12 Of The Best Delis In NYC

best delis in NYC

New York City is the premier travel destination in all of the United States. It’s perhaps the greatest food city in the world rivaled only by Paris and Tokyo. From the most amazing hotels with restaurants to some of the best cheap Airbnbs, you’re sure to find a neighborhood with great food in NYC. There are a few foods you absolutely must try when you are in New York City. A dirty water hot dog is a must, as is a nice meal in a steak house, but perhaps the most quintessentially New York place to eat is a deli. There is no one “best Jewish deli” in NYC as there a number of great delicatessens where you can find all the comfort food from pastrami to bagels. For a long time Carnegie Deli was usually at the top of any list ranking delis, but now that the famous eatery has closed these are the delis that are in a battle for the top spot. Here are some of the best delis in NYC.

1. Pastrami Queen

New York 2017
Source: Photo by user Tjeerd Wiersma used under CC BY 2.0

Pastrami Queen used to be Pastrami King, but the name change and move from Brooklyn to Queens didn’t affect the quality of this pastrami one bit. It is one of the best NYC delis and is now located in Manhattan on the upper east side, Pastrami Queen still offers high-quality food at an affordable price. The pastrami on rye has the perfect blend of spices, and it’s incredibly succulent.

Pastrami Queen

Address: 1125 Lexington Ave # 2, New York, NY 10075

Website: Pastrami Queen

2. Barney Greengrass

Barney Greengrass
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user kris.layon used under CC BY 2.0

Barney Greengrass on the upper west side is the place to go if you’re looking for high-quality smoked fish. This New York delicatessen has a selection that is beyond impressive - from salmon to herring to sturgeon. Lox on a bagel at Barney Greengrass might be the ultimate New York City breakfast. It has earned the name the Sturgeon King.

Barney Greengrass

Address: 541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Website: Barney Greengrass

3. d Ave Deli

Second Avenue Deli
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Librarygroover used under CC BY 2.0

The 2nd Ave Deli gets it name from its original location. It first opened in 1956, and even though it has moved since then the succulent meats are still some of the best in all of New York City. All your favorite Jewish staples can be found at the Second Avenue Deli. A nice corned beef sandwich with a bowl of matzah ball soup are a perfect combination. Unlike many other delis, this one is open 7 days a week, including Saturday (the sabbath). The deli is Kosher, but some Orthodox Jews choose not to eat there because it is open on the holy day.

Second Avenue Deli

Address: Two locations: 1442 First Avenue; and 162 East 33rd Street

Website: Second Avenue Deli

4. Sarge's Deli

Sarge's Delicatessen
Source: Photo by user Eden, Janine and Jim used under CC BY 2.0

Herring? Check. Lox? Check. Pastrami? Check. Sturgeon? Check. Gifilte fish? Check. All the staples of a high quality delicatessen are at Sarge’s. However, you may be shocked at some of the other things on the menu. Steak, cheesecake and BBQ ribs? It’s all here too in this famous New York deli. Surprisingly the quality of the food is all top-notch even though there are hundreds of items on the menu. This is what happens when a deli and diner come together in one.

Sarge's Deli

Address: 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

Website: Sarge’s Deli

5. Mile End Deli

Mile End Delicatessen, Brooklyn, Sept 2017
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomson200 used under CC0

The Mile End Deli is different from the other NYC delis on this list because it is heavily influenced by a Canadian style. Mile End specializes in Montreal smoked meat, which has a slightly different taste and cooking method than its more famous cousin pastrami. Montreal smoked meat has a decidedly more robust and smokier flavor. The age old debate of pastrami vs Montreal smoked meat needs you as a judge, so head to Mile End and try some for yourself.

Mile End Deli

Address: Two locations: 97A Hoyt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217; and 53 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012

Website: Mile End Deli

6. David's Brisket House

Corned Beef and Pastrami Sandwich
Source: Photo by user Ron Dollete used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

David’s Brisket House has a name so simple that you can easily tell what this deli is all about. This brisket is so soft and moist that you won’t even have to worry about adding mustard. This Brooklyn hot spot has a long and storied history that is as intriguing as the delicious menu items. When the restaurant opened over 50 years ago it was run by a Russian Jew named Dave. The name remains, but now it is run by neither a Jew nor a Dave. In fact, this top notch Jewish Deli is run by a Muslim. This is a Halal deli now, and it’s a testament to the power of delicious meat. No matter your background, food can truly unite us as humans.

David's Brisket House

Address: 533 Nostrand Ave, 11216 Brooklyn, New York

Website: David’s Brisket House

7. Mill Basin Deli

Pastrami and Chopped Liver Sandwich
Source: Photo by user Kate Hopkins used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This Kosher deli in Brooklyn has all your favorites from chopped liver to pastrami. The stuffed cabbage rolls are huge, and there is even a wide selection of desserts. This is an authentic Jewish deli and the prices are extremely affordable. It’s one of the gems on the Brooklyn deli scene.

