You’ve likely been hearing more and more about the self-described cook (because chef is too formal) José Andrés, whose celebrity status has only risen over the past year. Aside from standing alongside actor Diego Luna at the Oscars to present best picture nominee Roma, Andrés is himself a nominee for a higher honor—the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work providing disaster relief in Haiti and Puerto Rico, as well as feeding furloughed federal workers in Washington, D.C., during the seemingly unending government shutdown at the beginning of the year.
With a mission that seeks to change the world “through the power of food,” we’re finding his work (and, obviously, food!) hard to resist. And soon resistance will be essentially futile. That’s because Andrés, originally from Spain, is opening a collection of restaurants in Hudson Yards all at once. Welcome to your new favorite fancy food court: Mercado Little Spain. Once you’ve tired yourself out buzzing around the honeycomb-shaped Vessel, this is where you can experience world-renowned Spanish dining at its finest. After all that good eating, it might just be time for a siesta.
This is the fanciest of Andrés’s offerings, with a kitchen dedicated to what it considers its most magical and mysterious culinary supplement: fire. Paella will be prepared in abundance, as it should be, while your requested meats and vegetables roast over open embers. (Possibly related: There has been talk about Hudson Yards requiring its own fire station.) Plus, Andrés personally insists this spot will serve the best cut ham—to his Iberian specifications—anywhere in the city.
Inspired by the sea, this pescatarian-friendly venture focuses entirely on marine life. Even more so than the country from which Andrés hails, New York is surrounded by water. It’s an island, after all, though no one would recommend swimming in the Hudson. The menu will be continually updated with seafood that is local and seasonally available, another welcome stab at sustainability in the city.
The most casual of Andrés’s dining options is a Spanish take on the American classic, as the name suggests. The big winner on this menu is a universal staple and allegedly the chef’s favorite food item: eggs. The diner is located near the back of the Mercado Little Spain floor plan, so you can enjoy it as you would à la Seinfeld—slouching in the comfort of a booth while gorging yourself on breakfast foods.
A bona fide Spanish marketplace, this portion of the food hall layout is where you can seek out exactly what you came for: churros and a smattering of other fried and sweet options. Cookbooks (a friendly reminder that print isn’t dead!), alongside canned and dried goods, will also be available so that you can turn your kitchen into a Little Spain.
Perhaps the most heavy-handed name in the bunch (generally the titles of Mercado Little Spain’s spots land on the nose), Bar Celona is the José Andrés take on a cocktail bar. Exhausted by how many new retail and food options were suddenly plopped down in the middle of the city? Unwind with a sangria and bar snacks, if that’s your thing, and survey the passing scene.