Luxury restaurants are popping up all the time in New York City, and as a result, the demand for the old-school dishes that defined the city’s food culture has diminished. However, as the New York dining scene continues to grow, some nostalgic establishments serving dishes like pastrami on rye, pickled herring, and matzo ball soup remain.
Long a center of Jewish culture and traditional eating, the Upper West Side still boasts a handful of delis that offer classic, purest comfort food. For some of the best delis in NYC, head to this neighborhood in the Uptown area.
The corner of 80th Street and Broadway has been home to this legendary family-owned market and restaurant for more than 80 years. Locals in the neighborhood line up at the counter to munch on tater tots, charcuterie, smoked salmon, and other home-cooked dishes while they munch. Find coffee, cheese, fresh pasta, bread, olives and other goodies in the grocery section. Sit at the counter of an adjacent deli and munch on bagels and cream cheese while watching for passersby, or leave with your favorite foods.
Fine and Schapiro
This Kosher restaurant has been alive since 1927 and still serves delicious deli food in its dated interior, but with updated prices. Popular menu options include Kreplach soup, stuffed cabbage and Hungarian stew, all prepared with care and with great flavor. Seafood lovers won’t want to miss the white fish salad, while meat lovers rave about the perfectly cooked corned beef. The service here can be a bit hit and miss, but the complimentary coleslaw and pickles are ideal for nibbling on while you wait.
138 W 72nd St.
Murray’s Sturgeon Shop
This low-key mainstay in the heart of the neighborhood sells not just seafood, but also Jewish dishes like pickled tongue and borscht, as well as New York’s unique Waldorf salad. Jewish dishes like pickled tongue and borscht can be found here, as well as a Waldorf salad that is unique to New York. The shop is known for its caviar selection; you’ll find French Osetra, a Siberian variety known for its smooth, velvety texture. But the real highlight is the delicious smoked fish – think sablefish, salmon, whitefish and sturgeon – and Murray’s is said to offer the best smoked fish in New York City. It’s a bit pricey, but that doesn’t stop West Side residents from ordering it by the pound. The shoebox-sized store is still going strong in the ever-changing neighborhood.
Uptowners are loyal to this bagel shop and the nearby deli, where whole wheat bread and vegan cream cheese almost guarantee a productive morning.Tal not only produces a variety of fresh New York bagels, but also offers typical deli fare like chopped liver, egg salad and cabbage, as well as baked goods, coffee, homemade soups and deli meat sandwiches. There’s plenty of seating at this super-casual spot, but most regulars wait patiently for take-out, as it can take 20 minutes or more to place an order on the weekends.
The restaurant, known as “King Sturgeon” meets deli, preparing comfort food like gefilte fish, gravlax and chopped liver. A Manhattan staple since 1908, Barney Greengrass has maintained its charm, as evidenced by the murals on the walls and the furniture, which hasn’t changed in decades. Weekend brunch is the most popular meal, attracting a diverse clientele including celebrities, but a bagel with sausage is a satisfying snack any time of day.
541 Amsterdam Ave.