Mill Basin Deli

Address: 5823 Ave. T, Brooklyn, NY 11234

Website: Mill Basin Deli

8. Russ and Daughters (from USD 96.0)

New York 4th of July Weekend 2009 (3690886291)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jazz Guy used under CC BY 2.0

If you have ever seen the tv show Louie you are probably familiar with this famous delicatessen. Herring is the popular dish here, and you are meant to eat it right then and there in one bite. Russ and Daughters has been around since 1914, and it’s a staple of New York City culinary history. There are actually three location now. There’s the original appetizing store, a sit down restaurant and a Russ and Daughters in the Jewish History Museum.

Russ and Daughters

Address: Three locations: 179 E Houston St, New York; 127 Orchard St, New York; and 1109 5th Ave, New York

Website: Russ and Daughters

Private Tastes of the Lower East Side Tour

Duration: 2 hours

5 reviews

9. Katz's Deli (from USD 75.0)

Katz's Deli
Source: Photo by user Tamsin Slater used under CC BY-SA 2.0

When you think New York City you probably think of Katz’s Deli. This delicatessen was on the map long before the famous orgasm scene in the Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan comedy When Harry Met Sally. Frankly, the mountain of corned beef and pastrami is even better than actual sex. The slow cooking process results in juicy and tender sandwiches. There are so many sandwich combinations to choose from including the tongue, liver, corned beef, and pastrami. A nice bowl of matzah ball soup is a perfect accompaniment. Katz’s has been around since 1888, and it will likely last another 100 plus years.

Katz's Deli

Address: 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Website: Katz’s Deli

Lower East Side Eats Food Tour

Duration: 3 hours

62 reviews

10. Rupert Jee's Hello Deli

Hello Deli - The Shaffer
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jay Reed used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Ruper Jee’s Hello Deli is a one-of-a-kind local shop serving mouth-watering sandwiches. Their penchant for naming sandwiches after celebrities and famous New York references has gotten them featured on The Late Show with David Letterman – and yes, they do have a Letterman sandwich, as well as one named after Stephen Colbert, and a number of others. You cannot go wrong regardless of which one you pick, but friendly owner Rupert is always glad to give recommendations.

Rupert Jee's Hello Deli

Address: 213 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States

Website: Rupert Jee’s Hello Deli

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 5:30pm; Sat: 8am - 3pm (closed on Sun)

11. NY Grill & Deli

NY Italian Sub
Source: Photo by Flickr user peapodsquadmom used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

NY Grill & Deli has become a staple in New York. With multiple locations open across the city, you can be sure the high-quality food on offer will satisfy your tastebuds. Their breakfast sandwiches and bagels are local favorites, while their extensive list of hot sandwiches leaves customers spoiled for choice. Yankees Special and NY Special are popular sandwiches, while their Chipotle Bacon Burger is no slouch either. Do yourself a favor and visit NY Grill & Deli for a bite to eat – you won’t regret it.

NY Grill & Deli

Address: 191 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

12. Al's Delicatessen & Catering

NY Style Corned Beef Sandwich
Source: Photo by Flickr user Larry Hoffman used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you want an unpretentious hole-in-the-wall deli with sandwiches and dishes packed with delicious flavor, then Al’s Delicatessen & Catering is the place to go. Regardless of your preferred style, this place is sure to have a sandwich or meal that will catch your interest. Local favorites include a Reuben sandwich, a delicious gyro, and their best seller called Burrito Sensation. They also serve an extensive breakfast menu, including fruit pancakes, breakfast burritos, and egg sandwiches. With over 20 years in the business, the owners know what they are doing. Stop by and enjoy a great meal at Al’s Delicatessen & Catering.

Al's Delicatessen & Catering

Address: 458 Fashion Ave #1, New York, NY 10123, United States

Website: Al’s Delicatessen & Catering

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Delis are the heart and soul of the NYC food scene

Katz's Pastrami - Smoked to juicy perfection and hand carved to your specifications
Source: Photo by user City Foodsters used under CC BY 2.0

A corned beef or pastrami sandwich is the quintessential New York meal. Delis have been satiating the hunger of tourists and locals for over 100 years, and they will continue to do so for may years to come. Delis are what make the NYC food scene so vibrant. They are a historic part of the city. Immigrants brought their food customs to America so everyone could enjoy them, and delis are a prime example of that. The next time you are in New York be sure to stop by one of these delis.

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Rob Cramer is a Canadian writer and travel enthusiast who loves to sample exotic food from all over the world. He spends most of his time traveling throughout Asia sampling bizarre delicacies like...Read more

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