17 Oldest NYC Restaurants You Can Still Dine At Today

The history of the New York City dining scene is as rich and diverse as the city itself, reflecting waves of immigration, cultural shifts, and culinary innovations. Over the centuries, NYC has emerged as a major metropolis able to welcome new cuisines while also accommodating the old stalwarts. It's to these stalwarts that we turn today, in this list of the oldest restaurants in New York you can still dine at.

Indeed, as we rush to get reservations at the city's hottest new restaurants, sometimes falling short of our goals, we often forget about the mainstay restaurants that have been there all along, quietly serving up delicious food from menus that have stood the test of time. As it happens, one fascinating aspect of NYC's dining history is the presence of older restaurants that offer a glimpse into the city's past while continuing to deliver on great food. 

These establishments serve as living monuments to the city's culinary heritage, preserving recipes and traditions that span generations. It would be a shame to let them be forgotten. To that end, let's take a look at how these historical restaurants continue to stand tall despite the highly competitive and constantly evolving dining scene of New York City.

Fraunces Tavern

Even the architects of the Revolutionary War had to eat sometimes, and according to historical reports, one of the places they liked to do that was Fraunces Tavern, which opened in 1762 and remains open to this day in the Financial District. Various plots were hatched there, including the details of what would become the famous Boston Tea Party. Later, the site was used to throw a sardonic goodbye party to the departing British troops after the war was good and won.

Nowadays, the atmosphere at Fraunces is a lot less fraught –- notwithstanding an attack by a Puerto Rican nationalist group in the 1970s that killed four people. The Independence Bar inside the restaurant is not so much about chasing away redcoats as it is about enjoying seasonal craft beers. Indeed, the only lobsterbacks you might hear about here are the ones gracing the lobster mac & cheese, served with fontina, cheddar, and Parmesan cheeses.


(212) 968-1776

54 Pearl St, New York, NY 10004

Ear Inn

The Ear Inn on Spring St is housed in a building that was erected in 1770, which later began hosting this bar in 1817. Yet, plus ça change ... and the more things remain the same, so the Ear Inn is still going strong, welcoming crowds as diverse today as it has been over the past two centuries. The longshoremen who used to frequent the joint have given way to dog walkers, poets, tourists, and NY Fashion Week models alike, as co-owners Richard "Rip" Hayman and Martin Sheridan told The New York Times.

Another change that has occurred since the early days was the introduction of food. At first just a bar in the traditional sense — just serving booze, any booze — the Ear Inn now offers globally inspired fare ranging from classics like mac & cheese and Buffalo wings to the more unique spicy lamb burgers and steamed pork dumplings.


(212) 226-9060

326 Spring St, New York, NY 10013

Neir's Tavern

Neir's Tavern in Queens has been operating since 1829 (even as a speakeasy throughout the Prohibition era, it's been said), which is why it was such a shock when it very nearly closed in 2020. A series of unfortunate events, not least of which was a proposed hefty rise in rent, coalesced to make the tavern an untenable venture for owner Loycent Gordon, who revealed that year that it would take "a miracle" to keep the tavern from closing, per The New York Times.

Luckily, the powers that be eventually found a solution that would prevent the extreme rent hike. And so it was that this beloved neighborhood joint continues to operate undeterred nearly 200 years after it opened. If you manage to make the trek out to Woodhaven, expect a menu full of traditional bar food like burgers, chicken tenders, and mozzarella sticks.


(718) 296-0600

87-48 78th St, Queens, NY 11421


Although the name of this restaurant may lead you to believe it started out as an Italian eatery, it was actually one the first French restaurants to open this side of the Atlantic, one that soon became synonymous with fine dining. Indeed, Delmonico's is credited with bringing this style of dining to the United States, which was sorely lacking in sophisticated culinary options when it opened in 1837.

Delmonico's achieved this effect in several ways. For one, it actually offered a menu — a piece of paper describing the food available so that people could choose what they wanted instead of just eating what had already been prepared. In an even more progressive move, Delmonico's also ascribed to the idea of farm-to-table long before it was cool in Brooklyn. And if you're a big lover of desserts, you might be tickled to know that Delmonico's is reportedly the birthplace of the baked Alaska. 


(212) 381-1237

56 Beaver St, New York, NY 10004

Pete's Tavern

Pete's Tavern in Gramercy Park has seen a thing or two over the years. Having opened in 1864, it's weathered a whole host of evils, including several wars, economic catastrophes, and Prohibition, when it had to pretend to be a flower shop in order to keep its backroom activities going undetected. Lucky for us, it succeeded quite well in this endeavor, which means that even today, we can still enjoy a stiff drink at the old 40-foot rosewood bar.

