Carnegie Deli

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
1 Love It
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Midtown West
This sexagenarian legend is a time capsule of the bygone borscht belt era, when shtick could make up for cramped quarters, surly waiters and shabby tables. All of the gargantuan sandwiches have punny names: “Bacon Whoopee” (a BLT with chicken salad), “Carnegie Haul” (pastrami, tongue and salami). A waiter sings the deli’s virtues in a corny video loop, and more than 600 celebrity headshots crowd the walls. Still, when you’re craving a deli classic, you can’t do much better than the obscenely generous pastrami and corned-beef sandwiches on rye. The place might not have invented schmaltz, but it certainly perfected it.
Venue name: Carnegie Deli
Address: 854 Seventh Ave
New York
Cross street: at 55th St
Opening hours: Daily 6:30am–2am
Transport: Subway: B, D, E to Seventh Ave; N, Q, R to 57th St
Price: Average sandwich: $20. AmEx, MC, V

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening
David C

I’ll be honest: I only order one thing from Carnegie (and no more than once a month because I want to live past 45), and you can probably guess what it is: the hot pastrami on rye. This tottering mountain of brined beef, barely kept vertical by two slices of bread and best shared with that special someone, is a New York staple for a reason. Sure, I wince at the $20 price tag, but I’m basically getting two sandwiches in one, I can split it with a friend of my wife. Make sure you get pickles with it—the sourer the better. The matzoh ball soup is very good, but I hate taking up space that could be used for delicious pastrami. Usually I order it to go (avoid the lunchtime or dinnertime crush by going after 9pm), but the few times I’ve eaten in have been pleasant and rich with Noo Yawk atmosphere. Of course that atmosphere is mostly on the walls in the form of framed photos. Let’s not kid ourselves: the place is a tourist destination.