We are thrilled to be back with part two of our series. Just last week, we unveiled the first installment featuring fifteen truly marvelous restaurants in New York City, all of which undeniably deserve the prestigious title of “iconic.” And now, as we continue our culinary journey through our beautiful city, we are excited to present another fifteen New York City Iconic Restaurants that will leave you hungry for more.
Table of Contents
- J.G. Melon
- Russ & Daughters
- Le Bernardin
- Mario’s Restaurant
- John’s of Bleecker Street
- The Russian Tea Room
- Nom Wah Tea Parlor
- The Odeon
- Old Town Bar & Restaurant
- Los Tacos No. 1
Prepare to be captivated by the culinary legend that is J.G. Melon. Nestled in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this American saloon-style gem in New York City has been an institution since 1972. Renowned far and wide for its mouthwatering, juicy hamburgers paired with delectable cottage fries, J.G. Melon has played host to a diverse array of patrons over the years.
From Hollywood stars and influential politicians to gifted artists and prolific writers. This timeless establishment has been a cherished rendezvous for generations of families and friends, promising an unforgettable dining experience steeped in history and flavor.
1291 3rd Avenue—Upper East Side
Step into the heart of Harlem and experience a culinary legend. Sylvia’s Restaurant, affectionately known as “The Queen of Soul Food.” Founded by the remarkable Sylvia Woods in 1962. This iconic establishment has woven itself into the very fabric of the historic neighborhood. It is not just a restaurant—it is Harlem’s kitchen, serving up genuine soul food for over 55 years and earning a place as a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.
Sylvia’s offers more than just delectable cuisine. It is a home away from home, where Gospel brunches on Sundays, Live Music on Wednesdays, and Daily Specials create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. A place where generations have gathered to savor home-style cooking and create cherished memories.
Visiting Sylvia’s is like stepping into history itself, where Presidents, celebrities, and proud Harlemites have all found solace in the comforting embrace of this iconic eatery. Though Sylvia Woods may have passed away in 2012, her family carries on her legacy, ensuring that Sylvia’s Restaurant remains a beacon of Southern charm and timeless cooking that continues to captivate hearts and palates alike. Do not leave without trying the macaroni & cheese—it is life changing.
Russ & Daughters
Enter the world of culinary and cultural mastery at Russ & Daughters, an enduring New York City icon held in the loving embrace of four generations of the Russ family. For over a century, they have set the gold standard for appetizing foods, specializing in the finest smoked fish, exquisite caviar, freshly baked bagels, bialys, babka, and an array of traditional baked goods that tantalize the taste buds.
But their influence continues beyond Manhattan’s doorstep. Russ & Daughters’ nationwide shipping and meticulously curated gift packages bring their exceptional flavors to your doorstep, no matter where you are in the United States.
For more than a century, Russ & Daughters has been the indisputable go-to for bagels and lox that are second to none in the bustling heart of New York City. Nestled in the vibrant Lower East Side, their establishment is not merely a culinary destination. It is a cherished institution. A visit to Russ & Daughters is not just recommended. It is a culinary pilgrimage you will want to take advantage of.
179 East Houston Street—Lower East Side
(212) 475-4880, x1
127 Orchard Street—Lower East Side
(212) 475-4880, x2
141 Flushing Avenue—Brooklyn
(212) 475-4880, x3
502 West 34th Street at 10th Avenue—Chelsea
Step into the extraordinary world of Le Bernardin. It is a culinary masterpiece born in the heart of Paris in 1972 by the visionary sibling duo, Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze. Their philosophy was elegantly simple: to serve fish that was impeccably fresh, prepared with the utmost respect for its natural flavors. The restaurant quickly ascended to culinary stardom, earning its first coveted Michelin star in 1976, followed by two more in 1980.
In 1986, the Le Coze siblings set their sights on New York, opening a sister restaurant that would soon become a legend in its own right. Le Bernardin’s star continued to rise, earning a remarkable four stars from The New York Times just three months after its grand opening. What makes this achievement truly unparalleled is that Le Bernardin has never relinquished a single star throughout six consecutive reviews, an unprecedented feat in the world of fine dining.
