The Most Famous Restaurants in New York


New York

New York by Helen Alfvegren from Wikimedia Commons

New York is home to some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants. New restaurants open and generate excitement on a daily basis, so the greatest restaurants in NYC reflect a rainbow of cuisines and approaches. New Yorkers are fortunate in that there is always something new and fascinating to explore, but old favourites – the city’s most famous eateries — have lasted the test of time, feeding generations of devotees.

The city’s most famous eateries are all-time favourites that locals and visitors alike should visit at least once. Steakhouses, delis, and pizza shops (including the greatest pizza in the United States) are among the iconic New York eateries. You’ll discover local regulars, families, ownership passed down through decades, and, of course, delicious food when dining at these establishments.

These legendary New York restaurants are the place to go when you’re searching for a spot to celebrate or feel like you’re dining with family.

1. Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen

Katz’s Delicatessen by TaurusEmerald from Wikimedia Commons

The typical Jewish deli options are unrivalled, and the enormous cafeteria is a museum of New York history—glossies of celebrities from the previous century line the walls. Start with a fiver for a crisp-skinned, all-beef hot dog. Then order one of the famed sandwiches from a meat cutter.

The thick-cut pastrami heaped high between pieces of rye is the stuff of fantasies, and the brisket sings with horseradish. With a glass of the hoppy house beer, everything tastes better; if you’re on the wagon, make it a Dr Brown’s.

2. Peter Luger

Luger dinner.

Luger dinner by PLBechly from Wikimedia Commons

Despite the fact that a host of Luger knockoffs have thrived in recent years, none have managed to replicate the elusive allure of this stucco-walled, beer-hall-style café with well-worn hardwood floors and tables and servers in waistcoats and bow ties.

Excess is the theme, whether it’s the relatively healthy tomato salad (thick slices of tomato and onion with an unexpected addition of steak sauce), the famed porterhouse for two, 44 ounces of sliced prime beef, or the crisp apple strudel with a bowl of Schlag. Without hesitation, go for it all – it’s a one-of-a-kind New York experience worth experiencing.

3. Lombardi’s

Lombardi's Pizza

Lombardi’s Pizza by Beyond My Ken from Wikimedia Commons

In 1905, Gennario Lombardi founded the first pizza in the United States in Soho. It’s difficult to say how the pizzas tasted a century ago, but following a refurbishment, there’s more elbow room, albeit not the charm of the old business. Lombardi’s, on the other hand, continues to bake a strong candidate for greatest pie.

4. Keens Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse by Leonard J. DeFrancisci from Wikimedia Commons

Tobacco pipes hang from the ceiling and walls, some from long-ago Keen’s regulars like Babe Ruth, J.P. Morgan, and Teddy Roosevelt. Even on these non-smoking days, you can smell the restaurant’s 120-plus-year heritage.

Bevelled-glass doors, two blazing fires, and a forest of dark wood harken back to a period when “Diamond Jim” Brady placed bushels of oysters, slabs of seared steak, and troughs of ale on his table. The famed three-inch-thick mutton chop (think a saddle of lamb but with more punch) and a porterhouse (for two or three) are still on the menu.

5. Tavern on the Green

The golden dining room tucked within Central Park was a New York landmark for 75 years, attracting visitors, newlyweds, and superstar diners (Grace Kelly, John Lennon) alike. When the glitzy cash cow went bankrupt and closed in 2010, big-name backers ranging from Danny Meyer to Donald Trump expressed interest in bringing the iconic facility back to life.

Imagine the surprise when Jim Caiola and David Salama, two Philadelphia crepe-makers, won the proposal to renovate the monument as an urban farmhouse with wood-beam ceilings, leather-covered tables, and several hearths. Alum Mesa Grill Katy Sparks swaps off the Eisenhower-era platters for the more contemporary, fire-fueled fare: Braised farro spaghetti with blistered sweet peppers, wood-roasted Japanese eggplant with pomegranate and sheep’s-milk yoghurt, and lamb

6. The Rainbow Room

Rainbow room

Rainbow roomby bradfordschultze by Wikimedia Commons

From its elevation, 65 floors up, the iconic lounge atop 30 Rock delivers stunning cityscape views as well as old-world meets modern American dishes.

Dress to impress (jackets are necessary) for an opulent evening of dining and dancing in the heart of the famed crystal ballroom to the sounds of a live band. Alternatively, treat yourself to a delicious Sunday Brunch. Reservations can be made up to six weeks in advance for both.

7. Totonno’s

Totonno's Pizzeria

Totonno’s Pizzeria by Prince Roy from Wikimedia Commons

The red-sauce slice is the staple at many Brooklyn pizzerias, from Di Fara’s Sicilian squares to Patsy’s Neapolitan rounds. The top-notch white pie is the pizza de résistance at Totonno’s, a Coney Island landmark since Anthony Pero opened his doors in 1924. The off-menu garlicky round is coated in shining white house-made mozzarella and pecorino romano, leopard-spotted with crispy char marks and attracts sand-dusted pizza fans from the beach.

It’s the greatest dish on the menu, which is saying something considering the wonderful options, such as the pure Margherita pie. Pero’s granddaughter Louise “Cookie” Ciminieri, whose fortitude has preserved this seaside hangout a pizza force to be reckoned with all these years, uses no-nonsense dinnerware—Styrofoam plates and Dixie cups.

8. Delmonico’s

Delmonico’s Building

Delmonico’s Building by Kidfly182 from Wikimedia Commons

Delmonico’s, the country’s first fine-dining institution, debuted on William Street in 1831. In the 178 years since it opened, the restaurant has been credited with not only the much-imitated Delmonico steak, but also lobster Newburg, eggs Benedict, and baked Alaska, and it was reportedly the first American restaurant to allow diners to order from an à la carte menu rather than a table d’hôte menu.

9. The Russian Tea Room

This revitalized socialite hotspot has never looked or tasted better. Nothing has changed to the gilded-bird friezes or the famously gaudy crystal-bear aquarium, which will please nostalgia enthusiasts.

Thankfully, the menu has been updated, with dishes inspired by former Soviet republics such as one of the city’s greatest borscht and more adventurous entrées like cocoa-dusted seared deer with truffle-scented tvorog (cheese) dumplings. However, the enjoyment is not cheap, and the portions are little. Chicken kiev and beef stroganoff can be cooked upon request for die-hard fans.

10. Nathan’s Famous


Nathan’s by joeymanley from Wikimedia Commons

The original Surf-and-Stillwell location, which opened in 1916, serves sizzling hot dogs every day and holds the legendary, crowd-pleasing eating contest every July 4. The original subway tiles and famous signs remain, as do menu favorites like crinkle-cut fries and thick-battered corn dogs, but there’s one gleaming “new” addition: a curbside clam bar, a resurrection of the restaurant’s original raw bar from the 1950s.

Oysters and littlenecks from the East Coast are shucked to order and served with chowder crackers, lemon wedges, sinus-clearing horseradish, and cocktail sauce over a mountain of ice.

New York is commonly known for street food so in case you’re doubtful about proper restaurants then New York street food is what you should explore especially since the food is cooked right in front of you. 

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