Nosh ’til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.’s Diverse Cuisines
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Grazing Through Grand Central Market's Global Eats
With over 40 vendors housed under one historic roof, Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles is a foodie wonderland. Since 1917, Angelenos have flocked here to taste culinary delights from around the world without ever having to leave the city.
At Grand Central Market, you can take your palate on a global tour all in one place. Grab warm pupusas stuffed with beans and cheese from Sarita's Pupuseria, then make your way over to Tacos Tumbras a Tomas for juicy al pastor tacos loaded with pineapple. Wander through the energetic aisles and you'll find steaming Chinese dumplings from China Cafe, hearty German sausage sandwiches at Wexler's, and flavorful pad thai noodles loaded with vegetables and tofu at Sticky Rice.
Beyond the dizzying variety of international street foods, Grand Central Market also offers made-from-scratch regional American favorites. Belcampo serves up juicy grass-fed burgers while Horse Thief BBQ smokes brisket and ribs to finger-licking perfection. At McConnell's Fine Ice Creams, you can dig into scoops of creamy, dreamy ice cream in flavors like salty caramel and blackberry cobbler.
While the cuisines vary wildly, they all have two things in common: fresh ingredients and passionate purveyors. Vendors source from local farms whenever possible and prepare family recipes passed down through generations. Customers rave that every bite at Grand Central Market tastes like "homemade, only better." As one Yelp reviewer put it: "The love and care put into the food really comes through in the flavors."
Wandering the aisles of Grand Central Market offers a chance to chat with shop owners about their stories and specialties. Ask for a sample of the mole sauce from Villa Moreliana or find out why Eggslut's chef suggests adding potatoes to his signature egg sandwiches. The personal interactions, smells of global spices, and constant buzz of activity come together to create an immersive, only-in-L.A. experience.
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- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Grazing Through Grand Central Market's Global Eats
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Tacos and Margaritas at the Blossoming Smorgasburg LA
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Discover Authentic Asian Flavors at the San Gabriel Square
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - The Revival of Retro Food Courts at Westfield Century City
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Bite into Gourmet Sandwiches and More at The Culver Steps
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Taste Around the World at The Market Place in Santa Monica
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Fill Up on Pakistani BBQ and Birria Tacos in Arcadia
- Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Mercato Offers "Gourmet Street Food" in Downtown L.A.
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Tacos and Margaritas at the Blossoming Smorgasburg LA
Tucked away in a corner of the ROW DTLA arts complex, Smorgasburg LA brings together the city’s most creative chefs to craft tacos, cocktails, and culinary concoctions you won’t find anywhere else. This hip Sunday market epitomizes L.A.’s food truck culture while also showcasing new trends.
One standout is Burritos La Palma, serving up authentic Mexico City-style tacos and quesadillas. Their carnitas taco with juicy braised pork, caramelized onions, cilantro, and lime is a revelation in just a few perfectly balanced bites. Regulars rave that Burritos La Palma’s tacos are “to die for” and make you feel like you’ve been transported straight to the streets of Mexico City.
Ceviches and aguachiles from Coni’Seafood also win rave reviews, with their octopus aguachile soaked in a bright citrus broth earning must-try status. The flavors of the seafood shine through the simple preparations, highlighting quality ingredients. As one Yelper reported after a sublime meal, “the fish tastes as if it jumped from the ocean onto my plate!”
Of course, no L.A. food experience is complete without Korean tacos, and Smorgasburg doesn’t disappoint. Roma’s Banh Mi serves up tacos stuffed with bulgogi beef or spicy pork, along with other Vietnamese-Korean mashups. The crunchy kimchi slaw and gochujang mayo complement the tender, flavorful meat beautifully.
In true L.A. fashion, the taco experience extends beyond savory to the sweet side as well. At Afters Ice Cream, the Milky Bun ice cream sandwich satisfies your dessert craving and taco fix all at once. Fluffy milk bread cradles rich parlor ice creams like cookies and cream or mint chip for an Instagram-worthy meal-ender.
To wash it all down, beat the L.A. heat with margaritas from Balam, known for its traditional recipes. Sip on classics like lime, strawberry, and tamarind margaritas or opt for new combinations like passionfruit-habanero. The stand even offers vegan margarita options, proving there’s something refreshing for every Angeleno.
