The 50 Best Food Halls in America
February 9, 2015
Great food halls are sweeping the nation, and these are the very best
The 50 Best Food Halls in America
Variety is the spice of life, and food halls really have it all, offering a wide variety of food items from multiple vendors to a public that’s discovering more and more about food every day. The food hall is one of the great culinary innovations of our time, and these are the 50 best.
#50 Jeannine’s Gourmet Food Hall, Westlake Village, Calif.
This lovely food hall is a little off the beaten path in a shopping center in Westlake Village, near Los Angeles. They have an in-house bakery, a coffee bar featuring a selection of craft coffee roasters, fresh juice, Jeannine’s deli, a sushi and noodle bar, wood-fired flatbread and rotisserie, a bespoke salad bar, cheese and charcuterie, a full bar, and takeaway. Most of these stations are through the Jeannine’s brand, lending everything context and continuity.
#49 The Hall, San Francisco
The Hall recently opened in San Francisco’s Mid-Market area in the former Hollywood Billiards building. The location includes five restaurants — Cassia, Little Green Cyclo, Fine and Rare, Raj + Singh, and The Whole Beast — along with coffee shop Dignitá. Locals have given it rave reviews, stating that it has revitalized an underutilized area of the city and giving them a reason to go patronize more local businesses.
#48 New World Mall Food Court, Queens, New York
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Located in Flushing, Queens, this monstrous mall food court offers up traditional Chinese and Taiwanese meals in overwhelming quantity. The consensus on Yelp is strong: Bring cash. Almost none of the restaurants accept credit or debit cards, but it will be worth both the trip to the ATM and to Queens to sample chicken basil rice, dumplings, pot stickers, Szechuan crawfish, and a dizzying array of other options. Not the fanciest place in the world, but the variety alone is worth the trip.
#47 Stir Market, Los Angeles
As though Los Angeles needed more amazing food, now it now has Stir Market. The market states, point-blank, that it has based themselves on traditional European food halls, so points there. It offers restaurants, an artisan bakery, an espresso bar, a market salad and entrée station, a “European Rotisserie & Expo Kitchen,” a wine and craft beer bar, and a “Gourmet Marketplace.” We need some of the signature crispy pig tails with fennel pollen, lemon zest, herb salad and jus, STAT.
#46 Rockridge Market Hall, Rockridge, Calif.
Oakland has shoppers covered. No more going to and fro to find all the best produce and artisanal ingredients! Rockridge Market Hall offers up five restaurants among their other artisanal vendors. Yelpers love the unusual and (otherwise) hard-to-find ingredients, like elderflower syrup and freshly prepared pastas. The samples are apparently plentiful, so you can try a lot of items out before you take them home.
#45 Society Fair, Alexandria, Va.
Designed to make patrons feel like they’re in Willy Wonka’s factory, Alexandria’s Society Fair has a little bit (or a lot) of everything. There is a bakery, a butcher shop, a coffee bar, a cheese station, a spice bar, a wine bar, a candy shop, and a market. The butcher makes all meat items in-house, there is a demo classroom where you can take classes, and the fact that their blind wine tasting is called “Drink Yourself Blind” makes us want to go immediately.
#44 The Source, Denver
Denver’s The Source is a group of food artisans and merchants gathered into a circa-1880s brick foundry building. Their food-based tenants include Acorn, a contemporary American restaurant, Comida, a Mexican taqueria with a twist, and Babettes, a boulangerie focusing on French country style breads.
#43 The Lab Antimall, Costa Mesa, Calif.
So, you want to visit a food court, but you don’t want to go to a mall? No problem. Established in 1993 in Costa Mesa, the Lab Antimall used to be a night-vision goggle factory and now exists purely as a hangout with cool stuff that you can’t find anywhere else. If you want to grab a bite while looking cool and shopping, try an omakase sushi menu at Zipangu or a casual sandwich at Gypsy Den Cafe.
#42 Eden Center, Falls Church, Va.
