Most Iconic NYC Restaurants and What to order

Most Iconic NYC Restaurants and What to order

Last Updated on January 29, 2023 by Maria Kennedy

If you’re looking for the best most iconic NYC restaurants, look no further! Our list includes some of the best spots in the city for you to try.  New York City is home to some of the best restaurants in the world! From high-end fine dining establishments to casual cafes, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for an upscale Italian meal or a classic slice of New York pizza, these are the restaurants that every NYC tourist should visit.

The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

 

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This seafood establishment has been around since 1913 and is one of the city’s most iconic restaurants. Located inside the historic Grand Central Terminal, this restaurant serves delicious seafood dishes like oysters, clams, mussels, and more. The atmosphere is lively and bustling, with locals and tourists enjoying some of the freshest seafood in town.

Some menu items that are popular at the Oyster Bar include:

  • Oysters: The Oyster Bar is known for its fresh oysters, which are available raw on the half shell or cooked in a variety of ways such as baked, grilled, or fried.
  • Clams: The Oyster Bar serves a variety of clams, including steamed littleneck clams and fried clams.
  • Crab cakes: These delicious crab cakes are made with chunks of fresh crab meat and served with a variety of sauces.
  • Lobster: The Oyster Bar serves a variety of lobster dishes, including a classic lobster roll and a lobster bisque.
  • Fish and chips: This classic British dish is made with battered and fried fish served with a side of fries.

In addition to these menu items, the Oyster Bar also serves a variety of other seafood dishes such as shrimp, scallops, and mussels. They also offer a variety of non-seafood dishes such as sandwiches, soups, and salads.

Peter Luger Steakhouse

 

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This legendary steakhouse has been around since 1887 and is known for its high-quality steaks and impeccable service. In Brooklyn, Peter Luger’s serves up some of the best cuts of meat in the city, with USDA-prime-grade steaks cooked to perfection. The atmosphere is lively, and the staff is friendly and helpful. After flying into JFK, take a black car service to the restaurant. The experience is well worth it!

Some menu items that are popular at Peter Luger Steakhouse include:

  • The porterhouse steak: This signature cut of steak is a large, bone-in steak that is perfect for sharing.
  • The filet mignon: This tender cut of steak is available in a variety of sizes.
  • The ribeye steak: This flavorful cut of steak is known for its rich, marbled texture.
  • The sirloin steak: This classic cut of steak is leaner than some of the other cuts and is available in a variety of sizes.
  • The burger: Peter Luger Steakhouse’s burger is made with a blend of chuck, short rib, and sirloin and is served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

In addition to these menu items, Peter Luger Steakhouse also serves a variety of other dishes such as seafood, chicken, and lamb chops. They also offer a variety of side dishes such as creamed spinach, German fried potatoes, and onion rings.

Carbone

 

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If you’re looking for a classic Italian-American dining experience, Carbone is the place to go! This cozy little restaurant serves delicious dishes like lasagna bolognese, veal parmigiana, and chicken scarpariello. The chefs expertly prepare each dish with only the finest quality ingredients. And if that wasn’t enough to make your mouth water, their signature red sauce will leave you wanting more!

Some menu items that are popular at Carbone include:

  • The Veal Parmesan: This classic Italian-American dish is made with breaded veal cutlets topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, and served with a side of spaghetti.
  • The Spicy Rigatoni Vodka: This popular pasta dish is made with rigatoni pasta in a spicy tomato cream sauce.
  • The Lobster Fra Diavolo: This seafood dish is made with lobster in a spicy tomato broth, served with a side of linguine.
  • The Chicken Scarpariello: This chicken dish is made with bone-in chicken pieces and served with a variety of flavors such as lemon, garlic, and hot cherry peppers.
  • The Caesar Salad: Carbone’s Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce, croutons, and a classic Caesar dressing.

In addition to these menu items, Carbone also serves a variety of other Italian-American dishes such as pasta, seafood, and veal dishes. They also offer a variety of antipasti and side dishes.

