Chelsea Market is an iconic New York City food destination for tourists and locals alike where you can feast on some of the best food the city has to offer in a chic, industrial food hall setting. Whether you are on the hunt for incredible tacos or want to pick up artisanal cheeses and freshly butchered meat, Chelsea Market has an overwhelming amount of options with something for everyone, and 6 million visitors pack into the corridors annually.
And then Covid hit.
The market sadly had to shut its doors to indoor dining, leaving the once packed halls empty.
However, a handful of the food vendors have gotten creative, and you can still enjoy some of the awesome grub Chelsea Market has to offer. I frequent the market almost every day, and have compiled your complete Chelsea Market outdoor dining guide.
Here is a quick look at your options:
- Very Fresh Noodles
- Cappone’ Salumeria (Closed through Labor Day as of July 31st)
- Los Mariscos
- Los Tacos #1
- L’Arte Del Gelato
- Tings Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Dickson’s Farmstand Meats
- Saxelby Cheesemongers
- Manhattan Fruit Market
- Ayada Thai
- Lobster Place
- Higher Standards
- Chelsea Market Baskets
Some Juicy Insider Tips:
- To beat the lines at Los Tacos and Los Mariscos, try stopping by in the 2pm-4pm time slot (or just order ahead!)
- Every open vendor has delivery of some sort.
- 15th street faces the brutal, unforgiving sun in the afternoon, so beware.
- There is great shaded public seating further down 9th avenue.
- There are public restrooms down in Chelsea Local that are open 8am-8pm.
- Chelsea Local is also an ideal spot for a quick escape into the AC.
- You can get booze at Los Mariscos, The Lobster Place, and Ayada Thai as well as craft beer at Saxelby Cheesemongers in Chelsea Local and bougie cocktails at Buddakan.
- Get a fish taco at Los Mariscos as well as a few from Los Tacos #1.
- WEAR YOUR MASK! Regardless of your stance, these vendors are only allowed to be open if they comply to state mask laws.
- Please leave a tip. Business is not as usual, and these vendors are getting a fraction of the customers they should be getting. Not to mention, each worker is risking the chance of getting Covid to serve you, which certainly deserves a little something extra.
In this covid world, everything is rapidly changing. All this information is as of July 24th, 2020, and be sure to check each vendors website for updates!
By this I really mean, don’t get mad at me if you show up and things are different.
Now let’s get into more detail.
I’ll take you through a geographical walking touring of your available options starting at 9th avenue and walking west along 15th street beginning with Very Fresh Noodles.
Very Fresh Noodles
Pre-Covid, foodies would line up eagerly waiting for their hand pulled noodles while watching an expert chef slap and twirl the dough in a performance-like fashion. While you can’t gaze in awe, the noodle masters are still slapping away.
Each bowl is insanely aromatic with wickedly delicious flavor profiles including spicy cumin lamb and Taiwanese beef. A heaping bowl of spice seems daunting in the summer air, but it’s absolutely worth it!
How to order: Delivery, pick up, outdoor dining. There is a sign out front that says “Very Fresh Noodles”. Whether you call ahead or are ordering in person, you can press the little doorbell button on the sign or look inside and wave your hands wildly to get someone’s attention. Don’t worry, they are very fresh as well as very fast.
Tables and Chairs: Yes.
Tip: Very Fresh Noodles is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Cappone’s Salumeria (NOW CLOSED)
Continuing down a window, you can feast on a loaded sandwich with your favorite Italian flavors from Cappone’s. From top quality prosciutto to fresh mozzarella cheese, Cappone’s only uses the best, and the flavors speak for themselves.
How to Order: Delivery, pickup, or takeout. Ordering Cappone’s from the street isn’t obvious. Look for the long, large menu on the wall, call and order, then put your face up to the glass to look for the person inside who will bring you your sandwich.
Tables and Chairs: Sometimes
Insider Tip: I’ve only seen a handful of customers order from Cappone’s, and they still have work to do on their outdoor dining business plan.
