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. UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, near Grand Central Terminal, supplies one-stop shopping for Roberta’s irresistible garlic knots, Bobwhite’s fried chicken and biscuits and Ovenly’s handmade baked goods, among other tasty bites from fine venues. There’s more of a European feel to the Plaza Food Hall and Todd English at The Plaza on the concourse level of the Plaza Hotel, with its French patisseries and chocolatiers and Italian food specialists; NYC-based purveyors are on hand too. Out in Brooklyn there’s Berg’n, hawking craft beer and Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque. In the Bronx there’s Arthur Avenue Retail Market, a lively bazaar of folks selling pizza, pastry, Italian cheese and sausage. Another Italian emporium, Eataly, has bustling locations in the Flatiron District and in Lower Manhattan with multiple dining experiences. If you’re hungry for more, we’ve got 19 other marketplaces to taste the world without traveling too far.
The Bowery Market
The alfresco, boutique-size Bowery Market is a cluster of cute food kiosks where an auto body shop once stood. Variously trimmed in corrugated metal and thatched roofs, the stalls offer a few stools and a bench for seating. In winter, the mini compound is enclosed for warmth. Sushi on Jones is an omakase bar featuring hand rolls and multi-course menus of the chef’s best daily selection of fish. There’s also Kettl for Japanese tea, Cheska’s for gluten-free pizzas made with cauliflower or sweet potato crust and Pinks Cantina for Mexican specialties with modern twists.
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 noshing at Hudson Eats: there’s sushi from Blue Ribbon, Seamore’s for sustainable seafood, Fuku for Momofuku-style fried chicken and Num Pang’s Cambodian-style sandwiches, among other food stations. Sit along the windowed side of the extensive cafeteria for views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty. Also on the premises is Le District, a French marketplace whose bar offers a daily happy hour (4–6 pm) with $1 oysters.
Canal Street Market
Chinatown’s changing landscape is embodied by this modern food hall, sharing half the space with a collection of Soho-style artistic retailers. If here for nourishment, line up at Azumma for burritos packed with Korean-spiced beef and pork, Boba Guys for bubble milk tea and Joe’s Steam Rice Roll for huge, savory crepes and slippery, rolled rice noodles filled with meat or vegetables and doused with soy and chili sauce. Some of the stalls have barstool seating, and there are additional communal tables in back.
Food stands, retailers, bakeries, a butcher, a fishmonger and purveyors of wine, coffee, tea, chocolate and cheese deluge this block-long, brick-lined marketplace near the High Line. Established in the former Nabisco factory back in 1997, Chelsea Market always offers something new to try. On the lower level is a variety of local vendors, including Saxelby Cheesemongers, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats and Las Delicias Chelsea, a patisserie specializing in gluten-free babkas, scones and muffins. On the main level, Los Tacos No. 1 is the champ for quick, sensational Mexican food. Another hot spot is Miznon, popular for pita sandwiches and “run over” baked potato with sour cream, garlic and scallions.
Times Square has a hip food hall on the second floor of the Row NYC hotel, a quick stop for breakfast, lunch or a casual pre-show meal. Local businesses prevail, like Luke’s for lobster rolls, Dough for doughnuts and Whitmans for juicy burgers. Kuro-Obi is an offshoot of ramen specialist Ippudo; in addition to their 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.
DeKalb Market Hall
Around 40 of NYC’s finest food purveyors are showcased at the bustling DeKalb Market Hall, which means multiple visits are almost mandatory. The newest vendors include Thank You Come Again, good for juicy soup dumplings, and Daigo Hand Roll Bar, offering to-die-for toro or salmon belly in crunchy seaweed sleeves. Other must-haves: Jian Bing Company’s Shanghai-inspired crepe stuffed with pork, egg, scallions, cilantro, chili sauce and crunchy crackers; Bunsmith’s spicy Korean fried chicken bun; Arepa Lady’s cheese-filled arepa de choclo; and Katz’s overstuffed pastrami sandwiches. There are also local craft beers and healthy juices. The underground industrial space offers ample seating.
The Deco Food + Drink
A great addition to Midtown’s Garment District, this food hall uses deco light fixtures, geometric tiles and bold blues to give it a distinctive look. It has the busy, convivial vibe of a hotel lobby, lined with venues like Little Tong for contemporary Chinese and Nansense for Afghan comfort food. Sandwich fanatics should stop by Mani in Pasta for a cuzzetiello, a crusty, football-size loaf of bread stuffed with saucy eggplant parm, Philly cheesesteak or meatballs with smoked provola cheese. Just try to stop eating one—we dare you. Elsewhere, tacos from Antojitos Caseros and Hawaiian rotisserie chicken from Huli Huli can’t be beat.
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), from Mama, are a playful, tasty treat. Or head upstairs, where a branch of Spot Dessert Bar offers artistic, Asian-style confections. Seating is cafeteria-style, and even when it’s crowded, spaces tend to open up quickly since it attracts a young, on-the-go clientele who don’t stay long.
