Whenever Pad and I visit NYC, our favourite places to eat are ALWAYS the traditional old-school NYC diners.We have nothing like that in London, so we always make the most of it when we’re over there…. trying to cram in as many of the best diners in NYC as humanly possible.
We’ve been so many times now, and each time we end up visiting 3/4 different diners, so I’ve put together a list of my favourites.
Tip: My favourite thing to order at diners are Buffalo wings and Gravy Fries. So if you’re after a food suggestion as well as a diner suggestion, there you go!
This might not be one of the best diners in NYC, it’s definitely one of the most well known! Head to Ellen’s at 1650 Broadway for American diner-style fare and delicious milk shakes in an authentic setting. This is one of the more touristy options on the list, which is why I’ve put it up top – chances are, if you’re stopping in midtown, this will be within a 10 minute walk. Be serenaded by your waiter or a visiting entertainer and join in too (if you want)! You may have to queue but it’s a reasonably speedy process.
Suzanne Vega wrote a song about this well-known Greek-American diner in Brooklyn’s Morningside Heights, and TV’s Seinfeld used 782 Washington Avenue as the façade for Monk’s Diner. Sample a variety of home-made soups and specials, or join the ever-present Columbia students for gravy fries (MY FAVOURITE!!) washed down by a milkshake at 3 am.
Belaire DinerEat at this Queens location for a wide variety of classic dishes in large portions with vegan and vegetarian options. Child-friendly staff serve free nibbles while you check out the stunning chrome interior of this 24-hour railroad car-style Greek venue at 31-91 21st St, Astoria.
Opened in 1980, Astro Diner is where you should go for a typical NYC experience. Astro is open 7 days a week, and does breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you crave a donut you can expect the best at 45-16 Queens Blvd Sunnyside, but step inside and you’ll discover a classic diner where regulars are greeted 24/7. Choose chunky toast, fried chicken sandwiches or Irish breakfast. There’s no website but you’ll find plenty of information and reviews online.
Found on 210 10th Ave and serving up traditional diner food in a traditional setting, this place is exactly what you’ll be imagining when picturing an NYC diner – in fact, the place looks just like it’s come right out of a movie film set. The gorgeous art deco style is my favourite part!
For a change of diet, pick this round-the-clock Latin American version that will have you thinking you’re in a diner in Havana rather than at 207 W 14th St New York 10011. Eat South American or Caribbean cooking and nightly specials on swivel stools, and finish with Cuban coffee.
Continue the Latin experience at 210 First Avenue Manhattan 1009 for Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban cuisine. Sit at the six-seat counter or upgrade to one of the three tables at this establishment run by mother and son. It’s the real deal!
Lexington Candy Store
For me this is for sure one of the best diners in NYC. Despite its name, this is a well-patronised worker’s diner at 1226 Lexington Ave, New York 10028-14 with bread made locally. Open since 1925, its retro look matches its menu, and has earned it appearances in adverts and in the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor. Order the meatball sub – you will never look back! YUM.
Grab the inevitable all-day breakfast with the usual refillable coffee, day or night at 245 East Houston St NY 10002. The new twist here is in the additional pasta and Mediterranean recipes offered by owners Peter and Anastasious Giannopoulos, alongside the southern fried chicken and steaks you’d expect.Brooklyn Diner
Savour Brooklyn’s diversity at 212 W 57th St, close to Carnegie Hall and situated in the Midtown hotel area. Go for Jewish, Irish, Italian cooking and more, but save room for the impressive desserts, freshly baked onsite. Try its outpost in the middle of the theatre district at 155 W 43rd St. More expensive than other choices on this list – but still fun!
Don’t leave out a trip to the Bronx at Riverdale and this favourite of restaurant critics at 3033 Tibbett Ave. From its extensive menu of above-average diner classics, make sure you don’t miss the instant pick-me-up of its chicken potpie or an indulgent slice of Boston cream pie.
Located on 174 Fifth Avenue, 212-675-5096, this diner is one of cities most iconic diners and has a fun vibe, and delicious food. Sit down and watch the world go by whilst munching on their toasted cheese sandwiches!
Neptune Diner is located at 31-05 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria, Queens and is one of the best greek-run diners out there. This place serves up your normal diner food – but for something special, try the Greek items on the menu!
And one last suggestion… Katz Deli
Ok, so this might not technically be a diner – but it’s a deli – and THEY’RE AMAZING so you should go visit them anyhow. It’s where ‘When Harry Met Sally’ was filmed (that famous scene) and it’s been visited by so many celebrities you won’t be able to keep count of all the signed photos on the wall. If you want an amazing sandwich then this is where you should go. GO RIGHT NOW! It’s my favourite place in NYC for sandwiches!
Got some suggestions? Have I missed anywhere off? If you know any other diners that should be added to the best diners in nyc list – let me know!