If you find yourself in Washington, D.C. and lusting after authentic and affordable Vietnamese food, venture out to the suburb of Falls Church, and try out Eden Center. It’s absolutely the opposite of fancy, but consistently earns rave reviews from patrons and critics alike. Eden Center itself has been voted Best of D.C. numerous times, and Anthony Bourdain visited the bakery Song Que here on his trip to the capital for an episode of No Reservations. With over 100 restaurants, cafés, and other businesses, there’s something for everybody.
#41 Joan’s on Third, Los Angeles
Joan’s on Third is a quaint (if slightly expensive) L.A. eatery, complete with a bakery, cheese/charcuterie, café, deli case, “dinner table,” gourmet grocery, breakfast, sandwiches, and salads. It’s a mix of markets and prepared foods and there are always daily. Make sure to try the short rib sandwich, which was featured on the cover of Bon Appétit.
#40 Public Market, Emeryville, Calif.
Emeryville is getting a major update in the form of a soon-to-be newly renovated Public Market. Currently undergoing renovations, current tenants include award-winning Sorabol Korean food, Hot Italian, and assorted other international choices. Carlos Altamirano (owner of La Costanera, Piqueos, and Mochica), will open a Peruvian stall named Chicharrón.
#39 Playa Provisions, Playa Del Rey, Calif.
Next time you find yourself in Playa Del Rey, whip out your GPS and let it lead you to Playa Provisions. Run by Top Chef season 10 runner-up Brooke Williamson, Playa features four eating (or drinking) places, including Dockside (seafood), Grain (whiskey bar), Small Batch (ice cream), and King Beach (breakfast/lunch counter). While each is different, the concept is a cohesive one, and anyone could find something to love at one or all.
#38 East End Market, Orlando, Fla.
East End Market is located in the Audubon Park Garden District of Orlando, Fla. This central Florida location is both a market and a food hall, incorporating nine restaurants, a garden, and a community kitchen. The cuisine variety ranges from Japanese to Italian, and the market also has several specialty food purveyors including a coffee roaster and bakery.
#37 Berg’n, Brooklyn
Before all our Brooklyn buddies get mad, the newly opened Berg’n isn’t low on this list because it’s bad. It’s low because it has relatively few vendors compared to the other contenders. The vendors that are there are awesome, though, and we hope that they get more! Berg’n is a Brooklyn beer hall from the creators of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, and they offer food from Asia Dog, Mighty Quinn’s, Pizza Moto and Ramen Burger.
#36 Industry City Food Hall, Brooklyn
A former manufacturing complex turned mixed retail space, Industry City has a long standing love affair with Brooklyn. Formerly a hub of manufacturing for all kinds of industrial tycoons, it is now home to a host of creative tenants, not least of which is their food hall. Colson Patisserie, Blue Marble ice cream, and Steve & Andy’s Organics among others are some of the new hall tenants, with more slated to join soon.
#35 The Packing House, Anaheim, Calif.
In Anaheim, home of Disneyland, you’ll find a lovely food hall called The Packing House. This historic structure is one of the few remaining old citrus packing houses (it first opened in 1919). The Packing House is two levels with a huge atrium, communal dining, 20 restaurants, cafés, and vendors. If you want to get away from typical California fare for a change, try Georgia’s, a Southern-style eatery with comfort food like pulled pork BBQ, fried catfish, and macaroni and cheese.
#34 Gansevoort Market, New York City
New York really has their food hall game going on! Gansevoort Market, located in the Meatpacking District, contains some big names, including sushi ninja David Bouhadana of Dojo Express, Donostia (Basque Tapas), and FeelFood. The space is framed in rough wood and industrial metal accents, and features wide glass skylights, making the space feel rustic yet refined.
#33 Sweet Auburn Curb Market, Atlanta
Located inside Atlanta’s 1924 Municipal Market building, the Curb Market is home to 24 different businesses, from meat and produce merchants to a full service bakery and restaurants including Afrodish, Arepa Mia, the popular Bell Street Burritos, Sweet Auburn BBQ, and Grindhouse Killer Burgers. And in what other food hall can you also find a bookstore and pharmacy?