Fast forward to September 2011, and the Le Coze legacy evolved with a stunning redesign by Bentel & Bentel. This transformation introduced a sophisticated lounge, a first for the restaurant, offering a distinct menu of its own. The evolution did not stop there. In 2012, Le Bernardin was honored with a James Beard Award for “Best Restaurant Design,” and in 2013, the indomitable Maguy Le Coze became the first woman to receive the prestigious “Outstanding Restaurateur” award.
Nestled in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, New York City, Le Bernardin is a culinary temple known for its unwavering commitment to fresh and uncomplicated seafood dishes. With three Michelin stars and an unbroken string of four stars from The New York Times, Le Bernardin has proudly maintained its status of excellence for over two decades, garnering international acclaim as one of the world’s foremost seafood destinations.
155 West 51st Street—Theater District
Step into the timeless charm of Balthazar, a quintessential French brasserie that graced the vibrant streets of SoHo in the spring of 1997. This bustling and utterly romantic establishment is a haven for lovers of traditional French cuisine. It serves delectable fare from the early morning hours through to the enchanting suppers of every day, with an irresistible brunch menu to savor on weekends.
At Balthazar, the culinary journey is a celebration of fresh flavors, with an extensive array of seafood and shellfish that beckons the discerning palate. To enhance your experience, their renowned Balthazar Bakery churns out bread and pastries daily, infusing each bite with the unmistakable essence of French craftsmanship.
For those who wish to relish Balthazar’s exquisite offerings beyond its charming ambiance, Balthazar Bakery has been a beacon since 1997. Here, they continue their dedication to fine ingredients and time-honored techniques to craft exceptional delicacies. From savory soups to hearty sandwiches, tantalizing salads, and mouthwatering desserts. Their menu extends far beyond their signature breads and pastries, bringing the culinary magic of Balthazar to your home or workplace. It is a taste of Parisian perfection right at your fingertips.
80 Spring Street—SoHo
Step into the hallowed halls of Mario’s on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where time has gracefully stood still for over a century. This beloved establishment, steeped in old-school charm, remains in the capable hands of the Migliucci family who embarked on their culinary journey as a humble pizzeria. Today, Mario’s offers a tantalizing array of Italian delights, including classics like linguine with red clam sauce and succulent veal marsala.
As you step inside, you will find an interior that is a living testament to the restaurant’s rich history. Adorned with oil paintings, delicate Michelangelo statuettes, and stately white columns. But the real pièce de résistance is the dessert trolley, a delightful spectacle not to be missed. And what better way to conclude your meal than with a velvety espresso, thoughtfully paired with a complimentary shot of anisette, a truly heartwarming touch.
Mario’s Restaurant is more than just any Italian eatery. It is a cherished cornerstone of New York City’s culinary landscape. Since 1919, it has consistently delighted patrons, earning their loyalty and admiration and the respect of its competitors. Their menu is an expansive journey through Italian cuisine, with daily specials and dishes that have garnered awards and accolades.
Here, every morsel is a masterpiece, crafted to order by the skilled hands of Master Chef Massimo, who insists on using only the purest, freshest, and highest quality ingredients. Mario’s is not just a restaurant. It is a living testament to the artistry of Italian cooking and a timeless experience that transcends generations.
2342 Arthur Avenue—Belmont
John’s of Bleecker Street
Prepare to embark on a mouthwatering journey through history at John’s of Bleecker Street. A cherished pizzeria nestled in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. With its roots tracing back through the annals of time, this iconic establishment is a testament to the enduring legacy of authentic New York City pizza.
Their commitment to tradition sets John’s apart. Crafting each delectable pizza in the classic style of a tomato pie, fired to perfection in a coal-fired brick oven. But the experience does not end at pizza. Their menu offers diverse culinary delights, from sumptuous pasta to crisp salads and savory wings.
In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key, and John’s of Bleecker Street delivers on that front too. With their easy online ordering system, you can have your favorite dishes prepared with love and expertise, ready for hassle-free takeout. Whether you are a local looking for a familiar taste of home or a visitor eager to savor an iconic New York City pizza savor a slice of history with every bite.
278 Bleecker Street—Greenwich Village
Prepare to immerse yourself in the celebrated world of Estela, a culinary masterpiece nestled in downtown Manhattan. It has earned its well-deserved reputation as one of the most beloved dining establishments, captivating the hearts and palates of diners from coast to coast.
