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.