7 Places that Serve Finn Pancakes in Thunder Bay

Discover the best places to enjoy these fluffy buttermilk pancakes—sweet and light with deliciously crispy edges.

If you’ve done a little research on Thunder Bay, Ontario, you’ve probably discovered the city is home to one of the largest Finnish populations per capita outside of Finland. Canada’s latest census data reports that Thunder Bay—a city with a population of about 109,000—is home to 10,705 people of Finnish origin.

As a visitor to this scenic waterfront city, you’ll notice the map of the area is dotted with Finnish place names, like Suomi, Kivikoski, Lappe (originally spelled “Lappi”), and Intola. But an even more obvious sign of the influence of Finnlanders is seen on local breakfast menus—Finnish-style pancakes are a favourite.

So, what is a Finnish pancake? 

To understand, you need to park your pancake bias. Finnish pancakes look more like a French crepe—they are bigger and much thinner than fluffy buttermilk pancakes, are sweet and light, and have deliciously crispy edges. You’ll find them served plain, with maple syrup, or decked out with whipping cream and fresh fruit. What you won’t find is a tall stack or a savoury version (no spinach and sweet potatoes here!). Take our word for it, they’re even more delicious than they sound.

Here’s where you can get Finnish pancakes in Thunder Bay. 

1. Hoito Restaurant 

A plate of finnish pancakes and sunny-side up eggs with bacon
Photo credit Tourism Thunder Bay

Serving Finnish food since 1918!! This is the real deal, folks—don’t forget the Kiitos blend coffee. While the restaurant's iconic original location was closed due to fire, the pancakes live on at the Thunder Bay Country Market. 

435 Northern Avenue (at the Thunder Bay Country Market)

2. Java Hut 

Java Hut; a clean, shiny glass breakfast bar bordered with red stools and a light-up menu board behind the counter listing an ample breakfast menu.

A little diner on one of the city’s main drags, Java Hut serves breakfast all day (go for the strawberries).

465 Memorial Avenue

3. Kangas Sauna 

the cafe at Kanga's Sauna, Thunder Bay; a well-lit and shiny, inviting wooden breakfast bar surrounded by blue stools and adorned with condiment jars, with customers ordering at a chef's counter in the background.
 Photo credit Tourism Thunder Bay

A TBay classic! You can rent a private sauna and enjoy some Finn pancakes for a full-on Finnish experience

379 Oliver Road

4. Niva’s Restaurant 

two plates of finnish pancakes with sides of hashbrowns, eggs and tomatoes on a table with cups of coffee.
Photo credit Tourism Thunder Bay

No need to rush, Niva’s serves breakfast all day. If you’re extra hungry, go for “The Big Finn.”

376 Lisgar Street

5. Rooster’s Bistro 

a finnish pancake on a plate, being drizzled with maple syrup. In the background there is a coffee mug with a red rooster logo on it.
Photo credit Culinary Tourism Alliance

A family-run restaurant in the heart of the Waterfront District, a gluten-free option is available.

32 St. Paul Street

6. Skål Restaurant 

Skal Finnish pancakes with 3-berry compote, folded in thirds and laid out on a black plate and dusted with powdered sugar.

Enjoy the Scandinavian style of the Valhalla Hotel while devouring your Finn pancakes with berry compote, maple, and cream.

1 Valhalla Inn Road

7. Tina’s 

3 Finnish pancakes topped with mixed berries and cream

Dessert for breakfast? Tina’s Finn pancakes are topped with strawberries, blueberries, icing sugar, and whipped topping.

1170 Memorial Avenue

Want to take some Finn pancakes home? The Hoito Restaurant in the Country Market and several local grocery stores and shops sell their Finnish Pancake Mix and it's also available online—a great gift paired with a bottle of local maple syrup. Yum!

About Michelle McChristie

Michelle McChristie is a freelance writer from Thunder Bay and frequent contributor to The Walleye magazine. She is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys exploring Lake Superior in all seasons with her family.

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