month, when several hundred people try to buy from me. It's absolutely wild," he smiles.
If you're keen to try authentic Italian pizza in Helsinki, consider staying at one of the Strawberry hotels. Clarion Hotel® Helsinki, Klaus K Hotel, or Hotel Fabian are all excellent options for exploring the city.
In the end, Strawberry must ask the all-important question in the pizza debate. Pineapple on pizza: yes or no?
"Pineapple on Neapolitan pizza? Never! But I must admit that I do put it on other types of pizza from time to time."
Strawberry asked Pizza-Jari to pick out his favourite pizza places in Helsinki. All the restaurants are within walking distance from Strawberry hotels in central Helsinki.
Forza – This is Pizza Heaven
Address: Pursimiehenkatu 29
Who would have thought that the best pizza we've tasted was found in the north of Finland's capital?
Forza is led by an Italian kitchen team, with owners and couple Luca and Salla Platania at the helm. The Italians have truly put Finland on the pizza map and gained attention with their twist on the Neapolitan pizza. In 2022, Forza ranked 22nd on the list of Europe's best pizzerias, and by 2023, they had climbed all the way to 7th place.
For those who have tasted the pizza at Forza, it's easy to see why: a crispy crust, playful flavour combinations, and a taste explosion in your mouth. The menu changes every three months, so if you frequent the city, you have a good reason to come back.
In addition to Neapolitan pizza with a twist, there's also the opportunity to try alternative pizza in teglia. This is a pizza variant known from Rome and will remind many of a sandwich. Regardless, it's delicious. Just remember to save room for dessert.
We can guarantee you a pizza that alone is worth the trip to Helsinki. It's highly recommended to book a table in advance.
Daddy Greens – Classic Pizza with a Twist
Address: Iso Roobertinkatu 26 – and several other locations in Helsinki
In 2016, two chef buddies decided to sell pizza out of a van on the streets of Helsinki. They had first met in the kitchens of the Finnish restaurant world and quickly realised they both loved one type of food more than anything else: Pizza.
The concept quickly evolved into a permanent restaurant, and today buddies Dave Smith and Eero Kokkonen run several locations in Finland under the Daddy Greens pizza umbrella.
Here, you get a mix of New York style and Neapolitan pizza with a modern twist, with generous portions at a reasonable price. It's also possible to enjoy some of the craft beer they brew themselves.
Napule – Authentic Neapolitan Pizza
Address: Kaivokatu 8, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
At the entrance to the Citycenter shopping centre, across the street from the central station, you'll find the pizzeria Napule. The restaurant may give the impression that it's just another boring shopping centre restaurant, but appearances can be deceptive.
Napule is one of the few pizzerias in Helsinki that has received a thumbs up from the Neapolitan pizza association itself, Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). The council was founded in Naples in the 1980s to ensure that pizzerias worldwide follow the strict rules required to call a pizza Neapolitan. These rules encompass everything from the type of tomatoes used in the sauce to the cheeses.
In the kitchen, you'll naturally find pizzaiolos from Italy.