#32 Helms Bakery, Culver City, Calif.
Opened in 1931, the original Helms Bakery delivered freshly baked bread by van around Los Angeles daily for four decades. No longer a bakery, the space has been restored and now houses an array of artisans with a focus on fine furniture and food. Celebrity chef Sang Yoon heads up Lukshon, turning out modern takes on Southeast Asian cuisine, while Bucato’s fresh housemade pastas led to a nod by LA Magazine naming it as one of LA’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2013.
#31 Mercado La Paloma, Los Angeles
Mercado La Paloma, located in South L.A., is a project through Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, which provides affordable retail opportunities and creates living wage jobs. The food hall contains seven restaurants, mostly a mix of Latin and Asian flavors. Chef Ricardo Zarate of one of them, Mo-Chica, was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s best new chefs of the year in 2011.
#30 Ottenheimer Market Hall, Little Rock, Ark.
This food hall adjacent to Little Rock’s River Market holds 13 vendors, including Thai, Mexican taquerias, vegetarian items, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Jay’s Pizza is actually owned and operated by the former head chef of the Arkansas governor’s mansion, and there’s a beer garden in the market as well. Between the pizza and beer, we’re pretty sure this is worth the stop.
#29 Essex Street Market, New York City
20 independent merchants make up the cast of players at New York’s historic Essex Street Market, created in the 1930s by mayor Fiorello La Guardia as a place for former street vendors to sell their goods on the Lower East Side. Nordic Preserves is a cool place to find unusual Scandinavian goods, and it’s hard not to fall in love with Shopsin’s, with a menu of more than 100 comfort food dishes, and iconoclast Kenny Shopsin himself yelling from the kitchen. Mac and cheese pancakes, doughnut sliders, Frito pies, and Kenny make for an incredibly unique dining experience.
#28 Fulton Street Food Hall, Las Vegas
If you were of the (faulty) opinion that Las Vegas didn’t have enough dining options, you’re in luck. Within Harrah’s Las Vegas now resides the Fulton Street Food Hall, a small food hall offering gamblers nourishment through the late nights and early mornings. Yelpers approve, citing the impressive presentation, the brick oven-baked pizza, and friendly staff. Make sure to try noodles as well, as one Yelper claimed that they are prepared by the former team from Ming’s Table.
#27 Chicago French Market, Chicago
Featuring 30 restaurants and vendors, Chicago’s French Market is located in the new MetraMarket development in the West Loop. Diners are able to browse local favorites like cheese shop Pastoral, Saigon Sisters Vietnamese cuisine, and The Original Meatball Vault. According to their website: “The Bensidoun family, the largest market operator in and around Paris since 1953, co-developed the market with Chicago-based U.S. Equities Realty, and operates and manages Chicago French Market.” They sound like experts to us!
#26 Eastern Market, Washington, D.C.
A perfect blend of old and new, D.C.’s historic Eastern Market attracts hordes of tourists and locals alike, especially in the warm summer months. After a fire devastated the building in 2007, it was rebuilt and now holds 12 indoor food merchants and several sit-downs, including Market Lunch, which is famous for its buckwheat blueberry pancakes. Outside, there are many more vendors, and in an adjacent parking lot, shoppers can browse through the Eastern Market Flea Market.
#25 Gotham West Market, New York City
New York’s Gotham West Market is a new kid in town comparatively, offering 8 vendors and plenty of amazing food. A world renowned ramen expert, Ivan Orkin, has set up his Ramen Slurp Shop at Gotham West, inspiring rapture among Yelpers. If you want a ton of variety with your meal, The Cannibal offers up small plates and a curated beer and bourbon list.
#24 Melrose Market, Seattle
Matt Dillon, head chef and owner of Sitka & Spruce — nominated as a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2007 — decided to relocate his gorgeous restaurant to Seattle’s Melrose Market in 2010. Melrose Market houses several other vendors who use each other’s products, including Still Liquor, The Calf & Kid, and Taylor Shellfish Farms.
