September 22, 2023

5 Must-Visit Delis in NYC

Dive into the heart of the Big Apple, and you'll discover culinary wonders on every corner. Yet, few gastronomic experiences rival the city's iconic cafeterias. A vital part of Manhattan's dining tapestry, these establishments offer mouthwatering meals and a slice of New York history. Eager to explore? I've curated a list of the top 5 must-visit delis in NYC. Each tells a unique tale, tantalizing your taste buds and sense of nostalgia. So, let's embark on this flavorful journey through the bustling streets of New York City. Join me, and let's relish every bite.

Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen is a timeless culinary beacon in the Big Apple's vibrant food scene. This cafeteria, established in 1888, has witnessed eras come and go. But its allure remains steadfast. Take a bite of their hand-carved pastrami sandwich, and you're instantly transported. Succulent, flavorful, and steeped in tradition – it's a dish that embodies Manhattan's rich culinary heritage.

Notably, Katz's isn't just a culinary gem. It also has a fascinating connection to Hollywood history. In truth, as pointed out by, enthusiasts of the movie "When Harry Met Sally" express curiosity about Katz's and often choose to move near this spot. What's the reason behind this intrigue, you wonder? This iconic cafeteria was the backdrop for the unforgettable "I'll have what she's having" scene. Fans visit in droves, driven to relive that iconic moment and maybe recreate it.

Beyond the cinematic charm, what strikes visitors is the ambiance. Stepping into Katz's feels like a delightful jaunt down memory lane. The nostalgia-drenched interiors, the bustling counters, and the constant hum of chatter create an unmistakably New York atmosphere.

Must-Visit Delis in NYC: Carnegie Deli

Ah, Carnegie Deli! An emblem of Manhattan's edible marvels since 1937. A place where every sandwich tells a story. Gigantic. Overflowing. Their corned beef and pastrami sandwiches aren't just meals but epic tales of flavor. With each bite, there's an adventure waiting to be devoured.

While the food astounds, the deli's walls narrate a different tale. Adorned with celebrity snapshots, they echo whispers of the many legends who've graced the venue. From actors to musicians, countless stars have savored Carnegie’s signature delights.

Although the original cafeteria closed its doors, its essence lingers. Periodic pop-up reincarnations remind the city of its ancient charm. And in these moments, New Yorkers and tourists alike can't help but flock, reminiscing the olden golden days.

Carnegie Deli is more than just a dining spot in the bustling metropolis. It’s a testament to a culinary legacy where the heartbeats of past and present diners intermingle. Carnegie Deli awaits if you're on a quest to experience the soul of the City of Dreams through food.

Russ & Daughters

Nestled in the Lower East Side, Russ & Daughters beckons food enthusiasts with its tempting offerings. This cafeteria, started as a pushcart in 1914, has become a beloved culinary landmark. Its bagels with lox? Nothing short of legendary. Smoked fish, capers, and quality cream cheese merge to form an unparalleled delight. Furthermore, Russ & Daughters extends this quality to caviar as well. They curate their selection meticulously, catering to the most discerning palates.

Remarkably, the cafeteria is recognized as one of the longest-standing family-run establishments in Gotham. Its enduring presence is a testament to its outstanding food and impeccable service. Both newcomers and loyal customers can savor the rich history in every bite.

Why make it a dining destination? Russ & Daughters doesn't just serve food; it offers an immersive experience. It's a voyage through eras, flavors, and cherished customs. It's a pivotal spot that encapsulates the very spirit of a city woven from both flavorful and delightful tales. And if you are contemplating moving in NYC to be close to this cafeteria, don't forget to source your boxes and supplies with the same level of care and attention to detail as the staff at Russ & Dughter uses. After all, quality materials are key to a successful move. 

Pastrami Queen

Nestled in the heart of the city that never sleeps, Pastrami Queen reigns supreme among must-visit delis in NYC. From its humble beginnings in Brooklyn, this cafeteria has become an institution renowned for its mouthwatering pastrami.

The aromas envelop you upon entering, a symphony of spices and slow-cooked perfection. Thinly sliced and spiced to perfection, Pastrami Queen's pastrami is a revelation, a testament to the city's culinary prowess.

What distinguishes it? Unwavering quality. This modest treasure is a celebrity favorite and garners accolades from food connoisseurs. In NYC, veering off the usual track often uncovers the most delightful treasures, and Pastrami Queen is a testament to that. It's not merely about indulging in food but diving deep into the city's spirit through its unique tastes. Pastrami Queen represents the quintessence of NYC's deli tradition, where each mouthful transports you straight into the core of the Big Apple.

2nd Ave Deli

Tucked away amidst the dynamic cityscape, 2nd Ave Deli is a symbolic NYC experience known by locals as a true culinary heritage. With a history of weathered relocations, it has steadfastly upheld its status as a top-tier deli destination. As you step in, the inviting scent of matzoh ball soup and succulent brisket envelops you, feeling like a warm embrace from the city that never sleeps. A constant beacon, the Yahrzeit candle, glows in honor of the deli's founder, adding a touch of solemnity amidst the lively surroundings. But why is 2nd Ave Deli an essential stop? Beyond the sumptuous fare, it offers a flavorful slice of NYC's storied past. Each meal unfolds a narrative, connecting diners to the Big Apple's rich mosaic.


In this culinary exploration through the heart of the Big Apple, we've uncovered the hidden gems that make NYC's deli culture iconic. Every bite tells a story from Katz's Delicatessen, where movie magic meets pastrami perfection, to the enduring allure of Carnegie Deli's overstuffed sandwiches and the nostalgic charm of Russ & Daughters. As you embark on your gastronomic journey, remember that these cafeterias aren't just places to eat but repositories of history, flavor, and culture. So, explore, savor, and relish every moment in this extraordinary culinary tapestry of the must-visit delis in NYC.

Tags: New York NYC
Categories: Restaurants American





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