London’s appetite for street food seems unstoppable. The city is currently witnessing a surge of food hall openings, allowing you to enjoy some of the best street food in town without actually having to go outside. Ideal during these cold and wet winter days. Whether you’re looking for a low-key indoor food market or a high-end food theatre experience, London has it all. Here are 10 indoor food court concepts – new and old – that we think you should go and check out.
Brick Lane Upmarket
When it comes to great value for money, and street food in a lively urban indoor setting, Upmarket is right up there. Located in the former premises of the Truman Brewery, on the corner of Brick Lane and Hanbury Street, Upmarket is a feast for the senses. Every weekend, traders from across London sell some of the city’s best street food dishes here. Whether it’s Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes, German bratwurst, or Sri Lankan curry, you’ll find it here!
As the name suggests, Mercato Metropolitano originally hails from Italy. After a successful stint at the World Expo in Milan, its founders decided to open up a space in London. They found a disused paper factory in Elephant & Castle and turned it into a giant street food market, which opened in 2016. Primarily indoors, Mercato Metropolitano is home to more than 40 vendors and even has its very own micro-brewery. And it’s not just great Italian food that can be found here. The food hall offers tasty dishes from all over the world, from Vietnamese to Colombian and Japanese to German. What makes this concept so unique is not just the space and the food, but also its sense of community. Mercato Metropolitano brings together like-minded people, offers a community space, and works together with locals to support the sustainable development of the area. Just how we like it! The fact that Mercato Metropolitano recently opened a second market hall in Mayfair and is working on a third one in Ilford goes to show the length of its popularity and success.
Arcade Food Theatre
Arcade Food Theatre is a newbie to the London food scene. Housed in the recently renovated Centre Point building, next to Tottenham Court Road station, this contemporary all-day food court brings together some of London’s hottest restaurant concepts under one roof. Currently, seven restaurants are represented, including Chotto Matte, Pophams, and Oklava. Each has its own unit, with three cocktail and coffee bars and sleek seating areas situated between them. There’s some delicious food to be had at Arcade Food Theatre (our favourite is the Iberian Katsu Sando!), but as the name suggests, you’ll want to come here for the overall experience. Arcade has a unique evening program with live entertainment (including DJs playing slightly too loud music) as well as seasonal menus and drinks. Pretentious or not, Arcade is giving the term ‘food hall’ an entirely new meaning.
A good old favourite of any South Londoner, Brixton Village has been around for quite some time. Since its opening in the 1930s, this indoor market hall has been a key feature of local life in Brixton. Situated in an area with a large Afro-Caribbean community, Brixton Village (and nearby Market Row) has long been home to countless traders selling spices, herbs, and food from this part of the world. As Brixton is becoming increasingly popular among London’s younger crowd, the market’s offering has changed. Brazilian butchers, Caribbean fishmongers, and Jamaican bars are now joined by small restaurants and cafes offering great value for money food and drinks from across the globe. Think delicious bao, tasty crepes, and fabulous coffee. If you’re looking for a choice of excellent, diverse food in a colourful, authentic setting, Brixton Village is the place to be.
Mare Street Market
Mare Street Market is a bit of an odd one on this list. It’s neither a full-fledged food court nor only a restaurant – it combines the best of both worlds. Located on – you guessed it – Mare Street in Hackney, it has given a former council office block a new lease of life. After a major revamp, the open space is now an eclectic mix of styles, divided into various corners that are occupied by local businesses. There’s a deli, a liquor store, coffee roastery as well as a bar and restaurant area. The latter is quite a sight – with many chandeliers, antiques, and random objects (all of which are for sale), it has the feel of a life-sized cabinet of curiosities. The food offering is small but pleasant and includes rotisserie chicken and genuinely great pizza. Overall, an excellent addition to London’s food and market scene!
Seven Dials Market
After taking over several outdoor street food markets such as the one at Camden Lock, food market operator Kerb opened its first indoor food hall in London last September. Smack bang in the heart of town, near Covent Garden, Seven Dials Market occupies a former banana warehouse (yes, those used to exist, apparently!). And it has to be said, what a stunner of space this is. The showstopper is the central gallery (officially dubbed ‘Banana Warehouse’), which is topped with a glass roof and displays plenty of historic features, such as brick arches and cast-iron pillars. Here, you’ll find a range of street food kitchens selling burgers, tacos, buns, pasta, and more. On the other end of the market is Cucumber Alley, a produce strip with a butcher, fruit & veg shop, a florist as well as a bakery and ice cream parlor. This is the epitome of indoor food markets!
Market Hall West End
Just when you thought London’s hunger for food courts was stilled, three more opened up. Operating under a single brand, Market Hall has launched ventures in Fulham and Victoria over the past 2 years, and it recently opened its new flagship site in the West End. And it’s huuuge (yes, with 3 Us). The UK’s largest food hall covers three floors of a former department store just off Oxford Street. The space features 11 independent food traders showcasing dishes from across the globe. Expect food such as Persian-style kebab, Japanese ramen, Chinese crepes, and fresh pasta. And if that wasn’t enough, Market Hall West End also has 4 bars, a demo kitchen for events and… (wait for it) a fabulous roof terrace. Open from 11am till midnight, this food court provides the perfect excuse to interrupt your Oxford Street shopping spree for great food and drinks.
Bang Bang Oriental
If you have a weak spot for East Asian food, then Bang Bang Oriental is right up your street. It might be a bit off-the-beaten-path for some Londoners, but this Edgware-based Asian food hall is worth the detour, we promise! With over 20 food stalls, there’s a wide range of East Asian dishes to choose from. Fancy some Chinese dumplings, dim sum, or bibimbap with a matcha bubble tea? Bang Bang has it all, and more.
Street food, Shoreditch-style. That’s what Dinerama is all about. This former truck depot on Great Eastern Street combines great street food with East London party vibes. Situated around a yard are converted shipping containers that house several street food traders. There are also bars, roof terraces, and a large dining/party area. A shiny new glass rooftop and cozy fires mean that Dinerama is now also a winter-proof street food destination. Entree is free before 7pm, after which there is a 3 Pound fee and Dinerama switches to party mode. Shoreditch vibes guaranteed.
Old Spitafields Market
Did you know that Spitalfields Market used to be a giant wholesale food market serving much of East London until the 1990s? At the end of the millennium, the market was moved to the outskirts of the city. That paved the way for the creation of what is now known as Old Spitalfields Market. It’s one of London’s largest and most famous indoor street food and crafts markets. Although a big area is dedicated to vintage and handmade designer wear, food is still a major theme at Old Spitalfields Market. Vendors are enticing visitors with everything from Asian and Italian street food to divinely tasting cupcakes. All of this just around the corner of uber-cool Shoreditch. What’s best, Old Spitalfields Market is open 7 days a week!