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Katz's Delicatessen

New York

The Best Traditional Restaurants and Eateries in New York

These iconic New York institutions should be on every food lovers radar.

Updated on Jan 26, 2024 | World of Mouth team

New York City offers a diverse selection of cuisines from every corner of the world. Still, there are some classics one should not miss eating at when in NYC. In this guide to the best traditional eateries and restaurants in New York, we have listed places that have stood the test of time and remained relevant. Such experiences include eating the iconic Reuben sandwich at Katz's Delicatessen, the classic thin and flavorful slices at Bellucci Pizza, and eating some of the best lox bagels in town at Russ & Daughters.

All picks for this article are based on personal recommendations from World of Mouth experts like Joshua David Stein, Wylie Dufresne and Gaggan Anand. So read on and discover the quintessential New York classics.

Katz's Delicatessen

205 E Houston St

205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002, USA

Katz's Delicatessen, a renowned NYC deli, is famed for its colossal pastrami on rye, often regarded as a city staple. This iconic establishment has been serving up quintessential Jewish comfort food for over a century, with a menu that includes a rich matzo ball soup and crunchy pickles. Despite the long wait, customers consistently recommend the Pastrami Reuben, describing it as an unforgettable sandwich experience.

Recommended by

Their signature dish, the colossal pastrami on rye, is often hailed as one of the city’s best.For over a century, this iconic restaurant has been serving up New York City’s quintessential Jewish comfort food. Their signature dish, the colossal pastrami on rye, is often hailed as one of the city’s best. Tourist trap or not, this is a pretty damn good sandwich. Other items on the menu include the corned beef sandwich, a rich matzo ball soup, and crunchy pickles.

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Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen

205 E Houston St

205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002, USA

Pastrami Queen

138 W 72nd St A

138 W 72nd St A, New York, NY 10023, USA

Pastrami Queen is a low-key venue known for its top-notch pastrami sandwich. It's a favorite among die-hard pastrami enthusiasts, who appreciate its non-touristy vibe and the tender, juicy meat piled high on rye bread. The restaurant, which has been serving kosher food since 1956, prides itself on preparing meals from scratch every day using only the finest quality ingredients and kosher meats.

Recommended by

My Favorite Pastrami SandwichI love Pastrami Queen and it is not a touristy place. Hard core pastrami lovers will agree that it is excellent. They are located uptown.

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Pastrami Queen

Pastrami Queen

138 W 72nd St A

138 W 72nd St A, New York, NY 10023, USA

Jing Fong

202 Centre St

202 Centre St, New York, NY 10013, USA

Jing Fong is a well-regarded restaurant known for its fresh and classic dim sum dishes, with a few unexpected surprises. The restaurant offers both pick up and delivery services, ensuring that you can enjoy their delicious food wherever you are. They operate from two locations, one at 380 Amsterdam Avenue and the other at 202 Centre Street, with varying hours to suit your schedule.

Recommended by

One of the best dim sum places anywhere. Fresh, classic dishes but with a few surprise dishes

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Jing Fong

Jing Fong

202 Centre St

202 Centre St, New York, NY 10013, USA

Russ & Daughters Brooklyn

141 Flushing Ave Building 77

141 Flushing Ave Building 77, Brooklyn, NY 11205, USA

Russ & Daughters Brooklyn is renowned for serving some of the best bagels in New York. Known for their fresh, perfectly small bagels with a shiny crust and chewy interior, they have been a beloved institution for over a century. Whether you're picking up an order or enjoying their offerings onsite, you can expect a delightful experience with their signature bagels paired with silken slices of lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and onion.

Recommended by

The freshest and best bagels in New York from a century old institution.The original Russ & Daughters is on the Lower East Side but their bakery is situated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard where you actually watch your bagels made. They come out, fresh as day, perfectly small with a shiny crust and chewy interior. Paired with silken slices of lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes and onion, it's the closest thing to heaven on Earth.

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Russ & Daughters Brooklyn

Russ & Daughters Brooklyn

141 Flushing Ave Building 77

141 Flushing Ave Building 77, Brooklyn, NY 11205, USA

L&B Spumoni Gardens

2725 86th St

2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223, USA

L&B Spumoni Gardens is a traditional Italian eatery that has been serving remarkable Sicilian pies and ice cream since 1939. Known for its unbeatable pizza with pillowy dough, sweet tomato sauce, and mozzarella, it's a go-to spot for comfort food in any season. In the summer, guests can enjoy their food outdoors, while in the colder months, the recently renovated dining room provides a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Recommended by

A Brooklyn institution for good reason with tremendous Sicilian pies.When it's the summer and you're fresh from a dip in Coney Island, when it's the winter and you need comfort, the pies at L&B are unbeatable. We're a pizza city but I haven't found anything that beats the pillowy dough, the sweet tomato sauce and the mozz of a classic Sicilian square at L&B. (During the summer, the move is to sit outside with your pizza then order the Italian ice. During the colder months, the newly remodeled dining room is plenty welcoming.)

