Start with the planning
Coffee and cakes at the docks, treats from the trunk of a van, a six-course dinner in your living room – what does your own ideal restaurant look and taste like? The more fun the concept, the more happy customers it will attract. Quirkiness is not, however, the main aim – just try to think of a restaurant that you personally would love.
Location is key. In the summertime, favorite spots have included parks, courtyards and street corners. In the winter, Restaurant Day lovers have gathered in homes, offices and other indoor spaces.
Reach your customers
When you have picked a place and planned the menu, sign up your restaurant for our listings. Come up with a snappy name that sums up your concept, decide on opening hours, and fill in other details (you can also edit these later). Your own social media channels (e.g. a Facebook event) will help spread the word further.
Please note that all restaurants with a clearly commercial, political or religious aim, or restaurants linked to existing commercial brands, or advertising a commercial space or a business, will be removed from the service.
Be prepared for action
Ask your friends to help out, you will most likely need a hand. Running a restaurant is hard work (even for a day). Working with a team is more efficient, and also more fun.
Reserve enough time for preparing your food, have sufficient cold or hot storage space where needed, and plan in advance for possible surprises. Are you able to keep the food hot for enough time? Try to be realistic with the amount of people you are able to serve. It is also good to have a weather plan.
Please remember to take everything you brought with you and leave no trash behind.
Share your experience
Restaurant Day is based on spontaneity and volunteering. If you have questions regarding running a restaurant, we suggest you strike up a conversation on the Restaurant Day Ambassadors Group, which is followed by other restaurant keepers. There you will find up to date information, and we encourage everyone to share their experiences.
Please note that this website serves solely to gather and share information on listed restaurants. As a restaurant keeper, you are personally responsible for all actions related to running your one-day restaurant.
Join our rapidly growing international network to promote Restaurant Day in your city. The job is not a difficult one, but greatly rewarding and appreciated. With your help, crazy restaurant concepts can come to life and the food carnival can flourish in your area.
To join the movement, just continue to Restaurant Day Ambassadors Facebook group and tell a little about yourself and why you find Restaurant Day interesting. In the group you can share ideas, get help and connect with hundreds of likeminded food enthusiasts across the world (and most likely in your own city too)!
Kindly note that this is a voluntary project and hence financial compensation will not be paid for the ambassadors.
Restaurant Day is a worldwide food carnival when anyone can set up a restaurant, café or a bar for a day. It can happen anywhere: at your home, at the office, on a street corner, in your garden or inner courtyard, at a park, or on the beach – only your imagination is the limit.
Restaurant Day is the world’s biggest food carnival and happens worldwide four times a year. In the past Restaurant Days all together over 24 800 one-day restaurants by about 100 000 restaurateurs have catered for estimated 2.8 million customers in 74 countries.
- 21 May 2011: 45 restaurants
- 18 August 2011: 190 restaurants in 4 countries
- 19 November 2011: 287 restaurants in 2 countries
- 4 February 2012: 304 restaurants in 12 countries
- 19 May 2012: 711 restaurants in 19 countries
- 19 August 2012: 784 restaurants in 17 countries
- 17 November 2012: 702 restaurants in 25 countries
- 17 February 2013: 629 restaurants in 31 countries
- 18 May 2013: 1701 restaurants in 30 countries
- 18 August 2013: 1683 restaurants in 35 countries
- 16 November 2013: 1383 restaurants in 31 countries
- 16 February 2014: 1210 restaurants in 27 countries
- 17 May 2014: 2724 restaurants in 35 countries
- 17 August 2014: 2017 restaurants in 30 countries
- 15 November 2014: 1698 restaurants in 35 countries
- 15 February 2015: 1375 restaurants in 34 countries
- 16 May 2015: 2497 restaurants in 34 countries
- 16 August 2015: 2042 restaurants in 29 countries
- 21 November 2015: 1627 restaurants in 32 countries
- 21 February 2016: 1245 restaurants in 29 countries
One-day restaurants have so far popped up in 74 different countries including Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belize, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Ecuador, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, USA and Uzbekistan.
Next Restaurant Days
- Saturday 21 May 2016
- 2011: Finland Prize, award given by Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland
- 2011: Cultural Event of the Year, award given by Helsinki City Library and Cultural Committee
- 2011: Food Phenomenon of the Year, chosen by Gloria Food & Wine magazine
- 2012: Best Event, Best of Helsinki vote by Helsinki City Tourism and Convention Bureau
- 2012: Best Mobile Service in Finland, award given by Teleforum
- 2013: Food Event of the Year in Denmark, chosen by Mat+Medier
- 2013: Social Media Event of the Year, award given by Some Awards Finland
- 2013: Production of the Year in Finland, award given by Arts and Culture Union Taku ry
- 2014: Finnish Travel Award, given by Finnish Fair Foundation
- 2014: Ruohonjuuri Award, given by Ruohonjuuri
- 2014: Consumer Act of the Year, award given by the Finnish Consumers Union
Restaurant Day is exactly the sort of project that will define our future. Restaurant Day has inspired the city’s population to question how things are run and to experiment and put forward new ideas of how daily life might be improved in the future. — Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki (Monocle’s city survey on Helsinki in the May 2012 issue)
Restaurant Day has probably affected Finnish restaurant culture more than anything else since the new alcohol legislation of 1969 when beer was allowed to be sold in supermarkets. — Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister of Education and Culture (The speech for Finland Prize)
Restaurant Day changes Helsinki’s profile by placing the people in the center. Restaurant Day is new and surprising. It is culture by the people for the people. — Anni Sinnemäki, Head of the Library and Cultural Committee, City of Helsinki & Ex-minister of Labour (The speech for Cultural Event of the Year award)
Restaurant Day is a prime example of how food can give birth to a new type of communality.” — Johanna Mäkelä, professor of Food Culture, University of Helsinki (Helsingin Sanomat newspaper Jan 3 2012)
The real heroes of Restaurant Day are the thousands of fun loving people organizing and visiting amazing one-day restaurants. However, a tight and active group of volunteers is needed to make sure everything runs smoothly in the background. The event is facilitated by an association created by the Restaurant Day team. The members of board are Timo Santala, Kirsti Tuominen, Antti Tuomola and Jyrki Vanamo.
Timo Santala (Chairman of the Board)
+358 50 545 6781
The Restaurant Day photos can be used free of charge ONLY as part of journalistic communication about Restaurant Day and with a single right of publication. All other use must be negotiated separately with the photographer. The photographers name and Restaurant Day MUST be credited alongside the published photo in all cases. The names of the people, the photo captions and the photographer information can be found on the metadata. Photos must not be cropped or edited in any way that might change the main composition of the photo.
In the case of print publication two copies of each magazine or newspaper MUST be sent to Restaurant Day, Mäntymäentie 2, 00250, Helsinki, Finland. In the case of web publication a link to the photos MUST be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If these rules of conduct are not fulfilled and these photos are published against this license, a fee of usage of 200€ (+VAT24%) per photo will be billed. These rules of conduct are legally binding and by publishing any of these photos you agree to this license.
For licensing any other than journalistic use, please contact the photographer directly.
Discover the most interesting restaurants near you. View the restaurants on a map or filter them on a list. Bookmark your favorites and plan your journey in advance.
Restaurant Day is a food carnival created by thousands of people organizing and visiting one-day restaurants worldwide. The idea of the day is to have fun, share new food experiences and enjoy our common living environments together. The event is facilitated by a team of volunteers who also maintain this website. All restaurateurs are personally responsible for all actions related to running their restaurants.