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The best food halls in NYC and what you should eat

If NYC’s best food halls and food courts bring out your decision paralysis, stress no more—we chose for you

By Bao Ong and Time Out contributors |
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Time Out Market New York
Photograph: Time Out New York
Food halls are tailor-made for the Big Apple. After all, we love options (the more the better). Whether it's cheap eats or the best lunch in NYC, the flexibility to pick and choose your favorites in one place is part of the allure. Sure, we're biased, but our newly-opened Time Out Market New York with its 21 eateries and 3 bars is a must-visit among this growing list of new and old food halls the represent the best of the city.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best food halls in NYC

1
Time Out Market New York
Photograph: Time Out New York
Restaurants, Food court

Time Out Market New York

icon-location-pin DUMBO

We really like eating around the city, and we're guessing you do, too. So lucky for all of us, we're packing the best the city has to offer under one roof at the Time Out Market New York. The Dumbo location in Empire Stores serves up fluffy pancakes from the venerable Clinton Street Baking Co., thin-crust pizza from Patsy Grimaldi’s Juliana’s and Japanese comfort food from Bessou, to name a few. The killer rooftop views are also a must!

2
Photograph: Courtesy SHoP Architects
Restaurants

Essex Market

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

When it was announced that Essex Market, New York's oldest public market, would close in its old location that had been on the Lower East Side since the 1940s, a ripple of fear shot through New York. Would the existing vendors continue on in the space at Essex Crossing, a sprawling mixed-use mega development opening across the street? The new Essex Market thankfully debuted with all 21 existing vendors, which span Puebla Mexican, Shopsin's General Store, and Ni Japanese, alongside 17 new vendors, like South Williamsburg favorite, Samesa (their first expansion to Manhattan) and Flower Power, a wonderfully witchy, old-school herb shop in the East Village. The beautiful new 37,000-square-foot market (said to be triple the size of the old space) will be home to a total of 39 vendors, as well as two seated restaurants and a demonstration kitchen, where the market hopes to host classes and workshops.

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3
Chelsea Market
Shopping, Shopping centers

Chelsea Market

icon-location-pin Chelsea

Roaming Chelsea Market is arguably some of the most fun you can have inside one city building. The Nabisco Oreo factory turned gourmet paradise is responsible for starting the city’s trend of collecting diverse food vendors under one roof, and this food-hall veteran has come a long way since its inception. Today the factory-feel remains, adding nostalgic charm to a slew of stalls hawking epicurean delights, sit-down restaurants (making a total of 38 food options!) and shops.

What to order: The folks from Chelsea Market’s ridiculously popular Los Tacos No. 1 have turned their attention to fresh seafood for spin-off Los Mariscos. Nosh on the Baja-style fish tacos and shrimp ceviche.

4
Smorredbrod at Great Northern Food Hall
Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Food court

Great Northern Food Hall

Unlike many food halls where diversity is the name of the game, Great Northern Food Hall devotes itself to Nordic food the way Eataly does for Italian. Danish restaurateur Claus Meyer—he of Noma fame—curated everything at this Grand Central Terminal food hall, and much of it may seem familiar if you love the farm-to-table concept. Think open-faced rye bread sandwiches, pickled herring, salads, baked goods, porridges and all- around delicious wholesomeness.

What to order: Traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, or smørrebrød, from pavilion Open Rye.

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5
<p>The Bowery Market</p>
Restaurants, Food court

The Bowery Market

icon-location-pin Noho

This East Village mini food hall is out in the open air, with crimped tin structures that give it a laid-back island-town vibe. With only five vendors, it’s less a destination for grazing from different stalls and more a place to go when you have a hankering for one of the (very quality) food options, but can’t get your dining party to agree. Team Sandwich and Team Taco can finally eat together in harmony.

What to order: Sushi on the Jones offers the city’s only outdoor omakase, one of the best affordable tasting menus in NYC. Don’t let the casual fast-dining concept fool you—sushi chef David Bouhadana knows exactly what he’s doing.

6
Queens Crossing
Photogrpah: Courtesy Yelp/Summen T.
Restaurants, Japanese

Queens Crossing

icon-location-pin Flushing

Located inside the Flushing mall, this may be a food court, not its own stand-alone hall, but that doesn’t change the basic concept: good food, diverse options. Wooden tables, high-stool seating areas, and an interesting wooden geometric motif add to an upscale design aesthetic that fly in the face of everything you think of when you hear the words “mall food court.” This goes for the food as well, with vendors curated to represent a diverse array of Asian cuisines.

What to order: Queens Crossing mall unveiled a foodie haven on its second floor, with stalls like Happy Lemon touting Taiwanese bubble tea.

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7
Le District
Photograph: Hélène Dujardin
Restaurants, Sandwich shops

Le District

icon-location-pin Battery Park City

FiDi-focused restaurant mogul Peter Poulakakos has launched a whopping 10 projects south of Chambers Street (Dead Rabbit, Pier A Harbor House), but this industrial-styled French-food complex is his largest undertaking yet. The 30,000-square-foot market is divided into a bakery-café, meat and cheese stalls, an open-air grocery shop and two sit-down restaurants, Beaubourg and L’Appart.

What to order: Class up food-court dining with L’Appart’s French tasting menu helmed by Daniel alum Nicolas Abello.

