One of the best ways to get to know a city’s culture is to walk around its markets. And if that city happens to be New York, let’s just say you have a whole lot of culture to eat your way through. So take a peek at some of the best food markets in NYC for a munch-stravaganza. Come empty-bellied, and prepare to leave hands-full.
The granddaddy of food vendor meccas, Smorgasburg in Williamsburg has got to be at the top of your must-market list. Taking advantage of the gorgeous overlook of the city from across the East River, 100 food vendors gather here every Saturday, rain or shine, in a feast for the masses. Start at the Red Hook Lobster Pound for a Maine roll—the classic summer treat of a quarter pound of lobster salad tossed in light lemon mayo on a perfectly toasted bun. Then grab hold of your friends to head across the way to Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue for a burnt ends sammie drenched in saucy goodness. Get here early and hungry—with so many outstanding vendors, you have your work cut out for you.
Union Square Greenmarket
This Union Square Greenmarket is a must for locals—it takes over the outer ring of the classic public park on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. If the freshest produce from New York (and elsewhere) is your bag, then prepare to be the happiest of campers. Upstate farm apples that blush from chartreuse to bright red perfume the cool air and inspire you to indulge in some of nature’s candy from Andrew’s Honey. This sweet stuff is a cure-all for city-dwelling allergy sufferers, some say, but it’s tasty enough for anybody. Don’t leave without sipping some moo juice from Ronnybrook Dairy—you can’t beat a cold glass straight from the farm.
While it may not be the most grassroots effort on the list, don’t let that deter you from Eataly‘s chic interior or its classic Italian offerings—imported organic pastas and sauces, and fresh meats and cheeses to bring home and enjoy. It’s not just a market—it’s an experience, jam-packed wall-to-wall. Whether you come to shop for the freshest ingredients for Italian cooking at home, or you’re here to grab a bite to eat, you will find everything you need, and some things you didn’t know you need. To see all there is to see, book a behind-the-scenes tour that starts with your “Eatalian” breakfast—a corentto (croissant) for you to munch on with a coffee—plus samples to mangia later. Sound buono? Naturalmente!
Here’s an indoor munch-a-thon for the ages. Head into Chelsea Market to find a slick industrial interior: dark wood floors, warehouse brick, and a splishy-splashy wishing well. What was once a famous snack factory is now host to 35 equally scrumptious vendors. Mixed among some clothing and kitchen stores is Num Pang—a New York banh mi institution whose classic pulled Duroc pork sandwich with cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro, and chili mayo (and everybody’s favorite hot sauce, sriracha) will have you crying tears of joy. But if you come with a sweet tooth, you will walk away most pleased. Between fresh, speckled strawberry doughnuts from Doughnuttery and the Fat Witch Bakery’s chocolate brownies, you’ll hit the road with a sugar high to last the rest of your stay.
Want the NYC market experience without heading too far from the action? Broadway Bites runs the length of Greeley Square Park, smack-dab in the middle of Midtown, making it easy for you to grab an authentic bite before heading back out into the jungle. For example, The Cannibal has made a tasty trek from its East 29th Street outpost to offer you meat and booze—more specifically, curated salumi boards and a safari of beers for sudsy adventurers. Or finally get your taste of Domo Taco: Asian cuisine body-slammed into Mexican for quirky creations like teriyaki steak or shrimp tempura tacos. There are just too many bites and too little time in the city. By hitting up all the best food markets in NYC, you’ll be doing your stomach a solid.