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A waiter takes a customers order in a busy diner whose walls are lined with photos and dollar bills.
The dining room at Wo Hop in Chinatown.
Gary He/Eater NY

28 Classic NYC Restaurants That Have Withstood the Test of Time

Whether it’s a classic New York steakhouse or one of the oldest restaurants in Chinatown, these establishments deserve to be on everyone’s bucket list

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The dining room at Wo Hop in Chinatown.
| Gary He/Eater NY

New York is one of the oldest dining cities in the country, and though it can feel like we’re always mourning the loss of another neighborhood stalwart, the city is still brimming with countless iconic establishments. Here are the oldest and the greatest of New York's classic restaurants, all of them decades-old and some dating back more than a century. They range from legendary steakhouses to gritty taverns and coal-fired pizzerias, but they’re all quintessentially New York.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Mario’s Restaurant

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Now over a century old, Mario’s on the Bronx’s iconic Arthur Avenue is as old-school as it gets. The Migliucci family still owns this restaurant that started as a pizzeria, serving dishes like linguine with red clam sauce and veal marsala. The interior looks untouched, full of oil paintings, Michelangelo statuettes, and white columns. Don’t miss the dessert trolley, and be sure to finish off with an espresso paired with a shot of complimentary anisette.

A man in a yellow shirt walks under a red awning with the word Mario’s.
Mario’s in the Bronx.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Sylvia's Restaurant

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Dubbed “the Queen of Soul Food,” Sylvia Woods opened the doors on Sylvia’s Restaurant in 1962, bringing generous servings of Southern comfort food to Harlem. The neighborhood restaurant is world-famous for its timeless cooking and Southern charm, which still endures decades after opening. While Woods passed away in 2012, her family continues to run the restaurant.

A leg of fried chicken next to a helping of mac and cheese in an aluminum take-out container.
Fried chicken with mac and cheese at Sylvia’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Patsy's Pizza

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Another pizzeria started by a former employee of Lombardi’s, Patsy’s was founded in 1933, and it’s one of few coal-fired spots to offer single slices in addition to whole pies. There are a few offshoots now, but go to the original in Harlem for a perfect plain slice from the ancient oven.

Patsy’s in East Harlem has a dark exterior with a red neon sign.
Outside of Patsy’s Pizza in East Harlem.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Barney Greengrass

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The aromas of smoked fish — sturgeon, salmon, and sable are just a few — is undeniable upon entering this appetizing joint on the Upper West Side. There’s a good chance that third-generation proprietor Gary Greengrass may be near the front door, ushering customers toward one of the restaurant’s tables (ideally in the room with vintage-looking wallpaper depicting the French Quarter in New Orleans). Roughly a century after opening, the space still has a neighborhood charm to it and feels like a mashup between a diner and delicatessen.

The interior of Barney Greengrass with a man waiting to order food. The refrigerated counter showcases the different meats and spreads the establishment has to offer.
Barney Greengrass is an Upper West Side institution.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

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This Astoria beer garden has been around since 1910, and is the oldest of its kind in the city. It’s a sprawling place with an enormous garden, which makes it especially popular in warmer months. The beer selection is solid, there’s a range of sausage and schnitzel to soak it up, and pitchers top out at around $20.

Cars line a two-way street in front of a building with a sign that reads “Beer Garden” in capital letters.
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria.
Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Barbetta

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This opulent Italian restaurant opened in the Theater District in 1906, and has been owned by the same family the entire time. It claims to be the first New York restaurant to serve a whole lot of things, including risotto, white truffles, sun-dried tomatoes, tiramisu, and decaf espresso. Perhaps that’s true, but the real draw is the garden, one of the best al fresco dining areas in the city.

A large, metal sign spans the length of a three-story building with the word “Barbetta” in all capital letters.
Barbetta in the Theater District.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Frankie & Johnnie's Steakhouse

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What started as a speakeasy in 1926 has since become one of the city’s most classic steakhouses close to a century later. As one of the oldest restaurants in the Theater District, it was once a haunt for people like Frank Sinatra. When ordering, stick to the steakhouse classics — steak, creamed spinach, or one of a myriad of potato preparations.

A red awning is illuminated at night with the words “Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse” in capital letters.
Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse in the Theater District.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

La Grenouille

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A survivor from the era when haute French cuisine was king, La Grenouille opened in 1962, and has outlasted many of its celebrated peers, including Lespinasse (which closed in 2003) and Lutèce (in 2004). As Eater critics Robert Sietsema and Ryan Sutton discovered at a meal there, the food is excellent and mostly unchanged. Go for the classic Dover sole or the white fish quenelles topped with caviar.