One window over you’ll get a taste of Sicily at Filaga Pizzeria. This pizza spot prides itself in it’s dough, which they let mature for 96 hours for a light crunchy crust that serves as the perfect base for top quality ingredients. Enjoy a fresh round pie or go for the gold and get some squares (check our our guide to square slices HERE)
How to Order: Like Cappone’s, give them a call and peer in awkwardly. Someone will be out with your fresh pie in no time.
Tables and Chairs: Sometimes
From the three friends who gifted New York with Los Tacos #1 is Los Mariscos, a sister restaurant specializing in seafood. Enjoy perfect fish and shrimp tacos and fresh ceviche, among other seafood dishes, and wash it all down with a frozen margarita, beer, or, if you’re feeling frisky, try out a clamatos or michelada. A michelada consists of beer, lime juice, tomato juice, chili peppers and various spices, and a clamato is a flavor explosion of tomato juice and clam broth with a good dose of alcohol. If you are nervous, don’t worry, the people behind the bar know what’s up!
How to Order: Delivery, pick up, or at the window; there is an open store front, and you can join in the line up.
Tables and Chair: There are three standing tables and two picnic benches as well.
Moving down the line, nosh on Korean fare at Mokbar. Korean food is all about using fresh ingredients, and the restaurant prides itself in sourcing from local vendors in various Korean markets in Flushing as well as the Union Square Green Market (which is open too by the way). Enjoy authentic flavors in traditional dishes such as bibimbap, Korean fried chicken, all sorts of Kimchi and a wide range of ramen options.
How to order: Delivery, pick up, or at the to-go window. It’s a bit hard to spot, but just look above the Los Tacos line.
Tables and Chairs: Two standing tables (usually not being used)
Los Tacos #1
Naming your restaurant “The #1 Taco” is a pretty bold statement, and let me tell you, Los #1 Taco lives up to the name. This taco establishment was created by three friends who’s mission was simple: bring Mexican culture and cuisine to the East Coast with fresh, simple ingredients. The result is wildly delicious tacos, quesadillas, and mulas jam packed with flavor.
There are four locations across the city, and the small Chelsea Market 15th street window is pumping out delicious fare every day to hungry visitors seeking out the best tacos.
How to Order: Delivery, pick up, or wait in line.
Tables and Chairs: Four standing tables, shares the two picnic benches with Los Mariscos, and often people will use the two standing tables in front of Mokbar.
Insider Tip: There’s a secret menu item called the Queso Taco that all cheese lovers need to try. Rather than a normal flour or corn tortilla, the taco-innards are wrapped up in a beautiful shell of fried cheese.
Insider Tip 2: There is a contender for the title of the best taco in New York, El Aguila. Click HERE to read more.
L’Arte del Gelato
Cool off with a sweet treat at your next stop along 15th street: L’Arte del Gelato. Let me tell you, this stuff is the real deal. The family recipe comes straight from Sicily, and they make their product fresh in the Chelsea Market basement. It is smooth, creamy, and utterly decadent.
How to Order: Just pop right on up to the cart to order.
Tables and Chairs: yes, two sit down red tables.
Tings is a hidden gem and you can score outrageously flavorful jerk chicken, oxtail stew, and curry goat among other traditional Jamaican dishes. They don’t skimp on the serving size, making Ting’s a great bang for your buck.
How to Order: Delivery, pick up, take out. Look for the sign and give the listed number a call to order. Once again, gaze in awkwardly and they will bring out the food when it’s ready.
Tables and Chairs: No
If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t miss the next stop: Doughnuttery. This donut shop offers made to order mini donuts coated in unique flavored sugar combos like Paris Time which consists of lavender, pistachio, and vanilla and PBCP that has peanut butter, cayenne, and pretzels. What makes the Doughnuttery incredible is the fresh-factor. Your order is straight off the hot oil, and the little circles of goodness practically melt in your mouth.
Besides, if it’s a mini donut, the calories don’t count, right?
How to Order: Head a few feet down from Tings, call the number, and wait!
Insider Tip: Don’t get these suckers via a food delivery app. You want them hot and fresh, trust me!
