New York cuisine is a melting pot of different cultures and flavors, making it one of the most diverse and exciting food scenes in the world. From the classic New York-style pizza to the famous pastrami sandwiches, the city offers a wide range of culinary delights that are sure to satisfy any foodie’s cravings. The Big Apple is home to some of the best New York delis, most of which have been serving up mouthwatering sandwiches for decades! And let’s face it — most Americans agree, there is nothing more satisfying than a sandwich!
A recent survey shows that more than four in five Americans are picky about their sandwiches and delis! In a poll of 2,002 people, 62 percent say they are loyal to one restaurant or deli specifically because they make the best sandwiches. One of the most iconic delis in NYC is Katz’s Delicatessen, which has been serving up delicious pastrami sandwiches since 1888. Another must-try is Russ & Daughters, a family-owned deli that has been around for over 100 years and is famous for its smoked fish and bagels.
These famous delis lining the concrete jungle’s streets are normally family-owned and have been sticking to the same traditional flavor since they opened. This is good news for shoppers and businesses alike. A recent study shows that Americans trust local and family-owned businesses more than any other kind. The poll of 2,000 adults reveals that 67 percent trust local businesses and 64 percent trust family-owned businesses. That’s compared to 59 percent when it comes to corporate multinationals and 61 percent who rely on franchises.
Heading to the city for a delicious pastrami on rye? You’ve come to the right place. StudyFinds has compiled a list of the best New York delis that are sure to make your taste buds dance with joy. We searched ten expert sources to find the tastiest delis the Big Apple has to offer. Here’s to finding your new favorite sandwich! Let us know in the comments below if we missed your favorite spot to grab a bite.
The List: Best New York Delis, Most Recommended by Experts
1. Katz Deli
If you’re looking for a true New York deli experience, Katz Deli is a must-visit. This iconic establishment has been serving up some of the city’s best pastrami, corned beef, and other deli favorites for over 130 years.
Is it a pastrami on club or is it a work of art? ❤️🔪😷 pic.twitter.com/0lGSM8grcq
— Katz’s Delicatessen (@KatzsDeli) October 11, 2021
The atmosphere is bustling and lively, with a classic deli counter and communal tables where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy their meals. “The mingling aromas of steaming beef, franks and beans, pickling juices, sauerkraut, roasting turkeys, French fries is inebriating,” writes Forbes. “You get a ticket on the way in, the countermen make your food—all meats are still hand-carved by masters who have been slicing for decades—then clips your ticket, and you move along quickly to get potatoes and drinks.”
But what really sets Katz Deli apart is the quality of their food. Every bite of their juicy, perfectly seasoned meat is a reminder of why this place has become a legend in the city’s culinary scene. “This cavernous cafeteria is a repository of New York history—glossies of celebs spanning the past century crowd the walls, and the classic Jewish deli offerings are nonpareil,” TimeOut says. “Start with a crisp-skinned, all-beef hot dog for just $3.10. Then flag down a meat cutter and order a legendary sandwich. The brisket sings with horseradish, and the thick-cut pastrami stacked high between slices of rye is the stuff of dreams. Everything tastes better with a glass of the hoppy house lager; if you’re on the wagon, make it a Dr. Brown’s.”
“Despite being a famous spot, this place is still humble and is considered the best deli in NYC to visit for a pastrami sandwich,” adds The World & Then Some. “Each pastrami sandwich is packed full of thick deli meat and features a generous spread of mustard. Perfectly tender and brimming with flavor, it’s no surprise that visitors just keep coming back to this deli in NYC!”
Whether you’re in the mood for a classic sandwich, a hearty matzo ball soup, or a towering pile of pastrami on rye, Katz Deli is the place to go. Don’t miss out on this New York institution – make sure to add it to your list of must-visit delis in the city.
2. 2nd Avenue Deli
If you’re looking for the best deli in New York City, then look no further than 2nd Avenue Deli. This iconic establishment has been serving up some of the most delicious Jewish deli fare for over 60 years. “Although the new location is no longer on Second Avenue, this old-school Jewish deli brings the same character and quality of food to its new spot,” writes Best things New York. “The historic deli has been around since 1954, and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from Zagat, as well as other media sources.”
TimeOut adds: “After the 2006 shuttering of the deli’s original East Village location, Jeremy Lebewohl, the founder’s nephew, reopened the place at this misleading Murray Hill address, menu intact. Most things are as good as ever: Schmaltz-laden chopped liver is whipped to a mousselike consistency, and the deli meats, including juicy pastrami and corned beef, skillfully straddle the line between fatty and lean. Good news for wistful aficionados: The decor, from the Hebraic logo to the blue-white-and-brown tiles and celeb headshots made the trip uptown too.”
From their famous pastrami sandwiches to their matzo ball soup, everything on the menu is made with the highest quality ingredients and prepared with care. But what really sets 2nd Avenue Deli apart is their commitment to tradition. Michelin Guide says, “While the décor may be more deli-meets-deco and there’s a tad less attitude, this food is every bit as good as it was on Second Avenue.” They still make their own pickles, smoke their own meats, and bake their own bread. And the atmosphere is just as authentic as the food. With its old-school decor and friendly staff, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the golden age of delis.
USA Today says, “Sit back, sip your egg cream and bite into old New York.” So, if you want to experience the true taste of New York, head to 2nd Avenue Deli and indulge in some of the city’s tastiest secrets. You won’t be disappointed.
