Take a Number: The Hungry Traveler's Guide to New York City's Best Delis

Emily Saladino

By , Local Expert, New York
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You've seen When Harry Met Sally, right? You know that scene where the titular characters meet for pastrami sandwiches and she... well, you know what happens next. Can New York City's delis really be that good?

The answer is yes. A million times yes. The classic cuisine of the city that never sleeps has been imitated, parodied (see: Muppets Tonight) and occasionally overlooked -- even by locals -- for fusion fads or lunchtime flavors of the week. But the classic New York deli has unending appeal.

Of course, like everything in this city of endless options, there are countless variations on the theme. Your corner bodega, a...  Read more »

  • 1

    Katz's Deli

    This iconic Lower East Side deli has spawned countless imitators, but the house-cured pastrami and enormous half-sour pickles are the real deal.

    Local Expert Tip: "Katz's cinematic legacy precedes it, so wait times at peak hours can be considerable. Come early on your lunch hour, or stop in for a mid-afternoon weekday snack."

  • 2

    Eisenberg Sandwich Shop

    Eisenberg's is a taste of the past, served between two soft, perfectly grainy slices of marbled rye.

    Local Expert Tip: "Couple your meal with a lime rickey or egg cream, two New York City counter classics."

  • 3

    DeFonte's of Brooklyn

    A Brooklyn sandwich shop with moxie to spare, DeFonte's brings Italian-American deli fare into the 21st Century.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't feel like making the trek out to Red Hook? DeFonte's opened an outpost in Manhattan's Gramercy neighborhood in 2009."

  • 4

    Barney Greengrass

    Got fish? Barney Greengrass, the Sturgeon King, dishes out authentic Jewish comfort.

    Local Expert Tip: "There's more to Barney than the sea. Try a plate of salami and scrambled eggs, a classic "Borscht Belt" feast."

  • 5

    2nd Avenue Deli

    Manhattan's favorite kosher institution, fresh from its controversial move off of Second Avenue, turns 60 this year.

    Local Expert Tip: "Curious about the name? In 2007, the restaurant moved from its historic location on the Lower East Side to this quiet side street in Midtown East. There's now an Upper East Side branch as well."

  • 6

    Carnegie Deli

    This New York City legend has been serving deli platters and comically large sandwiches since 1937.

    Local Expert Tip: "Save room for a slice of Carnegie's rich, creamy cheesecake. It's a New York classic."

  • 7

    D & F Italian Deli

    This Italian-American deli serves killer sandwiches and antipasti in the heart of Astoria, Queens.

    Local Expert Tip: "D & Fs is known for its stellar sandwiches. Grab a couple to go for a perfect picnic!"

  • 8

    Artie's Deli

    Although it debuted just 14 years ago, this old-fashioned, Upper West Side deli feels timeless.

    Local Expert Tip: "Work up an appetite by coupling a trip to Artie's with a stroll or bike ride through nearby Central Park. Bicycle rentals are on the east side of the park, near the Loeb Boathouse -- or, of course, you can just stop by the nearest CitiBike station. "

  • 9

    Russ & Daughters

    The last of a dying breed, Russ & Daughters is an old-school "appetizing store," selling knishes,...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Can't wait until you get home to eat that piping hot sweet potato knish? There is a small public park between the basketball courts on Chrystie. Grab a table or a bench, and get ready to picnic, New York-style."

  • 10

    Mile End Sandwich

    Bond Street's new-breed sandwich shop breathes fresh life into a beloved Brooklyn original.

    Local Expert Tip: "Ditch the diet, and tuck into Mile End's smoked meat poutine. It's Montreal's late-night classic with a memorable, meaty twist."



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