New York City is always changing, but the city’s greasy spoon diners are a mainstay. From frothy milkshakes to hamburgers with home fries, here are 10 to try in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
1. The Waverly Diner
Old school to the last drop, this corner joint n the West Village serves up triple-decker sandwiches, BLTs and vanilla milkshakes. It's cash-only, so don't just bring plastic, and it's open 24 hours — plus, breakfast is served at all times. Worth a visit late at night (or early in the morning).
2. Tom's Restaurant
This old Brooklyn establishment, on Washington Avenue, is just a short walk from Prospect Park. What sets it apart from the other diners is its old-school tradition of serving free coffee to, customers and free snacks for those waiting in line to be seated. It hasn't been redesigned for decades, so the decor is filled with kitschy art and string lighting. Try the whole-wheat pancakes and chocolate French toast.
3. Long Island Bar
This classic bar from the 1950s is like a trip back in time. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, it has a wild cocktail list and bar food that ranges from nachos to home fries. The vinyl booths are more than 50 years old and the wooden bar is the same age.
Just a block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this Greek diner is known for its greasy hash browns, which comes as a side dish to many meals. They also have a number of Milanese dishes, from pasta to pizza. For dessert, indulge in the chocolate lava cake. Be prepared to sit at the counter if it's busy, though the stools are super comfy.
5. Lexington Candy Shop
Looking for an authentic milkshake? Stop by this Manhattan restaurant on the Upper East Side to try out some vintage classics, from a vanilla milkshake to hamburger and fries. Pop in for Sunday brunch to have pancakes with maple syrup and bananas.
6. Cafe Sabarsky
For a taste of Europe, try this Austrian café and diner. Located in midtown, it was founded by Serge Sabarsky, an art gallerist who wanted to bring a Viennese cafe to the city. The interior design brings a bit of the Old World to Manhattan, with European furniture by Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos. Try the traditional Viennese coffee paired with desserts that include a classic apple strudel drenched in vanilla sauce.
7. Bel Aire Diner
If you're in Queens, stop by this legendary Art Deco diner, which is owned by the local Dellaportas family. Since 1972, they've been providing Greek-inspired fare on their enormous menu, which boasts more than 900 items.
8. Katz's Delicatessen
This Brooklyn hotspot is classic New York City. Order up a pastrami sandwich on rye bread with pickles and a celery soda. Katz's has been in the same location since 1888.
9. Square Diner
Sitting in this aluminum-clad diner makes you feel like you're sitting on a train car. Even though it's in the pricey TriBeCa neighbourhood, this 1920s diner hasn't changed much over time. Try the classic hamburger with home fries, followed by a slice of fluffy carrot cake.
10. Corner Bistro
This little restaurant on the west side of Greenwich Village is famed for having one of the best hamburgers in the city. In a nod to modernity, you can pair it with a local craft beer.
Want to try some of New York City's best classic bites? G Adventures can get you there. Check out our small group tours to the United States of America here.