Helsinki's three market halls all live their own characteristics. The old market hall at the South Harbour is mostly a spot for visitors, although it remains beautiful and charming, the market in Hakaniemi is the destination for locals to get high-quality meat, fish and produce, and the market hall in Hietalahti strikes with a best of the best of the Capitals restaurant scene and is also known for their flea markets mostly in the summertime. Hietalahden kauppahalli is rebranding into not only a lunch spot but a magical place to hang out with friends, spend quality time and discover culinary delights, with new and extended opening hours and more freedom to move around for guests. But it's not only about food. Little design shops and artisan vendors sell hand-picked items, from beautiful pottery to beautiful gifts - in the market hall you find it all. Let me show you.
First off: did you know that you can take food from any of the market hall restaurants and eat it wherever you want? There you go! What seems a given to stay at the place you get your food from, is actually not how it is. This is especially amazing for friend groups who have trouble deciding on one place to eat (don't we all know that) - no more need for compromises. Get your favourite dish from any of the restaurant menus, meet up and enjoy your different meals together. The other day, I got to attend a foodie event that was a journey through the market hall, with a stop at all the restaurants and I've discovered some true gems amongst restaurants in Helsinki and I'm really excited to share those with you.
Pick your favourites - Petiscaria!
Mine are easy. A piece of my heart lies in Portugal, and Petiscaria has finally brought a little piece of that up North. While I was running after every Pastéis de Nata for the last years and craving some proper Piri-Piri chicken, now I know where to go to get some of my favourite food from over there. Their duck rice is a little surprise, whereas in many countries the main part of the dish, here it's hidden under a mountain of rice, and it's just delicious. Call me silly, but I could also eat their salads all day. Simple and delicious. During the week, the lunch offer is all you need. Try the piri-piri chicken and if you don't know what Bacalhau is, you should fix that.
Kamalig & Tokyo Street
Runner-ups are ties between Kamalig, who are the only place in Helsinki offering Filipino cuisine - and Tokyo Street, hands-down the best noodles and dumplings you can find in the city.
Kamalig was new for me, their Grilled Chicken 'Inasal' blew everyone's mind a little - modern yet traditional comfort food from the Philippines is definitely right up my alley - the more you know!
Tokyo Street treated us to two different kinds of their famous noodles (try the tofu ones - I hate tofu so this means something) but don't ever miss out on the dumplings! I love dumplings, but I kinda stopped searching for the perfect ones - until Tokyo Street brought up these! Served in a flavourful broth alongside some noodles as well, but the ginger-chicken dumplings really took the crown.
Good old classics
Classics like burgers from Roslund and Street Gastro sandwiches never disappoint either. Both are established in the market hall and are always a valeur sure, meaning you know what you get any time, and the quality is on point.
Roslund is not only a burger place but the best place in the city to get high-quality meat. Their burgers are juicy and flavourful and even the city's most harsh burger critic approved. These will always leave you satisfied, there's no bullshit burgers here.
Street Gastros sandwiches are also just an explosion of colour and flavour, luckily they serve several neighbourhoods these days. Helsinki doesn't have the best reputation for döner-like sandwiches, but the ladies and gents at Street Gastro definitely know where it's at. Veggie lovers are also happy here, and lately they also introduced their first own beer!
Le Marché: hands-down a lovely place with truly enthusiastic hosts who have a true passion for French food. If you ask nicely, you might even get their special cocktail with brandy, raspberry and currant leaf bubbly. Their fresh salads are amongst the most-acclaimed in the city (and if we're honest, we all know that Helsinki isn't a great place for salad-lovers, but then again, many don't know about this place) and also treats like their cheese-tomato bread and the Benelux-approved Croque Monsieur are not to be missed!
Soppakeittö: another classic that you should get off your list if you're weird and haven't been here yet. Their bouillabaisse (French seafood soup) is to die for, and so are their other creations. Also represented in all three market halls, this one is easily their most beautiful location.
Fat Ramen: the first ones who brought Ramen noodles to Helsinki! Now they're introducing steam buns to their menu as well.
Super Bowl: salad bowls packed with different flavours and textures, always a great option if you're craving something healthy!
Trattoria Corretto: pizza. Need I say more? Actually yes, because their ricotta filled ravioli with pesto sauce were delicious!
Robert's coffee: the only chain represented here in the market hall, nonetheless it's arguably the better option for a real, delicious good coffee in the city, and I have to admit that I didn't know they made delicious desserts like their seasonal Christmas gingerbread "rahka". Their baristas are delightful and caring.
Really a one-stop-shop
It's not only all about food. Small vendors like Pieni Astiakauppa sell hand-picked high-quality pottery from Poland that definitely makes a stand-out amongst the minimalistic style that's usually dominating the Nordics. If you're looking for some nice gifts, you're certainly going to find something there or at Dock Helsinki - the cutest little gift shop that charms you with beautiful and thoughtfully selected items. Le Marché also sells French delicacies like delicious jams, syrups, spices and herbs in their restaurant.
Mon – Thu 8-18
Fri – Sat 8-22
Address & Arriving
LÖNNROTINKATU 34, 00180 HELSINKI
(get there easily with tram 6 or 6T)
Special thanks to Natali and of course all the lovely vendors at the market hall! Can't wait to come back!