#23 Todd English Food Hall, New York City
Designed by renowned architect Jeffrey Beers, the Todd English Food Hall resides in the basement of Manhattan's iconic Plaza Hotel. Celebrity chef Todd English offers up a wide variety of impeccably prepared food that is noted by Yelpers as a bit pricey, even for the quality. Diners can choose between pasta, flatbread pizza, burgers, sushi, raw bar, and more, and you can find other nicely curated food finds like Olma Caviar Boutique & Bar, Three Tarts, and Épicerie Boulud. Not only is the food gorgeous, but the location is stellar.
#22 The Original Farmers Market, Los Angeles
Operating since 1934, The Original Farmers Market hasn't been an actual farmers market for many decades, but it has plenty of great food stalls and enjoyable sit-down and takeaway restaurants. Find what you need in terms of sushi, fine meats, or a unique dining experience like Singapore’s Banana Leaf, because let’s be honest... who doesn’t want to eat delicious treats off a banana leaf? Since this market has been patronized by stars like Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra, we’re pretty sure it will pass muster with you, too.
#21 French Market, New Orleans
If you’ve never heard of Café Du Monde, it’s been the place for coffee and beignets in New Orleans since 1862. New Orleans’ favorite spot for beignets and café au lait is hiding among some other gems, including PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans, basically the mothership of gourmet coffee in the U.S., and Evans Creole Candy Factory, voted one of the 10 Best Candy Shops in the U.S. by Bon Appétit, along with dozens of other vendors in a sprawling complex near the Mississippi River.
#20 Oxbow Public Market, Napa, Calif.
While there’s no shortage of fine food and wine in Napa, tourists and locals alike have been flocking to this indoor/outdoor public market. Several Yelpers were even sent there by area vineyard owners, which gives this writer an idea of the quality represented by the products. A focus on sustainable food gives this market excellent sources to pull from, including Ca’ Momi, a mini food hall in and of itself, offering pizza, a pastry counter, a wine bar, and a full-service restaurant.
#19 Krog Street Market, Atlanta
Previously owned by Tyler Perry Studios, this Atlanta area food complex opened in 2014 with 10 restaurants and assorted retail. Lovers of charcuterie should check out The Cockentrice, while those with stars in their eyes should go to the Luminary, the first restaurant by Top Chef contestant Eli Kirshtein. Krog St. Market is the first food hall of its kind in Atlanta, and it has been very well received by both tourists and locals. There is at least one more restaurant slated to open at this time, with spaces available for more in the future.
#18 Hudson Eats, New York City
This food hall’s highly anticipated opening in 2014 had New Yorkers abuzz, with rave reviews pouring into Yelp on its opening weekend. Diners were floored by the variety and quality offered by vendors such as Black Seed Bagels, Dos Toros Taquería, and Umami Burger. There are a very few chain options like Starbucks, but don’t let that deter you!
#17 Union Station, Denver
It’s not news that Colorado is full of great restaurants and health-conscious diners. The most exciting news currently is that several food halls have popped up around the state in the last few years. Union Station is a cultural center within a recently-revitalized train station, which includes 10 restaurants under its roof. Chef Jennifer Jasinski, a James Beard Award-winner for Best Chef: Southwest in 2013 and a Top Chef alumna, runs Stoic & Genuine, a seafood and oyster bar located in Union Station. Award-winning Alex Siedelruns Mercantile, an “elevated comfort food” spot. With these stars on board, we’re ready to visit.
#16 Grand Central Market, Los Angeles
This 97-year-old food hall is revamping its image and attracting young food entrepreneurs to this historic space. Some of the market’s newbies include Sticky Rice’s Thai street food, Anya Fernald's Belcampo butcher shop and food stand, the awesomely named Eggslut, and G&B Coffee’s iced lattes, which were recently called out by the New York Times as the best in America.
