Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Hunger Games: The Best Food Markets in New York City



Anyone living in New York City will probably have noticed the proliferation of food markets over the past few years. And while they may seem fairly new, similar concepts have flourished for a long, long time in Southeast Asia. It seems ripe for the current climate though, as foodies move toward more casual (and let’s face it, more Instagrammable) dining options and restaurateurs move toward mitigating risk and reducing overhead.

We have long been fans. We were early patrons of Chelsea Market, the landmark space, with its humble beginnings in the skeleton of the old Nabisco factory. The space where Oreos were invented (whatttt!) has become a thriving market and office space with convenient proximity to the High Line. We also fondly recall our trips, years and years ago, to the food stalls at the Brooklyn Flea. Back then they were simply the incubators for small, up-and-coming vendors and the gesticulations of mad scientists in their open-air kitchen laboratories. But buyer beware: the rapid growth in this segment has resulted in markets which are jumping on the bandwagon with subpar offerings at exorbitant prices. If you’re going to pay a food market a visit, these are the ones we recommend.



Best Outdoor Market: Smorgasburg

Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Smorgasburg Prospect Park
Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Smorg Square, AKA Smorgasburg SoHo

Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

When more and more people started visiting the Brooklyn Flea for the food instead of the wares, Smorgasburg was born. Over six years later, it is now the largest weekly open-air food market in America. The pioneer is still the best in the game, attracting top-notch vendors and hardcore foodies. At present, the Saturday market takes place on the waterfront in Williamsburg, while the Sunday market takes place in Prospect Park. Both are picturesque locations that serve as worthy backdrops for those Spaghetti Donuts or Ramen Burgers. (Yes, both of those things really do exist.)

But we recently paid a visit to Smorgasburg’s new SoHo location, dubbed Smorg Square, and were disappointed by the experience. While there are still many delicious food options, the location happens to sit in the crosshairs of Holland Tunnel traffic. Loud honking from cars and trucks will, unfortunately, serve as your lunch or dinner soundtrack. Perhaps it’s irrelevant, New Yorkers are pretty accustomed to ambient noise. We just thought it might be worth noting.



Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Squid Yakisoba from Rai Rai Ken

Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
If you burn as easily as Justin does, bring a friend so you don’t have to give up your coveted spot in the shade!

Unlike most food bloggers, we recommend passing on the obvious Instagram bait. John’s Juice, we’re looking at you with your $9 “juice without the cups”! Go to your local bodega and buy the whole fruit for a third of the price, we beg of you. Instead, go for the establishments that actually honor the spirit of the food festival’s humble beginnings. Try the churros from Dulcinea, which were borne of a tasting mission in Madrid. Or try the small-batch ice cream from Bona Bona, by chef Nick di Bona of Madison Kitchen in Westchester County.

For some additional (hilarious!) reviews, check out this post from our fellow New York City blogger, Lauren of Girl in Gotham City.

Locations:
Williamsburg: 90 Kent Ave
Prospect Park: Breeze Hill (East Drive at Lincoln Rd.)
SoHo: 76 Varick St



Best Indoor Market: DeKalb Market Hall

Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

DeKalb Market Hall is located in the basement of Brooklyn’s City Point Mall, the largest mixed-use center in Downtown Brooklyn. Besides its prime location, DeKalb Market Hall boasts a fantastic array of more than 40 vendors. What sets it apart from its competition is its partnership with the crème de la crème of the New York City dining scene from across the boroughs. Vendors include such noteworthy establishments as Katz’s Deli (its first ever satellite location) and BK Jani, a popular Pakistani restaurant you would normally have to trek out to Bushwick for. You’ll also find the famous Arepa Lady, which started as a food cart in Elmhurst, Queens. And, of course, if you’re looking for dessert — as we always are — well then you are in luck, because they offer such all-stars as Ample Hills and Steve’s Key Lime.



Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Lobster Roll from Fulton Landing Seafood
Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Pastrami Sandwich from Katz’s Deli
Best Food Markets New York City Smorgasburg DeKalb Market Hall - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Lamb chops from BK Jani

It’s also no coincidence that our favorite indoor food hall features walls that were decorated by local artists like Olalekan Jeyifous (AKA Kid Cadaver) and Matt Reuter. It’s an all around feast for both the eyes and the tummy.

Pro Tip: If you want to kill some time between lunch and dinner (or between your first and second desserts!), remember that City Point also houses Alamo Drafthouse, a boutique movie theater we featured here.

Location:
445 Albee Square W

On a side note…

If you’re following us on social media, you might already know that we’re headed to Austin, Texas soon! We’ll be sharing our adventures on Instagram Stories and Twitter throughout the weekend, so please join us! We’re still taking recommendations so if there’s something we shouldn’t miss, we’d love to hear about it. Thanks as always for following along!

– L. & J.

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12 Comments on "Hunger Games: The Best Food Markets in New York City"

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Lauren
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Thank you so much for the shout out, guys! Looks like the weather gods were smiling more fairly down upon you on your sojourn out to Smorgasburg 😉 I cannot WAIT to check out the Dekalb Market now after reading this! My parents are coming in for the long weekend and I was trying to think of some non-touristy things to do with them, this seems like it just might fit the bill (especially as I have yet to go to go to Katz’s, and you guys put Ample Hill on my brain and I haven’t been able to get… Read more »
Tip and Jam
Guest
Austin is a wonderful town to visit, athough it may be a bit damp right now. Any self-respecting foodie should try Torchy’s Tacos. TORCHY’S TRAILER PARK at 1311 SOUTH FIRST ST. AUSTIN, TX 78704 might be the best location, although they are quickly expanding all across Texas and beyond. Of couse I recommend the tacos, since that is their speciality, but a side of STREET CORN is definately worth the effort. If you have an strong stomach, try the BRUSHFIRE (jerk), for a milder choice the CHICKEN FAJITA TACO is a good choice. If your stomach is made of iron… Read more »
lynn
Guest

Clever embedding the Instagram box…I followed! What I most appreciate here is your cautions. Too much hype, and the spirit and true flavor are lost…but you’re great at ferreting out the jewels. Looks like Katz’s pastrami hasn’t changed anyway!
I hope the trip to Austin is fun – it will surely take on a different feeling after Harvey, even up there. No recs from me – I’m still meaning to get to Texas. Wanting to go to Marfa and places around there…

Dippy Dotty Girl
Guest

Food markets woo me – like-minded people, variety of foods, the casual festive air…what’s not to like? The ice cream and the pastrami sandwich makes me think that one has to go hungry for days to justice to those beauties…I am as always taking notes.

touringtastebuds
Guest

Chad and I will be going to NYC sometime soon and I will be ensuring that we get some of that ice-cream and a pastrami sandwich! Can’t wait to get to try some of these suggestions. Also, hope y’all are enjoyed Austin, can’t wait to see that post!

Julianne
Guest

THIS IS MAKING ME SO HUNGRY!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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