Best International Cities for Food Halls and Markets 2023

Global Tastemakers is our first-ever reader’s choice awards, celebrating the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. F&W readers voted based on travel completed within the past three years, on categories including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. Due to the limitations of pandemic travel, this year’s Global Tastemakers winners reflect a smaller portion of the globe. In many categories, we’re including an editor’s pick to shout out some more culinary destinations in places you can’t miss. See the full list of winners at foodandwine.com/globaltastemakers.

To maximize your time in a city, hit its local food halls. Home to a variety of purveyors selling seasonal produce, prepared foods, and raw materials, these flavor-packed establishments promise to satisfy whatever craving may strike — as well as inspire a few.

Like food halls, food-focused markets are imperative to a city’s gastronomy scene. If you’re looking for meats and cheeses, produce and spices, or a variety of homemade oils, spreads, and baked goods, a local food market showcases the best that a city has to offer. Curious where to begin? Our readers voted these ten international cities the very best destinations for exploring food halls and street markets.


Tokyo

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No city does food markets better than Tokyo. With regards to traditional markets, Tsukiji is the city’s most well known, especially for fresh fish. (Note: Tsukiji is broken down into two separate markets, the inner market, which is for food professionals, and the outer market, which is more for the general public.) In addition to traditional food markets, the city is also known for its sprawling, underground food halls known locally as depachikas.

Additionally, Toyosu Fish Market is also great for seafood (don’t miss the tuna auction or sushi breakfast offering), whereas the United Nations University Farmers Market is the go-to for produce. Ameya Yokocho is regarded for its wagashi sweet treats and rice bowls, and you can’t miss Nakamise Dori for soft serve ice cream, taiyaki, and other Japanese delicacies.



Doha

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No trip to Doha is complete without hitting a few of the city’s famous street markets. Souq Waqif, the city’s most famous market (which translates to “standing market”), is home to souvenirs, spices, and street food, though there are plenty of more food-focused destinations to add to your list. Snan Food Hall offers a variety of items, including coffee, poke bowls, salads, and more, while the Torba Farmers Market is a no-brainer for fresh fruits, organic veggies, and more. For late-night eating, hit Lusail Night Market for burgers, fried chicken, and breakfast for dinner (at Pinky & the Brain).



San Sebastián

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San Sebastián is synonymous with great eats, from award-winning fine-dining restaurants to street food and beyond. Naturally, its food market scene is equally robust. Bretxa Market is located in the Old Town and is the city’s most well-known market, dating back over 150 years. Here, locals and Michelin-starred chefs brush shoulders to obtain the city’s best produce, charcuterie, traditional pastries, and locally-caught seafood. 

For pintxos, tapas, and on-the-go meals, head to Mercado San Martín, located near Buen Pastor. Ordizia and Tolosa is also an excellent stop for produce, as well as a dose of history — this open-air market has been operating since 1512. For dairy products, honey, and some of the city’s best cakes, a stop at Mercado Internente de Productos is a must.



Madrid

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Madrid is home to some of Spain’s most famous food markets and halls, so much so that it’ll likely take you more than one trip to conquer them all. However, hitting the foundations is a great place to start. The city’s most famous food hall, Mercado de San Miguel, is home to 33 stalls serving up a plethora of local delicacies, from fried fish to flaky pastries — plus, the ambiance is simply unmissable. 

For a more traditional (and budget-friendly) market experience, head to Mercado Anton Martin for prepared foods, as well as meats, produce, and fish. Cocktail lovers, be sure to check out Saint Ildephonsus Market, a bustling tri-level marketplace with 20 food stalls and three on-site cocktail bars. In the city’s Salamanca neighborhood, be sure to hit Mercado de la Paz, if only for a taste of Casa Dani’s world-famous tortilla española.



Mexico City

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Mexico City is a bucket list destination for food-focused travelers worldwide, and the proof is in its local food markets. Mercado La Merced, the city’s most famous food market, is home to a variety of goods, from spices and candies to homemade moles and beyond. Mercado Coyoacan, located near the Frida Kahlo Museum, is known for its fresh-squeezed juices, fruits, and veggies; it’s also where Kahlo herself went shopping. 