As for those stiff drinks, there are plenty of cocktails on the menu to choose from, some of them old school — like the Manhattan — and some of them innovative, like the thyme raspberry spritz, made with Hendricks gin, raspberry thyme syrup, lemon juice, and ginger beer. The menu leans more toward the traditional bar fare, with elements like fried calamari and a charcoal-grilled burger.


(212) 473-7676

129 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

Old Homestead Steakhouse

There are a lot of restaurants that contain the word "old," but few of them are as old as the Old Homestead Steakhouse, which has been operating from the same location in the Meatpacking District since it first opened in 1868. According to New York magazine, this place isn't just old, but also a good place to get your steaks, which it ranks among the best in the city. Other great dishes include the filet mignon burger and the lobster roll — but if you're really in it for a splurge, you'll have to opt for the Japanese wagyu "A5+" steak, which clocks in at $350 a plate.

But don't worry, this 12-ounce baby won't leave you feeling hungry, nor will anything else on the menu. In true steakhouse fashion, none of the portions are small. But if you manage to make room for dessert, you can expect some old-fashioned items to go with the whole old-timey experience. In particular, try the Drug Store old fashioned sundae or the Big Fat chocolate cake.


(212) 242-9040

56 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

The Landmark Tavern

A landmark cannot be considered such unless it's been around for a while. As it happens, The Landmark Tavern in Hell's Kitchen has been around since 1868, so it's clear that it deserves to bear that name. Especially since it's weathered a storm or two over the years. It has been serving beers through thick and thin, not least of which were the Great Depression and two World Wars.

But ultimately, COVID-19 and the city's ban on indoor dining may have been one of its greatest challenges to date. As co-owner Donnchadh O'Sullivan told NBC New York, "Our poor customers ... I have to say sorry, I can't bring you in because I'm afraid Gov. Cuomo will shut me down." Luckily, The Landmark Tavern made its way out of that one, too, and we can still eat, drink, and be merry within its walls.


(212) 247-2562

626 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036

White Horse Tavern

The White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village is NYC's second-oldest continuously run bar, and since it opened in 1880, this is no great surprise (it did temporarily close in 2019 to undergo renovations, but we won't hold that against it). But this place isn't just known for being old. It's also famous for being patronized by generations of writers and poets, all thanks to Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who drank his final whiskey here before succumbing to pneumonia masquerading as alcohol poisoning. After him came the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Frank O'Hara, and droves of aspiring scribes from Columbia and NYU's writing programs. 

At this tavern, you can certainly sample a number of whiskeys as Thomas did, but you can also indulge in something a little less self-destructive, like a mostly harmless mimosa. You may also want to pair those drinks with food, which is available in the evenings and for lunch and brunch on weekends.


(212) 989-3956

567 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

P.J. Clarke's

A good burger is not hard to come by in New York City, yet P.J. Clarke's, one of the oldest purveyors of this fine food since it opened in 1884 on 3rd Ave, has continued to remain relevant over the years. That's in part because the burgers are truly amazing, but also because the restaurant offers so much more than burgers. Jackie Kennedy would go there for brunch on weekends, and the place still serves quality house-made corned beef hash, respectable bloody marys, and fresh oysters.

It also exudes charm, some of which can be attributed to the famous clientele it's attracted over the years. In addition to the aforementioned former first lady, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole liked to pop in for food and drink. And who can blame them? After all, this is a restaurant that serves America's favorite food, burgers, plus expertly made drinks by some of the city's top bartenders.


(212) 317-1616

915 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

Keens Steakhouse

Not only is Keens Steakhouse one of the oldest steakhouses in New York City, having been established in 1885, but many also consider it among the best. Consistent Google reviews over the years have rated the food highly, with the steaks understandably being among the most popular dishes. But ultimately, Keens is known for its mutton, which is just a fancy way to say sheep, and which is today prepared with lamb — a tastier and more tender meat than its elder can provide.

Expect a typical steakhouse menu executed with uncommon dexterity. Although Keens' website may seem dated, with a menu that lacks the novelesque detail often found in modern restaurants, don't let that put you off. What Keens lacks in verbosity it makes up for in flavor, and that's exactly what we look for in a restaurant. 


(212) 947-3636

72 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018

Peter Luger Steakhouse

Peter Luger Steakhouse is a New York institution. Having opened in 1887, it's been around through some tough times, including the latest pandemic, and it has always come out on top. Well, almost always. The restaurant that was once hailed as being the best steakhouse in the city by pretty much any source you can think of was panned in 2019 by none other than Pete Wells, The New York Times food critic and doyen of the city's restaurant scene. Not long after that, Peter Luger also lost its Michelin star.

