Best kosher restaurants and cafes in New York City 2012

Whether you keep kosher or are entertaining observant Jewish pals, these New York kosher restaurants will please a mixed crowd.

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Tiffin Wallah

Tiffin Wallah Photograph: Marlene Rounds


Observant Jews don’t have to settle for falafel in New York City, where there are plenty of kosher restaurants to suit religious gourmands. Under careful rabbinical supervision, these kosher eateries abide by orthodox Jewish policies ensuring that their standards are never compromised, even in the busiest of kitchens. From delis and bistros to world-class Indian food, here are our favorite kosher restaurants in NYC. Did we miss your favorite New York kosher restaurant? Let us know in the comments.

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The Prime Grill

  • Price band: 3/4

(Supervised by OU)
Owner Joey Allaham tries to operate his meat emporium like a proper midtown steakhouse first, kosher steakhouse second. That means serious waiters, a clientele of glatt gourmands who are comfortable bringing nonkosher guests here, and a safe, classy wood-heavy interior. You won't find filet mignon (too close to the back to be a kosher cut), but slabs of dry-aged rib eye and sirloin are richly satisfying.

  1. 60 E 49th St, (between Madison and Park Aves), 10017-11
More info

Le Marais

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

(Supervised by OU)
Relinquish your Times Square restaurant prejudices. Unlike its megachain neighbors, this kosher French bistro does most things well (dessert can be skipped) and some things superbly. Thank the on-site butcher for the piquant steak au poivre. The house frites are crisp and satisfying, and will have even gentiles plotzing.

  1. 150 W 46th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves)
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Blossom Vegan Restaurant

(Supervised by Lev Schwartz)
For cautious carnivores, Blossom offers one big surprise: All the eggless pastas and mock meats actually taste pretty good. For vegans, it's a candlelit godsend. Guiltily dreaming of veal scaloppine? Try the pan-seared seitan cutlets, tender wheat gluten served with garlic mashed potates.

  1. 187 Ninth Ave, (between 21st and 22nd Sts)
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Tiffin Wallah

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

(Supervised by OKS)
This bright, clean Curry Hill standout makes a great date place—especially if your date is vegetarian, Jewish or homesick for India. Start with the samosa chaat ($4)—two flaky pockets stuffed with potato and peas, covered in a colorful tamarind, cilantro and yogurt sauce. Then sample one of three $14 thalis—multiple servings of rice, curries, chutneys and more served on a single tray. A fresh lunch buffet, offered from 11:30am to 3pm on weekdays, overflows with South Indian standards like a creamy saag paneer and Gobi masala (cauliflower and spiced onions)—all you can eat for $7.95.

  1. 127 E 28th St, (at Lexington Ave)
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Mike’s Bistro

(Supervised by OU)
The menu items at Mike's Bistro on the Upper West Side don't sound especially Jewish, but the food is 100 percent glatt kosher. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1997, Brooklyn native chef-owner Michael Gershkovich has dreamed of opening his own kosher restaurant—one where the food is as important as the biblical dietary regulations. After a stint at the upscale kosher steakhouse Prime Grill, he's now running his own show with dishes like braised duck gnocchi, barbecue-glazed short rib and sautéed duck breast.

  1. 228 W 72nd St, (between Broadway and West End Ave), 10023
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Pongal

  • Price band: 1/4

(Supervised by CUPK)
If you're used to North Indian fare, the casually elegant Pongal will fill in a few blanks with dishes from the South. Staff at this kosher vegetarian spot provide a brief culinary geography lesson and realistically assess how scorching the "hot spices" really are. The dosa are big and finely seasoned. The truly great tuver baingan has refreshingly unmushy eggplant, pigeon peas and an unforgettable bite that just might bring you back for more.

  1. 110 Lexington Ave, (between 27th and 28th Sts), 10016
More info

Sacred Chow

  • Price band: 1/4

(Supervised by IKC)
This small, quiet vegan cafe and bistro offers most of its seitan, tofu and vegetable dishes as small plates—a good idea, as there are many options. There's wholesome sunflower- and lentil-pate on crostini, and a shiitake mushroom salad with toasted sunflower seeds. If you're willing to commit to a full-size entree, the soy-meatball sub is a satisfying choice, slathered in a savory tomato-onion sauce and topped with melted vegan cheese. Organic wines and draft beers can be paired with all dishes.

  1. 227 Sullivan St, (between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts), 10014
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Chennai Garden

  • Price band: 1/4

(Supervised by OKS)
The sparsely decorated Gramercy cafe serves some of the tastiest Indian food in Manhattan—and it's kosher and vegetarian to boot. Channa chat, cold chickpeas in a yogurt and smoky-sweet tamarind sauce, and lentil chat, lentil flour fritters drenched in mustard-seed-and-chili yogurt, are among our new favorite comfort foods. Curries include undhiyu, an unusual combination of yam, eggplant and snow peas in a rich, mildly peppery butter sauce.

  1. 129 E 27th St, (between Park Ave South and Lexington Ave), 10016-89
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Maoz Vegetarian

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

(Supervised by Steinberg)
This falafel joint offers chickpea patties with unlimited fixings—serve yourself at the salad bar. Once you've scored your fill of seemingly endless toppings, such as shredded cabbage and carrot medallions, experiment with seven different sauces, including a mild traditional tahini or a worth-the-wait garlic sauce, which does the rather soggy pommes frites a world of good.

  1. 38 Union Sq East, (between 16th and 17th Sts)
More info

Hummus Place

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

(Supervised by UKS)
If you want to know how good hummus should taste, check out this slender East Village restaurant (there are two more locations, one in the West Village and one on the Upper West Side). We're particularly fond of the supersmooth traditional hummus. It's rich enough to be called "vegetarian chopped liver" and comes with a smart selection of condiments including pickles, olives, raw onion and chewy, bubbly pita for scooping.

  1. 109 St Marks, (between First Ave and Avenue A)
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Noi Due

(Supervised by Aaron David Mehlman)

“This place is kosher?” will be your first question walking into Noi Due. There’s nothing frum-looking about this intimate café, a terrific date spot for anyone—observant or otherwise. Start with antipasti (we liked the pastry cigars filled with ricotta and spinach), but save room for the pizza. Cooked in a brick oven, the pies are topped with palpably fresh ingredients, on a crunchy yet chewy crust.

  1. 143 W 69th St, (between Broadway and Columbus Ave)
More info

Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen

  • Price band: 1/4

(Supervised by Steinberg)
Knishes, hot pastrami, chopped liver—you'll find deli classics and much more at Ben's, proud sponsor of an annual matzo-ball--eating contest. The granddaddy of six statewide locations, Ben's Gotham branch features a loud, 250-seat dining room and even louder colorful menus, chock-full of exclamation points. Half an overstuffed sandwich, served on soft, tangy rye or wheat, is thicker than War and Peace, and the beef, turkey and veggie burgers are bursting out of their buns. There are also steaks and chicken livers, plus lighter choices, such as a Caesar salad.

  1. 209 W 38th St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves), 10018
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William Greenberg Jr. Desserts

  • Price band: 1/4

(Supervised by OKS)
Legend has it that William Greenberg Jr. started his first family bakery in 1946 with money he'd won playing cards. Over the years, several of his uptown shops came and went and this is the latest iteration, still serving all of the man's signature kosher cookies, cakes and brownies. Dive into favorites like schnecken, shortbread linzer tarts filled with raspberry preserves, apple strudel, black-and-white cookies and cinnamon babka (coffee cake covered with streusel crumbs).

  1. 1100 Madison Ave, (between 82nd and 83rd Sts)
More info

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