Dining Through History: 10 Oldest Restaurants in NYC That Are Still Open!

New York City, a melting pot of history and modernity, isn’t just famous for its iconic skyline and bustling streets.

It’s also a treasure trove of gastronomic wonders and venerable restaurants that have stood as silent witnesses to the ever-evolving tapestry of New York.

We’re not just talking about any restaurants; we’re introducing you to the oldest dining establishments in NYC that are still open today, from quaint, old-world steakhouses to legendary delis.

Each of these dining spots, brimming with traditional charm and appeal, offers more than just food; they offer a chance to savor the stories and flavors that have delighted patrons for generations.

1. Fraunces Tavern: A Revolutionary Beginning

Fraunces Tavern was opened in 1762 and holds a significant place in the history of New York City and the United States. Located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan at 54 Pearl Street.

Fraunces Tavern
Fraunces Tavern” by Tanenhaus is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

This historic tavern served as a meeting place for revolutionaries and played a significant role during and after the American Revolution.

Inside Fraunces Tavern, the charming colonial architecture and décor hearken back to the days when it was a bustling hotspot for political figures.

Samuel Fraunces, the tavern’s founder, initially named it the Queen’s Head Tavern as a nod to Queen Charlotte.

The tavern’s menu boasts a wide variety of dishes, ranging from classic American fare to traditional British dishes like bangers and mash.

Dive into this insightful review from Yelp, who shares their firsthand experience and personal take on the establishment!

“This little place was a find. I just got in and was looking for a late night bite. The oysters were fresh and delish. Also had the pork chop with mashed potatoes. So yummy and quaint atmosphere.”

2. Delmonico’s: America’s First Fine Dining Experience

Delmonico’s is a historic and renowned restaurant in the United States, often credited with being one of the first fine dining establishments in the country.

Delmonico’s” by C R is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Delmonico’s was originally opened in 1837 by the Delmonico brothers, John and Peter, who were Swiss immigrants.

The restaurant was located at 2 South William Street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City.

Throughout its history, Delmonico’s chefs have created iconic dishes, some of which remain permanently etched in New York’s culinary history.

The Delmonico Steak, the Lobster Newberg, and the Baked Alaska are just a few examples of culinary masterpieces that have delighted the city’s diners for generations.

One satisfied diner on Tripadvisor attested to the restaurant’s charm and its succulent dishes:

“Impeccable service. A gastronomic dining experience. Nicely decorated for holiday season. Very extensive wine “book”. We had several appetizers, Signature Delmonico Steak, Mashed Potato and Asparagus. Everything was excellent!”

3. Katz’s Delicatessen: Icon of Immigrant Influence

Katz’s Delicatessen, often referred to simply as Katz’s Deli, is a famous Jewish delicatessen in New York City. Established in 1888 and has been operating continuously since then.

Katz's Delicatessen
Katz’s Delicatessen” by Beyond My Ken is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

It’s located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, at 205 East Houston Street, on the southwest corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets

It is renowned for its classic New York-style pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, among other traditional Jewish fare.

These sandwiches have earned high praise, as one Yelp reviewer states:

“Iconic pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. Bring your appetite!! There’s no comparison.”

The legacy of Katz’s Deli stretches beyond just delightful sandwiches, though—its continued success is a testament to the cultural impact and influence of immigrant-owned businesses in New York.

4. Peter Luger Steak House: A Tradition of Quality

Peter Luger Steak House is a renowned steakhouse known for its exceptional quality steaks and unique dining experience. It was founded in 1887 by Carl Luger in Brooklyn, New York.

Peter Luger Steak House
Luger dinner” by PLBechly is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

The original Peter Luger Steak House is situated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

The restaurant is famous for its dry-aged steaks, which are cooked to perfection and served in a traditional, straightforward manner, emphasizing the quality of the meat.

This dedication to quality is what has earned Peter Luger Steak House its reputation as one of New York City’s finest eateries.

Best Steak restaurant East of the Rockies! Always consistent W/superb services. Must usually make reservations in advance.Yelp Reviewer

Peter Luger Steak House operates seven days a week, offering lunch and dinner services. However, the hours can vary on holidays or special occasions.

5. The ’21’ Club: Prohibition and Posh Luncheons

The ’21’ Club, also known simply as “21,” is a famous restaurant and former prohibition-era roadhouse located at 21 West 52nd Street in Manhattan, New York City.

The ’21’ Club first opened its doors in 1922 and quickly became known for its exclusive clientele, which included numerous celebrities, politicians, and business tycoons.

They had a concealed wine cellar where famous patrons like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Nixon stored their wine collections.

The menu is diverse, offering a range of dishes from classic steaks to fresh seafood.

