We visited Helsinki for New Year Eve this year and wanted to spend the last 2008 year evening in the restaurant with Finnish cuisine.
Aino is located on Pohjoisesplanadi which made it easier for us to go to the Senate Square after the dinner to celebrate the New Year. Aino serves Finnish food and is not as expensive as, for example, widely advertised Savotta and Saaga restaurants.
A piece of advice for visitors to Aino – do not let the maitre-d’hotel to offer you a table anywhere else than in the main hall with the windows on Esplanadi. We were seated in the cellar with no wall decorations and tables set in such proximity to each other that we knew everything our neighbors were eating.
Aino has a very small menu – we knew this beforehand. But it turned out that they did not have some dishes that evening which made our choice very easy. The same held true for the wine list which lacked some wines it featured and the draft beer was only Karhu (the rest were served in bottles).
I ended up with the Baltic herring with mashed potatoes. The herring was good, but the potatoes lacked the taste. My husband ordered salmon with apple-crayfish salad and goose breast with potato rosti. Rosti was oversalted and the goose was hard to bite.
Since the service was very slow we decided to order the dessert in some other place and left after the main courses.
My advice: do not choose this restaurant since the quality-price ratio is not reasonable.