#15 Grand Central Dining Concourse, New York City
Food halls come in all shapes and sizes, so while it’s slightly surprising to see a train station (even Grand Central Terminal) on a list of food halls, you won’t be sorry we clued you in on this one, located on the terminal’s lower level as well as main concourse level. If you’re hanging out or just passing through, there are plenty of choices. Downstairs you can find New York institutions like Magnolia Bakery, Shake Shack, and Junior’s, there are also several spectacular originals, including the legendary Grand Central Oyster Bar. And while you can’t sit down and dine in the market upstairs, you’ll find food vendors ranging from Murray’s Cheese to produce stands and two fishmongers. If you take into account the legendary bar The Campbell Apartment, located a couple flights up, as well as restaurants like Cipriani and Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, you can call the entire terminal a food hall!
#14 Union Market, Washington, D.C.
If you’re looking for a slice of market life in our nation’s capital, look no further than Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. This revamped historical building in D.C.’s NoMA neighborhood houses 15 restaurants, plus a variety of pop up artisans including Toki Underground, the beloved ramen restaurant. You’ll also find Rappahannock Oysters Company (recipients of the 2005 Food & Wine Magazine “Tastemaker’s Award”), DC Empanadas, and TaKorean, serving Asian-inspired tacos.
#13 West Side Market, Cleveland
Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned market, West Side Market is home to more than 100 vendors and restaurants. The market has been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network, and it’s estimated that they received over 1 million visitors from all over the world last year. While pretty much any ingredient can be purchased from the market vendors (pumpkin spice bacon from Czuchraj Meats, anyone?), make sure not miss the restaurants! Steve’s Gyros is a popular spot.
#12 Eataly, Chicago
The brainchild of none other than Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich, Eataly got its start as a food hall in Italy, with 11 locations currently in that country. There are also Eataly outposts in Japan, Dubai, and Istanbul, proving that a love of Italian food, when done extraordinarily well, is universal. And they certainly do it extraordinarily well at their Chicago outpost: There’s a sprawling market selling high-end Italian goods; a Lavazza caffè; a gelateria; stands selling fresh meat, fish, vegetables, pizza and pasta, focaccia, panini, and pastries; and a handful of full-service restaurants including the lively Baffo Ristorante.
#11 Rockefeller Center Dining Concourse, New York
As if the Rockettes, skating rink, and the Christmas tree weren’t good enough reasons to head to Rockefeller Center! The Rockefeller Center Dining Concourse has an astonishing array of amazing restaurants on hand. Some awesome (if a little touristy) choices on the concourse include ‘wichcraft by Tom Colicchio, Magnolia Bakery, and Jacques Torres Chocolate. Outside of the concourse there are even more options throughout Rockefeller Center (including a full restaurant during the warmer months in the sunken plaza that’s the winter home to the ice skating rink), so if you feel like exploring, start early!
#10 Market House at the Nashville Farmers’ Market, Nashville
At the Nashville Farmers’ Market, there are 14 restaurants offering everything from Cajun dishes to cupcakes. There are also some notables, including the Sloco sandwich shop by James Beard-honored local chef, author, and Chopped champion chef Jeremy Barlow. Jamaicaway, traditional Jamaican fare, was featured by Guy Fieri on Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.
#9 Quincy Market in Faneuil Hall, Boston
Among the ranks of the biggest attractions for food lovers in Boston is Quincy Market, in Faneuil Hall. Among 14 restaurants and pubs, you’ll find an outpost of the place where everybody knows your name: Cheers! You can also choose to eat under the iconic glass canopies or at one of the outdoor cafés if the weather is good. There are also more than 36 international food vendors inside the Quincy Market Colonnade, which is the largest food hall in New England.
#8 Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis
An internationally themed public market and food hall located in Minneapolis, Midtown Global Market features 23 bars and restaurants, including several award-winners. Chef Michelle Gayer-Nicholson (formerly of the famed Charlie Trotter’s) offers up pastries at the Salty Tart Bakery, while A La Salsa, helmed by award-winning chef Lorenzo Arriza, lures you in with central Mexican cuisine. With all of these international restaurants and gift stores, there’s really something for everybody.
