NYC’s Best Food Halls

Julie Besonen

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New York City’s mushrooming food hall concept—bringing independent proprietors, and eclectic choices, under one roof—makes for a handy way to eat like a local. At the Pennsy, right by Penn Station, options include Pat LaFrieda’s famous steak sandwich and Cinnamon Snail’s savory vegan burger deluxe. UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, near Grand Central Terminal, supplies one-stop shopping for Roberta’s irresistible garlic knots, Delaney’s fried chicken sandwiches and Mile End’s Montreal-style Jewish comfort food, among other fine venues. There’s more of a European feel to the Plaza Food Hall and Todd English Food Hall on the concourse level of the Plaza Hotel, with its French patisseries and chocolatiers and Italian food specialists, as well as Asian and NYC­-based purveyors. Out in Brooklyn there’s Berg’n, hawking craft beer and Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque. In the Bronx is Arthur Avenue Retail Market, a lively bazaar of pizza, pastry, Italian cheese and sausage. Another Italian emporium, Eataly, is such a hit in the Flatiron District that there’s a brand-new downtown follow-up at 4 World Trade Center. If you’re hungry for more, we’ve got 10 other marketplaces to taste the world without traveling too far.

The Bowery Market

The alfresco, boutique-size Bowery Market debuted in July, a cluster of five cute food kiosks where an auto body shop once stood. Variously trimmed in corrugated metal and thatched roofs, the enclosed stalls offer a few stools and one corner table on the Bowery. Alidoro constructs massive, delicious, Italian-style sandwiches, The Butcher’s Daughter deals in health-minded juices and vegetable-focused fare. For great tacos, step up to Pulqueria’s window. Champion Coffee has innovative cortados, teas and baked goods. Then there’s Sushi on Jones, marking the much-anticipated return of David Bouhadana, formerly of Sushi Dojo. A 30-minute omakase (chef’s choice) is $50; there are just four stools, but as customers are not permitted to dawdle, the waits shouldn’t be too long.

Hudson Eats. Photo: Mark Abramson

Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place is off the beaten path unless you’re looking for sustenance near One World Trade Center or the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Then it’s very convenient for sushi from Blue Ribbon and Num Pang’s Cambodian-style sandwiches, among other food stations in Hudson Eats. Sit along the windowed side of the extensive cafeteria for views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty. Also on hand are Le District, a marketplace that’s the French version of Eataly, and Amada, a recent addition from chef Jose Garces. He and his team adeptly prepare Andalusian dishes from tapas to suckling pig to paella, to be matched with earthy Spanish wines.

Chelsea Market. Photo: Annabel Ruddle

Chelsea Market

A stimulating mix of food stands, shops, bakeries, restaurants, a butcher, a fishmonger and purveyors of wine, coffee, tea, chocolate and cheese deluge this block-long, brick-lined marketplace near the High Line. Even though it was established back in 1997, Chelsea Market always has new places to try, such as Dizengoff, a Philadelphia import modeled on an Israeli hummus stall. The amazingly creamy chickpea blend is swirled in a bowl, its hollowed center to be filled with a rotating choice of vegetables, nuts, lamb or egg. Counter stools allow viewing of fresh-baked pita puffing up in the oven. The drinks menu offers craft beer and Israeli wine.

City Kitchen

Last year, Times Square got a sharp new food hall on the second floor of the Row NYC hotel. Local businesses prevail, like Luke’s for lobster rolls, Dough for doughnuts and Whitmans for burgers with molten centers of pimento cheese. Kuro Obi is an offshoot of ramen specialist Ippudo; in addition to their signature, deeply flavored noodle soups are sweet, spicy and tender pork buns. Solo diners and dates can find seats along counters that face floor-to-ceiling windows; larger parties can be accommodated at tables in a separate area that flows into the hotel’s bar and lobby. 

Essex Street Market. Photo: Nina LoSchiavo

Essex Street Market

This Lower East Side market, started in 1940, is still a happening place for produce bargains as well as food from fun stalls like Arancini Bros., whose Sicilian-style fried rice balls come with savory and sweet fillings that change daily. Puebla Mexican Food is beloved for Irma Marin’s authentic tacos, burritos and tortas, and the quirky, voluminous menu at Shopsin’s General Store never gets old. Other compelling draws include Saxelby Cheesemongers, Ni Japanese Delicacies and fresh bagels from Davidovich. By 2018, the market is expected to move across the street to Essex Crossing, a development that will blend housing, office space, retail and entertainment.

Food Gallery 32

For a cheap, filling, fast-casual meal in Koreatown, slip into Food Gallery 32. Stations pump out sushi, crisp spring rolls, Korean bibimbap, seafood pancakes, vegetable dumplings and icy bubble teas. It’s easy to eat for under $10 at any of the vendors. Taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries stuffed with red bean paste or custard) are an amusing, tasty dessert. Or head upstairs where a branch of Spot Dessert Bar offers artistic, Asian-style confections. Seating is communal, and even when it’s crowded, spaces tend to open up quickly since it attracts a young, on-the-go clientele.

Gansevoort Market

Gansevoort Market, a delightful collection of high-end and easygoing food stalls, opened on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District in 2014. To make way for Keith McNally’s new iteration of Pastis, the operation recently moved to new quarters on West 14th Street. It has the same industrial-chic vibe and charmingly mismatched tables and chairs, the perfect place for something fast or to linger and chat. Look for gorgeous macarons from Dana’s Bakery, fresh and invigorating Peruvian-style fish from Mission Ceviche and excellent pizza from Luzzo’s, an East Village favorite. 

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Gotham West Market. Photo: Melissa Hom

Gotham West Market

In the vicinity of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center sits Gotham West Market, a hub for impressive eats in an expansive industrial setting. Food choices include Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop for noodle soups; El Colmado for expert tapas; Choza Taqueria for big burritos, delicious tacos and tortas; and Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-born ice cream shop with crazy-good flavors like salted crack caramel. Capitalizing on the concept’s success, a branch is opening this fall in Fort Greene near the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Called Gotham Market at The Ashland, it will showcase Long Island City’s wonderful Mu Ramen and a Southern-inspired menu from Mason Jar. 

Great Northern Food Hall. Photo: Signe Birck

Great Northern Food Hall

Copenhagen’s Noma moved the needle toward Nordic food, and now one of its partners, Claus Meyer, has founded a sparkling food hall in Grand Central Terminal. Among the gastronomic pleasures are Danish-style hot dogs (get the Great Dane with ketchup, remoulade, mustard and onions) and mind-blowing, not-too-sweet baked goods at Meyers Bageri. Wander around the pavilion to peruse and choose from nourishing porridges and granola, open-faced sandwiches and lightly roasted coffee from Brownsville Roasters. Agern is also part of the constellation, a wood-grained, fine-dining restaurant with tasting menus prepared by Icelandic chef Gunnar Gíslason.

Courtesy, TurnStyle

TurnStyle

TurnStyle is literally on the other side of a subway turnstile, its shops lining a concourse that roughly 90,000 people pass through each day. Underneath Columbus Circle, the complex is smartly curated to appeal to commuters: Bosie Patisserie for breakfast, on-the-go healthy fare from Ellary’s Greens, Doughnuttery for a sugar rush and Dylan’s Candy Bar for treats to take home to the kids. For coffee, stop in at Fika, a Swedish-themed, local chainlet staffed by well-trained baristas.


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