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NYC's 7 Best Jewish Delis

Who hasn't been served a couple slices of rye holding pale, tasteless tomatoes, what looks to be six inches of equally pale lunch meat and a perfunctory swab of mustard? The heart sinks at this purely utilitarian assembly. But New York has a knack for its Jewish delis and its denizens are loyal to the ones they love; it's an important relationship. Start yours here. Don't forget, most kosher establishments close early on Fridays and all day Saturday so call ahead.

Aron's Kissena Farms

7215 Kissena Boulevard
Queens, NY 11367-2723
(718) 380-7300

Fresh produce, a huge array of kosher meats, prepared foods and a bakery round out this mega kosher grocery store. Prices are much lower than kosher markets in Manhattan and there's parking too. Recently renovated, Aron's has room for an endless array of kosher products both local and imported. Long lines later in the week and during the evenings mean that you should try to plan on shopping early in the day and avoid the Friday rush if you can.

2nd Avenue Deli

2nd Ave Deli
(credit: 2nd Ave Deli)

162 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
(212) 689-9000

The pastrami and corn beef here are tender, moist, salty-right. If you're a real fresser, get the pastrami with chopped liver! The pickles are great, as is the potato salad. If you've never had matzoh ball soup, try it here and see what all the fuss is about. If you're in the mood, the hush puppies are super tasty.

Katz's Deli

Pastrami sandwiches on a tray at Katz's
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

205 E Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
(800) 446-8364

Katz's Delicatessen isn't kosher, but kosher-style. The décor isn't much but since Katz's has been serving incredibly moist kosher-style meats that stay true to tradition since 1888. Note that there is no dairy here. Two must-haves at this New York institution: Corned beef sandwich on rye (fresh pickl-ish meat, fresh rye bread, mustard and mayo)-simple and delicious. And pastrami: the best pastrami this side of heaven: salty, smoky, spicy, beef-y. Everything else pales in comparison, though die-hards insist on a plate of pickles to accompany things. Katz's also preserves an important, all-too-rare deli tradition: they cut your meat by hand, giving it a chunkiness you just can't get from a machine.

Moishe's Bake Shop

Moishe's Bake Shop
(credit: Moishe's Bake Shop)

115 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-8555

An East Village institution, Moishe's looks like a hole in the wall storefront but step inside and you'll be enveloped in the smells of challah, rye breads, rugelach, mandelbrot, and babka. These are the real deal just like your bubbe used to make (or like you wished she would).

Chiffon Kosher Bakery

430 Ave. P
Brooklyn, NY 11223
(718) 258-8822

Kosher foodies come from all over to this Midwood, Brooklyn, legendary bakery. Devotees swear by the moist challah, rich brownies, fresh pies and their famous onion rolls. This is the place to go for bread that will stand up to spicy mustard and pastrami or for the nosh to spoil the kids.

Butterflake Bakery

448 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 836-3516

Authentic Jewish rye bread, old world coffee cake, babka, cheesecakes and award winning challah are baked fresh daily and fly out the door of this New Jersey bakery that has won best bakery in Bergen County for two years in a row. Butterflake is not only kosher but also nut-free making it a safe choice when allergies are an issue or when you want to be sure that everyone can indulge in these kosher treats.

Mill Basin Kosher Delicatessen

5823 Avenue T
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 241-4910

Standout staples of this knockout deli include its smoky spicy pastrami, tangy rich corn beef, chicken, matzoh ball and pea soups, garlic and half sour pickles, slaw, and macaroni salad. Notable too are the latke chips: thinly sliced latkes are fried cracker-crisp and wonderful.

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