For anyone looking to experience classic New York cuisine, these top Jewish delis in New York City are essential to any serious foodie. From stacked, over-stuffed pastrami sandwiches that dwarf the bread to freshly-baked bagels, the city’s beloved delis offer some of the best food and culture around.
Stacked up against our top Jewish delis in Chicago, we can only say the real winner will be you if you find yourself hungry in one of these cities. Here are 5 of our must-try delis across the Big Apple that you need to add to your bucket list. We’ll start with Katz’s Delicatessen. And why wouldn’t we?
Katz’s Delicatessen – Pastrami
– 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
Located in New York’s Lower East Side, Katz ranks as one of the top Jewish delis in New York City (some say unequivocally number one ) and probably the best in the entire state. But we’d say each of these listed has found its own place in the pastrami Hall of Fame.
But definitely, Katz is the most famous Jewish deli. Over the years, Katz Deli has become the symbol of Jewish culture in New York City and continues to be a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.
Family-run for over a hundred years, this is believed to be the oldest Jewish deli in the world. Established in 1888, Katz’s Delicatessen was founded by the Iceland brothers who went through some changes in the name, like “Iceland & Katz” and then later in 1910 evolved into Katz’s Delicatessen.
But a good story doesn’t necessarily translate to-die-for food. Foodies in New York City are a tough crowd, with high expectations, as we noted the high-brow perspective on their pizza.
At Katz Deli, you’ll find a variety of traditional Jewish dishes, including matzo ball soup, chopped liver, and corned beef sandwiches. Let’s start with sheer volume alone, which speaks loudly about the high quality they serve up. On a weekly basis, Katz dishes out enough of their signature sandwiches to consume 15,000 lb of pastrami, 8,000 lb of house-made corned beef, and 4,000 hot dogs.
At Katz Deli, you’ll find a variety of traditional Jewish dishes, including matzo ball soup, chopped liver, and corned beef sandwiches. The deli’s signature dish is its pastrami on rye, which has been served since the deli first opened. The sandwich consists of hand-carved meat that has been slow-cured and smoked for hours to give it its signature flavor.
Russ & Daughters – Bagels
– 179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
Coming in at a close second as one of the oldest Jewish Delis in New York City, we find the famed Russ & Daughters. In 1904, Joel Russ, a Jewish immigrant from Strzyzow, Poland, peddled herring from a pushcart in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York. Hey, Jewish delis looked a little different back in the day.
Known for their delicious and unique bagels, we’ll take a look at why this long-standing business has kept its popularity and why their bagels are so famous in New York City.
What Makes Russ & Daughters Bagels So Tasty?
First of all, Russ & Daughters uses an old-fashioned recipe that has been passed down for generations. This recipe dates back to the 1920s and is made with a special blend of malt and flour, which gives their bagels a sweet flavor and a chewy texture. The dough is then boiled in honey water and baked in a coal-fired oven, giving it a unique flavor and perfect golden crust.
Second, Russ & Daughters makes sure every bagel is made fresh daily. They also use only the best ingredients, including free-range eggs and high-quality cream cheese. In 2018, Russ & Daughters was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food Nation” in an episode called “Best Bagels in America.”
This episode showcased the deliciousness of their bagels, making them even more famous across the country. It’s no surprise why people from all over come to NYC just to try their bagels.
The toppings offered at Russ & Daughters Bagels are also noteworthy. The shop offers cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato, sesame, mustard, and salt as toppings for their bagels. Each topping adds a unique flavor to the bagel, making it even more stellar, and making our list of top Jewish delis in New York City.
Pastrami Queen – Knishes
– 138 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023
Heading over to New York city’s Upper East Side, we find one of the most popular places to eat, delighting customers with its authentic, Kosher delights for more than 50 years.
Here’s what you need to know about Pastrami Queen and its delicious deli creations. One of the most popular items on their menu is their jumbo knishes.
These are savory doughnut-like items that are filled with meat and cheese and served with a side of gravy. Pastrami Queen is a small place, but the wait is worth it to savor these Kosher delicacies. If you’re not a local, there’s still good knish news for you. You can enjoy these oversize stuffed knishes anywhere now as they can be bought and shipped by the 6-pack.