3. Barney Greengrass
Speaking of the best New York delis, you can’t miss Barney Greengrass. This iconic deli has been serving up some of the city’s tastiest smoked fish for over 100 years. From their famous sturgeon to their silky lox, Barney Greengrass offers a range of fish that will satisfy even the most discerning palates. But it’s not just the fish that makes this deli special. The old-school decor and bustling atmosphere transport you back in time to when delis were the heart of the neighborhood.
“Since 1929, this noisy deli—and self-proclaimed Sturgeon King—has hummed with hungry activity,” says Gayot. “Upper West Siders crowd in early to start the day on scrambled eggs with Nova and onions, or bagels with sturgeon (that was FDR‘s favorite Christmas gift by mail), Nova or sable and cream cheese. The deli counter, where you can get your bagels, cream cheese and smoked fish to go, looks like something time forgot—especially the older countermen, who love to share their words of wisdom with shoppers.”
Trip 101 adds: “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.”
“Despite decor that Jewish mothers might call ‘schmutzy,’ this legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch,” TimeOut writes. “Enormous egg platters come with the usual choice of smoked fish (such as sturgeon or Nova Scotia salmon). Prices are high but portions are large—and that goes for the sandwiches, too. Or try the less costly dishes: matzo-ball soup, creamy egg salad or cold pink borscht served in a glass jar.”
And the service is top-notch, with friendly staff who make you feel like family. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a first-time visitor, Barney Greengrass is a must-visit for anyone who loves classic New York deli fare. So if you’re in the city and looking for a taste of history, head to Barney Greengrass and see why it’s been a New York institution for over a century.
4. Sarge’s Deli
This iconic eatery has been serving up some of the city’s tastiest sandwiches and sides for over 50 years, and it’s easy to see why it’s become such a beloved institution. “Founded by a police sergeant in 1964, Sarge’s is known for having likely the most overstuffed sandwiches in the city,” Pure Wow writes. “Boasting in-house cured corned beef and pastrami, homemade matzoh ball soup, breakfast dishes, cold cut platters and cheesecakes to die for, come to this Midtown joint hungry.”
Whether you’re in the mood for a towering pastrami on rye, a hearty matzo ball soup, or a decadent slice of cheesecake, Sarge’s has got you covered. “This traditional family-owned deli serves overstuffed deli sandwiches, as well as New York favorites like smoked fish, chopped liver, kugel, kreplach, and knishes,” says Walks of New York. But what really sets Sarge’s apart from the competition is the quality of their ingredients. From their hand-sliced meats to their freshly baked bread, everything is made with care and attention to detail. And with generous portions that are sure to leave you feeling satisfied, it’s no wonder that Sarge’s has become a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike.
Secret NYC adds: “Of course their pastrami is the talk of the town, but they also are home to a famous food challenge of eating The Monster, a sandwich with five types of fresh-sliced meat layered between three giant slices of Thick Seeded Rye Bread. Be warned: It’s no quest for the faint-hearted or weak-hearted!”
So if you’re looking for a taste of authentic New York deli cuisine, look no further than Sarge’s Deli. With its warm, welcoming atmosphere and unbeatable food, it’s no wonder that this place has become a true New York institution. So why not stop by and see for yourself what all the fuss is about? Trust us, your taste buds will thank you.
5. Mile End Deli
If you’re looking for a deli that truly embodies the essence of New York, look no further than Mile End. This Brooklyn-based eatery has been serving up some of the city’s most delicious and authentic Jewish fare for years, and it’s no wonder why it’s become a staple in the local food scene. “This is Montreal Jewish fare, the stuff comfort food dreams are made of,” writes Michelin Guide. “Think of thin slices of corned beef piled high, topped with kraut and Russian dressing, blanketed in melted Swiss and wedged between toasted pumpernickel. Side dishes are as serious as the main ones, like that Canadian classic poutine, finished in a number of ways, including cheese curds, gravy, eggs, and even chicken schnitzel.”
From their famous smoked meat sandwiches to their homemade pickles and matzo ball soup, every bite at Mile End is a true taste of New York. Gayot adds: “Mile End is a collision between deli culture, Montreal and Brooklyn, and a sacred culinary spot for Quebecois expats living in the Big Apple. The locavore-leaning offerings include a tender roasted Wagyu beef au jus on a sea salt roll, fried pickled green tomatoes with a smoked paprika sour cream, Brussels sprouts spiked with candied walnuts and green apple and, of course, gooey poutine. But it’s the bagels alone that bring people out to this Boerum Hill deli, as they’re brought in from Montreal and made in that special Quebecois manner (hand-rolled, par-boiled in honey-infused water, and baked), making them smaller, denser, and slightly sweet.”
But what really sets this deli apart is their commitment to quality and tradition. They use only the finest ingredients and time-honored techniques to craft each dish, ensuring that every customer leaves satisfied and craving more. The World & Then Some describes this deli as a “staple,” stating, “Mile End Deli is possibly the best deli in NYC and is a staple for both locals and visitors. The first Mile End deli was opened in 2010, and this deli’s mission was to spread the joy of Jewish comfort food to the people of New York. Featuring the owners’ grandmother’s recipes as the base for their menu, we feel that they well and truly succeeded with bringing their vision to life. Everything here is cooked from scratch, so expect fresh food that’s made to order.”
So if you’re in the mood for a truly authentic New York deli experience, head on over to Mile End and taste for yourself why it’s one of the city’s tastiest secrets. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Places to Live In New York
- Best Neighborhoods in New York City
- Best Pizza in NYC
- Best Bagels in the USA
- USA Today
- Trip 101
- Pure Wow
- Secret NYC
- Michelin Guide
- Best things New York
- The World & Then Some
- Walks of New York
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations