In the 1930s, New York City boasted at least 1,500 kosher delis. Today, that number is down to double digits, but if you’re in midtown Manhattan, triple-decker sandwiches and traditional soups are still easy to find—and utterly scrumptious. Here are four can’t-miss spots.
This New York institution, founded in 1954, is no longer located on 2nd Avenue (it relocated to East 33rd Street 10 years ago), but its lavish and mouth-watering portions of pastrami and corned beef remain the same. In cozy booths beneath the pressed-tin ceiling, tuck into specialties like mushroom barley soup and whitefish salad. Save room for traditional babka and rugelach pastries.
This family-run operation has been dishing up kosher delicacies since 1972. Highlights range from old-fashioned chicken matzoh ball soup to the foot-long Israeli Hero sandwich. Almost everything’s made in-house. “I feel we’re as much a part of New York history as the Statue of Liberty,” says manager David Czegledi. Birthday parties and bar mitzvahs enliven the West 38th Street location, just steps away from Times Square.
When the iconic Carnegie Deli closed at the end of last year, fans of its decadent strawberry cheesecake and Reuben sandwich mourned. But head to Madison Square Garden for a New York Rangers hockey game or a Billy Joel concert, and two concession stands still serve Carnegie’s signature open-style pastrami, corned beef and turkey sandwiches on rye bread. The meat is smoked at the same New Jersey commissary that the original 1937-founded deli used.
Rupert Jee’s is neither Jewish nor kosher, yet TV fans flock to this 53rd Street hole-in-the-wall for its association with David Letterman. The owner made regular cameos on The Late Show, and the menu features sandwiches named after other regulars from the show like band leader Paul Shaffer (chicken cutlet) and stage manager Biff Henderson (sautéed roast beef). Late Show heir Stephen Colbert has also come in, and commemorative mugs and shirts are for sale. Generous servings and quick service also make this deli a must-visit.
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From classic soul food to Michelin-starred sushi and baked pastries, there’s so much to savour in this New York City Uptown neighbourhood. Eat chicken and waffles at legendary Amy Ruth’s, experience the lively atmosphere of Red Rooster Harlem and sip creative cocktails at ROKC.