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Discover Authentic Asian Flavors at the San Gabriel Square
Tucked away in the suburbs of Los Angeles lies a hidden gem for Asian food lovers: San Gabriel Square. This unassuming plaza transports visitors to the dynamic food streets of Asia through over 30 restaurants representing regional Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese and Filipino cuisines.
For an authentic Northern Chinese experience, regulars recommend Hometown Noodle House, where hand-pulled noodles are the star of the show. Watch the cooks deftly stretch dough into long, chewy noodles right before your eyes. Fan favorites are the beef noodle soup, with tender slices of beef shank and bouncy noodles in a rich broth, and dan dan noodles, coated in a tongue-tingling sesame sauce. First-timers say trying these traditional noodles is a "revelation" compared to takeout back home.
Meanwhile, Dragon Beaux brings the flavors of Hong Kong to life with dishes like crispy-bottomed chicken pot stickers, Cantonese lobster noodles, and Portuguese-inspired curry fish balls. The cuisine showcases a fusion of Chinese and Western influences that evolved under British rule. Yelpers say Dragon Beaux's food is "as authentic as it gets outside of Hong Kong."
For a taste of Taiwan, pine for the beef noodle soup at Xi'an Cuisine. It arrives steaming hot with slow-cooked beef shank atop chewy noodles in a savory broth spiked with star anise and cloves. First-timers recommend rounding out your meal with cured pork intestines for an adventurous, lip-smacking appetizer.
Vietnam's flavors come alive at Phở79, where slurping down phở broth is practically an art form. The meaty beef broth, served with noodles, tender beef and fresh herbs, balances sweet, salty, and savory notes. Customers say it's "just like I used to eat in Vietnam" and "transports me back to the streets of Saigon." For another can't-miss Vietnamese experience, don't skip the crispy spring rolls bursting with shrimp, pork, and noodles at Golden Deli right next door.
Finally, satisfy cravings for Filipino flavors at Seafood City, an immersive island-style supermarket with tempting food stalls up front. Locals line up for crispy, garlicky fried chicken, rich stews, and colorful fruit shakes. With an astonishing selection of pandesal breads, purple ube pastries, dried mangoes and more, you’ll find heritage dishes that define home for so many Filipino-Americans.
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - The Revival of Retro Food Courts at Westfield Century City
Step into the newly reimagined food court at Westfield Century City and you’ll feel transported back to the golden era of malls. After a lavish $1 billion makeover in 2017, the food court embraces retro vibes with its bright geometric floor tiles, neon accent lights, and color-blocked furniture straight out of the 1980s and 90s. But while the setting feels like a throwback, the dining experiences on offer are thoroughly modern.
At Plant B, founder Matthew Kenney, known as the father of vegan fine dining, is elevating plant-based fare to new heights. Think items like the Catalan chickpea stew brimming with peppers, spinach and saffron, or the jackfruit carnitas taco with guajillo salsa and cashew crema. Reviews rave that Kenney “makes vegan food craveable” with his inventive global flavors.
Meanwhile at KazuNori, legendary sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa wows with his renowned omakase-style tasting menu. Watch Nozawa and his apprentices craft each piece with meticulous precision. The otoro fatty tuna and salmon belly will make your eyes roll back with delight. Critics call Nozawa’s sushi “the finest in L.A.”
For more casual Asian flavors, Shin-Sen-Gumi keeps the crowds coming for their next-level ramen. Their signature tonkotsu broth simmers for 18 hours to achieve maximum intensity. Combine that with thin, bouncy noodles, melt-in-your-mouth chashu pork belly, a marinated soft boiled egg, and veggies, and you’ve got ramen dreams come true.
If pizza is your craving, 800 Degrees brings the heat with their blistering Woodfired Napoletana pies. Watch their pizza acrobats stretch and spin the dough before loading it with classic or creative ingredients like the spiced lamb sausagepizza with roasted garlic yogurt sauce. The center of the pie bakes to a perfect char while the crust stays chewy.
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Bite into Gourmet Sandwiches and More at The Culver Steps
Tucked into the rising Culver Steps development, FightCamp Gym's lively Canteen food hall transports you to a sprawling European market, minus the airfare. Wander the bright, airy hall and you’ll discover 12 artisanal eateries dishing up everything from gourmet sandwiches to Hong Kong-style desserts to craft beer. It feels a world away from the bustling city just outside.
