In addition to world-class restaurants and upscale specialty shops, scattered throughout New York City are indoor and outdoor food markets that feature produce from regional farms and noted food purveyors. Here’s 10 of the best.
Situated in the heart of downtown Manhattan, the Union Square Greenmarket provides a vast array of locally grown foods from the region’s farms. Expect to find rainbow carrots, colorful apples, unique meats, and sweet breads that will inspire fanciful seasonal dishes and enchant the eyes. Greenmarket was founded in 1976 by non-profit GrowNYC to stimulate regional agriculture while providing New Yorkers with the best fresh produce and meats. They manage fifty-four markets throughout Manhattan with over 230 family farms and fisherman partaking. The Union Square iteration is a bustling hub frequented by renowned chefs and seasoned locals who know the best place to find fresh produce in Manhattan.
Wander through lively Park Slope on a sunny Sunday to find regionally sourced produce as well as artisanal food offerings at the Down to Earth Farmers Market, a spot that provides this chic Brooklyn neighborhood with the best fresh groceries while introducing the public to local food vendors. The market aims to connect farmers with residential entrepreneurs in an effort to further drive regional agriculture. In addition to colorful fruits and vegetables, expect to find delicious pastries and prepared foods, which make this Sunday market a one-stop shop for groceries, breakfast, and lunch. The organizers also hold a Wednesday evening iteration for a midweek stock-up.
Underneath the High Line in a reclaimed biscuit factory sits Chelsea Market, an indoor food hall that offers everything from exotic spices to fresh lobster rolls. Vaulted ceilings decorated with twinkling lights enchant visitors as they spend their day strolling through the multitude of artisanal produce, where a full city block with over 35 vendors, attracts 6 million national and international visitors yearly. Stop by the authentic Thai establishment Chelsea Thai before grabbing a treat at L’Arte De Gelato; go on to peruse Posman Books’ impressive selection of unique greeting cards and international cookbooks before heading out to stroll the High Line.
Saunter down to the Williamsburg waterfront with an empty stomach for the weekly food feast Smorgasburg. This weekend hot spot prides itself on offering a variety of the best regional food vendors serving up traditional and exotic dishes. With 75-100 stalls selling everything from fried anchovies and succulent barbecue to spicy noodle bowls and international teas, expect to wander for at least half an hour while deciding what to eat. The popularity of this Saturday tradition ignited the Sunday iteration at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5.
Take a day trip to India by venturing into spice heaven Kalustyan’s. This Indian specialty food store has overwhelming offerings, but illustrates the infinite flavor profile of international cuisines to unsuspecting visitors. In addition to their vast array of spices, they carry global specialty foods including a wide variety of rice and chutneys. For a reasonably priced lunch, wander upstairs during lunch hour to find delicious sandwiches and prepared foods at their cafe. With over 4,000 varieties of spices, herbs, sweets, coffee, teas, and snacks, many well-known chefs have praised Kalustyan’s for its stock and uniqueness.
Established 1898 in Manhattan, Sahadi’s has been operating out of their Brooklyn Heights location since 1948. Originating from Lebanon, this respected Middle Eastern food mart boasts an impressive variety of dried goods and bulk foods including spices, nuts, candy, and dried fruits. They also offer an array of packaged speciality items like falafel mix, pickles, and mustard. Enjoy a cup of their daily coffee while navigating over 30 olive varieties and more than 200 cheese options in this renowned speciality mart. Since reasonable prices make this a popular weekend spot, try heading over during the week to casually peruse their offerings and eat one of the best falafel sandwiches in New York.
Overflowing with Mexican goods, Zaragoza is a small East Village bodega that offers imported sauces, snacks, and pantry items as well as cheap late night food. Underneath an Aztec mural find everything necessary to make authentic tamales, tacos, and enchiladas including cornhusks and masa corn meal. While Zaragoza may seem tiny, they offer hard-to-find Mexican staples like fresh cactus, Mexican coke, Jarritos, dried chillies, and even huitlacoche (a unique Mexican delicacy). Famous for their spicy burritos and meaty tacos, expect to visit for the groceries and leave after a meal.
Travel uptown to the Bronx to find economical Italian fare at the Arthur Ave Retail Market. The trek is worth their array of traditional meat, produce, and pantry items that will satisfy even the most picky native Italian. In addition to a wide variety of olive oils, vinegars, sauces, fresh pastas and homemade breads, speciality vendors are situated throughout the space selling dried meats, cheeses, sausages, and pastries. Hand-rolled cigars and enormous Italian sandwiches from famed Mike’s Deli bursting with freshly sliced meats characterize this market as ‘The Real Little Italy.’
Located in the heart of Chinatown and frequented by prominent chefs, Asia Market Corp offers imported goods from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, China, Korea, and Japan in a small shop. A cornucopia of exotic fresh fruits like durians and unique vegetables like daikon foretell the richness of the exotic, unique and strange-sounding foods waiting inside. Do not be deceived by the small storefront; they carry everything from pandan leaves and gula Melaka to shrimp paste and rendang. The overwhelming selection is made manageable by knowledgeable staff that will help guide the most novice visitors to their South-east Asian desires.
Originally located near the Brooklyn Bridge, the Fulton Fish Market began almost two centuries ago in 1807. They moved to their current location in 2005, a 400,000 square foot refrigerated facility that houses 37 seafood wholesale businesses. Frequented by supermarkets, selective chefs, seafood retailers and wholesalers, the New Fulton Fish Market offers the best variety and highest quality of fresh and frozen seafood daily. With an assortment of 100 to 300 varieties, you will find standard fare like salmon, halibut or clams and more exotic offerings such as octopus, shark, and conch. It’s the ideal spot for dedicated seafood aficionados. Arriving before 5 a.m. for the best selection is imperative.