Best Food Halls in England
It’s a Friday night. You’re going out with your #squad. You’re all hungry for something delicious to kickstart the weekend but, as is always the case with these sorts of things, there’s a catch. The catch is that you’re all relatively young, achingly trendy, and somewhere between the ages of 18 and 35. That means at least one of you is going to be a vegan; one of you is going to be gluten intolerant; one of you’s already eaten at every hyped Instagram eatery in the country; and one of you is going to be a fussy git. Choosing a restaurant that suits everyone in your friendship group can be difficult and nigh-on impossible at such short notice. Thankfully, for times like these, food halls exist.
Food halls (and, specifically, the best food halls in England) offer you the opportunity to sample a range of different dishes from a host of unique and independent street food vendors in one location. They’re like adult food courts minus the horrible conglomerate chains. And they’re just as great as that sounds.
Food halls are the perfect venues to visit when you’ve got a group of friends who can never decide what you want to eat but they’re also the perfect place to get a taste and feel of what a city’s dining out scene looks like. Society in Manchester, for instance, shows off the city’s cultural diversity in all its fragrant technicolour glory while London’s Bang Bang Oriental underlines the plethora of phenomenal Asian cuisine available in the capital.
Whether you find yourself in Sheffield, Liverpool, Brighton, Manchester or London, there’s plenty of brilliant food halls in England that are worth exploring. I’d personally recommend leading that expedition with your closest taste buds and bringing a healthy appetite along for the ride. These are the best food halls in the country, and they don’t mess about.
Also, if anyone is brave (or mad) enough to conduct a food tour where they eat at every one of these best food halls in England over a seven-day time period, and can prove that they’ve done so, I will personally send you a letter (email) of congratulations (bafflement). Now if that doesn’t motivate you to check out 13 of the country’s best food halls, then I don’t know what will.
Cutlery Works Sheffield
As the largest food hall in the north of England, Cutlery Works is packed to the rafters with 14 independent vendors that all offer their own unique and exciting takes on street food staples. Hand-chosen to provide a representation of the world’s food all in one place, these outlets offer you the chance to start your night with Nashville fried chicken and end it with fresh sushi and a pint of craft beer without ever leaving the vicinity. From wood-fired pizzas to spicy Isaan salads, you’ll not only find an enviable range of eats at Cutlery Works, but you’ll find that they’re all cooked to an impressive standard, too. Head to Sheffield to experience one of the best food halls around.
73 – 101 Neepsend Lane, Neepsend, Sheffield, S3 8AT
Shelter Hall is a seafront food market in Brighton where the vibes are good, the food is hot, and the drinks are cold. Featuring seven unique kitchens led by trendy Sussex chefs (including Kenny Tutt’s Ox Block grill concept and fresh catch vendor, Caught), this is a great food hall to visit if you want to get a taste of what Brighton is all about. Shelter Hall is open from 8am every day and has a regular live music line-up to provide a head-nodding soundtrack to your lunch and dinner. Whether you live in the surrounding area or simply want a seaside escape that’ll soothe your stomach, this food hall should really hit the spot.
Kings Road Arches, Shelter Hall, Brighton, BN1 1NB
Open seven days a week and located at Barbirolli Square, this Manchester-based food hall is new on the scene and already amassing a rather loyal following. Society offers street food, craft beer, wine and cocktails in a sleek space that boasts five independently-owned kitchens, a cocktail bar, and specialist taproom from Hebden Bridge-based craft brewery Vocation. Traders include burger experts Slap & Pickle; Aarti Ormsby’s loveable Chaat Cart concept; Pan-Asian outlet Manzoku; Manchester-born Dokes Pizzeria; and Korean fried chicken slingers, Yoki Social Table. Society might be new to the food hall business but it already looks to be one of the best food halls in the country and a contributing member of that street food society.
Basement, 100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester, M2 3BD
Macknade’s Food Village
I don't know about you but I’d have much preferred M.Night Shyamalan’s 2004 film The Village if it was about Macknade’s Food Village instead. This Kent-based food hall is drenched in flavours sourced from all over the globe. You can get a bit of India from Paul Babra’s Kerara, a spot of Mexican from Taco Bill, and even a slice of proper Italian pizza from The Deck. It’s admittedly not the biggest food hall in England but what Macknade’s Food Village lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. Plus, I couldn’t not include it on this list of the best food halls when Taco Bill serves a dish that’s essentially just a plate of tater tots that are doused in chipotle cheese sauce and pico de gallo. They’re called 'totchos' and I simply cannot – and will not – stop thinking about them.
Selling Road, Faversham, ME13 8XF
Nestled in the basement of a Grade II-listed building on Great George Street, Assembly Underground is a popular Leeds' haunt for getting your fill of grade-A street food. Whether you’re after dench burgers and loaded fries, perfectly charred Brazillian barbecue, the best falafel wraps around, or perfectly QQ ramen noodles, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye at this excellent food hall. You name the foodstuff, and they’ve probably got someone selling it. And if they don’t? Well, it’s probably not worth eating. With 250 seats and 50 beer taps, this is one of the best food halls in England and a gustatory arena where you’re guaran–damn–teed a good time.
Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3ED
Booking a flight to Italy involves quite a bit of faff and quite a bit of expensive testing at the moment, but if you’re really dead-set on tasting the best of the best food that that great nation has to offer, you can always rock up to Bishopsgate in London instead. Yes, that’s where the new Eataly has just opened up and where – spread across two floors with three restaurants and bars and six eateries – you can get your mitts on over 5,000 wonderful Italian products. You could easily spend hours here walking past endless jars of truffles and heaping sacks of tagliatelle; that’s why having sit-down restaurants like the Cucina del Mercato and the Pasta Fresca Bar are a really, really good idea. You can stop there, refuel yourself with plates of calamari and Sardinian fregola, and be prepared to face the marinara madness once again. Eataly is an absolutely bonkers place and one of the best food halls in London for that very reason.