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L&B Spumoni Gardens

L&B Spumoni Gardens

2725 86th St

2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223, USA

Bellucci Pizza

2904 30th Ave.

2904 30th Ave., Queens, NY 11102, USA

Bellucci Pizza offers a world-class slice pizza, a perfect blend of New York–style and 'New York–Neapolitan'. Known for its thin, crisp, and flavorful slices, the pizza is crafted by Andrew Bellucci, a pizza maker with a history of creating iconic pizzas. The restaurant is family-owned and takes pride in using fresh, high-quality ingredients, with a special focus on achieving crust excellence.

Recommended by

Bellucci is making consistently excellent thin, crisp, and flavorful slices in this tiny shop.World-class slice pizza somewhere between New York–style and “New York–Neapolitan” (aka coal-oven pizza) made by pizza obsessive Andrew Bellucci, the pizza maker who helped resurrect NYC icon Lombardi’s in the 1990s. Bellucci is making consistently excellent thin, crisp, and flavorful slices in this tiny shop off the beaten path in Queens.

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Bellucci Pizza

Bellucci Pizza

2904 30th Ave.

2904 30th Ave., Queens, NY 11102, USA

Absolute Bagels

2788 Broadway

2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, USA

Absolute Bagels is a popular bagel shop known for its delicious bagels that are worth the wait in line. According to extensive research by many visitors, it's a must-try spot for bagel lovers. Many customers have expressed their satisfaction with the taste and quality, making sure to revisit on their subsequent trips.

Recommended by

It feels like you are obligated to have at least one bagel when you visit New York. We did an extensive research until deciding this was going to be the place to try a bagel in NYC. We can't tell if it's the best in the city, but one thing is sure, that bagel was super good and we will have it again on our next visit!

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Absolute Bagels

Absolute Bagels

2788 Broadway

2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, USA

Scarr's Pizza

35 Orchard St

35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA

Scarr's Pizza, managed by Scarr Pimentel, is known for its quality pizza slices. They have recently expanded their menu at a new location, situated just across the street from the original slice shop. They also offer catering services and make their pizza with 100% all-natural, stone milled flour.

Recommended by

Scarr's, by Scarr Pimentel, serves some great pizza slices and their brand new location across the street from his original slice shop, has an expanded menu.
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Scarr's Pizza

Scarr's Pizza

35 Orchard St

35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA

JG Melon

1291 3rd Ave

1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021, USA

JG Melon, established in 1972, is a favorite spot for late-night burgers on the Upper East Side. The menu features a range of dishes including hearty burgers, chili, sandwiches, and fries, all complemented by a selection of cocktails. Please note, only cash payments are accepted at this establishment.

Recommended by

JG Melon on Upper East Side is great for very drunk midnight burgers. It’s been around since 1972 serving burgers, chili, sandwiches, fries and cocktails. Payment by cash only. When you’re drunk this is the best burger place!

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JG Melon

JG Melon

1291 3rd Ave

1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021, USA

Dog Day Afternoon

266 L, Prospect Park W

266 L, Prospect Park W, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA

Dog Day Afternoon is a go-to spot for authentic Chicago style hot dogs, putting a serious spin on street food. They serve classic hot dogs with the perfect snap, accompanied by pickles, celery salt, yellow mustard, raw onions, and bright green relish on a poppy seed bun. The restaurant also offers a notable Chicago style beef sandwich, ensuring a satisfying meal for every customer.

Recommended by

My neighborhood hot dog shop, also one of the city's bestPut a hot dog anywhere near me and I'll try it. Despite living equidistant between Dog Day Afternoon and the stalwart Nathan's in Coney Island, I return again and again to DDA. The hot dogs are classic, with the perfect snap and served Chicago style (pickles, celery salt, yellow mustard, raw onions, bright green relish) on a poppy seed bun. They also make a tremendous Chicago style beef sandwich.

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Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon

266 L, Prospect Park W

266 L, Prospect Park W, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA

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