Best Food Court - 2001
Emeryville Public Market
Though it has a Borders Books, a Universal Artists Cinema Multiplex, and a few other shops and services, the Emeryville Public Market is basically a big food court. But don't be alarmed -- at this market "best" and "food court" aren't incompatible terms. First, you can get just about anything you want in its warehouselike space -- from sushi to schwarma to spaghetti, from Afghan to Mexican to Creole. What's more, most of the food is better than the standard food court fare -- the restaurants aren't big corporate franchises, and many of the menu items are made to order (rather than waiting for you under a heat lamp). The high ceilings and cavernous surroundings make for a constant hushed background noise, and the anonymous feel of it is quite welcoming. It's a good space in which to lose an hour or two reading a book or people-watching.