This intimate bistro remains one of my favorite date night spots after many many visits. It was brought to life by the culinary artistry of Chef Ignacio Mattos, and offers a dining experience that is as diverse as it is delightful. Whether you are seeking a thrilling dinner in the cozy dining room, a leisurely weekend brunch with cherished friends, or a late-night rendezvous at the bustling bar, Estela welcomes you with open arms.
Since its inception in 2013, Estela has been a constant delight. With signature dishes, they have etched their place in the annals of New York City culinary history. And became a beloved classic in their own right. Yet, what truly sets Estela apart is its unwavering commitment to innovation, ensuring that each visit brings a fresh and exciting array of flavors.
The accolades speak volumes about Estela’s culinary prowess, with one Michelin star among the many well-deserved honors adorning its storied history. As you step into Estela, you are not just dining. You are embarking on a gastronomic journey that combines tradition and innovation to create an unforgettable experience.
47 East Houston Street—NoLita
The Russian Tea Room
Step into the enchanting world of The Russian Tea Room, a globally renowned cultural treasure nestled in the heart of New York City. It remains one of my favorite New York City experience after living in the city for just one year. For an astonishing 96 years, this iconic establishment has been synonymous with fine cuisine and unparalleled dining experiences, enchanting guests from around the world.
It was founded by the illustrious members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927. The Russian Tea Room has transcended its humble beginnings to become an enduring symbol of celebrity, style, and elegance. It is a place where the art of dining is elevated to a magical experience. And where memories that last a lifetime are etched into the tapestry of its rich history.
Here, a world-class culinary journey awaits. Offering a diverse array of menus to cater to every palate, including Classic, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, and Children’s Menus. But the true jewel in their crown is the timeless tradition of Afternoon Tea. It is a magical experience that traces its origins to 19th-century Britain and flourished as a cherished tradition of high society in Russia and throughout Europe.
The Russian Tea Room is not merely a restaurant. It is a living testament to the art of hospitality, where every detail is meticulously crafted to provide an exceptional value. As you step into this extraordinary realm, prepare to be transported to a world where elegance, tradition, and culinary excellence converge. Creating unforgettable moments that have graced the lives of generations.
150 West 57th Street—Midtown West
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
If you enjoy Chinese cuisine, then this one is for you. Experience a century of culinary heritage at Nom Wah Tea Parlor—a beloved Chinatown gem in New York City. Since 1920, this renowned eatery has delighted diners with fresh Chinese pastries, steamed buns, and a tantalizing variety of dim sum, all accompanied by a selection of fine teas.
Take advantage of their iconic almond cookies and mooncake fillings, cherished traditions during the Chinese autumn festival. Nom Wah’s dim sum menu boasts classics like shrimp dumplings, vegetarian dumplings, soup dumplings, and turnip cakes. Beyond dim sum, savor pan-fried pork dumplings, spring rolls, and salt and pepper shrimp.
Amid its vintage charm, Nom Wah has created a lasting legacy of good food, great value, and a warm welcome that spans generations. Come and be part of this culinary journey that honors tradition while delighting the modern palate.
13 Doyers Street—Chinatown
Two enterprising brothers who ventured from Alsace, France, to the vibrant streets of Soho, New York. There, they stumbled upon a humble restaurant that held the promise of their dreams.
In the early days, their pockets were meager, and nothing was thrown away, not even a grain of salt. Drawing from his Alsatian culinary expertise, Guy transformed the restaurant into a haven for fine steaks and delectable fish, all offered at prices that welcomed both the thrifty diner and those seeking refuge at the bar.
Welcome to Raoul’s, a French-style oasis nestled in the heart of New York City. Here, your culinary journey knows no bounds, with a diverse menu spanning appetizers, mouthwatering entrees, fresh vegetables, and decadent desserts. Whether you dine indoors or beneath the sheltering skies of their outdoor seating, every visit promises an experience to remember.
180 Prince Street—SoHo
The Odeon is a timeless New York City gem where culinary excellence meets a warm, inviting ambiance. Here, a world of delectable food and beverages awaits. The diverse menu offers appetizers, fresh salads, hearty sandwiches, mouthwatering entrees, delectable desserts, savory soups, and tempting side dishes.
