Even if you eat at three places a day, it would still take an impressive 7.5 years to try all of New York’s restaurants. While this highlights the sheer amount of places to eat in the Big Apple, there are a few in particular that stand out — and have for quite some time. From the oldest deli in New York to a tavern that’s been serving food since 1762, here are just a few of the city’s timeless classics that are definitely worth a visit if you’re planning a trip anytime soon.
Known as the oldest deli in New York, Katz’s Delicatessen has been serving food since 1888. Having been featured in the 1989 rom-com “When Harry Met Sally,” the deli is also made famous by their massive sandwiches — and is particularly known for its pastrami on rye.
Located on the southwest corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one review written by Erin McDowell for Insider notes “The sandwich came with a slathering of deli mustard on each piece of bread. The pastrami was juicy, unbelievably tender, and fell apart with each bite,” further going on to mention the impressive size of the sandwich itself.
McDowell concludes the review with the remark “In the end, I thought the sandwich was definitely worth the hype and the price point was justified.”
Regarded as the oldest restaurant in the city, Fraunces Tavern dates back to the year 1762, and has a rich history to go along with its grand old age. Located at 54 Pearl St. at the corner of Broad Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, the restaurant’s history actually coincides with the American War of Independence, when the British took control of it in order to feed their soldiers.
While the tavern was won back by November of 1785, it’s noted that General George Clinton held an honorary banquet at the location in honor of none other than George Washington. Today, the tavern is well-known for its all-American style cuisine (as well as their beer and whiskey), and even has an on-site museum to explore above the tavern itself — thus making it an educational stop for tourists to grab a bite to eat.
The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Located on the lower level of the Grand Central Terminal at 89 East 42nd Street, the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant is a must-visit for foodies who love fresh seafood. Having opened back in the year 1913, the restaurant was originally called the Grand Central Terminal Restaurant, and once featured persian carpets and cane-backed chairs, according to one Wall Street Journal article.
With a rich history filled with multiple major events — including being featured on the cover of the New Yorker back in 1941 and recovering from a fire in 1997, the restaurant has persevered — even after closing twice due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Having opened its doors in September of 2021, favorites on the menu include fresh fish and crab cakes, with dinner options including oyster stew, fried scallops over arugula, and whole lobster.
For foodies planning a trip to New York City, finding good food isn’t difficult when considering the impressive number of restaurants present throughout. However, for those looking to try some of the city’s oldest and most classic restaurants, variety can be found everywhere, from the oldest deli around to the more recent Grand Central seafood staple.