BY ROBERT GLAZE
A far cry from shopping center or airport food courts of the past, food halls are currently the hottest dining trend across the United States and all over the world. They are becoming a haven for artisanal and specialty food purveyors, food stalls, and upscale restaurants.
Read on for my most recent finds and recommendations from coast to coast and across the globe.
I had been reading great reviews about The Shed (25 North Street), a contemporary-designed cafe and marketplace in downtown Healdsburg and was so glad to finally go. Here you will find cooking items, a coffee bar, a cafe for eat-in or carryout (with a very creative menu), and a fermentation bar. This bar features local wines, ciders, beers, meads, and natural sodas, plus house-made kombucha and kefir water. They also make shrubs composed from their own vinegars, as well as fresh herbs and seasonal fruit. (25 North Street)
At 131 North Clinton, the Chicago French Market is the city’s first indoor market featuring local artisans and food purveyors. It was named one of Bon Appetit’s best five food halls in the US. Vendors include Saigon Sisters, Lillie’s Q barbecue, and Pastoral Artisan Cheese Bread and Wine.
A block off of Michigan Avenue in Chicago is Eataly (43 East Ohio), one of the chain’s newest international locations. Here you will find a wonderful market featuring Italian specialties, restaurants, a wine shop and a cooking school. You will find plenty of options with 23 eateries ranging from fine dining to a Nutella Bar.
A hot new spot in Chicago is Latinicity, a sleek food court at Block 37 at 108 North State Street on the 3rd floor. It features Latin cooking and cuisine of Spain, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico. It has street food, a bar, and a full-service tapas restaurant.
Opened in August 2016, Chicago’s newest food hall is the Revival Food Hall featuring 15 chef-driven restaurants. It features the Revival Cafe-Bar, Graze Kitchenette for burgers and bowls, The Budlong for Nashville-inspired chicken, Union Squared Pizza, Farmer’s Fridge for salads and lighter fare, and my favorite: Black Dog Gelato. At 125 South Clark Street, it is a great location for visitors to the city as well as for the office workers in the Loop.
New York, NY
Located at 200 5th Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets, Eataly NY is a large complex consisting of a fresh food market featuring breads, pastries, cheeses, pastas, meats, fish, produce, beers, wine, chocolates, and other specialty food items. There are a number of cafes and restaurants as well. They also offer a number of cooking classes and special events. Partners include the well-known restaurateurs Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and son Joe Bastianich. This is well worth the trip on your next visit to NYC.
Gotham West Market (600 11th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets) is a great concept in a 15,000 square-foot space that has six restaurants, two bars, a coffee shop, and a cookware and grocery store. Here you will find Blue Bottle Coffee for great coffee. The Cannibal, featuring small plates, house-made charcuterie and cured meats, and a rotating list over 200 global beers, bourbons, and whiskeys. Chozo Taqueria has really good Mexican specialties including tacos, burritos, tamales, tortas, and ceviches. I enjoyed a combination of lamb, shrimp, and chicken tacos, rice and beans, and a wonderful iced Mexican hot chocolate. Court Street Grocers Sandwich Shop serves hand-crafted sandwiches. Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop features classic ramen and rice bowls. Genuine Roadside serves tacos, sandwiches, burgers, shakes, wine, beer, and cocktails. El Colmado is a traditional Spanish tapas restaurant. There is also a bike shop, NYC Velo, and The Brooklyn Kitchen, which sells kitchenware and specialty grocery items. They also offer cooking classes.
Gansevoort Market, at 52 Gansevoort Street, is a rustic, industrial food hall with a number of small purveyors, including Dana’s Bakery for macarons, Crepe Sucre, Lobster Bar, Champion Coffee, Il Gelato, Yiaourti for Greek yogurt, Il Conte for Italian pasta, Lov Organic by Kusmi Teas, The Bruffin Cafe for brioche pastries, Donostia for Basque tapas or pintxos, Bangkok Bar, Capone’s for Italian specialties, and Tacombia serving tacos from a converted VW Bus.
The Pennsy (southwest corner of 33rd and 7th Avenue) is a welcome addition to New York’s Penn Station. This new food hall features a bar, and five restaurants by well-known chefs including Franklin Becker, Mario Batali, and Butcher Pat LaFrieda.
