I've been using the search function but not finding too much info about Chelsea Market. Some other sites online make it seem like a tourist trap and that it's not worth the visit. I was hoping I could get some cheap eats while I'm staying in the area. If not CM what other good cheap eats are in the Chelsea area?
Not looking for anything too fancy. Thanks.
I have gone to Chelsea Market a number of times each year since it opened and every time I go I wonder what the attraction is. (I guess I'm always hoping the next time I go will be better than before.) I've never once eaten there (no shops ever looked interesting enough: a Hale & Hearty? really?) and I can't even remember if I've ever bought anything there. In my opinion, Chelsea Market is one of those places that seems like a good idea on paper but never really lived up to its expectations in reality.
As a NYC resident, I actually really like Chelsea Market. I buy lots of good, inexpensive produce at the Manhattan Fruit and Vegetable Exchange; good quality seafood at the Lobster Place; truffles at Buon Italia; and when I don't bake myself, good bread from Amy's Bread. (I like the CM location better than the one on Bleeker St., though the latter is closer to me.)
But that stuff may not be all that interesting to you unless you have a kitchen where you're staying. As a visitor, you CAN get one of the best deals on a lobster dinner, anywhere in NYC, at the Lobster Place by having them steam a fresh lobster you pick out, and eating it at one of the tables just outside the store. They give you drawn butter and a small salad. You can pick up bread and sides elsewhere in Chelsea Market, and then have dessert at L'Arte del Gelato or somewhere else. Lobster's running between $11 and $13 a lb last I checked. L'Arte del Gelato had a wonderful uva(?) grape sorbet and olive oil gelato last I checked. It's $5 for a medium IIRC, so it's not everyone's idea of a cheap eat, but it's also not Per Se pricing.
Other good, cheap eats:
Chelsea Thai in Chelsea Market
Co Ba (Vietnamese)
Dil e Punjab (Punjabi; it's not amazing food, but it's very authentic and fairly good; takeout unless you want to do what the cab drivers do and eat leaning against the counter)
El Idolo taco truck at 14th Street and 8th Ave. in the evenings
i like Chelsea Market too...i often stop in when i'm walking home from Chelsea art galleries and grab either a seafood salad of some kind from the Lobster Place or a pad gra prow at Chelsea Thai...if it's not a must-visit or anything, but a nice place for a snack or coffee if you are in the area...
If you like oysters, Lobster Place is a great, inexpensive place to indulge, too. They'll shuck them for you and give them to you on a plate, which is especially great for those of us who can't shuck an oyster without taking off a finger. I'll check out the seafood salad. Don't think I've ever tried it.
I live near it and it is where I shop. For that it is awesome: Buon Italia for Italian goods; good breads from Amy's; seafood to cook at home; cheeses from Lucy's whey; oils, vinegars and salts from Filling Station; wines from Chelsea Wine Cellar.
It's not cheap.
For the tourist, I've never seen the appeal. I guess for the visitor not buying food to prepare, it serves as a high end food court. Yesterday I literally saw a family of tourists all split up and come back to a table to enjoy their individually chosen lunches together. I had stopped in after a run to fix a salad from Manhattan Fruit Exchange.
Vendors I like there:
Dickson's Farmstand Meats -- butcher counter, and as for prepared food, they have excellent beef jerky and hot dogs
Amy's Bread - sticky buns, cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon twists, challah knots, etc
Sarabeth's - brunch, cookies, jams, awesome scones
Chelsea Fruit Exchange - lots of good odds and ends here in addition to the produce, but not especially helpful if you are a tourist
The Lobster Place - lobster rolls, chowder, and they will steam a whole lobster for you to eat right there
Ronnybrook Milk Bar - milk, obviously, and ice cream, but I tend to buy things to consume at home here
L'Arte de Gelato - excellent sorbets and gelatos, especially the olive oil, mascarpone, and strawberry
Buon Italia - mostly for dried pastas and nutella sometimes
Jacques Torres - filled chocolates, chocolate covered oranges, chocolate covered potato chips, chocolate covered cherrios, malt balls, etc.
9th Street Espresso - espresso, and surprisingly good drip coffee, too
People's Pops - for a somewhat healthier popsicle treat made from local fruit
Tuck Shop - my husband is a sucker for Aussie meat pies
The only place I'd avoid is the wine store, the prices seemed overly high to me.
I also really enjoy some of the fashion/clothing pop-ups that have been there lately (like the Artists & Fleas flea market).
After reading other's replies I realized why I am not impressed with Chelsea Market: I like walking around the city and going to the various types of stores found there. I guess I am always expecting to find something there I can;t get somewhere else.
ios94: That said, please do not let my earlier post stop you from going. Do check out the shops the others have mentioned.
a cup of coffee and a bread from Amy's makes for a nice breakfast on the High Line. on it's own, Chelsea Market might not be a tourist destination, but coupled with the High Line and the Chelsea galleries, it's one of my favorite ways to spend a day. now that Blue Bottle opened their siphon bar on 15th, there's even more reason to go.
Manhattan Fruit Exchange and Dickinson's are reason enough for repeat visits. not much to eat while there, though, besides breakfast and dessert.
I second this opinion--coupled with the High Line, it's definitely a worthwhile stop for a tourist for a coffee and a pastry or some other such effortless bite to go, but it's not an end of its own.
Really it's most useful attribute seems to be the pantry stocking opportunities for locals who are cooking their own food at home (adding to the chorus, I am also a huge fan of the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, and my roommate buys her seafood from the Lobster Pound).
I am glad someone started this post. I read in the recent Food Network Magazine that Chelsea Market was a place to visit in the New York section. Thanks for the comments.
I think some of the vendors in CM are among the best in NYC. The lobsters from Chelsea Lobster, some of the breads from Amy's and certainly the grass-fed aged beef from Dickson's. Don't forget the 9th Street Coffee. They do some amazing coffees. I also think Lucy's Whey gets some wonderful cheese though it is certainly more expensive than Murray's or other comparable shops.
There are certainly some middle of the road vendors as well. I've always found Chelsea Wine Vault to have an attitude that's unpleasant and I somehow don't 'get' the olive oil place but I'm not sure why.
This is usually our afternoon stop on the way out of town. I buy bread, seafood, fresh pasta and treat myself to something from the Bowery Kitchen Supply store. The lobste bisque from the Lobster Place is one of the best on the planet (comes from having an excess of lobster shells).While most of my friends come home with bags of clothes, I come home with great food.
No else has mentioned Buon Italia. I consider it a useful destination but even if you don't have a specific interest in Italian foods, it's definitely worth browsing if you're already at the Market. No pretty displays to look at, but they have a lot of Italian imports you won't find elsewhere in Manhattan. Never tried their prepared foods, but they have some of those, too.
Made it a quick stop at CM on my recent visit. I enjoyed my visit but it was way too chaotic on Saturday afternoon, it would have been much more enjoyable at a non peak time. I didn't know what to try in the midst of the chaos and crowds and ended up having a crab club at The Lobster Place. It did the job and the crab meat was very fresh, others in the group grabbed some italian pizza from Buon Italia which also hit the spot.
re: rose water
Hear, hear. I cannot understand the appeal of slowly shuffling through a market to take pictures of groceries and admire steaks you're not going to bring back to your hotel. You can only imagine my frustration when I popped in on Sunday to buy groceries and a tour bus full of teens unloaded right into the market. Their handlers were fascinated by the place, as evidenced by their blocking foot traffic to admire the hot dogs at Dickson or take pictures of truffle salt, but 30 minutes later, the teens were still where I last found them, ambling about the front of the market, bored out of their minds.