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5 Of The Best Delis In New York City

Where the cups of joe are bottomless and the Reubens are oversized.

When it comes to dining, nothing says New York quite like the deli. Bagels, Pastramis on Rye, endless refills of filter coffee and pickles on the side of everything – they are the staple of any good concrete jungle experience. So loosen those belt buckles as we round up five of the best.


#1 The Iconic

Where: Katz’s Delicatessen, Corner East Houston & Ludlow Streets

If you’re looking for bang for your buck and a highly Instagrammable food moment, Katz’s is the deli for you. It’s where Sally explained the fake orgasm to Harry, where detectives Benson and Stabler have had many a pensive chat about crime and where Johnny Depp spent some time in Donny Brasco. With almost 130 years of experience behind it, Katz’s serves close to 5,000 kilos of pastrami a week to its loyal customers, so it’s pretty easy to guess what’s good on the menu. If that doesn’t take your fancy, why not try one of their famed hotdogs or something from the salami wall.


#2 The Speciality Deli

Where: Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side

If smoked fish is something you dream about each day (no judgment) an uptown pilgrimage to Barney Greengrass is definitely necessary. Known as the sturgeon king, Greengrass offers up some of the best speciality fish and caviar in the city. From tasting platters to the sturgeon scramble, or one of the famous triple deckers, you can get it any way you like at Barney Greengrass.


#3 The Newcomer

Where: Mile End, 53 Bond Street, NoHo and 97A Hoyt Street, Boerum Hill

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(Photo: Mile End Deli)

When it comes to the New York deli scene, five years of operation is small change. But new-kid-on-the-block Mile End has managed to make its mark in its short history, developing a cult following and amassing a slew of awards in the process, taking out Zagat’s top deli spot in 2013 – kicking Katz’s from the coveted top position. While it may not be wholly traditional, eating their Quebec-style smoked meats in a bun that’s perfectly sauced is about as close to heaven as you’ll get in New York.


#4 The Chic Offshoot

Where: Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston, Russ & Daughters Café – 127 Orchard Street

Offering up two very different but complimentary experiences is Russ & Daughters. Start your visit with a trip to their deli on East Houston to check out their incredible range of smoked fish, then make your way down a few blocks to Orchard Street to eat at their ultra polished café of the same name. Forget about mile high pastrami sandwiches – here, it’s all about petite rye baguettes, crisps on the side and traditional staples like knishes and latkes taken to another level. It’s on the more expensive side, but worth every penny.


#5 The True Experience

Where: Zabar’s, Broadway and 80th, Upper West Side

If you’re looking for the true deli experience – lines out the door, meats hanging from the ceiling, screaming your bagel order to a white coat server amongst a throng of others – head uptown to Zabar’s. Spanning almost an entire block front, you can spend hours perusing the aisles of hard-to-find food items, sit down next door, or grab a bagel to go and head a few blocks over to Central Park and eat in the sun.

(Lead image: Mile End/Facebook)

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