Katz’s Delicatessen


This iconic deli has been around since 1888 and is an absolute must for any NYC tourist. Katz’s serves classic deli favorites like pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup, and knishes. The atmosphere is lively, and the staff is friendly. Plus, the deli is open 24 hours a day, so you can grab a bite anytime. Located in the Lower East Side, Katz’s is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

Some menu items that are popular at Katz’s Delicatessen include:

  • The pastrami sandwich: This classic deli sandwich is made with thin slices of pastrami on rye bread with mustard.
  • The corned beef sandwich: This sandwich is made with thin slices of corned beef on rye bread with mustard.
  • The Reuben sandwich: This classic sandwich is made with pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, and served on rye bread.
  • The turkey sandwich: This sandwich is made with thin slices of roast turkey on rye bread with mayonnaise.
  • The knishes: These savory pastries are filled with a variety of fillings such as mashed potatoes or kasha (roasted buckwheat groats).

In addition to these menu items, Katz’s Delicatessen also serves a variety of other deli dishes such as matzo ball soup, latkes, and pickles.

Carnegie Deli

 

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Carnegie Deli is a classic New York City deli known for its over-sized sandwiches and delicious cheesecake. Some menu items that are popular at Carnegie Deli include:

  • The Carnegie Deli sandwich: This massive sandwich is made with layers of pastrami, corned beef, and salami, and served on rye bread with mustard.
  • The Woody Allen sandwich: Named after the famous film director and regular Carnegie Deli customer, this sandwich is made with pastrami, corned beef, and turkey, and served on rye bread with mustard.
  • The Reuben sandwich: This classic sandwich is made with pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, and served on rye bread.
  • The Rachel sandwich: Similar to the Reuben, but made with roast turkey instead of pastrami.
  • Cheesecake: Carnegie Deli is known for its delicious cheesecake, which is available in a variety of flavors including original, chocolate chip, and strawberry.

In addition to sandwiches and cheesecake, Carnegie Deli also serves a variety of other classic deli dishes such as matzo ball soup, knishes, and latkes.

Serendipity 3

 

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Serendipity 3 is a whimsical restaurant in New York City known for its over-the-top desserts and fun atmosphere. Some menu items that are popular at Serendipity 3 include:

  • Frozen hot chocolate: This iconic Serendipity 3 drink is made with a blend of cocoa, milk, and ice cream, and served frozen in a tall glass.
  • The Golden Opulence Sundae: This extravagant dessert is made with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, edible gold leaf, and a variety of other luxurious ingredients, and is served in a goblet lined with chocolate.
  • The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ice cream: This rich and creamy ice cream is made with a blend of 14 different cocoas and served in a variety of flavors including original, mint, and peanut butter.
  • The Red Velvet Cake Sundae: This dessert is made with layers of red velvet cake and ice cream, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

In addition to desserts, Serendipity 3 also serves a variety of savory dishes such as sandwiches, burgers, and salads.

The Spotted Pig


The Spotted Pig is a popular gastropub in the West Village of New York City known for its British and Italian-inspired dishes. Some menu items that are popular at The Spotted Pig include:

  • The roast chicken: The Spotted Pig is known for its roast chicken, which is served with a side of shoestring fries and aioli.
  • The burger: The Spotted Pig’s burger is made with a blend of chuck, short rib, and brisket, and is served on a toasted bun with Roquefort cheese and shoestring fries.
  • The deviled eggs: These deviled eggs are made with a variety of flavorful fillings, including smoked trout and bacon.
  • The pigs in a blanket: These small sausages are wrapped in puff pastry and served with a side of mustard.
  • The Welsh rarebit: This classic British dish is made with a sauce of melted cheese and beer, served over toast.

In addition to these menu items, The Spotted Pig also serves a variety of other dishes such as pasta, seafood, and salads.

