Sep 012012
 

Cuisine: Bakery, Breakfast, Scandinavian
Restaurant Features: Counter Service, Free Wi-Fi
Location: St Paul; (Saint Anthony Park neighborhood)
Address: 2264 Como Ave.  St Paul, MN 55108  651-645-9181
Hours: Monday-Saturday 6:30am-6:30pm  * Sunday 6:30am-4pm
Links: Finnish Bistro Website * Finnish Bistro on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Finnish Bistro is located in the Saint Anthony Park neighborhood of St Paul, on Como Ave at Carter Ave, (across the street from Muffuletta Cafe).  Inside, Finnish Bistro makes its home in a space shared by Dunn Bros Coffee.  The counters at Finnish Bistro are easily distinguishable, with a variety of delicious, freshly baked items on display.  There are a dozen or so small tables scattered across the room as well as a patio outside.

The patio area is a cute area around the side of the building, with a handful of umbrella-bearing tables and flower boxes full of flowers and other plants.

Menu: Breakfast items are served All DAY with items such as Yogurt Parfait, Finnish “Perinteiset”(traditional) Breakfast, Chilled Finnish Delight, House Aamiainen (Breakfast), Klassikko (Classic) Breakfast, Bacon & Muna (Egg) Sandwich, Pulla French Toast, Ham & Cheese or Veggie Quiche, Lefse Scramble, and Fresh Hedelmät (Fruit) Crepe. Omelets include Greek, Farmer, or Veggie.

Breakfast sides include Grilled Potatoes, Crisp Smoked Bacon, Grilled Kielbasa, Grilled Salmon, Smoked Salmon Lox, Grilled Lamb (Gyro), Fresh Fruit Plate, Side of Toast,  Sour Cream, and Guacamole.

Specialties offered at Finnish Bistro are the Finnish Beef Pasty, Daily Fish Special, Salmon Lefse and Spinach Pie.

Sandwiches offered include Caprese, Classic BLT, Classic Grilled Cheese, Lamb Gyro, Pulled Pork, Bistro Wrap, Bistro Club, and Spicy Quesadilla.

Flatbread Pizzas come with soup or salad with varieties such as The Baltic Special, The Favorite (Grilled chicken breast, crumbled Applewood bacon, onions, and mushrooms with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses on a creamy ranch based sauce,  Baked Potato Pizza ( mashed potatoes and topped with fresh onions, cheddar cheese, smoked Applewood bacon, sour cream), The Mediterranean Pizza – ( Fresh spinach, fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, onions, Greek oregano and garlic with mozzarella cheese on pesto sauce. Add Gyro Meat for an extra charge), Finnish Vegetable ( fresh diced tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, black olives, and mozzarella cheese on pesto or red sauce), and Chilled Finnish Delight (Lightly toasted pita bread topped with a fresh thick layer of cream cheese, topped with chilled smoked salmon, capers, onions and dill).
Price guide: Breakfast $4-11  Pizza $9-10 Specialties $10-12
What we ordered: The Mediterranean Pizza ($8.95) sounded really good, so I ordered that for my meal.  It came with choice of soup or salad, I went with the Tomato Basil soup, which was delicious.  Good thing it was delicious, as I never got my Mediterranean Pizza.  Read service section below for the full, disappointing story.

One of my companions had the Veggie Quiche ($8.50).  It looked delicious with flaky crust and a thick filling of egg, carrot, onion, spinach, and roasted red pepper.

Another companion had the Finnish Beef Pasty ($9.95).  This was a football-shaped pocket of flaky pastry filled with ground beef, carrots, onions, and rutabaga.  This was served with a side of cucumber sauce and colorful side salad.  The pasty itself was good but kind of boring in the flavor department.  It definitely needed the sour cream or some kind of sauce to add some flavor.

Another companion had the Caprese Sandwich ($8.95); toasted French bread stacked with sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, onions & basil pesto.  It also had sweet balsamic drizzled on it; looked delicious!

We shared a Chocolate Chip cookie.  It was big and tasted very similar to the cookies at Panera.  Soft but not too chewy.

We also sampled a Chocolate Pastry that looked like a brownie but wasn’t.  It was actually somewhat light and crispy, not at all chewy.

Service: This was my first time visiting Finnish Bistro, which was a recommendation from the companions I dined with that day.  We ordered our meals and then took a seat at a table on the patio.  We were told our meals would be brought out to us.  About 15 minutes after we ordered, my soup came out, as did the meals of my companions. The menu says it takes about 15 minutes for a pizza, so I knew ahead of time that there would be a wait.  After 30 minutes of waiting and no pizza in sight, I went inside to check on it.  I was told it would be done in two minutes and they would bring it right out.  I was offered a free cookie for the inconvenience.  Ten minutes later…still no pizza! At this point I was pressed for time as we had another obligation to attend to right away.  I went back inside and requested my pizza to-go.  About five minutes later a server sheepishly appeared to tell me that they had mistakenly given my pizza to someone else and that there was no pizza for me!!  At this point I had waited 40 minutes and would have been starving had it not been for the small bowl of tomato basil soup, but I did not have any more time to wait for another pizza.  I requested my money back and left Finnish Bistro shortly thereafter, hungry and disappointed.  I hope this was just an honest mistake but I feel like they could have offered me something more than just a cookie and my money back.
Overall Impression: I will try it again because the food seemed good but I am hoping for a better experience next time that doesn’t involve me leaving hungry.
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