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Food trucks
Photograph: Clay Williams
Things to do

Industry City - Food Hall

icon-location-pin Greenwood

This way-south-Brooklyn food court is a bit of a schlep, but it features a fun mix of vendors making very good food, from Blue Marble ice cream to Spanish Harlem-bred Taco Mix. After eating, take a stroll through nearby Greenwood Cemetery, whose famous residents include Jean-Michel Basquiat and crooked politico “Boss” Tweed.

What to order: A New Orleans-style muffaletta sandwich from whole-animal salumeria Ends Meat, packed with house-cured salami and chopped black olives.

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9
<p>Gotham Market at The Ashland</p>
Restaurants, Food court

Gotham Market at the Ashland

icon-location-pin Fort Greene

On the ground floor of a luxury residential building, this Fort Greene brother of Gotham West Market is Brooklyn’s newest food hall. High ceilings, plentiful seating, and colorful decorative lighting add a sheen of sophistication to the normally casual food-hall setting.

What to order:Sandwiches and pastries from Bolivian Llama Party, Manhattan’s only Bolivian restaurant.

10
TurnStyle
Restaurants, Food court

TurnStyle

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen

Normally, New York subway stations are not places that induce an appetite; Turnstyle is perhaps the one exception. The developer carefully selected a crew of vendors to appeal to the tastes of different commuter demographics (teens on their way to school, lunch-seeking business folks, etc.), and intentionally opted for mostly smaller, artisanal brands.

What to order: Daa! Dumplings for the Russian version of your favorite on-the-go treat.

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11
Restaurants, Food court

The Pennsy

icon-location-pin Midtown West

This addition to the city’s food hall scene sits inauspiciously above every New Yorker’s least favorite place: Penn Station. Luckily, it’s home to a number of quality vendors, from meat masters Pat LaFrieda to vegan junk-food slinger the Cinnamon Snail.

What to order: One of the 30 rotating donuts and pastries from the Cinnamon Snail.

12
Urbanspace Vanderbilt
Restaurants

Urbanspace Vanderbilt

icon-location-pin Midtown East

This Midtown spot changed the workaday lunch game when it opened on Park Avenue last fall. Twelve-thousand square feet of snacks served up by grade-A vendors like Bushwick’s Roberta’s and Ditmas Park’s Mimi’s Hummus, the hall quickly and efficiently made office workers’ sad desk lunches a thing of the past.

What to order: The fried chicken from Bobwhite Counter will be some of the best you've had outside the South.

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13
Hudson Eats
Restaurants, Chinese

Hudson Eats

icon-location-pin Battery Park City

Clocking in at an astounding 35,000 square feet, this Battery Park City hall accommodates up to 600 eaters chowing down on meals from the likes of Black Seed Bagels and Mighty Quinn’s BBQ. Don’t miss the great river views afforded by the huge picture windows.

What to order: Northern Tiger’s juicy handmade lamb dumplings, slick with spicy sauce.

14
Gotham West Market
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Food court

Gotham West Market

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen

This sprawling Hell’s Kitchen spot is another boon to neighborhood office workers, and it’s open late to accommodate theatergoers looking for an after-show bite. With high-profile vendors including Ivan Ramen and ice-cream favorite Ample Hills, it’s worth the trek west.

What to order: The Spicy Smokehouse Burger from Genuine Roadside, loaded with bacon, smoked gouda and charred jalapeno mayo. 

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15
The Plaza Food Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Thomas C.
Restaurants, Food court

Plaza Food Hall

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Tucked away beneath the historic Manhattan hotel is this expansive food court modeled after the indoor markets found in Europe. Luke’s Lobster, vegetarian favorite No. 7 Sub and dozens of other vendors offer lunch-friendly fare perfect for toting across the street for an al fresco lunch in the park.

What to order: The signature mille crepes cake from confectionary Lady M makes the perfect dessert, a slice of super-thin sweet crepes layered with ethereal vanilla pastry cream and finished with a thin shell of crispy caramelized sugar.

16
Gansevoort Market
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Shinya Suzuki
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Gansevoort Market

icon-location-pin Chelsea

This comparatively diminutive hall occupies a handsome historical building in the Meatpacking District and boasts a laid-back atmosphere. Vendors run the gamut from Italian (Luzzo's Pizza) to Thai (Thaimee Magic).

What to order: You can’t go wrong with a swirl of soft serve from Milk & Cream Cereal Bar.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Shinya Suzuki

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17
Berg’n
Bars, Beer bars

Berg'n

icon-location-pin Crown Heights

Brooklyn finally got its own fancy food hall in 2014 when this hipster heaven opened on Bergen Street. With concrete floors, exposed brick and solid, shareable wooden picnic tables, its new industrial feel is complemented by a rotating cast of hip eateries.

What to order: Messy, sloppy, delicious barbecue from Mighty Quinn's. 

18
City Kitchen at Row NYC
Photograph: Curtesy Michael Kleinberg
Restaurants, Food court

City Kitchen

icon-location-pin Midtown West

At this 4,000-square-foot Hell's Kitchen food market, snag a turquoise barstool and sample bites from food-court first-timers like Ilili and regulars like Dough and Luke's Lobster.

What to order: A steaming bowl of chicken-broth ramen from Kuro Obi, a spinoff of noodle king Ippudo.

Brunching on a budget?

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