Opened in the vibrant ’80s, The Odeon is much more than a restaurant. The Odeon was founded by the visionary Lynn Wagenknecht, her then-husband, the renowned restaurateur Keith McNally, and his brother Brian. This iconic beauty remains under Wagenknecht’s capable stewardship.
Step into the dining room, where the ambiance strikes a perfect balance. Neither too loud nor too quiet, with music that serves as a backdrop rather than an intrusion. Whether you opt for the Yellowfin Tuna Burger, signature Odeon burger, or Grilled Branzino, rest assured that your meal will be as satisfying as your culinary dreams.
At The Odeon, culinary excellence meets a captivating atmosphere, making it a cherished destination that transcends time.
145 West Broadway—TriBeCa
Old Town Bar & Restaurant
Step into a piece of New York City history at Old Town Bar & Restaurant. A treasured gem that stands as one of the city’s oldest dining establishments. Here, the past seamlessly blends with the present, creating a timeless allure that draws both locals and tourists alike.
The bar exudes classic charm. It welcomes you with its cozy atmosphere, featuring a beautifully weathered wooden bar and vintage decor that transports you to a bygone era. It is not just a place to enjoy a drink—it is an experience steeped in nostalgia.
Old Town Bar & Restaurant offers enticing drinks and delectable food options. Ranging from mouthwatering burgers to savory sandwiches and refreshing salads. While the diverse menu holds its own charm, it is the ambiance that steals the show.
My passionate foodie friends’ unwaverly recommendations—the Old Town Chili, wings, and Tuna Melt. At Old Town, the past lives on, and every visit is a journey through time, where the combination of classic atmosphere and delectable fare create unforgettable moments.
45 East 18th Street—Flatiron
Los Tacos No. 1
If you love Mexican cuisine, New York City offers a delightful array. And Los Tacos No. 1 stands out as a top choice on our list of Budget-Friendly Restaurants in the city. This vibrant taqueria is a true gem, known for its authentic Mexican tacos and quesadillas that pack a flavor punch.
Los Tacos No. 1 keeps it beautifully simple yet utterly delicious, featuring a menu crafted from fresh, tasteful ingredients that transport you straight to Mexico. Among the crowd favorites are the carne asado tacos, which we can not help but adore. And the best part? Each delectable taco is priced at just $3, making it a true steal.
With multiple locations sprinkled throughout Manhattan, including Chelsea Market, NoHo, and Times Square, Los Tacos No. 1 brings its irresistible blend of deliciousness and affordability to every corner of the city. It is where your craving for authentic Mexican flavors meets a budget-friendly feast that is sure to leave your taste buds and wallet equally satisfied.
75 9th Avenue—Chelsea Market
340 Lafayette Street—NoHo
229 West 43rd Street—Times Square
Patsy’s holds a treasure trove of memories, each more cherished than the last. I remember the enchanting stories shared by Ms. Conti, a dear soul who recounted her childhood visits to Patsy’s with her father. Though she is no longer with us, her memory lives on. She once took me to Pasty’s for a birthday celebration that remains etched in my heart.
Patsy’s a legendary Italian establishment in the heart of New York City. It has been a beacon of traditional Neapolitan cuisine since 1944. Its hallowed halls have welcomed countless patrons, both locals and tourists, drawn by the allure of authentic Italian flavors and warm hospitality. The restaurant’s storied history includes visits from luminaries like Frank Sinatra, adding to its timeless charm.
As you peruse Patsy’s menu, you will discover a symphony of classic Italian dishes that evoke a sense of nostalgia and delight. The mouthwatering clams oreganata are expertly stuffed with flavor. Each bite is a journey through the heart of Italian culinary tradition and will always be my favorite.
Patsy’s is not just a restaurant. It is a repository of cherished memories, where the past meets the present in a celebration of love, laughter, and exceptional cuisine.
236 West 56th Street—Midtown West
As we bid farewell to our culinary tour of New York City Iconic Restaurants, we leave you with the enduring flavors and timeless stories that make these restaurants so special. Whether it is the soulful warmth of Sylvia’s, the classic charm of The Odeon, the budget-friendly delights of Los Tacos No. 1, or the treasured memories of Patsy’s, these establishments embody the city’s rich tapestry of taste and tradition. May your own dining adventures in the Big Apple be as unforgettable as the ones we have shared.