A sprawling, ornate dining room with red chairs, mirrored walls, and fine tableware.
La Grenouille in Midtown.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

P.J. Clarke's

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Though it’s now expanded into a chain of pubs, the original P.J. Clarke’s has stood on Third Avenue since 1884. This is the one with the ancient mahogany bar, the old juke box, and the taxidermied dog at the bar. Over the years it’s attracted regulars like Jackie Kennedy and Frank Sinatra, and the bacon cheeseburger is called the “Cadillac” because that’s how Nat King Cole once described it.

An open-faced burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese next to a side of fries.
A burger and fries from P.J. Clarkes
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Grand Central Oyster Bar

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Grand Central Oyster Bar has occupied the subterranean space in Grand Central Station since 1913. The award-winning room, with its vaulted, tiled ceilings is one of the main attractions here, and one of the best seats for slurping more than a dozen kinds of oysters is at the bar.

Customers sit around a chef’s table below ornate, hanging lights and arched ceilings.
Grand Central Oyster Bar in Grand Central.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Keens Steakhouse

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One of Manhattan’s oldest and greatest steakhouse institutions Keens has stood on 36th Street since 1885, and it remains one of Midtown’s best restaurants. It’s famed for its mutton chop (though the steaks and the hash are also a good choice) and for the thousands of clay pipes hanging from its ceiling, which used to be rented out to regulars for $5 a year.

A mutton chop on a white plate with salad, surrounded by a knife and fork on a white tableclothed table.
A mutton chop from Keens Steakhouse.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

At one point in time there were nearly three dozen locations of Jahn’s, which was a popular chain of ice cream parlors. Today the only location left is in Jackson Heights, and it’s a spot where locals come for diner breakfasts, Greek classics like spanakopita, and of course, sundaes. This neighborhood favorite is more than 60 years old.

The counter and stools at Jahn’s, the last remaining location of century-old chain of ice cream parlors.
Jahn’s in Queens is the last location of the century-old chain remaining.
Jahn’s

The Lemon Ice King Of Corona

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Founder Ben Faremo — who used to sit on a folding chair amidst the reach-in freezer cases as his white-clad servers scurried around him — is now long gone, but his lemon-ice kingdom lives on. There are dozens upon dozens of flavors, but a few don’t taste artificial. Avoid the cherry ices at all costs, but grab the mint, espresso, pistachio, almond, orange, and, of course, lemon, which is the very best of all.

A broad window with people lined up to buy ices.
Behold, the Lemon Ice King of Corona
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Old Town Bar

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Old Town Bar has been in continuous operation since 1892, making it one of a handful of bars to survive Prohibition. The space itself, with its tiled floor, wooden booths, and mahogany bar, is one of the main attractions, but Old Town also serves a superb burger and wings. Dine downstairs, and your food might just be delivered to the bar via dumbwaiter from the kitchen upstairs.

A darkened bar room with many standing and seated patrons and Victorian fixtures.
The barroom of the Old Town has been a literary hangout for over a century.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

John's of Bleecker Street

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John’s — another classic coal-oven pizzeria founded by a veteran of Lombardi’s — opened in 1929 and today serves a pie that Eater critic Robert Sietsema found to be “lusher” than its coal-oven peers. That means a little bit more cheese and a top-notch crust. Prepare to wait in line to enter.

People sit alone and in groups in a restaurant with tiled floors and wooden booths.
Inside John’s of Bleecker Street.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

Ear Inn

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The storefront at 326 Spring Street started as a tobacco shop in 1817 and has housed a number of businesses since. In 1890, it became a brewery with a saloon, which managed to survive Prohibition as a speakeasy. That bar didn’t have a real name until 1977, when new owners dubbed it Ear Inn. It serves a great burger, and is rumored to have a ghost or two.

Groups of people talk closely in a dive bar with empty liquor bottles and colorful lights
Ear Inn’s 200th birthday party.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Katz's Delicatessen

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Katz’s has stood on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow streets since 1888, and the pastrami alone is a New York icon. The expansive, cafeteria-style dining room is almost always bustling, and diners have to know how to navigate the system. Get in line, remember to tip the slicer (they might give you an extra piece to snack on), and no matter what, don’t lose that ticket.

The front of a sprawling corner store at night, with red neon letters that read “Katz’s Delicatessen” in capital letters.
Outside of Katz’s Delicatessen.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Lombardi's Coal Oven Pizza

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Lombardi’s is the first pizzeria in New York City and, supposedly, the country. It relocated a few decades ago — from the home it had occupied since 1905 to a storefront down the block — but it’s still one of the city’s few coal-oven pizzerias. Go early or late to avoid the onslaught of tourists, and get a basic red or white pie.

