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 by the late Campanile co-founder Mark Peele; Korean dosirak boxes from Shiku; and Eggslut’s iconic egg sandwiches. 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.
Bite into a sandwich here, slurp a bowl of ramen there, before finishing off with some ice cream—when it comes to piecing together the ultimate meal, it's always fun to pick and choose at Southern California's various food halls, home to small businesses and some of the most thoughtful, creative and scrappy chefs across the region. Though L.A.'s food halls date back close to a century—we're looking at you, Grand Central Market and the Original Farmers Market—a new crop of food havens have made it easier than ever for diners across the Southland to personalize their own all-in-one snack crawls. Check out our guide to our favorite food halls in Los Angeles and Orange County—and start planning your next visit.