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In New York City, the once mediocre food hall has become the place to be and dine at. While celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is slated to open a global food market in 2017, different places around the Big Apple are already serving up a selection of topnotch and locally owned eateries. Brooklyn’s got two different offerings, and Queens has an Asian-centered court, but Manhattan takes the lead on location numbers. From Downtown to Midtown, here are seven food halls definitely worth a visit.

Related: New York’s best new cocktail bars

The Plaza Food Hall

The Plaza Food Hall | Flickr CC: La Citta Vita

1. The Plaza Food Hall, 1 West 59th Street

On the lower level of this century-old Midtown hotel, The Plaza Food Hall is like an opulent hidden gem. On The Plaza’s lower level, this European style food hall offers affordable edible luxury that is rich in taste yet often kind to the wallet. The eye candy includes decadent cakes from Lady M Cake Boutique, macaroons from Chef Francois Payard, a selection of caviar and cocktails at Olma Caviar Boutique & Bar, and gorgeous tea canisters from Kusmi Tea. For good eats, try Pizza Rollio, whose extra-thin crust creations include choices like Mushroom Truffle Madness and Speedy Gonzalez, or No. 7 Sub, with a $2 off daily discount on their sandwiches from 4-6 p.m. Plus, The Plaza Food Hall shares space with a neighbor that’s equally impressive: The Todd English Food Hall. Named for celebrity chef Todd English,this food hall features bar sections catering to seafood, pasta, pizza, and charcuterie, plus a wine bar and special grocery store.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market | Flickr CC: Marcin Wichary

2. Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue
This market attracts an incredible amount of foot traffic on the weekends – and rightfully so. Housed in a brick factory building in Chelsea that once was home to the National Biscuit Company (as known as NABISCO and the birthplace of the Oreo cookie!), the Chelsea Market is packed with a cornucopia of grocery shops, coffee stands, bakeries, restaurants, and eateries, so it’s almost impossible to leave hungry. Head to Eleni’s New York, for cookies that are just too pretty to eat; Fat Witch Bakery, for super rich brownies; Los Tacos No. 1, for authentic Mexican; Seed + Mill, to try halvah; and Amy’s Bread, for some crusty goodness. There are non-edible offerings too: clothing boutiques like Anthropologie and stores like Posman Books plus two wine stores and a kitchen supply center. When leaving, pay a visit to the nearby High Line, a park that sits on a former elevated freight line.

Urbanspace Vanderbilt

Urbanspace Vanderbilt | Flickr CC: Shinya Suzuki

3. Urbanspace Vanderbilt, 230 Park Avenue
Not far from Grand Central Terminal, this food hall inside The Hemsley Building differs in that its occupants rotate in and out of this permanent setting. Though it’s sad to see them come and go, there’s always something exciting to find. As of this writing, pick up a fresh German-style soft pretzel from Sigmund’s in flavors like everything or truffle cheddar. Get tempted by small batch doughnuts with choices like passion fruit and dulce de leche from Dough. Maiden Lane focuses on premium-tinned seafood and features a breakfast and lunch menu featuring non-fishy dishes, as well as a selection of octopus, sardines and mussels. Delaney Chicken serves up southern-inspired poultry and side dishes, while Red Hook Lobster Pound dishes these crustaceans from Mainein everything from rolls to mac and cheese. Or satisfy your need for java from Toby’s Estate Coffee.

Cheese at Eataly

Cheese at Eataly | Flickr CC: Davis Staedtler

4. Eataly NYC, 200 5th Avenue
Ever dream of visiting Italy? Celeb chef Mario Batali’s Flatiron District venue brings the culinary side of the country to the Big Apple in full force. This mega market with seven restaurants and maze-like aisles are packed withfoods varying by region and specialty that makes browsing and buying equally appealing. From counter spaces, place take-away orders of sweets, coffee, gelato, meats, and paninis, even a Nutella Bar. Grab a basket that is easy to fill up with marketplace goods like cheese, prosciutto, produce, breads, dry pasta, tomato sauce, beverages, cookbooks, and even household items. There is also an adjacent wine shop with two floors of premium and vintage bottles. Before you go, try to grab a seat at La Piazza, a first-come, first-serve table area where to order a filling antipasti plate and a glass of wine.

Essex Street Market

Essex Street Market | Flickr CC: Jules Antonio

5. Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street

This old-school Lower East Side institution is a food hall original; it’s been around for over 70 years! Founded in 1940 by then NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as a venue for street vendors to operate while cutting back on traffic congestion, Essex Street Market keeps a link to the history of its neighborhood with a grocery store setting featuring vegetable stands, bakeries, and fish and meat markets. Grab a juice, snack or prepared food to go or bring back to your hotel room. Yet another side of this market is a global enclave of foods from destinations like Mexico, Japan, Scandinavia, Greece, and Italy, along with local gourmet finds. Pick up bread from Pain D’Avignon, rice balls from Arancini Bros, soup from Peasant Stock, and Swedish meatballs at Nordic Preserves, Fish & Wildlife Company. The market also houses an art gallery space and La Tiendita, a “girl-made and fair trade” business founded by the Lower Eastside Girls Club.

Gotham West Market

Gotham West Market | Flickr CC: Shinya Suzuki

6. Gotham West Market, 600 11th Avenue
Although it can be a bit of a hike to get here due to its Hell’s Kitchen location, the mix of restaurants at Gotham West Market make up for the trek – plus the communal and counter seating. First, Uma Temakeria features made-to-ordersushi rolls such as the probably first-ever sushi burrito. Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop dishes out ramen, and traditional and alternative steam buns like with pastrami. Choza Taqueria offers tamales, tortas, and tacos, while The Cannibal caters to carnivores with small plates and cured meats. Don’t worry: Indie Fresh has healthier gluten- and dairy-free options, plus soups and salads. To finish off the meal, get a scoop of Brooklyn-based Ample Hills Creamery’s creatively flavored ice creams. If you hope to bike off what you ate, market occupant NYC Velo is a shop for cyclists where you can get help in being fitted for a two-wheeler.

Le Bar and Beaubourg Brasserie

Le Bar and Beaubourg Brasserie | Photo courtesy of Le District

7. Le District, Brookfield Place, 225 Liberty Street
In the Financial District, not far from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, this French-focused eatery runs a bit on the high end, but it’s fun to wander around and look at what’s being served. Get a taste or glimpse of epicurean culture through its market section featuring a rotisserie, charcuterie, and poissonnerie (fish market). There’s also a neat cheese section, featuring various fromage in creamy and sharp textures, plus a boulangerie (bakery). The café area serves up made-to-order and reasonably priced crepes while staff at a section that’s all about fancy cookies, small cakes, and macaroons give out free samples. For a sit-down meal, consider small bites from a wine bar, steak and pommes frites at a bistro, or splurge on a specialty tasting menu.

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Tagged: New York

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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele writes about women's travel, destinations, culinary, and cultural topics for various outlets and has ventured as far as Fiji, to date. She also muses her tales on She Is Going Places.

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