13 food halls for getting lost in L.A.’s diverse cuisines
The bustle of hungry visitors, the clang of woks, the hiss of sizzling meats and the aromas of baked goods, chiles and freshly brewed coffee — these are some of the sensory experiences at L.A.’s thriving food halls. Bringing a global selection of cuisines under one roof, these open-format markets have reemerged in recent years, with several openings across Southern California.
For a century, food halls have nourished Los Angeles as gathering spaces and served as launchpads for some of our most exciting dining establishments.
Grand Central Market, the city’s first and largest food market, first opened its doors in 1917 in the heart of downtown. The Original Farmers Market, located on 3rd and Fairfax, followed suit in 1934. What was once a place for farmers to come and sell their fruits and vegetables out of their trucks has expanded with vendors that encapsulate the far-reaching variety that can be found in Los Angeles.
These restaurants are so defining of what it means to eat and live in Southern California — that they’ve earned a place of honor for all time.
Aside from pleasing eager food enthusiasts, food halls also provide opportunities for up-and-coming chefs to springboard into brick-and-mortars as well as established restaurateurs who want to reintroduce their food in a fast-casual format.
Nigerian chef Tolu Eros began his residency in L.A. with an underground tasting menu celebrating the food of Lagos before landing a temporary stall at Culver City’s Citizen Market, creating build-your-own bowls with his famous jollof rice.
Chef Alvin Cailan took his success with Eggslut, which went from food truck to Grand Central Market stand in 2013, and has since spun it into new restaurants, a burger-themed show and a successful cookbook.
Many of the food halls on this list have opened within the last 10 years — and as recently as this year— reflecting an ongoing desire for one-stop spots that carry diverse and affordable options.
Heavily curated superettes are popping up in neighborhoods all over Los Angeles, offering artisanal pantry, grab-and-go and other small-batch items from local businesses.
In addition to food, many of these locations also have stages and meeting spaces, used within the community for events and holiday functions. There are trivia nights, comedy shows, mariachi performances, cookie-making classes — and that’s just a sprinkling of events this month. The best part about visiting a food hall is that there is something for everyone: vegan options, sweets and coffees, wine and beer, and an assortment of delicious meals. Let’s dig in.
Blossom Market Hall
Citizen Public Market
Glendora Public Market
Grand Central Market
L.A. Chef's Kitchen
Mercado Gonzalez Northgate Market
The 70,000-square-foot space is also home to an array of vendors, including Mexico City-based churro chain El Moro and Chiva Torta, a long-running Santa Ana food truck specializing in Guadalajara-style tortas ahogadas, plus stands selling aguas frescas, paletas, tamales, tacos, Sinaloan-inspired sushi, birria and mariscos. For a sit-down experience, there’s Maizano, a masa-focused modern Mexican concept from Gruppo Apapacho, behind Cha Cha Chá in Downtown L.A.’s Arts District and sister restaurant Terraza Cha Cha Chá in Mexico City. The restaurant group is also behind Entre Nos, a full-service bar slinging micheladas and agave cocktails at the back of the market near the stage where mariachi bands play. Seating is available across the interior and two patio areas.
Mercado la Paloma
Original Farmers Market
The Proud Bird
Eat your way across L.A.
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