Best pastrami sandwiches in NYC: Ranking the deli-counter classic

Save the Deli author David Sax ranks New York’s top five pastrami sandwiches, including OGs and the newbie nipping at their heels

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A deli-made pastrami sandwich—a towering heap of peppery sliced meat bookended by hearty rye—is as classically New York as yellow cabs or Yankee pinstripes. Gothamites know good pastrami, especially David Sax, the smoked-meat savant behind Save the Deli. The author ranks NYC’s five best pastrami sandwiches, spanning the old-school (Katz’s) and the new wave (Mile End).

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    5. Carnegie Deli

    “People knock it as a tourist trap—which it absolutely is—but there’s still few pastramis that beat it. Their fatty cut stacks up with the best in the city and the best anywhere.” 854 Seventh Ave at 55th St (212-757-2245). $17.99.

  • Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

    4. Ben’s Best

    “It’s big, towering and beautifully stacked. If you want to eat pastrami and have it taste like it did 40 years ago, this is the place to get it.” 96-40 Queens Blvd between 63rd Dr and 64th Rd, Rego Park, Queens (718-897-1700). $12.75.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    3. Mile End Deli

    “It’s hipster pastrami served at a real-deal Jewish deli—smoky, peppery and hand-cut. They’re the vanguard of the new-deli movement.” 97A Hoyt St between Atlantic Ave and Pacific St, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (718-852-7510). $14.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    2. 2nd Ave Deli

    “Tender and buttery—that’s the good-pastrami hallmark. On a snowy day, their pastrami sandwich and mushroom-barley soup is a must-order.” 162 E 33rd St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-689-9000). $16.95.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    1. Katz’s Delicatessen

    “The pastrami by which all others are measured,” this deli gold standard is served at “the most New York restaurant in New York.” 205 E Houston St at Ludlow St (212-254-2246). $16.95.

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

5. Carnegie Deli

“People knock it as a tourist trap—which it absolutely is—but there’s still few pastramis that beat it. Their fatty cut stacks up with the best in the city and the best anywhere.” 854 Seventh Ave at 55th St (212-757-2245). $17.99.


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