#7 Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
Amongst the routine mall fare of Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and Chipotle, the Westfield San Francisco Centre offers up some gems. Among their 50 restaurants and cafés lives celebrity chef and James Beard Award-winner Martin Yan’s restaurant, M.Y. China. Shoppers can also take a break and dine at Lark Creek Steak, Tap , and a host of other high-end eateries. The crowning feature is the building’s iconic 102-foot-wide glass dome, under which all the restaurants are located.
#6 The Ferry Building, San Francisco
The historic San Francisco Ferry Building, open since 1898, now offers over 41 restaurants and specialty food purveyors. Receiving rave reviews from the likes of Mark Bittman (The New York Times), the Ferry Building houses Out the Door, a Vietnamese eatery by James Beard Award-winner chef Charles Phan, the Cowgirl Creamer’s Artisan Cheese Shop and their restaurant Sidekick, among others. Try the burgers and shakes at Gott’s Roadside for a low-key meal that doesn’t require reservations. The lively Saturday farmers market outside the building is a must for any food-loving visitor who ends up in San Francisco on a weekend.
#5 Smorgasburg, Brooklyn, New York
What do you get when you mash up the legendary Brooklyn Flea with tons of artisanal food? Smorgasburg! This outdoor Brooklyn food hall and flea market takes place on weekends in Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park. There are more than 100 local and regional rotating vendors; depending on the week, you might sip Blue Bottle Coffee, grab a doughnut from Dough, or pick up a famous Ramen Burger from Keizo Shimamoto’s Smorgasburg outpost (where it was first unveiled). Smorgasburg is a certifiable incubator: If you want to be at the forefront of American casual culinary trends, Smorgasburg is the place to be.
#4 Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia
The next time you’re feeling indecisive about dining options in Philadelphia, have no fear. Reading Terminal Market, housing 32 restaurants and merchants, includes tons of Pennsylvania Dutch specialties. If you’re in the mood for something critically acclaimed, try the roasted pork and broccoli rabe sandwich at DiNic’s: it was crowned the best sandwich in America by Adam Richman of the Travel Channel.
#3 Eataly, New York City
Mario Batali: check. Joe and Lidia Bastianich: check. All the Italian food you could ever want: check, check, check. Similar to the newer Chicago location, the original New York branch of Eataly includes 17 restaurants and specialty food merchants and is considered one of the first major food halls to open in the U.S.. The massive hall features restaurants that focus on offering fresh ingredients for sale in markets next to each restaurant (so Il Pesce offers fresh fish, which is for sale at the Eataly Seafood Counter). It fills up quickly and wait times can get pretty long, but there’s such a wide selection of cheeses, meats, and other specialty food items that you’ll feel like you’re inside a culinary museum. And don’t forget to check out the adjacent La Scuola, where classes are occasionally taught by Batali and Lidia themselves.
#2 Chelsea Market, New York City
This famous food hall is located in New York City’s Meatpacking District inside a building that was once home to the Nabisco factory, and its meandering passageways are home to dozens of dining options. Tourists and locals alike flock to the historic building to take advantage of the huge array of vendors, all of which have their own storefronts inside the building: Amy’s Bread, Bar Suzette, Cull & Pistol Oyster Bar, Corkbuzz Wine Studio, Doughnuttery, Friedman’s Lunch, Liddabit Sweets, Los Tacos No. 1, Dickson’s Farmstead Meats… the list goes on and on. While in the area, check out the High Line, an out-of-use railroad trestle converted to a beautifully landscaped public walking trail.
#1 Pike Place Market, Seattle
Seattle’s original farmers market was founded in 1907, but you might know it best as the location of the original Starbucks. Today, they continue the tradition of offering local wares, and have expanded to include more than 30 restaurants and merchants. While you might be most familiar with the fish-throwing fish mongers, Pike Place’s food is beloved by tourists and locals alike. From the authentic Café Campagne French Bistro to Matt’s At The Market (where you’ll find the freshest produce around), to Beecher’s Cheese, where you can watch the cheese being made by hand, diners can find just about anything they want to try here. Actual local farmers still set up stands daily in an annex.