10 Old-School Steakhouses in NYC that Never Disappoint

New York City is home to legendary steakhouses dating back to the 1800s, as well as former speakeasies that stand shoulder-to-shoulder (or chop-to-chop) alongside newcomers with more eclectic approaches. 

When choosing the top ten steakhouses in New York City, we looked for delectable, mouth-watering hunks of meat, an almost cult-like following of regulars, and enough staying power or innovation to draw crowds the world over.

What we've uncovered is a list that mingles traditional with inventive in old-school steakhouses that just keep getting better with age. Take Peter Luger, for example. One of the oldest steakhouses in the city, it's still turning out fantastic meals from its vantage point under the Williamsburg Bridge. Or, the 90-year old Gallaghers Steakhouse that recently emerged from a dramatic makeover, yet still features an unmistakeable storefront meat locker.

At the same time, relative newcomer, Porter House Bar and Grill in the Time Warner Center, overlooks Central Park while winning accolades and St. Anselm caters to carnivores looking for a fine cut without breaking the bank in Brooklyn.

If there's one thing New Yorkers know, it's steak: from Manhattan to Brooklyn, prime cuts reign supreme. Now, if you're ready to get started, let's not waste any more time. Below, the ten best steak joints in the city.


Quality Meats
Photo courtesy of Quality Meats

What Peter Luger is to old-school steakhouses, Quality Meats is to the modern wave of beefy hotspots in New York City. While you'll find nearly all of the same cuts here - bone-in rib-eyes, strips, filets - you'll recognize immediately that this trendy space defies the norm of what a steakhouse is known to be. For one, steel meat hook chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, a nod to pushing the boundaries. The menu follows suit, with dishes like hamachi sashimi with Black Mission figs and Thai chili vinaigrette, or the Cajun short rib with potato gnocchi and burgundy truffles. Luckily, the chefs in the kitchen hold their own against the cool vibe of the space, turning out near perfectly executed cuts of meat on the regular.

St. Anselm doesn't call itself a steakhouse, and it doesn't much look like one either. A chalkboard as you enter assures all guests of the "natural," hormone-and-antibiotic-free" pedigree of its menu. The dining room is small, tables dwarfed by a long bar with metal stools, and green-slatted shutters closing out the onlookers on Metropolitan Avenue. What's coming out of the kitchen, however, will convince you that not only is St. Anselm a meat haven, it's one of the best ones in town. An ideal meal looks something like this: grilled halloumi with pea greens and string beans roasted shishito peppers and the butcher's steak with compound garlic butter. The best part? It's affordable. That steak we mentioned? Yeah, that's under 20 bucks.

Chef Marc Forgione's American Cut Steakhouse is best known for signature dishes that include the chili lobster, the "OG" 1924 Hotel Caesar and the show-stopping 52-ounce porterhouse complete with flaming bone marrow butter prepared tableside. Likewise, the décor is meant to impress: original stained glass windows, ornate crown moldings and the original fireplace all create an opulent atmosphere. The Midtown branch features lighter a la carte options like salads and fish, as well as a pastrami sandwich with brisket, brined and smoked. Looking for a celebrity sighting rather than art deco flair? Head a little farther south to American Cut's Tribeca location.


Michael Lomonaco, Chef and Managing Partner of Porter House Bar and Grill, has pretty much dedicated his life to the American kitchen; his New York steakhouse being the expressions of that passion. Set in the heart of Columbus Circle, steps from Lincoln Center and across from Central Park, Porter House New York is located on the fourth floor of Time Warner Center and features sweeping views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. The porterhouse for two is certainly a splurge, but if you'd rather just come for the ambiance, order up a Manhattan and chase it down with the burger and fries. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Garment District

Unless it's freakishly low, or ridiculously lofty, a restaurant's ceiling probably isn't the first thing that draws your attention. At Keens, it'll be all you can look at - that is until they bring your meal. Keens Steakhouse - established in 1885 - is one of New York's oldest and most revered eateries. It also happens to have the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world literally hanging from its rafters. The tradition stems from the days when travelers left their delicate pipes at their favorite inns until they returned. Today, Keen's is well-known for its mutton chop - a deep cut of meat so succulent you'll wonder why its popularity ever waned. NY trivia: Keens is the only survivor of what was known as the Herald Square Theatre District.

Financial District

Set on the corner of Beaver and South William Street, Delmonico's first opened its doors in 1837 and was the setting for a birthday party for Mark Twain. Since then, this spot has hosted more than a dozen American presidents and countless financial tycoons who mosey over from nearby Wall Street. The restaurant attracts a loyal crowd who feel at home amongst the low-key bar, warm wood paneling and leather furniture. The menu is classic steakhouse fare, with an impressive offering of chilled shellfish, crisp salads and a collection of aged steak cuts that'll have you salivating as you order.

It's hard to mistake what Gallaghers Steakhouse is all about. If the name weren't already enough, then the meat locker that greet diners at the storefront is a dead giveaway. Rescued by Central Park Boathouse operator Dean Poll, Gallaghers (minus the apostrophe) is now as one visitor said: "Old New York lite:" wall mirrors sparkle, white linens and wine-colored banquettes invite and the ceiling has been rehung with its 14 famous hickory chandeliers. Originally a speakeasy launched by Ziegfeld girl Helen Gallagher in 1927, Gallaghers promises a New York experience from start to finish. Fine steaks grilled over blazing hickory coals, rubs from coffee to porcini mushrooms and a lesser expensive lunchtime menu with a giant Porterhouse are sure to delight.

West Village

With outposts in Midtown and Vegas, the Strip House in the East Village riffs off its name by adorning its walls with pictures of scantily clad ladies. The rest of the joint looks like it could be straight out of a mafia flick, and just like in the films, everyone's eating well. You can't go wrong with the strip here either, but if you opt to go rogue with the bone-in rib-eye, be prepared to have the memory of this exquisite meal stay with you for a long, long time. Normally desserts are something of an after-thought after a marbleized, fatty cut of meat. Not here. Order the 12-tier chocolate cake. Die happy.

Peter Luger Steakhouse

This 19th century Williamsburg icon is a time-honored tradition for locals and visitors alike. Is this cash-only steak icon touristy? Yes. Old-school? Absolutely. But sometimes, things are popular for a reason. Peter Luger has been serving up mammoth porterhouses and fried German potatoes on the same Williamsburg corner since 1887. The two-story structure has seen a lot of changes outside its doors, but inside, the tune remains the same. The hyper-masculine interiors and no-nonsense wait staff give the place an old-fashioned vibe, and the epic steaks keep customers coming back for more. In the mood for slightly lighter fare? Visit at lunch, which is the only time the restaurant serves its burger.

West Village
Minetta Tavern

Step back in time to old New York at this thriving West Village haunt originally decorated in the 1930s. The saloon-style decor (swinging door, included) work perfectly with the white table clothes and succulent bistro steaks. Black and white floors, original tin ceiling tiles and wood paneling all work together to create a lively feel perfectly suited to a fancy dinner out on the town. The classic tavern menu offers intricately flavored dishes to compliment world-renowned steaks. Dry-aged cote de boeuf with roasted marrow bones, truffled pork sausage with salt pond oysters and veal porterhouse chops are just a few selections from the satisfying menu.


Meet Andrea Wien

Andrea Wien was bitten by the travel bug from an early age, and has lived in New York, Seattle, Cleveland and Sydney, Australia since 2007.

When she's not traveling or planning a trip, you'll...  More About Andrea