6 Iconic Restaurants You Have To Try On Your New York Vacation

The tourist industry is worth an estimated $80 billion, and post-COVID, there is something of a boom occurring in the market, which will be a welcome boost to the economy and especially so in the hospitality industry, which has suffered greatly over the last couple of years.

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FACEBOOK Lombardi’s Pizza

Many will visit over the holiday season, no doubt inspired by previous trips, word of mouth, and more than a few cultural references gleaned from classic TV shows and movies, and as part of their festive holiday, they’ll look to make the most of the great culinary experiences the city has to offer.

At the latest count, there are estimated to be 25,000 restaurants in the city, and that means tasty treats await at every corner, and it is a mammoth undertaking to locate the best opportunities to enjoy during your brief stay in NYC.

Every region of the world is represented when it comes to the size and scale of the restaurant scene in New York. This is why it’s often considered the best place to visit from a culinary standpoint.

Whether you want to snuggle in cozy restaurant booths or in a high-end upscale bistro, New York at Christmas is a must. There are new options to consider at every turn, and as well as great restaurants, there are, of course, the many street food vendors to consider if you want to ‘slum it’. 

While there is some charm and simplicity to just turning up in New York and seeing where the mood, and human traffic, take you, it might be wiser to come up with some plan so that you don’t miss out on the creme de la creme.

There are choices to suit every budget and taste you can imagine, and here are six iconic restaurants that have come to represent the city itself.


For many, New York means pizza, and if that’s the kind of pick-me-up you are looking for from your food, then Lombardi’s is a must. This place has been open since 1905, and though it’s something of a tourist hot spot, that doesn’t mean that their pizza isn’t superb. 

It’s considered the first pizzeria in America, which may or may not be true (it probably isn’t), but the point is that their pizza is top-class. Be prepared to queue!

Katz’s Delicatessen

This classic Jewish deli is known throughout the world and is hugely popular, and is frequented by a fair amount of celebs. If you like your pastrami on rye, then you are in good company here. 

The prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is very ‘New York’, and if you time it well, you won’t have to wait long to get your hands on some truly delicious treats. Side note, if you want to recreate the When Harry Met Sally scene, you know THAT scene; it’s the table slap bang in the center of the restaurant. 


If you like soul food and want to visit somewhere iconic that represents New York, then Sylvia’s has to be on your itinerary. The food is simply fabulous, and there is a nice variety in terms of dishes, so don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to pop there a second time on your trip to the city.

There are countless tasty side dishes, so give in and sample as many as you can. The candied yams are to die for, and the overall vibe is enough to get you in the mood. So plan a trip to Harlem and take your seat at Sylvia’s. 

Keens Steakhouse

Do you have a craving for steak? Then Keen’s has to be on your to-do list. New York has more than its fair share of steakhouses, but Keen’s is by far the most famous and popular and has been ever since it opened way back in 1885.

The place has many great spots, whether your trip is family-based or perhaps part of a bachelor party; there are plenty of parts of this iconic restaurant designed with your crew in mind. You can choose to enjoy the bar and pub experience or spend that little extra for the real deal. Don’t miss out on the family carrot cake; it’s just sublime.

Don Peppe

What really works for this Italian restaurant is its very basic appeal. It serves Italian classics like no other. It sticks to very traditional recipes, and it gets it right every time. Additionally, if relevant, it’s an easy ride to JFK airport from its Queens location.

It has a charm and charisma that puts you in mind of New York Italian restaurants you’ve seen in movies and ticks all the right boxes. Be aware that it’s a cash-only restaurant with a rather limited wine menu.


This is, perhaps stylistically and financially, the complete opposite of Don Peppe and might be the first port of call if your trip to New York is ahead of a wedding at City Hall. Its menu is classic French, and the customers surrounding you are all glitz and glamor, so try to fit it or fake it until you make it.

There are costly elements to the menu, but there are no-frills elements also, and make sure to sample their delightful cocktails. This might be the ideal place to get the party started and is situated in the center of hip SoHo so get ready to paint the town red.

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