Does anyone else get traumatising flashbacks of the rundown food courts lingering upstairs of your hometown shopping centre when they picture food halls? Thankfully those days are long gone. Forget the screaming children, squashed fries and overflowing bins at the end of your table, food courts have had a total revamp and London is home to some of the best.
From the glamorous Arcade Food Theatre to the revamped shipping containers of Boxpark, food courts are now home to some of London’s best culinary talents and master mixologists. While many are still temporarily closed in line with the government guidelines on social distancing, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourites we can’t wait to visit when they reopen.
A relatively new kid on the block, Arcade Food Theatre is the city’s swankiest dining court. The food theatre is made up of eight of London’s finest independent kitchens, including Pophams, Flat Iron, Lina Stores and TŌU, as well as three conceptualised all-day bars.
Arcade Food Theatre doesn’t just thrill on the food front either; the theatre has become widely recognised as being London’s most stylish food hall too. Think black marbled bar tops, navy hues and smart bar stalls lining the countertop of every eatery. Work your way round the various kitchens but make sure you stop by TŌU to get your hands on one of their infamous katsu sandos; you won’t regret it.
Location: 103-105 New Oxford Street, West End, WC1A 1DB
Boxpark managed to turn something as uninteresting as a shipping container into a trendy hipster drinking and dining spot. It’s renowned for its communal tables, showing live sports events and its street food-style eateries, many of which have gone on to open up restaurants up and down the country.
Location: Croydon, Shoreditch & Wembley
Market Halls lets you enjoy the best of London’s restaurant and bar scene in one place.
Now boasting three locations across the city, it’s a food court with a difference. From their unique buildings (the Fulham branch is literally tucked inside a disused Edwardian underground station) to their diverse foodie offerings, it provides the perfect backdrop for any weekday date night, post-work drinks or family gathering, and you can guarantee everyone will be satisfied on the food front because there’s so much choice to choose from.
Locations in Fulham, Victoria and West End
The Japan Centre boasts various locations across the city, bringing us Londoners authentic flavours, techniques and ingredients to both buy and enjoy in store.
We love Japan Centre Ichiba because of its extensive range of feasting options, from soba noodles to poke bowls, matcha lattes to fresh sashimi. Take a stroll around next time you’re headed on a shopping escapade at Westfield.
Seven Dials Market is another food court that came onto the scene fairly recently (in food hall terms), offering a permanent home for KERB’s amazing street food market vendors. The venture is home to some of the best in the business, including the world’s first ever cheese conveyor, Pick & Cheese, allowing cheese enthusiasts to get their cheese fix in a whole fun new way. Other vendors include Monty’s Deli, Club Mexicana, Truffle and Gipsy Hill Brewing.
Location: Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LX
Borough Market is the foodie hub you can’t help but love. Yes, it’s usually brimming with tourists and hungry office workers on their lunch break, but it’s also home to some of the best food stands and traders in London.
The market expanded back in 2019 with the launched of the Borough Market Kitchen, a space to bring even more of London’s finest foodie heads together in one space. The new market is located on Jubilee Place and boasts 20 food stands serving up freshly prepared grub to chomp your way through, including Scotchtails, Arabica, Brindisa Kitchen and The Black Pig.
Location: 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
Mercato Metropolitano prides itself as being London’s first sustainable community food market, and since launching in 2016, has grown from strength to strength. The Elephant and Castle site has a sort of lovable community spirit, centred around local produce, sustainably sourced ingredients and collective action.
Expect to find food stands like V for Vegan, Molo, Ophra’s Dog and The French Corner.
They’ve also got a great indoor market in Mayfair too.
Location: 42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR
New on the block is Eataly, London’s newest and biggest spot for authentic Italian produce. It’s here you’ll find restaurants, coffee shops, gelato bars and a wide selection of quality Italian and local food products, all celebrating the Italian way of life.
A first of its kind in London, the venue boasts over 5,000 products to peruse, including fresh produce from their on-site butcher, fishmonger and cured meat and cheese counters.
135 BISHOPSGATE, EC2M 3YD