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 proliferation of 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 a while—think: Grand Central Market and the Original Farmers Market—a new crop of foodie havens is making waves. And there's more on the horizon: Trade in Irvine and Edin Park in Beverly Grove are just a couple places opening in the next year or so. For now, check out our guide to our favorite food halls in Los Angeles and Orange County—and start crafting your own personalized dining experience.
Visit these L.A. food halls
Buried in the heart of Downtown L.A. is this European-style food hall, which has operated on the ground floor of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building since 1917. There have been plenty of changes throughout the years, with some prompting concerns about the gentrification that has pushed out older stalls to make way for newer, flashier (and oftentimes more expensives) ones. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the culinary talent here is strong. Visitors can choose from breakfast staples like Eggslut, Valerie at GCM and breakfast burritos from Jose Chiquito. At lunch time, diners flock to Sticky Rice for Hainan chicken and tacos at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, along with 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 sherry at Bar Moruno. There's also regularly scheduled programming throughout the week, like Drag Queen Bingo and live music.
Walk through 4th Street Market and you may think, at first, that this food hall is on the small side. But there's plenty packed into the Santa Ana market, including around 15 vendors serving everything from falafel to pho to ice cream sandwiches. First, though, you need to stop by Alta Baja Market, a specialty food store and deli that highlights the flavors of California, Mexico and the American Southwest. Then work your way around the food hall, stopping by Falasophy, Sit Low Pho, Front Porch Pops, Pig Pen Delicacy and others, including Chunk-n-Chip for some must-have ice cream sammies. An outdoor patio hosts occasional bands, while Portola Coffee Lab invites visitors to grab a cup of coffee and hang out in their lounge. 4th Street Market is also known for the Foodbeast Kitchen & Studio, which hosts book signings, kitchen demos and more.
Anaheim is no longer just for Angels games and Disneyland trips thanks to the arrival of the Anaheim Packing District. Split up into three revamped destinations, the block-sized district is anchored by the Packing House, a former Sunkist citrus plant that's been converted into a handsome, modern food hall. The ever expanding roster of merchants runs the gamut from full-service restaurants to niche vendors that specialize in grilled cheese, hot pot, juice, popsicles and more. Think of it as Orange County's answer to Grand Central Market, albeit boozier—there's a bar and speakeasy—and more inviting thanks to comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi and a lofty, bright warehouse space. On the other end of the district sits the Packard Building, a mission revival car showroom that now houses the Anaheim Brewery and an Umami Burger. Between the two you'll find Farmers Park, a two-acre grassy field with a community garden and a farmers' market every sunday. Surprise, suprise: This place is pretty popular, so expect to park in one of the surrounding parking lots during lunch time.
Far East Plaza looks unassuming from the outside, but step into the corridor of this Chinatown shopping mall and you'll find a food hall overflowing with local character. At lunch time, people line up for Nashville hot chicken at Howlin' Ray's, bowls of rice and pork belly at Chego, bao at Baohaus and Taiwanese street food at Lao Tao. Coffee is poured at the sleek Endorffeine coffee shop, while dessert comes in the form of artisanal ice cream at Scoops. Looking for more formal dining options? LASA is a sit-down restaurant serving modernized Filipino food, like pancit, lumpia sariwa and crispy duck arroz caldo.
Back in 1934, local farmers began selling produce at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax, a corner that has come to be known as the Original Farmers Market and a prime Grove-adjacent dining hall. A handful of stalls still sell groceries, but they're outnumbered by catering stands offering a culinary round-the-world trip. Alongside the American comfort food served at the historic, 24-hour Du-Par's restaurant, you can get everything from Texas barbecue (Bryan's Pit BBQ) to Parisian crêpes (French Crepe Company), New Orleans po'boys (the Gumbo Pot) to sunny Mexican fare (Loteria Grill). For dessert, you can't beat Bennett's Ice Cream. Make sure to stop by Light My Fire, a shop packed with hundreds of different hot sauces.
Lot 579 is a food hall adjacent to Pacific City, a Huntington Beach retail complex just steps away from the ocean. Tuck into burgers at the American Dream, fresh fish at Bear Flag Fish Co., Aussie-style pies at Pie-Not and artisanal sandwiches at Burnt Crumbs. There's plenty here for those with a sweet tooth: popsicles at PopBar, ice cream at Hans' Homemade Ice Cream and cupcakes at Frosted Cupcakery. And if you're looking for an innovative floral arrangement, Petals & Pop can transform your vision into something beautiful.
Restoration is the key word at SteelCraft in Long Beach, where meals are shared on communal tables made from reclaimed wood and bike racks are made from 95 percent recycled material. Each restaurant or bar in this outdoor food court is operated out of repurposed metal shipping containers from the Port of L.A. and the Port of Long Beach. While restaurants are rolling out gradually, the space will be home to Hollywood's DeSano Pizza Bakery, Pig Pen Delicacy, Belgian waffle specialist Waffle Love, San Diego's Tajima Ramen House, Hawaiian shave ice shop Fresh Shave, a gourmet hamburger restaurant and more. Smog City Brewery pours beer at a container as well, and cups of java can be ordered from Steelhead Coffee. Keep an eye out for events happening at SteelCraft, like beer and chocolate pairings.
Enter the terra cotta archway of this 1924 arcade and you'll find a glass-roofed alleyway dotted with restaurants and shops. The crowds are still light—it's no Grand Central Market competitor, at least not yet—but the food offerings are already strong. Stop by Guisados for a chorizo taco and some horchata, or POV Snack Shop for chicken wings. Green Grotto Juice Bar doles out juices and acai bowls, while Gelateria Uli has some of the city's best gelato. If you're in the mood for a glass of wine, step into Garçons de Cafe, a wine bar and boutique that instantly transports you to Paris.