More about Restaurant Day


Restaurant Day is a worldwide food carnival and a movement that allows anyone to set up a restaurant, café or a bar. Pop-up restaurants can be opened and local food carnivals can happen anytime and 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.

During the first five years from May 2011 to May 2016 Restaurant Day was celebrated four time a year. On our sixth year we tried new concept: from May 2016 every day is Restaurant Day – this didn’t work as we had wished, so from May 2017 we changed the concept back to it original form: Restaurant Day is once again four times a year.


Restaurant Day is the world’s largest food carnival. During the first five years of quarterly global food carnivals all together over 27 000 pop-up restaurants by over 100 000 restaurateurs have catered for over 3 million customers in 75 countries.

21 May 2011: 45 restaurants in one country
18 August 2011: 190 Restaurants in 4 countries
4 February 2012: 304 restaurants in 4 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


Pop-up restaurants have so far popped up on Restaurant Day in Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belize, Belgium, Bonaire, 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.


  • 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 setting up and enjoying amazing pop-up restaurants. However, a group of volunteers is helping everything run 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, and Antti Tuomola.

Press photos

Restaurant Day Press photos on Flickr

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

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.


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