This Whimsical Restaurant Is Made Entirely Out Of Ice

A seasonal resort located in the Arctic Circle, SnowVillage in Lapland opens mid-December each year (via Lapland Hotels). Built entirely from snow and ice, the frozen wonderland is an annual from-the-ground-up enterprise — an intricate, but temporary, ice sculpture usually open for just a few months before it melts back into the landscape.

A fantastical structure rising up in Finnish Lapland, SnowVillage is an icy compound of guest suites and common areas. Each year, the village brings to life a new theme out of ice and snow. According to Frommer's, recent themes include "Game of Thrones" and Macro World. The latter concept featured a landscape of gigantic whimsy, with oversized sculptures of toy blocks and teddy bears designed to make visitors feel like Lilliputians in the world of "Gulliver's Travels." Of course, in addition to guest accommodations and fun winter activities, SnowVillage boasts a full-service restaurant and bar, also made of ice.

Ice Restaurant highlights local ingredients

Regardless of the annual theme, dining at SnowVillage promises to be a surreal experience. According to Best Served Scandinavia, the all-ice dining room at the appropriately named Ice Restaurant is an enchanting space, made even more spectacular by lighting from illuminated sculptures. Ice Restaurant is by no means a grab-and-go experience. Each meal starts with an aperitif served in an ice glass and proceeds through a series of courses with a focus on the foods of Lapland. Tero Mäntykangas, head chef for Lapland Hotels, is an award-winning chef and cookbook author who grew up inside the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi (via This is Arctic).

Mashed was sent the four-course Ice Restaurant menu Mäntykangas created for the 2021-2022 season. Priced at 70€ per adult and 35€ per child, starter selections range from a plate of Lapland delicacies (featuring reindeer carpaccio, marinated mushrooms, Bothnian whitefish, whitefish roe, cloudberry jam, Finnish goat cheese, red onion jam, and house crisp bread) to soup to smoked whitefish. For the main course, offerings include three different reindeer dishes, a beef flank steak, risotto, and a fried Arctic char. Dessert options feature classics like crème brûlée, chocolate fondant with lingonberry ice cream, and almond cake with blueberry ice cream.

Lest we forget, there's also the option to dine a la carte. This menu includes many of the dishes mentioned above, as well as burgers and additional meals for children.

You may want to stay the night

As stated above, SnowVillage also has a bar, where guests and visitors can drop in for a drink. The resort's Ice Bar serves up everything from hot chocolate to mixed drinks in a candlelight setting (via Best Served Scandinavia). According to Velvet Escape, one SnowVillage tradition involves imbibing in a shot of peppermint vodka — served in a glass made of ice — before smashing the "glass" onto the floor. If that doesn't warm you up, you can snuggle into a blanket provided on site.

Unless you just happen to be passing through the Arctic Circle, you'll probably want to stay the night. While the theme changes annually, the basic layout of the compound is consistent, with snow suites which accommodate two to four guests and cabins that can house up to six (via Lapland Hotels). But don't forget your long johns! As the resort is situated in the Artic Circle and made of ice, the temperature throughout is understandably brisk. Guest rooms come with a cozy sleeping bag to lay atop your ice bed. There is also a separate — heated — structure that houses bathrooms, shower facilities, and a dining room where breakfast is served, and a communal living room with a fireplace and warm beds ... just in case.