For a quintessential L.A. sandwich, head straight to Mendocino Farms when hunger strikes. This homegrown chain perfects the art of stuffing farm-fresh ingredients between slices of crusty, toasted bread. Sink your teeth into the chilled steakhouse with slices of tender steak, zippy horseradish cream and onions crunchy from brining. Or opt for the Cobb salad sandwich, overflowing with turkey, bacon, blue cheese and avocado. Reviewers say Mendocino Farms' sandwiches taste like "an upscale, grown-up version of Subway.”
When a burger craving hits, Burgerlords satisfies with juicy patties of freshly ground beef and brioche buns. Build yours just how you like it with toppings like applewood smoked bacon, roasted portobello mushrooms and goat cheese. Then cut the richness with crispy fries tossed in garlic aioli and Parmesan.
For lighter fare, salad mavens flock to Sweetgreeens. Create your own combo with tops like wild arugula, butter lettuce and kale, then pile on premium mix-ins like wild Gulf shrimp, roasted turkey and avocado. Dressings like ginger miso vinaigrette and pomegranate green goddess keep things interesting. Fans say Sweetgreens' salads make healthy eating “an absolute joy."
Of course, the hall’s not just about sandwiches and salads. At the Knife Pleat, James Beard Award nominee Tony Esnault prepares a fine dining menu to rival L.A.’s hottest restaurants. His stellar French training shines through in dishes like the fragrant truffle risotto and the classic carbonara with housemade brioche crumbles. TheSetting also seduces, with crystal chandeliers and contemporary light fixtures contrasting beautifully with the industrial bones of the old Helms Bakery complex.
For something sweet, Ice Cream Lab scoops made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream using futuristic techniques. Watch your server pour streams of nitrogen over your chosen base, then select creative mix-ins like salted Oreo crumbs or chocolate-covered potato chips. The ultra-smooth ice cream literally vaporizes on your tongue.
Just down the way, Meet Fresh thrills dessert lovers with their Instagram-famous Taiwanese snow ice. Mix and match fruity shaved ice flavors like mango, matcha and taro, then top with extras like Pocky sticks, boba pearls and mochi. The vibrant colors and textures delight both your eyes and tastebuds. Reviewers deem Meet Fresh's snow ice “Asian dessert perfection."
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Taste Around the World at The Market Place in Santa Monica
The newest jewel of Santa Monica's dynamic food scene is The Market Place, an artfully designed food hall bringing together flavors from around the globe. With the sand and surf just steps away, it's an idyllic spot for grazing your way around the world without leaving the L.A. city limits.
At The Market Place, résidence DTLA founder Spence Koppel has curated a collection of 20 eateries showcasing cuisines like Oaxacan, Brazilian, Peruvian, and Hawaiian. The upscale setting features exposed brick walls, dangling Edison bulbs, and communal tables made from reclaimed wood. Despite its polish, The Market Place captures an authentic international market vibe where the food shines brightest.
One can't miss stall brings the bold, complex moles of Oaxaca to life at All Day Baby. Their mole flight lets you sample trio of richly flavored sauces atop juicy, wood-fired chicken thighs. The smoky chipotle mole, nutty mole amarillo, and fruity, chocolaty mole negro each provide an education in Oaxacan cuisine's intricate blending of ingredients.
Over at Mírame, chefs source from Latin American producers to create stunning ceviches and shareable plates. The locally loved Peruvian spot dazzles with dishes like the causa limeña, a towering potato cake layered with tuna, avocado and aji pepper puree. Yelpers say Mírame's innovative takes on Latin flavors make for a "wildly creative culinary experience."
At Bacari PDR, there's no need to choose between Italian and Spanish tapas - they master both! The extensive cicchetti menu offers Italian classics like arancini and fritto misto alongside Spanish favorites like patatas bravas and blistered padron peppers. Every bite bursts with the bright, sunny flavors of the Mediterranean.
For island cravings, Magnolia House Corner transports you straight to Hawaii with heaping bowls of saimin noodles, sweet and tangy kalua pork sandwiches, and passionfruit chiffon pie with an Oreo cookie crust. You'll swear you're at a beachside luau, not miles from the Pacific.
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Fill Up on Pakistani BBQ and Birria Tacos in Arcadia
Tucked away in the suburb of Arcadia, home to one of America’s largest Chinese populations, lays a hidden treasure for lovers of South Asian cuisine. Hot N Spicy Punjabi Dhaba transports diners to the bustling dhabas dotting the roads of Pakistan and northern India. From fiery curries to tender tandoori meats to crispy street snacks, Hot N Spicy Punjabi Dhaba serves heritage recipes hailing straight from Lahore.
