Visiting Levi, Finland in March, I (along with fellow members of the r-eviews team) was fortunate enough to dine at the eclectic Ravintola Asia, a vibrant beacon in the snow-blanketed landscape. My overall impression of the restaurant was extremely positive, largely due to its inviting ambience, engaging service, and exceptional cuisine.
Stepping into Ravintola Asia, the warmth from both the temperature and the staff’s welcoming smiles was a pleasant contrast to the frigid outdoors. The decor was a seamless blend of sleek Scandinavian design principles with a smattering of Asian elements, creating a chic yet cosy atmosphere.
The low-lit, inviting environment, punctuated by delicate accents of warm colours, rendered a sense of tranquillity that was perfect for a late winter dining experience.
The evening began with a round of drinks. The Napue GT was an exquisite revelation – the Finnish gin mixed with tonic was a smooth blend of botanical flavours that danced on my palate, providing a delightful start to the dining experience. The Virvoke iso and Ill Karhu plo, traditional Finnish beers, offered rich, robust flavours and were a fantastic local addition to the drinks menu.
The cocktail list was impressive and diverse. The cocktail I tried was expertly crafted, perfectly balanced, and wonderfully refreshing. The presentation was also exceptional, further amplifying the overall experience.
The food journey commenced with the Gyoza. The dumplings were delicate, filled with a flavourful mixture that showcased a wonderful blend of umami flavours. The accompanying dipping sauce added a tangy complement that made each bite a pleasure.
The vegetarian dish, “Oh My Veggies,” was a vibrant plate of fresh, crisp vegetables that were perfectly seasoned and stir-fried. Despite its simplicity, the dish was packed with rich, layered flavours, demonstrating the restaurant’s ability to turn humble ingredients into a memorable dish.
The Black Garlic Chicken was succulent and well-marinated, the black garlic lending a uniquely sweet yet savoury depth of flavour to the chicken. The Thai Bean Stir&Fry, with its spicy, aromatic sauce, was a brilliant partner to the chicken, making for a satisfying main course.
The Indian offerings, Rogan Josh, and Chicken Curry were delightful surprises on the menu. The Rogan Josh had a tantalisingly rich and aromatic sauce, filled with tender chunks of meat that practically melted in the mouth. The Chicken Curry was an explosion of flavours, with the perfect balance of heat and spices, bringing a slice of authentic Indian cuisine to the Finnish north.
The Korean BBQ was a standout, with perfectly grilled, marinated beef, served with traditional accompaniments. The balance of sweet, savoury, and smoky flavours was exquisite, showcasing the mastery of Asian cuisine by the Ravintola Asia team.
To pair with the culinary delights, we chose the Mandarossa Grillo and Mandarossa Nero wines. Both were well-rounded and sophisticated, elevating the flavours of the dishes and enhancing the dining experience.
Dining at Ravintola Asia was indeed a culinary journey through Asia, brought to life with a unique Finnish twist. Although not a budget option, the quality of food, the presentation, the attentive service, and the overall ambience offered a valuable and unique dining experience, making it worth every Euro.