Our dining room has a fine view to the lowest rapids of River Juutua. The view is possibly at its best on midsummer’s evenings as the sun shines low from across the water, sunlight flickering on the splashes. In the dark evenings of autumn and winter a cosy wood-burning will keep you comfy in our bar and lounge area.
We have 110 seats for diners at any one time.
Our hotel was founded in 1937 when all the food served in the restaurant was made from local ingredients, as there was not much anything else available: fish from Lake Inari, local reindeer meat, milk from hotel’s own cows and eggs from the village. In the autumn, summer harvest was preserved in different ways for the winter.
When we returned back to our home village in 2002, to take over our mother’s hotel business, we began to further develop the use of local ingredients again. Of reindeer all parts we use, not only the filets and rumps. We started to purchase king crab from the close by Arctic Ocean. In addition to cooking whitefish and red trout we started to use also less popular fish from Lake Inari. Berries were used in many different ways.
In spring 2012 we planned a new reindeer menu for the Reindeer Week arranged in Inari. This is when we first tried out using reindeer lichen in cooking. It was so well received, that locals kept coming weeks after the event asking: “Would you still have some lichen to try?” This same portion with lichen Heikki got to prepare for Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and footballer Jari Litmanen on a very popular tv show later on. We started to explore actively other northern fauna. We noticed that just outside our doorstep, on the river shore, grew a traditional Saami herbal plant, Angelica. At first we used the stems to flavour vodka and for a summer menu we used the leaves to make a pesto served with goat cheese. Another summer dish, a dessert called “Smoke sauna” included a sorbet made of birch leaves. Northern sorrel we also picked to spice up a reindeer starter.
This is how we slowly expanded our ‘local pantry’. Our research work continues and surely there are still fine things to discover in Lapland’s pure and clean nature. The same philosophy, “what you can find outdoors” we follow with our cocktails. We also seek to find new techniques to prepare our fine traditional ingredients into modern cooking.
“Waitress, may I have a glass of wine with my whitefish, a good glass of wine?”
But what makes wine a good wine, what makes it mediocre or even bad? Wine is bad, if it is faulty, when there really is something wrong with it. Good wine however is a wide and mind blowing concept. We can honestly day, that on our wine list we have chosen only ‘good’ wines.
A good wine looks beautiful, has a clean scent, tastes good and the joy of the taste stays in your mouth and on your mind. For the birth of good wine four things go hand in hand: a well chosen grape that has grown in a suitable climate and ground and professional preparation. Or to quote top producer Oliver Humbrecht: “Making a good wine is quite simple, all that is needed are good grapes and a small crop.”
Good wine, like good food comes from good hands. It is backed with creative professional skill. Good wine is unique and has a story. It can originate from anywhere in the world, be of any colour, just as long as it is ‘the right one’ for the moment.
A good wine gets even better, when its qualities are in harmony with the food and what the eater senses on his pallet. We have made the wine recommendations for Kultahovi’s each dish, so that the food and the wine would enhance all fine flavours.
Wishing you unforgettable experiences,
Wine enthusiast and professional
Our drink menus are built upon the surrounding nature. There you can find so many good and beautiful things for inspiration. In the summer time it is nice to walk along the river and smell the angelicas and find new ideas for the future. In the autumn we are mushroom crazy and smell and taste the berries off the ground. More and more things go into our bank of ideas.
In our hot and cold drinks we use many elements from the surrounding forests, berries, birch leaves, angelica and sweet grass. We use homemade flavoured syrups and juices made in Inari. We follow the different seasons and in the winter time we may use for example Finnish root vegetables.
Drinks also need to look good and this comes also from the forest. We use birch and angelica leaves, berry shrubs and edible flowers for decoration. In the summer time it is great to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the flavour of birch leaves when the tree grows right next to you. In the winter it is wonderful to sit by the cosy fire and enjoy hot crowberry juice, perhaps with a dram of sweet grass vodka to keep also your soul warm.
We make also virgin cocktails and have a selection of non-alcoholic sparkling wine, beers and cider. Drinks are made using local juices, berries and syrups. You can find something for all tastes from us.
Chaga tea is an arctic speciality and you can get this in our bar. Chaga mushrooms that grow on birch trees are collected from the forest and simmered into a tea that is sweetened with sweet grass syrup. Inarinsaami people have used chaga in our area, they have made a ‘coffee’ out of it or cooked it into a stock that can be added to different dishes. Even cotton fishing nets used to be dyed with chaga. This mushroom is a real superfood. It has been used for curing disease, even cancer, or taken to maintain good health and to add years to your life.
Our beer selection is updated also twice a year, along with the menus. We specialise in local and Finnish beers and micro breweries but you can also find some more familiar names on the beer menu. We are always looking for special northern flavours from the micro breweries so that we have served for example beers flavoured with nettles, birch leaves and cloudberries.
Our award-winning restaurant
We are happy to tell you that our restaurant has received various awards in recent years. Our chef Heikki took part in Nordic Sapmi Awards competition in 2014 and finished 2nd in the final for Sami cuisine and knowledge.
In 2015 we participated in a national food tourism competition and also finished 2nd with our Inari Menus. In 2016 the same Inari Menus won the series ‘Best Foodservice Expereince’ in the international Foodtrekking Awards competition.
In 2017 we were featured for the first time in the Nordic White Guide, which presents the best restaurants in the Nordic countries. The restaurants are re-reviewed yearly and we are a bit proud to announce that our rank among Finnish restaurants is 8th in 2018!
In 2020 we have received a great honour to be chosen as the “Restaurant of the Year 2020” in Finland by the prestigeous Finnish Gastronomic Society. We are really proud of this achievement.