Shake Shack


Shake Shack is a popular fast-casual chain that originated in New York City and has now grown to locations around the world. Some menu items that are popular at Shake Shack include:

  • The ShackBurger: This signature burger is made with a 100% all-natural Angus beef patty, topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce, and served on a toasted potato bun.
  • The Chick’n Shack: This sandwich is made with a crispy fried chicken breast, topped with lettuce and pickles, and served on a toasted potato bun.
  • The Shack-cago Dog: This classic Chicago-style hot dog is made with an all-beef frankfurter, topped with mustard, onion, relish, sport peppers, tomato, and a pickle spear.
  • The Shack Stack: This towering sandwich is made with a cheeseburger and a crispy fried portobello mushroom, filled with melted cheese and topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce.
  • The crinkle-cut fries: Shake Shack’s crinkle-cut fries are made with Idaho potatoes and served with a side of ShackSauce for dipping.

In addition to these menu items, Shake Shack also serves a variety of frozen custards and shakes, as well as beer and wine.

Junior’s Cheesecake


Junior’s Restaurant is a classic diner in Brooklyn, New York known for its delicious cheesecake and other classic American dishes. Some menu items that are popular at Junior’s Restaurant include:

  • The cheesecake: Junior’s Restaurant is known for its delicious cheesecake, which is available in a variety of flavors including original, strawberry, and chocolate swirl.
  • The Reuben sandwich: This classic sandwich is made with pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, and served on rye bread.
  • The turkey club sandwich: This sandwich is made with roast turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, and served on toasted white bread.
  • The burgers: Junior’s Restaurant serves a variety of burgers, including a classic cheeseburger and a bacon burger.
  • The deli sandwiches: Junior’s Restaurant offers a variety of deli sandwiches made with meats such as corned beef, pastrami, and roast turkey.

In addition to these menu items, Junior’s Restaurant also serves a variety of other classic diner dishes such as pancakes, eggs, and omelets.

Balthazar


Balthazar is a classic French brasserie located in SoHo, New York City known for its classic French fare and bustling atmosphere. Some menu items that are popular at Balthazar include:

  • The steak frites: This classic French dish is made with a grilled steak served with a side of pommes frites (French fries).
  • The mussels: Balthazar serves a variety of mussels dishes, including a classic moules marinières (mussels in white wine broth) and a version with curry and coconut milk.
  • The escargots: These snails are served in a garlicky butter sauce and served in their shells.
  • The roast chicken: Balthazar’s roast chicken is served with a side of frites and a variety of sauces such as mustard and herb butter.
  • The croque monsieur: This classic French sandwich is made with ham, Gruyère cheese, and béchamel sauce, and served grilled and toasty.

In addition to these menu items, Balthazar also serves a variety of other classic French dishes such as quiche, coq au vin, and bouillabaisse.

Tavern on the Green


Tavern on the Green is a classic American restaurant located in Central Park, New York City, known for its beautiful outdoor seating and classic American cuisine. Some menu items that are popular at Tavern on the Green include:

  • The burgers: Tavern on the Green serves a variety of burgers, including a classic cheeseburger and a veggie burger.
  • The chicken Caesar salad: This classic salad is made with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, and Caesar dressing.
  • The grilled salmon: Tavern on the Green’s grilled salmon is served with a variety of side options such as vegetables and mashed potatoes.
  • The macaroni and cheese: This classic comfort food is made with a creamy cheese sauce and served with a variety of toppings such as bacon and truffles.
  • The fried chicken: Tavern on the Green’s fried chicken is served with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

In addition to these menu items, Tavern on the Green also serves a variety of other classic American dishes such as sandwiches, soups, and salads.

New York City has something for everyone regarding food—from classic American fare to traditional Italian dishes and more! If you’re visiting NYC, check out these iconic restaurants – they’ll give you an authentic taste of what this amazing city offers! From Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant to Carbone and Katz’s Delicatessen, these are the restaurants that every NYC tourist should visit. Enjoy!

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About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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