Last year I hosted four friends in my 600-square-foot NYC apartment for a week. Yes, there were air mattresses and co-sleeping arrangements involved. While space is always an inevitable challenge when hosting friends in the city, the ultimate savior was the amazing NYC Food Halls.
New York has food halls all over the city that bring independent and eclectic restaurants, bars, and shops together under one roof. I thought this was perfect! Each of my friends could find something they wanted to eat, and there were many drink options to pair with our delicious meals. Making an NYC food hall the perfect starting point for a night out.
Choosing to start our night at one of NYC’s food halls was a no-brainer but finding the best ones to try was a little bit of a challenge. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork for you – read on for our favorite Food Halls you can’t miss on your next trip to The Big Apple.
- Location: Hell’s Kitchen
- Hours: 11 am-9 pm
Located on 11th Avenue in the West 40 block is Gotham West Market. This food hall covers the entire 11th Avenue block and is even bigger inside than you think. The atmosphere is large and open, while the vibe of the vendors inside is a happy medium between household names and small businesses. This NYC food hall is what would happen if Eataly and Smorgasburg had a baby.
There is individual seating all over Gotham West Market and communal tables with tableside delivery, perfect for friends with different tastes. Everyone picks their meals and meets back at a table for dinner. They have plenty of options, including pizza, sushi, and tacos. La Palapa has terrific tacos and a great bar, and dell’anima is a super impressive Italian to-go counter. Plus, don’t miss the Sushi on Jones x Don Wagyu collab that offers menus from both restaurants in one place. My friends and I were very impressed with Gotham West Market and had a great time eating there.
Of All NYC Food Halls, The Tin Building Is Our #1
- Location: The Seaport
- Hours: 8 am-10 pm on weekdays, open ‘til 10:30 on weekends
Speaking of impressive, the Tin Building is an NYC food hall created by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The Tin building is our favorite of all the NYC food halls.
Jean-Georges owns over 35 incredible restaurants worldwide. He is a master of bringing various culinary resources into beautiful floorplans, and the Tin Building is no different. It’s located in Lower Manhattan, right under the Brooklyn Bridge. The iconic real estate used to be the Fulton Fish Market before they moved uptown in 2005. Now it’s home to a two-story food hall with views of South Street and the FDR.
The Tin Building has six full restaurants, four casual dining options, and beer and wine. There are restaurants with open kitchens, cool retail concepts, central market with locally sourced fresh groceries like seafood, cheese, meat, and seasonal produce. My friends and I started our night here as we watched the sun go down over the East River.
You can walk around the whole place with a glass of wine or a drink while you decide what you want to eat – there truly is something for everyone. Standouts include The Frenchman’s Dough for a twist on traditional Italian and Shikku for sushi and sake. House of the Red Pearl is sit-down Chinese with a unique speakeasy vibe. My favorite is the signature Gruyere burger from T. Brasserie, run by one of the most famous French chefs in the world. Tin Building exceeded our expectations.
- Location: Midtown
- Hours: 10 am-10 pm
Located in midtown, right across the street from Le Bernardin (if you’re interested, we already told you how to get a reservation there in another article) is Urban Hawker. Initially conceptualized by the late Anthony Bourdain, this food hall is inspired by Singaporean street food. Hawker centers are cooked-food open-air complexes commonly found in large Asian metropolitan areas like Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. The world traveler and cuisine connoisseur wanted to bring those delicious and diverse food markets to his home city of New York – so he began planning for Bourdain Market.
While Bourdain Market was never realized, Urban Hawker was developed as an homage after his death. And good thing, because we are obsessed with their 17 vendors selling Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine. Kopifellas is a coffee shop brewing Nanyang kopi coffee and breakfast, Hainan Jones serves amazing Singaporean chicken (with a specific emphasis on Hainanese food and culture). Prawnaholic Collections has delicious seafood noodle soup, and Jakarta Munch is a go-to for Indonesian rice bowls. Can’t forget about dessert! Lady Wong Bakery – the largest importer of pandan pastries and cakes in NYC now has a stall at Urban Hawker. I wanted to come back here two nights in a row.
Top French NYC Food Hall
- Location: Battery Park City
- Hours: 8 am-9 pm
Just a stone’s throw away from the One World Trade Observation Deck is Le District, an upscale French food hall with restaurants, markets, and prepared food stations. There are a few full-service restaurants inside if you prefer a reservation experience; otherwise, many vendors offer French fare from bread to crêpes. And wine, wine!! Bar a Vin serves a rotating wine list perfectly paired with cheese and charcuterie. Plus, they have a daily happy hour.
I could go on and on about the food at the Le District food hall. And I will. La Patisserie has everything your French palate desires – macarons, gelato, and tarts. Liberty Bistro is a classic French Brasserie with amazing views of the Hudson River. When the weather is good, there is plenty of outdoor seating with views overlooking the marina. L’Appart is the crown jewel of Le District. It serves Michelin-star cuisine for an evening at the chef’s apartment. I didn’t take my four friends there before a night out, but nice to know there are super upscale options at Le District.
The moral of the story is if you’re hosting friends for a week in your tiny 5th-floor walk-up, you’ll need good food options. NYC Food Halls are a fabulous way to satisfy everyone’s palate and gear up for a great night in New York City.