[Paris] Food hall talk

Somewhat off topic, but what the hell. Suffice it to say that I also liked Detour & thought Chef Cachot’s food would be on my rotation whenever I returned to Paris. But he moved on and I found other places to love. And now, here he is, creating food that again looks very much like something I’d go for. I’ve viewed photos (for example: https://www.sortiraparis.com/en/where-to-eat-in-paris/restaurant/articles/176061-food-society-paris-the-giant-food-court-on-3-500-m2-at-the-ateliers-gaite-in-video) & the plates look inviting. But it’s in a food hall & that’s why I’m posting this.

Living in Brooklyn, I’ve seen quite a few food hall openings, some serving food that seems pretty damn good. And, of course, I’ve spent time in the various Chinatown food halls in Flushing, Queens, Sunset Park, Brooklyn & even now in Manhattan. But I’m pretty much set in my ways and prefer to eat a meal in a very different environment than a food hall – you know, a room (or rooms) called a restaurant, cafe, or similar. So, good as some of my local food halls & their stalls seem to be, and as much as they make them attractive to some audience or other, I just haven’t gone very often & continue to miss out on some really delicious food because of, basically, setting.

This post is, therefore, a general inquiry of those of you who live in Paris full time or a lot of the time (Carmenere, ParnParis, naf, Onzieme) and those of you who go there a bit (ninkat, sfcarole, etc). Does this appeal to you as a venue for good food when you’re looking for a leisurely lunch or good dinner? I’m curious. It’s wildly popular here in NYC & I just don’t get it. Thanks.

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I don’t get it either, Steve. As a general rule I also avoid food halls. I can’t explain it, but they just seem depressing to me. I feel like I’m in an Edward Hopper painting. Maybe it’s the absence of camaraderie among the diners that’s part of it. We lived in Sydney for three years and there were a lot of food halls in that city, some of them with excellent food, but not my cup of tea. It’s sad to hear that they’re cropping up in Brooklyn and Manhattan, where I was born and lived 'til age eight.

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I’ve been to a few that I like and the one where I live in SB (Santa Barbara public market) I like a lot because it has two of my favorite eating places. It’s also a great place to bring multi generations (it’s already buzzy and loud) and I like meeting friends there for a casual fun dinner because everyone can get what they want to eat and then we meet back at a table and eat and drink. Our spot has Mexican, Thai, Japanese, pizza and vegan. We seem to be leaning more and more into casual, sitting at a bar and eating as we get older.

We’ve been to some really good markets/food halls in europe particularly in Spain.


Would people here consider the Marché des Enfants Rouges a food court?

Yes. Only problem was that seating was confined to where you got food so you couldn’t mix and match…maybe that’s changed.

I wouldn’t consider any marché in Paris comparable to a food hall. The experience is very different. But the Marché des Enfants Rouges, of all the marchés, is probably the closest to the food hall concept.

While you’re in Paris, onz, you should head over to the Food Society at 68 av. du Maine in the 14e, and see for yourself. And then let us know!


I’m with you, Steve. Though in Spain, I have found it fun to eat at the markets that also serve food. I’m thinking La Boqueria’s El Quim or Bar Pinotxo in Barcelona, for example, but I have to be in the mood, as I am not great in crowds. I stay quite close to Marché des Enfants Rouge when I’m in Paris and have tried a couple of times to sort it out, but when I’ve walked through, I’ve walked out. Reading about people’s recommendations here, I have thought to try again at some point.

Funnily enough, I know the market that @Annegrace is talking about in Santa Barbara, and like that as well, but it doesn’t feel so heaving with people to me, at least the times I have been there.


I enjoyed the Mercato Centrale in Rome, next to Termini. I had a chance to try Bonci pizza in a location blocks from where I was staying. https://www.mercatocentrale.com/

I haven’t been to Paris in ages. I always like visiting the food halls inside upscale department stores. In Paris, in Tokyo, in London, in Munich, in Berlin, in Zurich . It’s a different type of food hall experience than the food court-type experience.

Interesting question @SteveR and I split the discussion into a new topic.

When I travel, I’ve been to many food halls and food courts, especially in Asia: S. Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan or Thailand. I find there is an atmosphere and excitation that something lacks that I don’t find in Paris. Places like Ground Control, food court in Galerie Lafayette, La Felicità…What they are serving, you can find them in the same brand but at their main restaurants, and the services are much better. In these food courts, what you get can still be interesting, but usually the wait is long, and they can be as pricey as in restaurants and the overall experience is less desirable.

I find the best French “food hall” experiences are those found in markets. I find a good vibe in Enfants Rouges, although I’m not sure if it is still a real market anymore, there is an authenticity and soul that the above mentioned food halls don’t have.

The third type are event based food halls, like le Fooding, Taste Paris (or whichever city in France), Food market. I think it has also the same problem as the first types of food hall, the organization is usually quite bad, although food can be good and interesting.


To be clear, this is solely a discussion for people living in Paris and their opinions about the local food halls, yes?

Because I think a general topic about various food halls the world over (and how we did or didn’t like them or what we would recommend) might be fun as well.


If the topic is going international, we can just change the title and move the topic. :grinning:

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But the OP wants to hear from Parisians/Paris dwellers specifically, about Paris food halls specifically.

I think that should probably be a separate thread so @SteveR’s initial inquiry isn’t buried.