A flash photograph of a pizza from Lombardi’s topped generously with clams and a lemon.
The clam pie from Lombardi’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Forlini's

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A real-deal red sauce classic just outside the kitschy array of Little Italy, Forlini’s has been open since 1943 and caters to the judge-and-jury crowd from the nearby courthouse, as well as the Italian-American regulars. Inside, find tall, tufted leather banquettes, paintings in gilded frames, and all the old-school favorites, from veal piccata to baked ziti.

A brick facade with arched window a signs in cursive.
Forlini’s is a favorite lunchtime hang of juries and justices.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bamonte's

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A red-sauce stalwart of Brooklyn, Bamonte's has been open since 1902 and hasn’t been renovated since the 1950s. It’s said to have been a mobster hangout and still attracts plenty of Williamsburg old-timers. Don’t miss the baked clams or the pork chop topped with peppers, which Eater critic Robert Sietsema deems “the city's most perfect evocation of that dish.”

A red frame house is the setting for Bamonte’s, and an old man sits on a bench in front.
Customers gathered outside of Bamonte’s in Williamsburg.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

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Chinatown’s oldest restaurant serves up fresh and consistently delicious dim sum, ordered off a menu rather than a cart. The dining room, dating back to 1920, is a relic. Order the pork buns, the sticky rice in lotus leaves, the shrimp and chive dumplings, and any of the rice rolls. During peak dim sum hours (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) there may be a line, but it’s worth waiting in.

A chef hustles in the foreground as a knot of customers wait in the background on a darkened Doyers Alley.
A chef and customers outside of Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
Gary He/Eater NY

Wo Hop, founded in 1938, takes the distinction of the city’s second oldest Chinese restaurant. (Only Nom Wah Tea Parlor, started in 1920 and also on this list, is older.) Its longevity is due to both the reliability of its Chinese-American fare, and the small, subterranean nature of the real estate it occupies. Try the massive platters of chicken chow mein, sweet-and-sour pork, subgum egg foo young, and beef chow fun. While the address listed here is considered the original Wo Hop, the street-level part of the restaurant is dubbed Wo Hop Next Door.

A bowl of congee set against a neon green background at Wo Hop.
A bowl of congee from Wo Hop.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Peter Luger Steak House

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Another of the city’s great steakhouses, Peter Luger opened in Williamsburg in 1887 and even today can often be a tough reservation to snag. Go for the porterhouse, of course, which is dry-aged and served in a pool of butter and its own juices. If there for lunch, don’t miss the hamburger.

Peter Luger’s hamburger with fries, on a white plate with blue markings.
Peter Luger’s hamburger with fries.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Gottscheer Hall

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Founded in 1924 when Ridgewood was a German immigrant enclave, Gottscheer represents a group of ethnic Germans who had previously lived under the Habsburg Monarchy in what is now Slovenia. This sturdy beer hall, which looks every year of its age, has a barroom open to the public where German and American beers are dispensed, and an agreeable but limited menu of sausages, goulash, pretzels, and cutlets is served. Don’t miss the potato pancakes.

A blue brick entrance with a bright blue awning.
Step through these doors into a century old German tavern.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ferdinando's Focacceria

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This humble Sicilian restaurant has been operating on Columbia Street in Red Hook since 1904. Specialties include fist-sized fried rice balls with ground beef and peas, pasta alla sarde, a panelle sandwich (wedges of fried chickpea flour cake smothered in ricotta on a roll), and vastedda: veal spleen and ricotta on a roll.

The front of a small restaurant, whose red and blue striped awning reads “151 Fernando’s Restaurant Focacceria.”
Outside of Ferdinando’s Focacceria.
Kate Leonova/PropertyShark

Brennan & Carr

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Founded in 1938, Brennan & Carr is famous for its Irish roast beef sandwich, served in its own juices on a sandwich similar in style to Los Angeles’s popular french dip. Get exactly that with a beer or order from a window on Avenue U and take it to go.

An Irish roast beef sandwich, served with cheese in its own juices.
An Irish roast beef sandwich from Brennan & Carr.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

L&B Spumoni Gardens

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L&B Spumoni Gardens was founded in 1939 and is always at its best in the summer, when it’s warm enough to sit at the picnic tables outside. The restaurant sprawls across three buildings, each offering a different L&B specialty. There’s counters slinging the namesake spumoni, of course, famed thick-crusted Sicilian pizzas (served “upside down” with the sauce on top of the cheese), and monstrous meatball heroes.

