Restaurant and food delights inside Helsinki’s market halls

Looking down the length of a corridor in Helsinki's Old Market Hall, customers are discussing with shop staff, browsing and making purchases. The height of the market hall dwarfs the traditional, dark wood shop fronts.
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Helsinki's traditional market halls have seen a lot of life over the years and have always been lively places to shop and socialise, especially on market days. Today, the city’s beautifully restored market halls are still full of hustle and bustle, not least at lunchtime, when it is worth popping into the restaurants and cafés hidden inside to enjoy the unique atmosphere and delicious food on offer. Our restaurant expert Timo Santala offers his tips on where to stop on your tour of Helsinki’s market halls!

Old Market Hall

The Old Market Hall has been housed inside the handsome redbrick building right next to the Market Square since 1889. In the heart of the market hall these days is the Nordic café-restaurant Story, which offers authentic and generous breakfasts and lunches, as well as popular brunches. Story’s delicious buns, pastries and other sweet baked treats are top class, as the kitchen is run by award-winning master confectioner Markus Hurskainen. Try the cruffins, muffins made from croissant dough, and don’t forget the sourdough pizza either.

E. Eriksson in turn is one of the most traditional fish merchants in Helsinki, and these days it also has a great oyster bar where you can stop for a drink and enjoy French oysters, fish sandwiches and even a seafood hotpot. Formerly known as Soup Kitchen, Soup+More serves the perfect market hall lunch, and its traditional bouillabaisse deserves to be a classic. Alternatively, Yuzu’s poke bowls on a bed of sushi rice are a great choice for a light lunch. For dessert, grab an Italian ice cream from La Gelateria!

A view from above inside Hietalahti's Market Hall. Below customers sit on high stools, eating at the bar of a Ramen restaurant, whilst other customers sit in an open seating area directly above the restaurant itself.
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Hietalahti Market Hall

Hietalahti Market Hall first opened back in 1903, and following a major renovation in 2012 it has been transformed into a real multicultural restaurant oasis where you can take a culinary trip around the world. Fat Ramen is known for the city’s best ramen soups that combine Japanese and Finnish traditions. In addition to the traditional tonkotsu ramen, Fat Ramen offers an excellent selection of acclaimed vegan ramen soups, as well as bao steamed buns and gyozas. Japanese street food is also served at Tokyo Street, whose noodles and gyozas are delicious. Tokyo Street also has a fun minibar that serves not only quality wines and craft beers, but also Japanese sake.

Kamalig in turn specialises in traditional Filipino cuisine: the adobo, chicken inasal and kare-kare are sure choices. Vietnamese cuisine also represents the finest Southeast Asian food culture and can be savoured at Mama’s Pho. Piilo meanwhile is especially known for its delicious breakfasts and weekend brunches, and it also serves Italian pastas and pizzas, as well as hearty salads. Piilo also sells Italian ice creams by Bus Gelato, including vegan options.

A man in black clothing serves a customer whilst standing behind a meat counter in a butcher's store at Hakaniemi's temporary market hall.
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Hakaniemi Market Hall

Hakaniemi Market Hall in the heart of the former working-class district opened in 1914 and is Helsinki’s most traditional and authentic market hall. The original building is currently undergoing extensive renovation, and its stalls are currently located inside a temporary glass hall.

Hakaniemi Market Hall is known especially for its traditional merchants and has somewhat fewer restaurants and cafés than Helsinki’s other market halls, but you can still enjoy some great food inside. In addition to Soup+More's soup selection, the Ekström fish shop and café serves traditional salmon soup that you can enjoy with a glass of white wine or champagne. Café Katiska also serves fish delicacies, including mussels, salmon pies and traditional Finnish “kalakukko” fish pies. Don’t miss Katiska’s delicious crispy blinis at the start of the year, and it also competes for the title of best salmon soup in the market hall. For a lighter option than blinis, try the delicious smoothies made from Finnish berries at Bär Bar.

Nami in turn serves traditional Karelian pies from Liperi, while Petri’s Chocolate specialises in delicious chocolates and pralines. Other sweet treats include the generously sized cinnamon buns, apple donuts and shrove buns served at Nami and the traditional market hall café. Finally, don’t forget to stop by Lentävä Lehmä, one of the best cheese vendors in Helsinki that offers a huge selection from which to choose!

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Helsinki's traditional market halls have seen a lot of life over the years and have always been lively places to shop and socialise, especially on market days. Today, the city’s beautifully restored market halls are still full of hustle and bustle!