Even so, the restaurant maintains a relatively high bar in the food department, which is no small feat in New York City. Patrons continue to flock there, including celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, who wasn't too impressed that the Michelin star was taken away so shortly after COVID-19 came, "when everyone was kneecapped," he told Tasting Table, calling it "unfair."


(718) 387-7400

178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Katz's Delicatessen

Just because a restaurant is old, it doesn't mean it has to be good. Sometimes places that have stayed open for a long time manage to continue just on the basis of their longstanding reputation. That is not the case with Katz's Deli, which opened in 1888, though it also has quite a reputation it can rely on.

The place is known for serving up great deli meats and NYC's famous pastrami sandwiches in particular, which are especially good on rye. It also attracts a wide range of customers, from curious tourists on a foodie adventure to local residents who just want a sandwich so they can get on with their lives. And if pastrami isn't your thing, there are many other excellent items to choose from, including the hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut, another real New York tradition.


(212) 254-2246

205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Old Town Bar

Walking into this joint behind Union Square feels a bit like stepping into merry old England — old being the operative word. The vibe is definitely old-timey, almost as if something that ancient couldn't exist in the New World, at least not in bar form. Indeed, Old Town Bar has been open since 1892, and it doesn't feel like much has changed since then.

Although perhaps the menu has. It is possible to order from a handful of salad options, and the beyond burger is probably not something our forefathers would have considered eating. But the best things on the menu here are the regular meat burgers, like the hamburger, cheeseburger, or even the grass-fed bison burger. They are all the tastier due to the fact that they will arrive at your table via dumbwaiter, which is the oldest working one in the city.


(212) 529-6732

45 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003


It's so difficult to get a table at this coveted East Harlem restaurant that it's almost not worth writing about it. It's not like you're ever going to be able to try it, barring a miracle. But we'll mention it anyway because, despite its extreme exclusivity, it has managed to stay in business since 1896 — so it must be doing something right.

That something is probably the food. The menu is strictly Southern Italian and includes recipes that have been handed down through the family across generations. Highlights are the shrimp scampi, pork chop, and homemade sauce (which is also sold in grocery stores across the country). But ultimately, the intimate, old-school atmosphere is what makes this place so special, as it's essentially a time capsule of an Italian American culture many thought was only still visible in old movies.


(212) 722-6709

455 E 114th St, New York, NY 10029


Sure, there may be better pizza restaurants in NYC than Lombardi's, but where would any of them be without the pioneering spirit of this place, known as "America's first pizzeria"? Although this position may not be verifiable, it certainly has been around for a long time, since it opened in the distant 1905.

Nowadays, one of the draws, aside from the historic reputation, is that the place serves an all-day menu, which means you can eat pizza whenever you so choose. The menu comprises mostly classic renditions, like a simple Margherita made with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and basil, but it also boasts a popular clam pie, made with freshly shucked clams, garlic, oregano, and Romano cheese. This is also a good place to go if you're feeling overwhelmed with all the trendy gimmicks of modern pizza joints. When you go to Lombardi's, expect old-school checkered tablecloths and a decor that feels like a blast from the past.


(212) 941-7994

32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012


Barbetta opened in 1906. But given its ostentatious chandeliers, intricate crown molding, baroque curtains, and 18th-century antique decor, it feels like it must have been around for a lot longer — seeming more like a room in Versailles than a restaurant in New York City. Intriguingly, this choice of decor was not part of the original design, which was reportedly much less luxurious. Rather, it was instituted by Laura, the daughter of the original owner Sebastiano Maioglio, who took over management in 1962.

Since then, Barbetta has continued to dazzle patrons with a menu that is as lofty as the decor. Plenty of traditional dishes from the Italian region of Piedmont are on offer, including tajarin with oven-roasted tomato sauce and gnocchetti ai formaggi piemontesi (little gnocchi with Piedmontese cheeses). The wine list, too, is heavy on the Piedmontese — which is fine, because the region has some of the best reds in all of Italy, such as the famed Barolo and Barbaresco appellations.


(212) 246-9171

321 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant

Catch a glimpse of the best of the Beaux-Arts movement by grabbing a seat at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. To avoid the crowds, it's best to steer clear of the dining room and make a b-line for the bar seating, from which you should order not only oysters on the half shell but also any other seafood that strikes your fancy.

The place has been entertaining diners since it opened in 1913, and it's easy to see why. Quite aside from the required oysters, this is a great place to experience the hustle and bustle of one of New York's busiest stations without actually being in the middle of it. This also means it's an ideal place for people-watching — and with trains that go to and from a diverse range of locations around the city, there are plenty of interesting people to watch. Finally, what could be more convenient than a perfectly good restaurant inside the train terminal you use to get home after work?


(212) 490-6650

89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017