Gansevoort Market is a delightful collection of street food stalls near the High Line and Whitney Museum of American Art. The all-day hangout has an industrial-chic vibe and charmingly mismatched tables and chairs. Go for Snowy Village shaved-ice desserts topped with fruit, Wing Club’s sweet and spicy Korean-style chicken wings and thin-crust Enzo Bruni pizza, whose creamy burrata topping is worth the price. The space is rarely crowded and blissfully quiet enough for laptop work or long conversations.
Gotham Market at the Ashland
There’s ample seating for groups and solo diners at this food hall in Fort Greene, an inexpensive place for a bite and drink before or after an event at Barclays Center or the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Vendors include Bolivian Llama Party (get the roast brisket sandwich); The Flamingo, for craft beer, tiki drinks and Japanese-style bar snacks; and a pop-up, Taco Suprema.
Gotham West Market
Within walking distance of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center sits Gotham West Market, a hub for impressive eats in an expansive industrial setting with plenty of seating. Food choices include noodle soups at Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, Corner Slice’s crisp-bottomed squares of pizza, Corner Bistro’s signature burger, La Palapa’s tacos and complex moles and crazy-good ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery. It’s one of the best food halls in NYC, period.
Great Northern Food Hall
Copenhagen’s lionized Noma moved the needle toward Nordic food, and one of its partners, Claus Meyer, founded this 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 fabulous, not-too-sweet baked goods at Meyers Bageri. Other options include healthy porridges and granola, open-faced sandwiches and lightly roasted coffee from Brownsville Roasters. The Michelin-starred Agern is also part of the constellation, a wood-grained, fine-dining restaurant with seasonal menus prepared by Danish chef Jeppe Kil Andersen.
HK Food Court
This newcomer in Elmhurst, Queens, is in a former supermarket and doesn’t look like much from the outside. Inside holds a wonderland of tempting Asian eats and enough cafeteria-style seating for 200 people. Choose from stalls selling Szechuan, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Thai, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese halal specialties. Portions are huge and prices are low. Look for cumin lamb and green bean skewers at Lan Zhou Ramen, or hit up Lao Ma Spicy for customized stir-fries and nourishing hot and sour soup.
Industry City Food Hall
This snaking, mixed-use development in Sunset Park feels modeled on Chelsea Market. A refreshing mix of global eats, Brooklyn Kitchen’s wide range of cooking classes and a glass-walled facility that bakes up One Girl Cookies’ goodies are among the many culinary attractions. Visit Japan Village for aisles of specialty groceries plus stalls offering matcha latte, super-fresh sashimi, fried chicken and soba noodles. Try the satellite of Sahadi’s for Middle Eastern pantry items, a wide variety of nuts and olives, good falafel sandwiches and its wine and beer bar.
The Market Line
Myriad food stalls blossom underneath Essex Market in the massive Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side. Roam around to scope out the choices before choosing from Doughnut Plant doughnuts, garlicky mofongo and stuffed Puerto Rican pastelillos from Que Chevere and the mind-blowing roast beef or muffuletta sandwiches from Ends Meat. There is also a seafood restaurant (Essex Pearl), a craft beer bar (The Grand Delancey), a natural-wine spot (Peoples Wine Shop and Bar) and a branch of Veselka, the legendary Ukrainian diner specializing in pierogi and borscht.
This laid-back Asian food court on the second floor of a mall in downtown Flushing is fun for a quick, reasonably priced meal. Choices include Taiwanese-style golden fried chicken at TKK, Happy Lemon’s bubble teas and smoothies and Taiyaki’s fish-shaped waffle cones filled with sweet, lush soft-serve ice cream.
Time Out Market New York
Waterfront views are part of the appeal of this handsome food hall in a refurbished warehouse complex in Dumbo. The local restaurants represented were selected by editors of Time Out magazine, whose first market concept, in Lisbon, has been a phenomenal hit. We recommend chocolate babka from Breads Bakery, blueberry pancakes from brunch sensation Clinton St. Baking Company and the enormous fried chicken biscuit sandwiches at Jacob’s Pickles. Try to go on a weekday since it’s teeming on weekends—and don’t miss the fifth-floor outdoor terrace with a panorama of the skyline and Manhattan Bridge.
TurnStyle is literally on the other side of a subway turnstile, its shops lining a concourse that tens of thousands pass through each day. Underneath Columbus Circle, the complex is curated to appeal to on-the-go commuters. Zai Lai offers morning dishes like scallion pancakes and sesame flatbread with scrambled egg; at lunchtime they serve filling rice bowls and stir-fried noodles. Bolivian Llama Party is also exceptional, featuring savory, hand-braided pastries filled with beef and chiles, diced free range chicken or smoked oyster mushrooms, toasted quinoa and squash. Doughnuttery is there for a sugar rush and Dylan’s Candy Bar for treats to take home to the kids.
UrbanSpace W. 52nd
One of the longest lines at this Midtown food hall is usually for Plant Junkie’s vegan comfort food, such as the “Moroccan Mirage,” a bowl packed with quinoa, coconut-accented kale, chickpea stew, hummus, tofu, feta and pita chips. Pull up a stool at Seamore’s if you’re more in the mood for fresh oysters, lobster grilled cheese and a classic cocktail. Seating in the long, narrow space is primarily upstairs, as is a station for Instagramming your food.