New York: a food market guide

Elspeth Velten for British Airways High Life magazine

Photography by Ann Sophie Dhainaut/EyeEm

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February 2016

Indoor food halls may not be NYC’s claim to fame, but a renewed interest is changing the way locals eat. Want to browse all of the city’s buzz-worthy bites under one roof? From Chelsea Market to Brooklyn’s Berg’n, these are the best places to lunch with the locals.

Chelsea Market

While this isn’t exactly tucked away from the tourist trail, the former factory that’s now home to Google and YouTube offices has managed to remain intriguing to New Yorkers for its variety and quality of lunch options. Browse the hall’s bakeries, farm stands, fishmongers and cheese shops before grabbing a sandwich from Friedman’s Lunch or Num Pang. The latter is known for turning Southeast Asian ingredients into serious sandwiches – think five-spice-glazed pork belly or grilled Khmer sausage. See-and-be-seen spots Morimoto and Buddakan also call the market home.

75 9th Avenue;

Nearest subway: 14th Street

  • Chelsea Market, housed in the former Nabisco factory, is a hot spot for foodies

    The Standard, High Line

    Straddling the High Line, this glossy and glamorous hotel is just a hop, skip and stylish stroll away from Chelsea Market. Be sure to check out the 18th-floor bar, which has 360-degree views of Manhattan and the Hudson River.

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From the founders of the successful Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg markets, this new Brooklyn beer hall has four rotating food vendors to complement a list of local brews and a busy coffee bar. The hall is housed in a 9,000-square-foot former garage, and hosts happy hour, brunch and even oyster nights. If the line for Samesa’s chicken shawarma is too long, Mighty Quinns boasts some famous brisket, Ed and Bev’s serves Detroit-style Coney dogs, and Lumpia Shack do amazing things with spring rolls.

899 Bergen Street, Brooklyn; 

Nearest subway: Franklin Ave (2,3,4,5)

Gansevoort Market

A breath of fresh air in the socialite-studded Meatpacking District, this warehouse from the 1800s offers everything from pizza to pork. Several favourites from the East Village have found new form here: the renowned Sushi Dojo serves set meals at an exclusive counter, Donostia dishes up Basque tapas, and the pies from Luzzo’s Pizza Napoletana are impossibly fresh. Throw in some tacos served from a retrofitted VW van and a dining area of mismatched tables and chairs under a perfectly placed skylight – and Gansevoort’s got a winning combination.

52 Gansevoort Street;

Nearest subways: 8th Avenue or 14th Street

  • © Neil Langan
  • Chelsea Market

    New York fun food fact

    Did you know that the ice cream cone, pasta primavera and eggs Benedict were all invented in New York City?

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  • Ramen at Ivan Orkin’s Slurp Shop is a must at Gotham West Market © Daniel Krieger

    Slurp’s up

    Order the Roasted Garlic Mazemen with chicken broth, nori and pork belly or Tokyo Shio Ramen with sea salt, pork belly and dashi. Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday-Saturday, 11am-midnight

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Gotham West

In the midst of storage centres and carwashes, Gotham West Market is opening 11th Avenue up to a stylish new crowd and giving New Yorkers a reason to wander west. At the bottom of a shiny new apartment block, Gotham West’s nine artisanal food purveyors (and one seriously hip bike shop) are drawing citywide attention to a former food desert in full force. Here, you’ll find Ivan Orkin’s famous rye ramen, as well as tapas from Seamus Mullen of the perpetually busy Tertulia. The oasis wouldn’t be complete without NYC’s biggest staples: coffee and sandwiches from Portland’s Blue Bottle Coffee and hand-crafted ice cream by Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Creamery.

600 11th Avenue;

Nearest subway: 42nd Street

Arthur Avenue Retail Market

One of the oldest markets in the mix, this Bronx institution was created by Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the 1930s as a place for street merchants to do business indoors. Plotted in the center of what’s become known as New York’s real Little Italy, the market offers up some serious contenders for the city’s best Italian dishes and sees first-, second- and third-generation Italian Americans shopping for imported ingredients in droves. A newer addition, the Bronx Beer Hall pours craft beers for a lively crowd of college students, while the famous Mike’s Deli makes a mean hero sandwich.

2321 Hughes Avenue, Bronx;

Nearest subway: Fordham Road

Essex Street Market

This Lower East Side stalwart was another of Mayor La Guardia’s creations in a bid to clean up city streets in the 1940s. Today it hosts more than 20 merchants slinging fresh produce, including fresh spanakopita from Boubouki, international coffees from Porto Rico Importing Co., and all things Swedish from Nordic Preserves, Fish & Wildlife Company. The legendary Kenny Shopsin moved his restaurant into the market after more than 30 years in Greenwich Village, and his signature menu of over 900 garish concoctions – such as mac ’n’ cheese pancake sandwiches – remains worthy of praise.

120 Essex Street; 

Nearest subway: Delancey Street or Essex Street