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Carnegie Deli or Katz's?

I want to get some really good deli sandwiches when I visit NYC, should I check out Carnegie Deli or Katz's?

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  1. Katz's, hand down. Their food is better, more authentic type of old New York deli service, the prices are better, note, deli is always pricy. Don't do waitress service, get on line for the deli men, the prices are better and the portions seem bigger. The deli man will give you tastings of what he has in front of him, don't ask, they just give. I suggest you get on the Russian's line- he is the oldest one there, white hair, rolling his eyes sometimes but he gives the most generous portions. Make sure you have a couple singles visible to tip. We always order(for two)- pastrami on rye, half corned beef with matzoh ball soup, round kinish, and two sodas with mixed pickles, mustard on the side. It is plenty of food and you get good taste of deli.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mslex

      Yes... what mslex said. My thoughts exactly, though I favor the half sour pickles and always get a Dr. Browns black cherry soda. And Katz's does take credit cards, FYI, but you pay in the back near the cakes.

    2. No contest. Carnegie Deli is a tourist trap - has been for years. Wildly overpriced and underwhelming.
      Katz's on the other hand, is the real thing. In my humble opinion, the best pastrami in the known universe (and for heaven's sake, DON'T ask for it lean- that misses the point of eating pastrami).
      Another option, is the Second Avenue Deli- also the real thing. Their meat is kosher and to me, not as tasty as Katz's.

      1. I am a fan of the carnegie deli unlike most here but it does not compare to Katz's.

        1. Definitely Katz's. Curiously, the "Carnegie Deli pastrami" they serve at places like Murray's Bagels is better than the stuff you get at the Carnegie Deli itself.

          1. Katz's. The pastrami, tongue, and matzoh ball soup are phenomenal.

            1. Katz's without question. The pastrami is fattier and more delicious. The only reason to go to 2nd Ave deli is if you're stuck in midtown, want a nicer place to sit and eat or want some of the other deli items they don't have at Katz's.

              I covered both in more detail on my sandwich blog, check them out:
              Katz: http://www.simplysandwiches.net/2008/...
              2nd Ave Deli: http://www.simplysandwiches.net/2008/...

              5 Replies
              1. re: bhoxie

                KATZ'S = the best tongue sandwich in the world

                DON'T LOSE YOUR TICKET!

                1. re: Lettucepray

                  Katz's. Carnegie Deli is geared for tourists. Just gander at the line outside. CD is not interested in repeat customers. The food and service make that clear. Also, when you're done at Katz's. you can take a quick walk to Russ & Daughters, Economy Candy and Kossar's.

                  1. re: Lettucepray

                    Always been curious what happens if you lose your ticket! Anyone know?

                    1. re: Blumie

                      I think they charge you fifty dollars or something.

                      By the way it sounded youd think someone took you to into the back and beat you.

                      1. re: ConOrama

                        With crispy half-sour pickles and their soggy fries! Actually, I believe there is some sort of flat fee (expensive).

                2. Agree, Katz's (corned beef). I have yet to go but have heard good things about the relocated 2nd Avenue (where I always used to go for pastrami). If you're in midtown and looking for deli, I would bypass Carnegie for Stage. OK, the place has no atmosphere, but dang it all, I'm constantly surprised at how much I like it there, and ultimately, isn't it about the food?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NYChristopher

                    Second the opinion-Stage over Carnegie. Comparing the 2 for 40 years and Carnegie always comes up short. But nothing beats the pastrami at Katz's

                  2. Oh, definitely Katz's. I'll have what she's having! LOL

                    1. Katz's, order on line. I like the plate you get with 3 meats, bread and pickles on the side so you can build your own sandwiches

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Emma01

                        To be clear, when Emma says "order on line," that's NY talk for standing in line at the counter to place your order rather than opting for waiter service. She was not suggesting that you place an order over the internet!

                      2. Oh my god, Katz's is a revelation. You'll pay almost twice as much at Carnegie but I have no reason to believe it is any better.

                        1. I like the Carnegie for corned beef, Katz's for pastrami. While the Carnegie may attract lots of tourists, being in midtown down the block from Carnegie Hall in close proximity to many hotels, and they may play up the brusque service for the out-of-towners, the food is still authentic, and many of the waitstaff have been there for years. I prefer the Carnegie to Stage Deli.

                          1 Reply
                          1. Katz's, the Pastrami is always fresh and hand cut not sliced on a machine.
                            Tip the counterman and you will receive an ample sample of what's in store.

                            1. Katz's is the real deal, and probably the last of its breed. BTW, defibrillation consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the affected heart with a device called a defibrillator. Might want to bring one with you, or an EMT.