Including the opening of One World Trade Center, there is a great deal of commercial and residential development and activity in Lower Manhattan. One of the newest projects is Le District, the French inspired food hall that opened in early 2015 in Brookfield Place. It is located at 200 Vesey Street. As the name implies, the project is divided into different districts. The Market District includes La Boulangerie, La Poissonnerie, La Fromagerie, La Charcuterie, and La Rotesserie. The Garden District has purveyors that sell groceries and prepared foods, with a salad bar at lunch and a chocolate mousse bar. The Cafe District has stations with wonderful French pastries, crepes, and waffles baked on the spot, plus ice cream, coffee, and candies. The Restaurant District includes the new restaurant, Beaubourg, at 225 Liberty Street, which has gotten some very good reviews. It is a lovely restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the Hudson River and boat harbor. It will also have an outdoor oyster bar. L’Appart, with its chef’s table, features a tasting menu and seats 28 guests.
The Oxbow Public Market was one of the highlights of my stay in Napa. I actually went twice. It is a new attractively designed artisanal food hall opened in 2008. Some of the stalls open early so you can catch breakfast before heading north to the vineyards.
San Francisco, CA
The Ferry Building Marketplace is a great spot to check out for restaurants, specialty food counters, and shops. It is along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco.
New Orleans, LA
Just across the street from Marigny, in the St. Roch neighborhood, is the recently opened St. Roch Market (2381 St. Claude Avnenue). The original St. Roch Market first opened in 1875, as one of the city’s many public markets. The building was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. In 2015, it reopened with 13 food vendors from those original 25, featuring coffee, oysters, cocktails, seafood, and Creole food, to others featuring Korean, Mexican, juice, pastries, and baked goods. It has a clean, contemporary design and attracts more locals than tourists. I enjoyed my latte from Coast Roast.
The Mercado De San Miguel (Plaza de San Miguel, s/n 28005) is an old market building in Madrid that has been newly restored into a marketplace. There are vegetables, cheeses, meats, bread, etc., but there are many stands selling wine, pastries, tapas, coffee, chocolates, and ice cream. You can definitely go and make a meal out of it. I stopped by twice: once for a snack and once for lunch!
La Boqueria on La Rambla 91 is one of the best food markets in Europe according to many sources. It has wonderful produce, meats, fish, cheese, chocolates, and sweets. I had lunch at El Quim de la Boqueria, which came highly recommended. It was a really great choice. I would suggest going early around 12:30 to get a seat at the bar.
Not to be missed, is the recently-opened Markthal market and food court. I went to Rotterdam mainly due to the articles I had read and the pictures I had seen. The market is a wonderful curved building with a painted ceiling of large flowers. It is part of a building that has a number of apartments along the side and across the top. Here you will find sellers of cheeses, vegetables, meats, pastries, flowers, and fruits and vegetables. Along the sides are a diverse selection of restaurants to try. I enjoyed a tapas restaurant with a local friend.
De Hallen Food Hall/DeFoodhallen (Bellamyplein 51), located in a historic tram depot, this popular food hall has a number of restaurants and stands, featuring burgers, sushi, beer, pastries, breads, Spanish ham, Indian street food, pizza, and Turkish specialties.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Mercado Centro, the former Espino’s grocery store at Codo #36, has been totally transformed into a casual food court that features some great Mexican food options. Here you will find a Cumpanio bakery, ice cream, ceviche, hot chocolate and churros, cheeses, empanadas, pastries, a juice bar, and beer and local wines by La Santisima Trinidad. The highlight is the fine dining restaurant, Nomada Cocina de Intretacion, located in the rear of the market. The Mercado is a great addition to San Miguel.
The former Casa Cohen on Calle Relox 18 now houses high-end boutiques featuring jewelry, designer clothing, and gourmet cuisine as Doce 18 Concept House. There are galleries, a champagne bar, a new Cumpanio bakery, and food court with Donnie Masterson’s Taco Lab (excellent tacos!) and Birdie’s Burgers, plus Milpa, a farm-to-table restaurant by Nomada chef, Marco Cruz. Aperi’s Chef, Matteo Salas, has opened a fine dining restaurant outside the food court. Upstairs, L’Otel, one of the top boutique hotels in town, will be opening a number of boutique hotel rooms. It is a wonderful addition to San Miguel. You do feel like you are in Mexico City, New York, or Chicago!
Torvehallerne KBH market at 21 Fredericksborggade is the perfect place for lunch. Opened in 2011, this permanent market has many small food stands and restaurants. You can grab a sandwich, coffee, chocolate, or pastries. I had a great seared tuna, shrimp, and orzo pasta salad from HAV.DK.
For more travel destinations and recommendations, visit globalphile.com.