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They did some remodeling this winter and opened it up and when we were there last Friday night it was quite crowded. Also have added outside seating which makes a lot of sense in sunny SB (thank you Covid for at least that change).

I think the ferry bldg in SF started this trend in Calif of clustering restaurants together under one big usually interesting roof. I’ve had some great meals there over the years-Slanted Door was one of our favorites and they had an amazing food truck on the weekends with porchetta sandwiches plus a very good farmers market a couple times a week. LA followed suit with the Grand Central Market in DTLA and lots of good restaurants opened up in what had been a food and flower mart. I think a lot of the breweries/wine bars with casual patios and food options are in a similar vein and appeal to a usually younger crowd who want casual almost party like options. Santa Barbara is teeming with those kinds of places, some with excellent food.

We hear Carpinteria is going to have public market like place soon. Some good restaurants already signed up.

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Well, so far it’s still on the Paris/France board, albeit now with a separate thread. Thanks for noticing, but I’m okay with it. Actually, I’d be ok with it moved off the locale totally and into an international place as naf mentioned. From what I have seen so far, the post has been up on the Paris board long enough to be seen & naf put a marker on the Detour thread so that they can follow it as they desire. Not a bad idea to broaden the topic. I think I’ll get an answer about this specific Food Hall that just opened in Paris on that board when a couple of the regulars get there. So, naf, move it again as the spirit hits you :wink:

In terms of food halls in general, I’ve been thinking about it (too much spare time) & I think naf’s separation of types of food halls works for me as a start. I get together with others pretty often to go out and casually spend an afternoon or early evening traipsing around, sampling & sharing dishes, especially in the various Asian food courts & in the food truck areas. And, living in NYC, I’ve never had a problem with getting a slice of pizza or two from a storefront. I find these enjoyable but these weren’t what came to mind when I read about the new Paris food court, which has more to do with me not wanting this approach to eating to replace brick and mortar restaurants, with settings that I find more in line with my approach to dining. And I was wondering whether these new places are valuable additions to food choice or will increase the demise of places for me to go have a “proper” dinner.


I had no idea all these places existed although I haven’t been to Paris since May 2019.

No need to move the thread really, it’s a valid question and a topic per se.

There’s no particular reason why the French, including Parisians, should suck at food courts/food halls. After all, since the Middle Ages, we’ve had a long tradition of market food which still endures: it still can be enjoyed in places like Marché des Capucins in Bordeaux, and many brocante or livestock markets in the deep Provinces — think tables and benches being set at 5 AM for everybody to pig out on tripe, saucisse-aligot, or grilled andouille in Bretagne washed down with white wine or cider.

It just so happens that we don’t really have the “food hall” or “food court” culture as a permanent fixture in any given place, but then again I think it is merely a matter of concept and how we approach the subject. Hence the success of places like le Marché des Enfants rouges in Paris, but I couldn’t tell when this place started to include open-air restaurants together with the product stalls, which are now minoritary compared to the eating places. I mean, I have no idea whether that started spontaneously or as project.
It seems very hard nowadays for a country like France, especially Paris, with an increasingly ploutocratic culture, to embrace the diversity and simplicity of Asian food courts. In other terms: I think there’s a current incapacity at cuisine populaire. It all has to be trendy, bourgeois and expensive. Funny, for they do that very well in Spain (I have fond memories of a food hall in Cordoba), in Italy (I loved the Mercato Centrale in Florence), not so well in Paris. Beaupassage is utterly ploutocratic (and I’ve heard it’s not doing that well), events like Le Fooding d’été or Taste of Paris can’t be compared to food halls or food courts, and Ground Control is, as often with that sort of endeavor, extremely self-conscious, oozing a “look we’re doing something cool” through all pores.

Food Society remains to be tried, it looks quite ambitious as a project. It reminds me of another project, the unhappy La Jeune Rue, in a humbler (though massive) and more realistic version. Usually, huge concepts like this one, in Paris, are pretty short-lived, producing some buzz at first but gradually dwindling over a year or two before being dismantled or turned into something else.

I guess it will depend on the quality of whatever will be served and the ability of the managers to make it consistent and durable. It will also depend on pricing.

I’ll be sure to report if I take a stroll there, which I may try at some point. Any of the Parisian team game for this in my company? It is so much easier if there’s more than one.


Hot off the presses, my concern:

Paris beware!

While it is true that there’s nothing silly that we won’t try as well on our side of the pond, I think it may be some time until they launch the food-court tasting menu over here.
Before that, we’d have to get the food court concept to stand on its feet, and we don’t really seem to be on the way to that yet.

Perhaps it might happen a bit differently, like Yannick Alléno opening a food court, and then…

However I’ve had some pretty decent “tasting menus” at Ground Control when Georgian chef Magda Gegenava and some Syrian chefs served platters of various preparations, it was halfway between TV dinners and tasting menus, and they were delicious.

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According to this Eater snapshot, diners at Oily Oily food hall are more interested in their phones than each other.


Almost universally true among the young. On many restaurant visits (“before”) we’d see young people at 2-tops, obviously on a date, but each on a cell phone. Sometimes the only communication is when one pauses to briefly show their screen to the other. Shamelessly peering over shoulders whenever possible, the principal activity seems to be flicking (right verb?) through pictures.

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