Enjoy the atmosphere at market halls
Helsinki’s adjacent indoor market halls are homes of great food. Hakaniemi Market Hall, Hietalahti Market Hall and the Old Market Hall are full of friendly family enterprises selling unique local delicacies. Many loyal customers come in to town regularly from the countryside and even from overseas to stock up on items you won’t find anywhere else.
The Old Market Hall next to the Market Square reopened for summer 2014 after a complete renovation. Stall keepers who have served customers for decades have returned and are joined by attractive new restaurants and cafés.
The Scandinavian café-restaurant Story has opened at the centre of the Old Market Hall. Top restaurateurs Matti Sarkkinen, Anders Westerholm, Teemu Aura and Markus Hurskainen have succeeded in creating a casual yet enticing area. The name Story refers to the long history of the Old Market Hall, which the restaurateurs continue by getting their ingredients from the hall’s stall keepers. Their passion for the highest quality food ensures the success of this highly agreeable café-restaurant.
“Teemu Aura and Markus Hurskainen supply us with the products of their own bakery, and we also have a complete kitchen where we prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. We even import our own wines from small vineyards, plus we serve organic beer on tap. Each selection has a story behind it – the location demands it!” Westerholm tells us.
Hietalahti Market Hall served as the home away from home for the stall keepers of the Old Market Hall during its renovation. Many of the vendors liked their temporary facilities so much that they decided to continue serving customers at Hietalahti Market Hall, as well as at the Old Market Hall. As a result, both market halls offer something new and old for loyal customers and tourists alike.
Hietalahti Market Hall is also spicing up Helsinki’s restaurant offerings: the Soppakeittiö “soup kitchen” is particularly popular, as are the fish counters operated by Marja Nätti and E. Eriksson. In addition, Roslund serves arguably the best hamburgers in town!
Hietalahti is also the venue for probably the most famous flea market in Finland on summer weekends. Visitors can observe the buzz from Robert’s Coffee’s terrace café.
This autumn Hakaniemi Market Hall will celebrate its 100th birthday. There is a tight symbiosis between this classic market hall and the open-air market: loyal customers often come to the market for their morning coffees even before the market hall has opened its doors.
According to Pirjo Passinen, who operates the “Reinin liha” butchers and chairs the Hakaniemi merchants association, the market hall attracts not only local residents but also customers from other parts of Finland and even from abroad.
“We have regular customers from St. Petersburg, for example, who come here to shop because we satisfy their demands for individual service and quality. Russians are not interested in faceless service, and neither are Finnish shoppers for that matter,” Pirjo says.
Hakaniemi Market Hall offers everything that a food lover could dream of: fresh fish, smoked fish, meats, international deli foods, vegetables and cheeses from Helsinki, the rest of Finland and the world. Visitors can also purchase handicrafts from the stalls upstairs.
Text: Mariaana Nelimarkka