Bright, vivid, and expressive are not the typical adjectives used when describing a Nordic environment, but Helsinki restaurant Yes, Yes, Yes is challenging the status quo. This former McDonald’s located in the Punavouri neighborhood has evolved into a portal of good vibes with saturated color and delicious bites that owners Richard, Alex and Ville say “just happen to be vegetarian.”
Upon entering you might question if you’ve landed in Miami or LA as a neon pink heart installation greets the eye. Any lingering stress immediately melts as you pass through the space and the penetration of color lifts the corners of your mouth into a perma-smile. Pinks, reds, teals and patterned wallpaper creates an almost kaleidoscope experience. I would imagine that come the winter and dark days, this restaurant would be the perfect refuge to cure the Baltic blues.
When asked, the owners describe their favorite attributes of Yes, Yes, Yes as the diversity of crowd, atmosphere and energy. A contagious positive thread of vibrations seem to permeate through the space and it’s no wonder that only having opened just under a year ago, this bustling corner spot has people coming back for more (vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike).
While the restaurant world revolves around food (I’ll get to the finger-licking goods in a minute), the owners also focus on the holistic whole. While their food is delicious, the space and environment lovely, it’s the effect of the total experience they are after – memories. The hope is that all the pieces that make up the entirety of the experience are emotive, lasting and shared.
Creating a community of shared experiences and memories is easy when the menu lends to family-style dining. The halloumi fries are a must and if you are feeling like paying respect to the previous owners, the zucchini nuggets are a healthier version of the ghosts of the past. The flatbreads come with seasonal dips, the corn tacos are layered in texture, and you can get your greens with the hearts of palm salad drizzled in truffle oil.
Moving through the meal as the crowd thickens and the energy becomes more palpable, it’s easy to understand why the name is so apropos. The meal is therapeutic in more ways than one and depending on where your eyes shift, there are pockets of discovery with every glance. Curated artwork on the wall, ceramics sourced from Greece and the clanking of cocktails of huddled friends is reminder of how gathering around a meal is a timeless ritual that we all crave. Kippis (cheers) to Yes, Yes, Yes for the memories.
Photography by Marianna Jamadi