135 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD
Opening up food halls in Grade II listed buildings seems to be something of a trend in the UK and Mackie Mayor is Manchester’s entry in that genre. Originally used as a fresh produce market, the building which Mackie Mayor calls home is an impressive space, to say the least. Today, you’re less likely to find it filled with seasonal veg and more likely to see it filled with earnest millennials quaffing natural wine and chatting breeze over plates of delicious food. Not that I’m complaining. Traders like Tender Cow, who specialize in rare breed grass-fed beef; Chilli B Thai, who serve fiery Thai street food; Honest Crust, who turn out some cracking sourdough pizzas; and New Wave Ramen who serve, er, new wave ramen all make Mackie Mayor a food hall that’s worth visiting. It’s easily one of the hippest food halls in the country and it’s worth hitting up for the Instagram story you’ll get out of it alone.
1 Eagle Street, Manchester, M4 5BU
Bang Bang Oriental
Bang Bang Oriental is the largest Asian food hall in Europe and a must-visit location for anyone that’s in London and serious about exploring the depth and breadth of Asian cooking. Sure, you might be better off going to one-off mom and pop restaurants in the city’s outskirts for an “authentic” experience but for a one-stop-shop of some seriously good eats, you can’t beat Bang Bang Oriental in Colindale. With over 25 outlets present and correct at the time of writing and enough space for 450 seats, Bang Bang can seem a little overwhelming the first time you visit; however, it’s a venue that only becomes richer after repeat visits. Sampling food from all the different kiosks is an enticing task to any completist and it’s one that I’d recommend anyone to attempt in their own time. Eating at this excellent food hall can be a rich and rewarding experience.
399 Edgware Road, London, NW9 0FH
As Liverpool’s first street food market, it was up to Baltic Market to set the standard for food halls in the city. Safe to say, they absolutely smashed any and all expectations. Baltic Market is a friendly sort of place where a no-nonsense portion of steak and chips can sit comfortably next to bubble waffles and halloumi fries. It’s the ideal spot to come when you haven’t a clue what you want to eat. Plus, the vendors change quite often, meaning no visit will ever truly be the same twice. Unless you go and order the exact same thing twice. In which case, yeah, it’ll pretty much be the same.
107 Stanhope Street, Liverpool, L8 5RE
Seven Dials Market
Two bars and twelve “micro-restaurants'' are what make up the impressive F&B offering from London’s Seven Dials Market. No, I’m not entirely sure what separates a micro-restaurant from a stall or kiosk but what I am entirely sure about is how delicious the eats at this food hall are. Standouts include crispy, juicy Filipino lechon from Bong Bong’s, some of the best doughnuts in London from Treats Club and naughty NY-style pizzas served by the slice from the good lads at the Bad Boy Pizza Society. It’s hard to go wrong with any combination at Seven Dials Market but conducting a pintxos-esque tour of the various different joints is highly recommended.
35 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LD
The Produce Hall
Over its impressive life span, Stockport’s Produce Hall has played host to fish and meat markets, sweet shops, cheese stalls, and even a public library. Today, this food hall is something of a street food haven where hungry punters can get their fill of everything from fluffy bao bans to keema spiced fries. The location might be fairly historic but it's the modern and forward-thinking vendors like Kambuja – a Cambodian joint that Stockport’s vegans have flocked to like flies to a lightbulb – that make this one of the better food halls in the country.
24A Market Place, Stockport, SK1 1EU
Altrincham Market (or “Alty Market” as it’s known by practically everyone) is home to some of the best street food vendors in the region. A mix of permanent traders and regularly changing guests means that you could easily have breakfast, lunch, and dinner here without experiencing any sort of flavour fatigue. The seasonal plates from Little Window are so much more than your standard food court fare and you’d be a ninny not to grab a bite from Pico’s Tacos when you’re in the area. Food halls don’t get much better (or trendier) than this, MOB.
Greenwood Street, Altrincham, WA14 1SA
Asia Asia Food Hall
As any self-respecting Brummie will tell you, Birmingham has a vibrant dining scene with plenty of excellent restaurants that make the city worth a visit. If you’re not sure the best way to dive headfirst in, I’d suggest a trip to the Asia Asia Food Hall. Spread over two whole floors on Pershore Street, comprising nine unique restaurants, it’s a great place to sample food from Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Japan all under one roof. How does a meal consisting of chicken gizzard skewers, beef rendang, and bubble tea sound to you? Because it sounds deliciously chaotic to me, and it’s exactly the sort of feed that the Asia Asia Food Hall can offer you.
10 Pershore Street, Birmingham, B5 4RX
Nottingham Street Food Club
In Nottingham and stuck for where to eat? Wend your way up the stairs to the top floor of the Victoria Centre's Clocktower Dining to see what all the fuss about the Nottingham Street Food Club is about. A rotating roster of local food traders – including Indian-ish street food from Phata-Phat, Korean eats from Taste Of Korea, and fat sangers from Sando Loco – keep eaters happy and the venue buzzing over the entire weekend. It’s one of the best food halls in the country based on its unrelenting vibe alone. But the excellent street food helps, too.
151 Intu Victoria Centre, Clocktower Dining, NG1 3QF