For some of the city’s best meats and fish, Mercado de San Juan is the place to be, while a trip to Mercado Medellín promises excellent prepared foods based on Central Mexican, Peruvian, and other South American cuisines.



Lisbon

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Although Lisbon has long been synonymous with salty, locally-caught seafood called conservas — which it does impeccably — the city’s food scene goes far beyond fish. Time Out Mercado da Ribeira is the city’s most famous market and is ideally located right on the river, making it the perfect pit stop for a coffee and a pastel de nata break (or a small beer and bolinho de bacalhau, should the craving strike). 

For a taste of Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cuisines, head to the more international Mercado de Fusão, which translates to “fusion market.” For a gourmet food hall with incredibly sourced ingredients, Mercado de Campo de Ourique offers a variety of fresh meats, cheeses, and produce, as well as prepared snacks to enjoy on the fly. Last but not least, the Mercado de Arroios, which first opened its doors in 1942, is also beloved for its locally-sourced raw materials, as well as globally-inspired prepared tapas.



Paris

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Paris’ food scene often conjures images of baguettes, bistros, and boulangeries galore — and while you’ll certainly find that, the City of Lights is also home to a plethora of exceptional food halls and open-air markets. For pizza, craft beer, and a range of Chinese offerings, head to Ground Control in the city’s 12th arrondissement. Italian food lovers, be sure to check out Eataly’s Marais-based location, as well as La Felicità, a 4,500-square-meter food court spearheaded by the Big Mamma group. Additionally, the newly opened Food Society, located near Montparnasse, offers 15 on-site restaurants in a casual setting. For open-air markets, check out some of the city’s most famous, including the Marché d’Aligre, as well as the Marché des Enfants Rouges and the iconic La Grande Epicerie (located on the ground floor of Le Bon Marché).



Tel Aviv

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Locals and tourists alike have long been drawn to Tel Aviv’s bustling food markets, and it’s no surprise why. The city’s eclectic offerings reflect both Israeli and international influence, with a sensory overload of smells and flavors. Sarona Market, one of the city’s biggest names, is home to over a hundred local purveyors selling spices, meats, and prepared foods (think of this like Barcelona’s Boqueria or New York’s Chelsea Market). 

For a more no-frills experience, check out Carmel Market, also known as Shuk HaCarmel, or Shuk Levinsky, which highlights foods from a variety of nearby countries, including Turkey and Iran. In northern Tel Aviv, Shuk HaNamal is the city’s only fully covered market and is known for its large variety of organic produce, handmade oils, and craft beers. No matter where you end up, be sure to taste a traditional boureka (savory baked pastry) and challah — and don’t forget to snag a baharat, a local blend of Middle Eastern spices, to take home.



Bologna

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When thinking of Italian food powerhouses, Rome or Florence may be the first to come to mind. While these cities definitely excel on the culinary stage, it’s actually Bologna that holds some of the country’s most interesting and historic markets and food halls. Mercato di Mezzo, for example, is the first fully covered market in Italy and is beloved for its homemade pasta, sauces, pastries, and more. 

For a taste of history, look no further than Quadrilatero, which dates back to the Renaissance. Here, produce and meats are in no short supply, though we recommend springing for the handmade tortellini, the region’s signature pasta. Campagna Amica and Mercato Ritrovato are great farmers’ markets offering olive oil, honey, and a variety of meats and dairy products. If you happen to be in town on a Sunday, be sure to hit the Mercato del Novale, which showcases fruits and veggies grown by Slow Food producers.



Copenhagen

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Copenhagen’s food scene is hands-down one of the best in all of Europe, and the foundations of its flavors can be found in the heart of the city’s food markets and halls. Torvehallerne, undoubtedly the city’s most famous food hall, is beloved for its eclectic mix of offerings, which ranges from traditional open-faced sandwiches, called smørrebrød, to exceptional stalls of pizza, sushi, or Korean street food, and so much more. For creative street food, look no further than Reffen, located in Refshaleøen. The relatively new Tivoli Food Hall, which first opened its doors in 2017, is also a great option for international street food, from burgers to burritos and more, and although more of an overall flea market, the hippie Freetown Christiania Market has fantastic vegetarian options.