Miznon is an elevated Israeli eatery created by the culinary genius Eyal Shani who has restaurants in Tel Aviv, Vienna, Paris, Melbourne and now New York. You can feast on delicious stuffed pitas with inventive flavor profiles and top notch ingredients as well as tradition cuisine such as hummus, a mezze plate, and their famous whole roasted baby cauliflower.
How to order: Delivery, pick up (recommended) or order through the door upon arrival.
Tables and Chairs: yes
Insider Tip: This a great spot for a more dine-in feel meal, as there are a handful of tables and chairs reserved for Miznon, and it is tucked away from the craziness of taco lovers.
The Chelsea Local
Directly after Miznon, head downstairs to the Chelsea local.
“But why is this open, but not the Chelsea market?!”
It is technically a grocery store, and has actually been open for several months.
Here, you can get your Italian grocery items at Buon’Italia, fresh fruits and veggies at the Manhattan Fruit Market, fine cheese and beer at Saxelby Cheesemongeres, and top notch meat at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. Apart from raw meat, Dickson’s also offers incredible sandwiches with their house made meats including pastrami, roast beef, and chicken.
*Dickson’s Farmstand Meats has added outdoor dining benches as of July 31st*
Another key thing to note about Chelsea Local is that this is where you can get some AC and use the bathroom. Two key features that you can thank me for later!
Continuing around the corner to 16th street….
If you are craving authentic Thai cuisine, Ayada is for you. Chef Duangja (Kitty) Thammasat started sharing her traditional recipes at her first Ayada Thai in Elmhurst, Queens. It’s popularity as a Thai food destination led her to venture into Manhattan, and Ayada Thai officially opened in the Chelsea Market in 2019. From Tom Yum Soup to Pad Se Eww (my personal favorite), Ayada certainly offers a little taste of Thailand, and it’s flavors have even earned it a coveted spot in the 2019 Michelin Guide.
How to order: Call ahead for take out, get it delivered, or order curbside.
Tables and Chairs: There were for a week, but haven’r seen them as of July 24th.
Walking East back towards 9th avenue you’ll run into Lobster Place. Treat yourself to a decadent lobster roll, fresh sushi, and steamed shrimp among other tasty seafood eats, and be sure to wash it done with wine, beer, or a specialty cocktail. Give the sangria a try, which comes in a plastic pouch with a straw; a now iconic New York quarantine method of drinking booze in public.
Note that the Lobster Place is still operating as a seafood market and you can buy your favorite fresh seafood to cook up at home. Want to learn more about lobster? Click HERE for it’s surprising rags to riches tale.
How to Order: Order ahead online, get it delivered, or order through the window.
Tables and chairs: Yes, more than enough!
Creamline serves up elevated burgers and shakes with locally sourced ingredients. Their partners include Ronnybrook Farm, Feather Ridge Farm, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shop, Catskill Provisions, and Cayuga Pure Organics. Treat yourself to a juicy cheeseburger or try out a honey butter and pickle fried chicken sandwich with a side of sweet potato waffle fries while washing it all down with a decadent shake.
Side Rant: Restaurants love to use trigger words like “free range”, “organic”, and “hormone Free” to reel you into thinking it’s health food. While all those features are positive, don’t forget you are still eating a burger, fries, and milkshake…
How to Order: Give them a ring, and delivery is the best option. To be perfectly honest I have no idea where customers do curb side pick up, as the store doesn’t have any sort of outside window.
Tables and Chairs: No
On the corner of 16th and 9th, you’ll arrive at Buddakan for a taste of Asian fine dining. When open, you can spot celebrities and other extremely well dressed young adults sipping fancy cocktails in moody lighting over dim sum and exquisite entrées. I’ve had the pleasure of having a dinner at Buddakan, and it is absolutely worth the hype.
How to Order: Delivery, takeout, or outdoor dining
Tables and Chairs: Yes, and it looks as though extensive outdoor dining is in the works.
Insider Tip: In real life, getting a table at Buddakan is almost impossible. This is your perfect opportunity to give it a try, but do it quickly before the secret gets out!
To sum it all up….
Despite Chelsea Market being temporarily closed, you can and you should enjoy the top quality eats it has to offer.
I’ll continue to update the list as more vendors open, so be sure to keep checking back or simply shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org