New York: Rise of the Upscale Food Court
The lowly food court has traditionally not topped the list of places to visit for travelers coming to New York. That's about to change with three new sophisticated food emporia that have recently cropped up in Gotham.
The grandest of all is Eataly, famed chef Mario Batali's gourmet Italian food and wine mall which opened at the end of August in a gorgeous old building on the intersection of Fifth Ave. and Broadway between 23rd and 24th. Eataly brings together the finest products (pasta, wine, cheese, cured meat, and more) from throughout Italy and presents it in a large, busy space. There are spots for diners to have a quick bite at a counter or a nice meal with table service and everything in between.
Another new option is FoodParc, pictured above, located at the stunning new Eventi Hotel on Sixth Ave. between 29th and 30th. This neighborhood -- a bit of a no man's land just a bit north of Chelsea and a tad south of Macy's flagship department store -- desperately needs an identity. Perhaps this hip hotel/condo complex and ultra-modern food court will help provide an anchor for visitors and neighbors.
The choices of food range from Asian to burgers to Italian flatbread sandwiches. There's also a full bar and access to a gorgeous new park, a public-access oasis just behind the hotel. It's a great place for lunch or dinner, though it's far more crowded during the day. You can even order at high-tech, easy-to-use kiosks, pay with a credit card, then pick up your selections when your number is called.
The third new upscale food court option is the Plaza Food Hall by Todd English, located in the glamorous (and gorgeously renovated) Plaza at 1 W. 59th St. at Fifth Ave. The New York Times described it as a "glorified cafeteria," but food is delivered to you from pizzas to dumplings to sushi. This is a great option for capital-T Tourists who make their way dutifully along the key Fifth Ave sites, including the Apple Store, Bergdorf Goodman, and Central Park South.