Have a lengthy layover in our future, which will require at least one family meal at the airport. The website didn't make the options look too promising. Anyone been there who can offer some advice?
You are right, the Helsinki airport is rather spartan, even the business class lounges are not very inviting. You will get decent food at several outlets, but overall the stay is rather unenjoyable. If you have time, you should consider leaving the airport and make a trip to downtown Helsinki.
Not sure where you're from but Finland does not require a visa for visitors from most English speaking counties, which includes north America. Downtown in not so far and with six hours is doable if you are not over nervous.
The airport has a not bad wine bar and I've killed an ok hour there. If you don't want to leave the airport, I guess then just accept that you eat airport.
There really is nothing at the airport worth spending money on. Run of the mill fare and inflated prices. There's some pizza at Cesar's Food Court - fill yourself with some of that so you will be able to skip the horrible food on the planes.
Would you believe that when I came to Finland 40+ years ago we would go to the airport to have some great food (primarily simple beef and potatoes or some fresh whitefish) at very decent prices and just watch the planes. Incredibly poor 'development' to the present day!
And the airport is in Helsinki's neighboring city of Vantaa which is a complete desert for decent restaurants - so don't give a second's thought to leaving the airport.
Helsinki is an hour or so back and forth - and about 100€ for a taxi round trip - maybe more - and is no food heaven in any case - it has improved since the days I had to get Oregano sent from New York and had to bring in own Durum Pasta and Olive Oil in my suitcase - but does require decent effort to locate a reliable good meal at any kind of reasonable price - so save your dining efforts for another place on your jouney.