Meet me at Old Market Hall

A short walk from Market Square is Helsinki’s old dame of market halls – Vanhakauppahalli.

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Built in 1888,Vanhakauppahalli (Old Market Hall) was recently closed for renovations and reopened in June 2014. The building is a cultural heritage site and protected by the National Board of Antiquities.

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On a cold winter’s day, with the wind coming in off the Baltic Sea, it’s a relief to get inside those heavy front doors. Inside, a walkway circles the hall, shouldered on either side by cafes, bakeries and fishmongers.

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There are also greengrocers selling seasonal produce from Finland and overseas. It’s a great place to go for specialty mushrooms and berries, as well as big suolakurkku (gherkins) you scoop out of an open bucket.

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For lunch I usually head straight for Soppakeittiö (Soup Kitchen) where the menu always consists of one meat soup, one vegetarian and their delicious seafood boullabaisse, served with lemon-infused sour cream.

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On my most recent visit however I stopped at Story, where the food counter is sure to whet your appetite. I had a cappuccino (equivalent of a NZ flat white) and lohileipa (smoked salmon on bread).

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After lunch I walked the circuit, marvelling at the number of things you can do with salmon. In my mind I always hear the southern drawl of Bubba from the movie Forrest Gump (salmon bbq, salmon cocktail, salmon pie…..).

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There are other forms of protein on offer for the more adventurous too, like Russian King Crab and Spanish jamon.

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 As well as traditional Finnish offerings there is also a vegetarian cafe and a stall selling Vietnamese filled-rolls, spring rolls and salads.

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And there’s an Alko, the only store in Finland selling wine and spirits. This one is touted as being ‘the world’s smallest Alko’ (which is a little bit like American teams winning the ‘World Series’ in a competition only open to American teams).

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There are other Market Halls in Helsinki but this is one of my favourites. If you get a table by the window you can watch the ferry to Suomenlinna making it’s way past the huge cruise ships churning up the frozen sea.

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Go with a friend or go on your own – just make sure you go. I’ll be the one making my way from coffee, to soup to dessert and back as I make my way around Old Market Hall.

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Vanhakauppahalli – Eteläranta, Helsinki

Ravintola Story

Note: I was approached by Meetings Booker to write about my favourite meeting place in Helsinki. This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own (as was that open salmon sandwich, which I cannot stop thinking about). www.meetingsbooker.com

21 thoughts on “Meet me at Old Market Hall

  1. Oh. Yum! Even though I was in Eira, and the 3 tram went right past the door, I never went there. But I went to the one in Hakaniemi a lot. Similar, especially the soup stall. Great home-made jam and honey stall. And speciality shops upstairs – found some great gift items there. And a Marimekko “factory outlet”, with a big bin of fabric remnants and other good stuff …

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  2. Outer facade looks a little Victoria Markets in Melbourne….so enjoying your blog….gorgeous market photos…very enticing. Much to show your Mum and Dad later this year!

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  3. Great post – now I have a hankering for an open salmon sandwich!! The food in Finland looks so delicious – hope to make a trip there later this year. I will have to meet you for a coffee, and dessert and smoked salmon! 😉

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  4. Pingback: An Insider’s Guide to Helsinki | Hey Helsinki

  5. Pingback: 101 reasons to visit Helsinki | Hey Helsinki

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