As the name of this deli suggests, their pastrami is no court jester when it comes to being the best of the best. Delicious, soft, tasty, spicy, and piled high, hits all the high notes at this authentic Jewish deli. Knish or pastrami? Decisions, decisions.
Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner – Matzo Ball Soup
– 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
By now you should know all these top Jewish delis are going to be known for their perfect pastrami sandwiches larger than life, but wouldn’t a nice bowl of matzo ball soup go nicely with some noshing?
Sarge’s Famous Matzo Ball Soup Recipe is a beloved classic that has been passed down through generations. This Jewish comfort food is hearty, full of flavor, and easy to make. But what really makes this soup stand out? What is the secret ingredient that gives it that special something?
Secrets Revealed – Schmaltz!
The answer lies in the matzo balls themselves. The traditional recipe calls for a combination of matzo meal, eggs, oil, and chicken broth. But the key to unlocking the flavor of the soup is adding a generous helping of schmaltz.
Schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat, is not just an important part of Jewish cuisine, but it is also the secret ingredient that makes Sarge’s Matzo Ball Soup truly delicious. It adds a rich, savory flavor to the soup that can’t be replicated with any other ingredient.
So, if you want to make Sarge’s Matzo Ball Soup just as he intended it, don’t forget the schmaltz! With a few simple ingredients and a generous helping of this secret ingredient, you’ll have a bowl of delicious soup that will make your taste buds sing.
How to Make Sarge’s Matzo Ball Soup at Home In 4 Easy Steps
Making Sarge’s delicious matzo ball soup at home is surprisingly easy, and with just a few tips, you can have it on your table in no time. Here are some tips for making the perfect matzo ball soup:
1. Start by preparing the broth. This is the base of your soup, so you want to make sure it has lots of flavors. Start by sautéing onions, garlic, and carrots in oil, then add a few seasonings like bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Finally, add a few cups of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
2. While the broth is simmering, prepare the matzo balls. Start by combining matzo meal, eggs, salt, pepper, and schmaltz (chicken fat) in a bowl. Mix everything together until it forms a sticky dough. Shape them into small balls and drop them into the simmering stock.
3. Let the matzo balls cook for about 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Then, add any vegetables you would like to the soup. Carrots, celery, and potatoes are great choices!
4. Finally, finish the soup with Sarge’s secret ingredient – dill. You heard us right, now enjoy!
2nd Ave Deli – Pickles Anyone?
– 162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016
If you’re in the mood for some delicious, traditional deli fare, look no further than 2nd Avenue Deli. This landmark spot has been satisfying New Yorkers since 1954 and continues to be a reliable source of quality Jewish cuisine.
From their famous pastrami sandwiches to pickles, no one leaves hungry. It’s no accident we mentioned pickles here. After all, there’s always a pickle on the plate of the best Jewish delis around – and these pickles are something special to savor.
Why Are the 2nd Ave Deli Pickles So Popular?
Pickles are an essential part of the 2nd Ave Deli experience, from the traditional pickled cucumbers to the deli’s own signature pickles.
The deli’s pickles have become well-known for their unique flavor and texture, as well as for their ability to complement and enhance the flavor of the deli’s famous pastrami. So why are these pickles so popular?
In the same way, they pickle their famous pastrami with lots of spices as a preservative technique, and this is how 2nd Ave Deli utilizes this trick to create their scrumptious pickles.
During this pickling process, the expected and unexpected are added to the recipe. Along with a mixture of spices, including dill and garlic, they also add a variety of vegetables, such as carrots and onions, to give them a little extra pizazz and crunch.
These pickles are not only popular because of their flavor, but also because of their versatility. They can be served cold, as part of a sandwich or salad, or they can be heated up and served as a side dish.
So there you have it, the pickles here can even be a meal and no one would think lesser of you for ordering this just to revel in the crunch.
With so many famous Jewish delis in New York City, there’s no excuse not to enjoy a piping hot bagel fresh out of a coal-burning oven, mile-high pastrami made with extra love, or even the best darn pickle you ever sank your teeth into.
No one goes hungry in the town that never sleeps and to skip any of these top Jewish delis while visiting or passing through would leave you with nothing but a very sad story to tell – and a demotion on the foodie chain.