SFBA food hall roundup

On my last trip to LA, several of the restaurants I visited wound up being in dedicated food halls or mixed use spaces with plenty of shared tables for the dining options. I can’t recall seeing a list anywhere of similar SFBA food halls.

Which ones do you think are worth going to? One that comes to mind is the Emeryville Public Market. San Pedro Square Market in San Jose was good at one point-- any current thoughts? I’m unfamiliar with many of their current businesses.

I would exclude places like the Ferry Building, Off the Grid events, and Chase Center and stick with places with lots of shared seating/tables that are open for lunch and dinner everyday and don’t require an entry fee.

Not for dinner, but International Food Court on Kearny is always good for economical bites of all things Asian and Eastern European.

What’s the difference between a food court and a food hall? Or is food hall just a rebranding of food court?

Oxbow Public Market in Napa also has some decent options at a bit higher price point.

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On Shattuck in Berkeley, a few doors north of Chez Panisse, there’s a small food court with vendors for soup, Japanese prepared dishes, Mexican, ice cream, and a Chinese tea/noodle house upstairs in the garden. There’s also an Indian restaurant that also opens into the court area.

I’m not sure if this counts, but the patio on Fourth Street in Berkeley has Pollara pizzeria, Market Hall prepared foods, Peets, and around the corner, Bette’s To Go. I have lunch there a few times a week.

The food court in the basement of the Westfield Center in San Francisco is huge, with maybe a dozen food stalls (and lots of free samples…).

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There was also a small one in the Metreon Center, but I haven’t been there in years and I don’t know what it looks like now.

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When is the food hall run by La Cocina opening?

@souperman has asked whether the 300 block of Kearny, which includes that M-F lunch-only International Food Court, is possibly “The Most Culinarily Diverse Block in San Francisco”. They have some nice options currently, including Pushkin.

About $5 :slight_smile: I don’t know if there’s a technical difference, but I’d guess we’re all more interested in local businesses than international chains (note that local chains like Super Duper and Koja Kitchen are mixed with solo businesses like Pig & Pickle (mmm…) at Emeryville PM).

Oh yeah, Epicurious Garden! It’s nice that there’s that parklet next to the Cheeseboard now-- I used to lunch with people at Epicurious Garden & Cheeseboard and had to sit on the grass median.

Those Japanese Bake Cheese Tarts are pretty good!

What’s good at Bette’s To Go?

Bette’s To Go has great, imaginative variety sandwiches and salads that change daily. Sandwiches like roast turkey with grilled peppers, roast chicken with brie and arugula. Salads like grilled ribeye with peppers, salmon Nicoise, orzo with feta and olives. Their deviled eggs sometimes have slices of lox or bacon on top. I’m not really into sweets, but the array of cakes, cookies and pastries is impressive.

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Where’s that? I thought spaces near Cheeseboard are either retailers or bank parking lot?

The coveted parking space outside Cheeseboard was converted to a parklet with public seating. [edit: it was apparently Berkeley’s first parklet]

Swan’s Market in Old Oakland


Oh! Didn’t know that. That becomes part of Cheeseboard’s outdoor seating then.

Does the one right by the Rockridge BART station count?

I don’t think Market Hall in Rockridge has seating. I checked their website and didn’t see anything about it.

There’s a new Asian themed food hall in the plaza next to the Livermore outlets. The Vietnamese-focused food hall in the Grand Century plaza in SJ has been around for a long time as has the Korean one along El Camino and Lawrence (where Jang Su Jang is).

There’s some kind of Asian food hall coming to Cupertino in the 99 Ranch plaza on De Anza, but it’s still being built out.

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from Diablo Magazine, November 2019 issue, by Andrea Vasquez Nelson:

“As we transform this building from department store to a department store of food, it’s going to be the heartbeat [and] center of the community,” says Craig Semmelmeyer, founder and principal of Main Street Property Services, whose past projects include the Marketplace in San Ramon, and the Shops at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord.

#### Gustatory Gatherings

In the last decade, the explosion of e-commerce has coupled with a growing foodie culture and a yearning for community interaction as an antidote to virtual social lives, longer workdays, and telecommuting. The result: People are turning to food as a centerpiece for social gathering—whether it’s events like the Asian-inspired night markets in Pleasanton and Berkeley, reincarnated food courts like the one at the Veranda in Concord, or food halls such as the Foundry, a two-story, 25,000-square-foot dining and community space coming to Walnut Creek.


The trend has gained so much steam that 2019 was dubbed the Year of the Food Hall in the United States by property-development leader Gotham Organization, with the number of food halls nationwide on pace to nearly quadruple from 120 in 2016 to 450 by the end of next year.

City Center Bishop Ranch San Ramon

The Veranda Concord

Oakland International Airport

Public Market Emeryville

Castro Valley Marketplace

ETA: January 2020

The Foundry

Location: Downtown Walnut Creek. ETA: Breaking ground in 2020

Oakland Assembly

Location: Jack London Square, Oakland
ETA: Phase one planned for summer 2020.


Wow, that’s quite an answer to my question! Thank you!

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