As you enter the minimalist space, the aroma of cumin, cardamom and charred meat envelops you instantly. One server raved the smell alone “will have you salivating before you even sit down!” Start your feast with their legendary chicken pakoras, morsels of juicy chicken wrapped in a featherlight chickpea batter. The accompanying mint and tamarind chutneys cool your mouth between bites of the crunchy fritters. Next, move onto rich curries, like the chicken korma blanketed in a velvety cashew-tomato sauce or the spicy goat curry simmered with aromatics like cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Scoop them up with fresh naan baked to order in clay tandoor ovens.
Of course, no Pakistani meal is complete without tandoori kebabs sizzling hot off the grill. The chargha chicken marinated in yogurt and spices then roasted on skewers arrives with a crackling skin encasing supremely moist meat. The beef seekh kebab also shines, with perfect char marks from the fire. Dip each smoky, juicy bite in the mint chutney for a pop of herby freshness. One Yelper who grew up in Karachi called Hot N Spicy's kebabs “as authentic as any I’ve had back home,” high praise indeed!
While Pakistani barbecue takes center stage, a hint of Mexico also peeks through on the menu with birria tacos. Their take on the Tijuana favorite delivers tender, earthy shredded beef drenched in roasted chile sauce, all tucked in a griddled flour tortilla. Each taco packs a flavor punch few can rival. Regulars say they “dream about these life-changing tacos” long after their meal ends! You can also order the birria by the bowl, served over rice, or in stew form for a comforting one-pot dish. However you devour it, expect your tastebuds to tingle with delight.
Nosh 'til You Drop: 13 Epic Food Halls for Tasting L.A.'s Diverse Cuisines - Mercato Offers "Gourmet Street Food" in Downtown L.A.
Tucked away on a side street in Downtown L.A., Mercato brings together a hip collection of street food vendors dishing up gourmet takes on familiar fare. From empanadas to pizza to tacos to ice cream, Mercato gives locals a laid-back, lively space to sample inventive street eats in one central spot.
With its rustic wood finishes, dangling greenery, and ample patio space, Mercato channels the vibrant energy of outdoor markets in Oaxaca or Tulum. Guests relax at communal tables under string lights, enjoying live music as cooks sizzle up creative tacos beside retrofitted shipping containers. The casual vibe makes Mercato feel less like a food hall and more like a happening block party.
One crowd favorite is Guerilla Tacos, the acclaimed food truck now serving their genre-bending tacos from a permanent stall. Chef Wes Avila delights with unexpected flavor combos like the sweet potato taco with brown butter, feta and pumpkin seed pesto. The market steak taco also earns raves, with thin slices of juicy hanger steak atop a spread of bean purée and spicy salsa macha. Reviewers say Avila's tacos take the familiar format to "thrilling new heights."
For another unique spin, Burritos La Palma dishes up Mexico City-style burritos stuffed with everything from juicy carnitas to fried fish and shrimp aguachile. Their veggie burrito with sautéed nopales cactus and huitlacoche corn fungus makes even meatless eaters swoon. The homey, hearty burritos satisfy with authentic regional flavor.
No L.A. market experience would be complete without Korean barbecue, and Sun Nong Dan does not disappoint. Watch the cooks char up sizzling strips of bulgogi and spicy pork belly right before your eyes, then wrap them in lettuce leaves with sticky rice and kimchi. The interactive DIY approach makes for a fun, festive meal.
Of course, Kreation seamlessly fuses Korean and Mexican flavors in their legendary kimchi quesadillas, bulgogi tacos and more. With bold flavors and inventive fusion, they bring the streets of Seoul and Mexico City together on one plate.
For a global tour, Australian pie shop GreatBITE crafts pot pies bursting with fillings like massaman curry, chicken tikka masala and pulled pork with jalapeño slaw. Flaky, buttery pastry encases each hearty filling.
Meanwhile, Argentine sensation Porto's draws long lines for their acclaimed empanadas. Savory varieties like spinach and feta or chicken stew satisfy, but most diners opt for the sweet cream cheese and guava empanada dusted with powdered sugar. Even dessert legends Milk Bar offer their famous Cereal Milk soft serve from a vibrant stall for the perfect sweet finish.