There are few L.A. food destinations that are more iconic than Grand Central Market. This historic European-style food hall has operated on the ground floor of DTLA’s Homer Laughlin Building since 1917. There’ve been plenty of changes throughout the years—with some prompting concerns about the gentrification that pushed out older stalls to make way for newer, flashier ones—but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the culinary talent here is strong. In addition to the handful of old-school vendors you must try (Chiles Secos and Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, for starters), some of the city’s best chefs have opened up shop here, including Sari Sari Store’s Filipino food from République owners Margarita and Walter Manzke; Fat & Flour’s pies and cookies from star baker Nicole Rucker; Prawn Coastal Casual’s lobster rolls and chowders by Campanile co-founder Mark Peele; and Eggslut’s iconic egg sandwiches from Burger Show star and chef Alvin Cailan. There’s counter-service Thai food from Sticky Rice; vegan ramen from Ramen Hood; and freshly made pasta at Knead & Co. On warm summer nights, pick up BBQ at Horse Thief BBQ and sit out on the patio, then follow it up with a beer at Golden Road Brewery or a glass of wine and some oysters at The Oyster Gourmet.
A sandwich here, a bowl of ramen there, an ice cream cone to finish—when it comes to piecing together the ultimate meal, sometimes we wish we could pick and choose dishes from our favorite places for the ultimate feast. Thankfully, we’re not the only ones who think so.
The boom in food halls in Los Angeles—as well as Orange County—is a result of diners wanting to create their own perfect meal from different restaurants. Though food halls have been around for awhile—think: Grand Central Market and the Original Farmers Market—a new crop of food havens is making waves. Check out our guide to our favorite food halls in Los Angeles and Orange County—and start crafting your own personalized dining experience.