The best hot dogs are the ultimate comfort food, calling to mind long-ago family picnics and cookouts. As kids, we craved simple ketchup-squiggled wieners, but these days, we embrace the bolder dogs being served up by the city’s restauranteurs: think Spanish-style, heaped with BBQ, and even vegetarian. Whether you’re on the boardwalk or the LES, our guide will lead you to the best hot dogs in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC
Best hot dogs in NYC
The iconic eats at this legendary Lower East Side deli counter have always been of the no-frills sort, from the hulking piles of peppery pastrami to the Swiss-and-sauerkraut rueben. The hot dog is no exception: The all-beef frankfurter is seasoned deeply with garlic, salt and paprika beneath its firm, lightly charred natural casing. A traditional topper of zesty golden mustard and tangy kraut adds some bright acidity inside a soft, humble split bun. $3.95.
Tourists and tube-steak zealots make the trek to this Brooklyn landmark for a taste of hot-dog history. Established in 1916, the former 5¢ stand still does a roaring trade. The bun is flimsy, but in the end, it's just a vehicle for the chain-spawning wiener, which has a tight casing that gives way to a juicy interior. $3.99.
The stoner-friendly offerings at Crif Dogs include this perennial top-seller, featuring a bacon-wrapped dog, chili, coleslaw and pickled jalapeños. The crunch of deep-fried bacon gives way to a soft interior, and the mild chili sauce soaks into the bun, giving each bite an extra hit of meaty flavor. $4.75.
The beer-loving Brooklyn butchers know their way around, ahem, meat, a fact proven in their carne-heavy menu of house-made charcuterie, terrines and, yes, hot dogs. The house tube steaks arrive as a pair and are served “tiger style”: the all-beef franks are topped with spicy tripe chili, a scattering of scallions and plenty of Chinese mustard on a squishy bun. You’re lucky they come in twos, because you’ll seriously want another one. $15.
A pair of classic comfort foods—hot dogs and mac and cheese—join forces to create this tasty monstrosity. Each order comes with two Sabrett dogs tucked into potato rolls and covered by a generous helping of mac and cheese, made with a gooey blend of Parmesan, Gruyère and American cheeses. The whole thing’s served atop a mound of fries. $12.
This nouveau Jewish deli is best known for bringing Montreal-style smoked meat to the city, but it also makes its mark on a New York classic with its from-scratch hot dog. The griddled all-beef frank and the tangy sauerkraut are made in-house, while the thick, poppy-seed-studded bun is courtesy of Hot Bread Kitchen. Weekday lunchers can get the dog solo; at night, it comes with pickle relish. Hot dog $8, dinner dog $9.
Phillip Kirschen-Clark (formerly of Vandaag) is the latest boldfaced-name toque to make his mark on this cocktail den's haute-dog menu. His Scandinavian-inflected creation is built around an all-beef wiener that's been pickled in apple cider vinegar. The tangy frank is balanced by coriander-scented sauerkraut, mustard greens and piccalilli (an English-style relish). $6.
Josh Sharkey is a trailblazer in the artisanal-wiener boom, and the simple Classic is the best showcase of his secret weapon: a snappy beef-and-pork dog made in Rochester, NY. Griddled, basted in smoked lard butter and nestled into a Pepperidge Farm bun, it doesn't need any extra flourishes to shine. $4.25.
This flea-market star opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in 2011, hawking Asian-inflected franks. The most successful of the bunch is the Vinh, which gives a Schaller & Weber wiener the banh mi treatment: The bun is smeared with pâté on one side and sriracha aioli on the other, then topped with a flurry of cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, diced jalapeños and cilantro. $4.50, two for $8.
Check out the best soul food in NYC
The tony Upper East Side gets a bad rap for a dining scene that can be as stuffy as an un-renovated townhouse, but things have been changing in the past few years and a new guard is taking over. Enter Maison Hugo, the neighborhood's newest French entry, run by a young husband and wife team with a passion for fine dining. Provence-born chef, Florian Hugo, honed his culinary skills in Alain Ducasse restaurants from Paris to Monaco. Wife Michelle runs a neighborhood-friendly front of house. Together, they form a team that pays homage the neighborhood's haute cuisine history while also appealing to younger diners looking for something a little more out of the ordinary. The restaurant, which opened in October 2015, is a labor of love for the couple, who personally designed every detail of the restaurant, right down to the upholstery. The main dining room is a vibrant space boasting bright red banquettes, brass railings and colorful artwork. The more minimalist private dining room is cast in a softer hue with natural wood furnishings, the better to set the mood under the moonlight pouring in from the ceiling skylight. Chef Hugo, most recently of Brasserie Cognac and Brasserie East, shows an easy comfort with Gallic classics. For starters, his tartare de boeuf ($16/$26) is a thing of beauty. The buttery cubes of tender beef just about melt into their creamy mustard dressing, which packs addictively sweet and spicy heat. The simple poulet rôti ($30) is another winner, pairing moi
Venue says: “For a limited time only, introducing a three course lunch and dinner! Lunch, $29 Mon-Fri 11:30a-3p and Dinner, $45 Mon-Sun”