An outdoor seating area with picnic tables and umbrellas at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
The outdoor seating area at L&B Spumoni Gardens.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Nathan's Famous

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Even if it’s since grown into a wide-reaching franchise, Nathan’s Famous remains a true New York institution. The Coney Island original opened in 1916, selling hot dogs for five cents. They cost more now, of course, and come in vegan varieties, but otherwise not much has changed about the experience of eating a cheap, greasy dog on the boardwalk.

Customers wait in a line that wraps around the corner of the colorful Nathan’s Famous restaurant in Coney Island
The original Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island.
Nick Solares/Eater

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Mario’s Restaurant

A man in a yellow shirt walks under a red awning with the word Mario’s.
Mario’s in the Bronx.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Now over a century old, Mario’s on the Bronx’s iconic Arthur Avenue is as old-school as it gets. The Migliucci family still owns this restaurant that started as a pizzeria, serving dishes like linguine with red clam sauce and veal marsala. The interior looks untouched, full of oil paintings, Michelangelo statuettes, and white columns. Don’t miss the dessert trolley, and be sure to finish off with an espresso paired with a shot of complimentary anisette.

A man in a yellow shirt walks under a red awning with the word Mario’s.
Mario’s in the Bronx.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Sylvia's Restaurant

A leg of fried chicken next to a helping of mac and cheese in an aluminum take-out container.
Fried chicken with mac and cheese at Sylvia’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dubbed “the Queen of Soul Food,” Sylvia Woods opened the doors on Sylvia’s Restaurant in 1962, bringing generous servings of Southern comfort food to Harlem. The neighborhood restaurant is world-famous for its timeless cooking and Southern charm, which still endures decades after opening. While Woods passed away in 2012, her family continues to run the restaurant.

A leg of fried chicken next to a helping of mac and cheese in an aluminum take-out container.
Fried chicken with mac and cheese at Sylvia’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Patsy's Pizza

Patsy’s in East Harlem has a dark exterior with a red neon sign.
Outside of Patsy’s Pizza in East Harlem.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Another pizzeria started by a former employee of Lombardi’s, Patsy’s was founded in 1933, and it’s one of few coal-fired spots to offer single slices in addition to whole pies. There are a few offshoots now, but go to the original in Harlem for a perfect plain slice from the ancient oven.

Patsy’s in East Harlem has a dark exterior with a red neon sign.
Outside of Patsy’s Pizza in East Harlem.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Barney Greengrass

The interior of Barney Greengrass with a man waiting to order food. The refrigerated counter showcases the different meats and spreads the establishment has to offer.
Barney Greengrass is an Upper West Side institution.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

The aromas of smoked fish — sturgeon, salmon, and sable are just a few — is undeniable upon entering this appetizing joint on the Upper West Side. There’s a good chance that third-generation proprietor Gary Greengrass may be near the front door, ushering customers toward one of the restaurant’s tables (ideally in the room with vintage-looking wallpaper depicting the French Quarter in New Orleans). Roughly a century after opening, the space still has a neighborhood charm to it and feels like a mashup between a diner and delicatessen.

The interior of Barney Greengrass with a man waiting to order food. The refrigerated counter showcases the different meats and spreads the establishment has to offer.
Barney Greengrass is an Upper West Side institution.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Cars line a two-way street in front of a building with a sign that reads “Beer Garden” in capital letters.
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria.
Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

This Astoria beer garden has been around since 1910, and is the oldest of its kind in the city. It’s a sprawling place with an enormous garden, which makes it especially popular in warmer months. The beer selection is solid, there’s a range of sausage and schnitzel to soak it up, and pitchers top out at around $20.

Cars line a two-way street in front of a building with a sign that reads “Beer Garden” in capital letters.
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria.
Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Barbetta

A large, metal sign spans the length of a three-story building with the word “Barbetta” in all capital letters.
Barbetta in the Theater District.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

This opulent Italian restaurant opened in the Theater District in 1906, and has been owned by the same family the entire time. It claims to be the first New York restaurant to serve a whole lot of things, including risotto, white truffles, sun-dried tomatoes, tiramisu, and decaf espresso. Perhaps that’s true, but the real draw is the garden, one of the best al fresco dining areas in the city.

A large, metal sign spans the length of a three-story building with the word “Barbetta” in all capital letters.
Barbetta in the Theater District.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Frankie & Johnnie's Steakhouse

A red awning is illuminated at night with the words “Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse” in capital letters.
Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse in the Theater District.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

What started as a speakeasy in 1926 has since become one of the city’s most classic steakhouses close to a century later. As one of the oldest restaurants in the Theater District, it was once a haunt for people like Frank Sinatra. When ordering, stick to the steakhouse classics — steak, creamed spinach, or one of a myriad of potato preparations.

A red awning is illuminated at night with the words “Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse” in capital letters.
Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse in the Theater District.
Bess Adler/Eater NY

La Grenouille