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Feb 8, 2012 12:52 PM

Iconic NYC Restaurants?

Hello, I seek a list of iconic NYC restaurants. I don't mean "must trys"; I read all those threads. I mean old establisments +50 years. To mind, are Peter Lugers and Carnegie Deli, I know there must be many more. I have never visted NYC. I am from SF and will be in your great city in early May. It is not important to me if they are uneven or touristy. I enjoy all foods and prices.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Four Seasons
    Oyster Bar
    La Grenouille
    The Palm (the original)
    Barney Greengrass
    PJ Clarke's (the original)
    Serendipity 3
    Il Mulino (opened early 80's)

    Barney Greengrass
    541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

    Katz's Delicatessen
    205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

    Grand Central Oyster Bar
    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

    Sparks Steak House
    210 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

    72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

    Il Mulino
    86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

    837 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017

    La Grenouille
    3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

    P.J. Clarke's
    915 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

    Serendipity 3
    225 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022

    The Four Seasons
    99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

    10 Replies
    1. re: Chuck Lawrence

      I'd just like to clarify to the OP that it is The Four Seasons restaurant Chuck Lawrence speaks of and not the restaurant at the Four Season hotel. Two very different things.

      Here's a link to the web site:

      1. re: Chuck Lawrence

        Smith & Wollensky's (1977) and don't miss Wollensky's Grill. The Grill (entrance on 49th St) is open from 11:30AM till 2:00AM but does not accept reservations. Took my out-of-town husband there on our first date in 1998, we did not have reservations at 11pm so we hit the Grill, fabulous. 797 Third Ave, New York, NY 10022

        Smith & Wollensky
        797 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022

        Wollensky's Grill
        201 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

        1. re: mrskitty

          Iconic NY? It's the lesser part of a chain restaurant.

          1. re: thegforceny

            It did not start out a chain. It was one great steakhouse that became a chain. Kind of like Il Mulino.............

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              But it was started by the guy who founded TGI Friday's (which, incidentally, also had its first and original location in East side of Manhattan) - so most likely it was going to be a chain.

              1. re: uwsister

                Was TGI Friday's ever better than horrific?

                1. re: Pan

                  Obviously I have no first-hand experience. I have a feeling that it wasn't since the emphasis seems to always have been on drinks and the "bar scene."

                  1. re: Pan

                    Ha, My mom told me about going there in the 70s. I imagine it was prob the same as any of those other mediocre midtown UES bars in the area before the food was made in a factory and frozen and then assembled on site.

                    1. re: Renguin

                      In the '60s, the original TGI Fridays was a singles bar.

            2. re: mrskitty

              Smith and Wollensky's is only in NYC for 34 years. The building however is from 1893, before it was Smith and Wollensky , it was a great steak house called Manny Wolf's. I went there when I was younger.
              You folks mentioned most of the Icons. i am amazed 21 Club is still around, most of the Icons I don't like, that includes Old Homestead. If there is still a Chock full o nuts or a Horn and Hardart Automat, those are icons for sure. Sammy's, Katz's Russ and Daughters, Keens, Sardi's, Four Seasons, Tad's Steakhouse is kind of iconic , they used to have steaks for $1.19, I think today they are only $10. , Pete's Tavern, DelMonico's, Gallaghers, Russian Tea Room, Chumly's the old speakeasy, One if by land, Peter Luger, White Horse, Fraunces Tavern, Monte's, Lombardi's, Papaya King is over 80 years old,and a definite Icon. Nathan's in coney island for sure, The Oyster Bar at Grand Central is over 90 years old, B&H Dairy has been around since 1930's and an Icon to vegetarians, Odessa might be iconic, Cafe Ferrara is probably the first italian cafe established in 1892, Veniero's dates back pretty far as well. Lanza's and John's and Patsy's are pretty iconic. Peking Duck House, Wo Hop, Nam Wah, Hong Fat, 4,5,6 i'll call iconic. Maybe Vincent;s and Umberto's and Puglia's.
              The ones that could have been but disappeared Orange Julius, Nedicks, Ratner's, Patricia Murphy's, Mama Leone's, Elaine's, Market Diner, Pink Tea Cup, Zum Zum, Sloppy Louie's,

          2. also
            Fraunces Tavern
            Old Homestead
            Russ & Daughters

            Russ & Daughters
            179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

            Old Homestead
            56 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

            56 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10004

            Fraunces Tavern
            54 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10004

            2 Replies
            1. re: boredough

              Russ & Daughters is not a restaurant.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                oops you are right! but it is iconic..... sorry!

            2. 21 Club whose waiters have been there forever and maybe the Boathouse at the Central park.

              21 Club
              21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

              Central Park Boathouse
              Central Park East Drive E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021

              1. I just listened to an excellent Bowery Boys podcast about the history and cultural significance of Sardi's, which readily acknowledged that its mostly a tourist crowd and no exactly chow-worthy, but certainly full of (broadway) history.

                McSorely's for a couple of half-mugs of beer (you can probably skip the food offerings)

                McSorley's Old Ale House
                15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                1. Agree with most of the others listed so far. Add Lombardi's, Le Cirque and maybe even Babbo as the newest "iconic" restaurant. It's been around and featured or mentioned in enough movies/tv shows to earn that status by now I think. Others may disagree and that's fine.

                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Le Cirque
                  151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

                  32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dkstar1

                    I know I'm late to the party but I just want to point out that Lombardi's has only been opened since 1994. There was a Lombardi's on Prince street but not at this location.