As a visitor to the ’21’ Club, you’ll be impressed not only by the rich history but also by the exquisite dining experience. As one Yelp reviewer put it:

“Amazing, best steak I’ve ever had. The atmosphere is stunning. We sat next to the owners of the Atlanta Dodgers. Very pricey but worth a one time experience.”

6. McSorley’s Old Ale House: A Toast to Resilience

McSorley’s Old Ale House, established in 1854, a historic treasure in the heart of New York City, boasts a rich and colorful history as one of the oldest continuously operated taverns in the United States.

Located in the East Village of Manhattan at 15 East 7th Street, McSorley’s has stood the test of time, becoming a beloved institution in New York.

It famously served only two types of ale (light or dark) for many years and maintained a men-only policy until 1970.

John McSorley, an Irish immigrant, opened the ale house initially called “The Old House at Home.”

He later passed the management to his son, William, and eventually, the pub changed hands to Daniel O’Connell, a retired policeman, and longtime customer.

Customers of McSorley’s often rave about their experiences. One Trip Advisor review says:

“McSorley’s is on East 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Good old Irish bar with fast service and a great ambiance. Sawdust on the floor style. Recommended”

7. Lombardi’s Pizza: A Slice of History

Lombardi’s Pizza is renowned for being one of the first pizzeria in the United States, having opened in 1905. in the United States. Located at 32 Spring Street in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.

Lombardi's Pizza
Lombardi’s Pizza” by SimonDoggett is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Gennaro Lombardi, an Italian immigrant, started the business in Little Italy, and it has since become a landmark for pizza enthusiasts.

Lombardi’s is famous for its classic Neapolitan-style pizza, which is characterized by its thin crust and fresh, high-quality ingredients.

The pizzas are cooked in a coal-fired brick oven, which imparts a unique, smoky flavor that has become synonymous with Lombardi’s signature style.

Many visitors share the same opinion; one Yelp reviewer exclaimed:

“Best Neapolitan pizza I’ve ever had! Cash-only restaurant! Friendly staff and the ambiance was authentic Italian.”

8. The Russian Tea Room: Cultural and Culinary Melting Pot

The Russian Tea Room is a well-known restaurant located at 150 West 57th Street, near Carnegie Hall, in Manhattan, New York City.  It was founded by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 192.

The Russian Tea Room
Interior of the Russian Tea Room” by Rubenstein is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Offering a mix of Continental, Russian, and Contemporary American cuisine, the Russian Tea Room has something for everyone.

Guests can indulge in a range of dishes, from traditional Russian favorites like borscht and blini to sumptuous Continental dishes such as Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Kyiv.

The menu also features a lavish Afternoon Tea service, complete with an assortment of tea, scones, sandwiches, and sweet treats.

Visitors often rave about their experiences at the Russian Tea Room. One Tripadvisor reviewer shared:

“I loved this iconic restaurant in NY & we dined on the local caviar & fine wines & the service, ambiance & presentation were par excellence. Highly recommend you visit The Russian Tea Room whilst in New York.”

9. Keens Steakhouse: An Emblem of Old New York

Keens Steakhouse is a true icon of old New York City, located in the heart of Manhattan, at 72 West 36th Street, near Herald Square and the Garment District.

Keens Steakhouse
Keen’s Steakhouse, Manhattan” by Edsel L is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Established in 1885, it has stood the test of time and continues to attract locals, tourists, and celebrities alike.

The restaurant is known for its classic steakhouse ambiance, with dark wood paneling, rich history displayed on the walls, and an impressive collection of churchwarden pipes.

One of the most famous dishes served at Keens Steakhouse is their legendary mutton chops.

One Yelp reviewer rant about the dish, saying:

“Mutton chops so good. Steak: not worth the price. I would order mutton chops.”

10. La Grenouille: Classic French Cuisine

La Grenouille is a renowned French restaurant located at 3 East 52nd Street, in the heart of Manhattan, New York City.

Established in 1962, it has been serving classic French cuisine for over 60 years, making it one of the city’s most storied and revered dining establishments.

La Grenouille’s menu features a range of classic French dishes, prepared with precision and care.

The restaurant is also known for its extensive wine list, which includes a selection of fine wines from France and around the world.

Here’s some review from TripAdvisor:

“Classic French food with perfect service in a beautiful room. Great wine list. Fully priced but well worth the price.”

10 Oldest Restaurants in NYC That Are Still Open: A Recap

New York City is home to some of the most historic and iconic eateries in the United States, each offering a unique dining experience and a rich history.

These restaurants range from revolutionary-era taverns to classic French and Italian establishments, reflecting the diverse cultural and culinary heritage of the city.

Each restaurant not only offers exquisite food but also a glimpse into the rich arras of New York’s history and its ever-evolving culinary scene.

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