The Best Places To Eat In DeKalb Market Hall

Oxtail grilled cheese, al pastor, and Katz's pastrami without the long line.
A Taste of Katz's stall inside Dekalb Market Hall.

photo credit: Kate Previte

DeKalb Market Hall is Brooklyn’s biggest and most useful food hall. It’s close to several trains, anything there can be ordered to go, and you can make a Target run afterwards. It also has a fun Vegas-like quality to it, with colorful signs, flashing lights, and people taking a gamble on whether they will be able to stay awake after eating an oxtail grilled cheese.

With more than 35 food stalls—including some big names like Katz's—it can be hard to tell what will actually be good, and what still feels like food from a food hall. These greatest hits include juicy al pastor, fancy hand rolls, oxtail everything, and yes, a giant pastrami sandwich with a slightly shorter wait time than at the original.


photo credit: Kate Previte


Downtown Brooklyn

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch
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In a city where most taquerias do not grind their own masa, Jefe Tacos earns itself instant extra credit. The housemade corn tortillas here take the tacos, volcans, and quesadillas to a higher plane of existence, where all is warm and chewy. We particularly love the al pastor tacos, with crispy meat that’s thinly sliced from a trompo behind the counter, but you can grab a carne asada burrito, a pollo asado bowl, or a tostada topped with shrimp ceviche.

Of the stalls that are outposts of well-known, bigger operations, Daigo is closest to the original. It’s also pretty luxe for a food hall—maki and hand rolls with yuzu kosho and shiso are made to order, and the scallop sashimi is a rather elegant appetizer to eat at a picnic table. The prices match. A light lunch of two rolls will run you anywhere from $16-$24. That might be why there’s never a rush despite how good it is.

To be clear, this is not a full-on Katz’s. It’s A Taste of Katz’s—in other words, a kiosk serving a truncated menu of the iconic Lower East Side deli’s fan faves. Maybe it’s the subterranean setting, or maybe it’s the fact that there isn’t a dedicated hot dog station, but the food at this outpost doesn't seem quite as impressive at first glance. And yet, we’d consume a towering pastrami sandwich from here in a heartbeat. This is not a light lunch, but it is an elite one.

Wiki Wiki is a Hawaiian spot where you can get things like poke bowls, different types of ramen, and mixed plates full of macaroni salad and grilled pork or chicken. But you should prioritize the  $5 Spam musubi, which is one of our favorite snacks in the market. Nicely charred spam, warm rice, savory nori, and sprinkled with some sesame seeds—it’s a great pick-me-up, and a perfect walking-around snack for figuring out what you’re going to bring back to the office for lunch.

There’s a surprising lack of burgers at this food hall, but you can get an interesting one at this Pakistani spot. Order their Jani burger, which comes with spicy chutney, grilled tomato, and a big patty that’s somehow lighter than it appears. They also serve a fried chicken sandwich and grilled lamb chops, but these ones aren’t as tender as the ones at their original Williamsburg shop. Stick to the burger.

If you enter DeKalb Market Hall with no idea where to go, let the neon lights of Baby’s Buns & Buckets beckon you over. The women-owned, Thai-American stall makes slider-sized buns with fried chicken and papaya-carrot slaw, and french fries with chili lime seasoning, but you should turn your attention to the buckets. They’re exactly what they sound like—movie theater popcorn-sized containers full of rice and your choice of protein, with toppings like garlic mayo or pickled onions. Go for the fried chicken or the sticky-sweet grilled pork.

The Colombian spot, which specializes in handheld favorites, has been operating their first storefront in Jackson Heights since the ’90s. At their DeKalb stall, you can get a shorter menu of arepas and empanadas. We’d suggest going for an arepa de rellena, which are stuffed with stewed or grilled meats and melty cheese—your face will only get a little dirty if you’re planning on eating your chicharron arepa back at your desk. You can also get three crusty and rich empanadas for $7.

Oxtail steals the show at Fat Fowl, a chicken-centric spot in the back right corner of the hall. Their $21 oxtail grilled cheese is a sweet and savory mix of peppery oxtail, caramelized onions, and cheddar, pressed between butter-infused sourdough. They keep the gravy to the minimum, so it's not as messy as it sounds. We recommend saving this one for dinner—we had one at 12pm and had to find a conference room for a quick nap. If you’re actually looking for some fowl, their lavender-scented rotisserie chicken is a less sleep-inducing option, especially if you choose coconut quinoa and charred broccoli as your sides.  

Meanwhile, over at Likkle More Jerk (right across from Fat Fowl), the chicken has a louder flavor. This Jamaican stall sells platters of jerk chicken, fish, shrimp, and pork with rice and peas. Those are solid, but when we want something more exciting, the jerkrito is our move. It’s a fork-and-knife situation that uses roti as a wrap and functions more like a chubby enchilada, with generous drizzles of pepper sauce and a jerk-spiced mayo. Also, if you want oxtail with more chill, get their traditional oxtail stew.

This stall keeps their Fuzhounese and Cantonese food simple. You just choose your meat (duck, bbq pork, chicken, or crispy pork) and it’s served over noodles or rice. We prefer the rice combo, because it comes with bento box portions of meat, steamed rice, broccoli, a hard boiled egg, and a mini bun. The $4 curry fish balls are also worth trying. There’s rarely a line during lunch, so sneak over to this sleeper hit while everyone else is getting their soup at Hana Noodle (see below).

When you just need a bowl of soup, this Chinese spot is useful for its variety. It’s a long menu for a food hall, complete with apps, dim sum, soups, dry noodles, and rice dishes. We find the dry noodle stuff, well, dry, but their soups, especially the braised beef and Singaporean laksa, have gotten us through some rainy days. No matter what you get, you can choose your noodles: rice or hand-pulled, thick or thin. Hana is a popular stall, so plan on waiting up to 15 minutes after you order.

You’ll find coxinhas at a lot of Brazilian restaurants, even the formal ones, but these crispy, teardrop-shaped croquettes aren’t exactly white tablecloth food. Hot coxinhas are a good on-the-go option. Their counter sells coxinhas in cups of six or 10 pieces, with fillings like chicken, spinach, and dulce de leche. Expect to wait about 10 minutes for a fresh order—and then another five until they’re cool enough to eat without burning your tongue.

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