Nothing says New York like the classic image of the 24-hour diner packed with people catching up on the day’s news over a cup of coffee. Alone or with friends, diners have always been an important part of the landscape of the city, and one that locals take much pride in. You more than likely already have a favorite place or two where you’re a regular yourself. However, nothing says New York like trying new things, and there’s always new diners to be found. Check out our picks for the freshest and best diners in NYC you’ve gotta check out!
1. Diner, Williamsburg
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the title! Diner is one of the very best diners in NYC – so much so that it needs no other name. Located under the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, Diner is the kind of local place any health-conscious person can take pride in. From opening day on New Year’s Eve 22 years ago, the menu here has been built around local, seasonal, and sustainable foods. The food options here are both good for your body and great for the planet as well.
Open daily, you can stop in from 11AM-3PM for brunch, or from 5PM-10PM for dinner. Do note that since all the ingredients are as fresh as can be, prices run a bit higher than other diners, with sandwiches averaging $20.
Where: 85 Broadway Brooklyn, NY 11249
2. Golden Diner, Chinatown
For an Asian-fusion-style dining experience that’s as New York as it gets, a trip to the Golden Diner is a must. This spot is one of the most popular diners in NYC due to its unique blend of tastes. For example, you can pair some lovely Lemongrass Avocado Toast with a tangy slice of Green Tea Coffee Cake. You won’t find that at your average corner diner! Here sandwiches average a cool $15, with just $7 for the aforementioned cake, with plenty of other budget-friendly options too.
Like our first pick, you can find the Golden Diner underneath one of NYC’s iconic bridges – the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown, to be exact. You can stop by for a bite Tuesday-Sunday from 10AM-10PM. Another unique note is this diner specializes in Korean spirits and Chinatown-inspired cocktails, so it’s certainly worth a visit in the later hours of the evening.
Where: 123 Madison St New York, NY 10002
3. La Bonbonniere, West Village
Situated in West Village, La Bonbonniere is a staple that serves some of the best food in the West Village. They are most known for their delicious breakfast menu that includes french toast, pancakes, omelets, and so much more. But you can’t forget about the rest of their menu too! Even local celebrity New York Nico has a turkey club sandwich named after him.
This French-inspired, yet localized NYC diner combines the aesthetics of two places to create an atmosphere that you’ll never want to leave. The service in this spot is immaculate too and the food is prepared and served almost faster than you can order it! They are open 7am – 5pm every day of the week, but expect to wait in line on the weekends as it can get pretty packed.
Where: 28 8th Ave, New York, NY 10014
4. Clark’s Restaurant, Brooklyn Heights
Whether you’re seeking the perfect place for a classic quick bite-and-dash, or a sit-down meal with friends and family, Clark’s Restaurant is a diner to fit your every need. Found on its namesake Clark Street in Brooklyn, this fine eatery raises classic diner fare into an art form. This diner has served over 10,000,000 customers since 1985, and with titles like Best Breakfast, Best Diner and Best Burgers, you truly can’t go wrong with a stop at Clark’s!
Open daily from 7AM-9PM, here you can start your day with any style of omelet you can imagine for just $12, or one of their famous burgers for just $10. One of our favorite items is their virtually unlimited grilled cheese menu. Letting you mix and match four different types of cheese with a wide variety of toppings for under $10, it’s a unique treat you won’t wanna miss.
Where: 80 Clark St Brooklyn, NY 11201
5. Veselka, East Village
With the surge of recent interest in Ukrainian culture, it’s no surprise that a diner like Veselka would be high on our list. Found on Delancey Street in the heart of the East Village since 1954, Veselka is equally historical and modernly relevant. Born from a humble newsstand serving soup and sandwiches, you can now gather here any day from 8AM to 11PM with all your favorite people to enjoy Ukrainian favorites.
Peirogis go for $9 for four, or up to $18 for eight with specialty fillings such as short rib and bacon. Their equally famous borscht, meanwhile, won’t break the bank with a cup of any kind for $6, and a large bowl for $11. If you’re looking for an even heartier meal, Ola’s famous veal goulash can be savored for $23.
Where: 144 2nd Ave New York, NY 10003
6. Waverly Diner, Greenwich Village
Complete with retro neon lights blinking on the building’s exterior, Waverly Diner is the classic American diner. In our opinion, the extensive menu sets this place apart from the rest, all while incorporating Italian and Greek influences. No matter if you’re after their breakfast (which is served all day) or want some finger foods to share with friends, they’ve got you covered. Plus, Italian dishes, pasta, and even seafood makes an appearance on the menu too. You may need a few minutes before a waiter takes your order!
Waverly Diner is open from 7am-11pm and their prices are very good in relation to the proportions you get. Stop by this diner to fulfill your next craving.
Where: 385 6th Ave , New York, NY 10014
7. Times Square Diner, Midtown
If you’re seeking one of the best diners in NYC for a great meal with an even greater view, the Times Square Diner is the next hot spot for you. As the name suggests, you’ll find it in the iconic square, specifically off 8th Avenue. The cultural kick to this eye-catching spot open daily from 7AM to 11PM is the Greek flavors you’ll find scattered throughout the menu.
For a little extra flavor in your breakfast, you can try a smoked salmon gyro sandwich for $17, with greek yogurt and honey on the side for just $8. But what about lunch? If you’re wanting a little Greek flair, consider the tasty remix on a classic gyro in the Gyro Spiced Sandwich for $15. If you’re hungry for a whole gyro platter, you can grab either chicken or beef for $25.
Where: 807 8th Ave New York, NY 10019
8. Kellogg’s Diner, Williamsburg
After being in danger of closing during the pandemic, Kellogg’s Diner is stronger than ever and has been serving some of Brooklyn’s best diner food for years and years. Located off the L train in Williamsburg, this American and Greek-inspired food menu has everything from breakfast to Mexican food. No matter what you’re after, it’s likely that Kellogg’s has it (and it tastes good).
Our absolute favorite has to be the dessert selection though. Between the different types of pies and cakes, it is truly a sweet tooth’s wildest fantasy. This diner is open 24/7!
Where: 518 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn, NY 11221
9. Grand Canyon Restaurant, Brooklyn Heights
When you’re looking for a diner in NYC that doesn’t feel like one, with Southwest flair thrown in for extra measure, look no further than Grand Canyon Restaurant. Located on Montague Street in Brooklyn, stepping through these doors will transport you to a different world with their Tex-Mex style treats. Some of our favorites include the Tex-Mex Omelette to kickstart your day for $12, or the even spicier Mexican Omelette packed with jalapeños for the same price.
For a full Tex-Mex style breakfast spread, there’s options galore to giddy-up your day, the Southwest way. From chilaquiles for $13 to huevos rancheros for $11, or the specialty Grand Canyon Sandwich for just $9, you’re sure to find your new favorite flavor here. Plus, being open daily from 7AM to 10PM makes it the perfect place to stop in and try something festive anytime.
Where: 143 Montague St Brooklyn, NY 11201
10. Johny’s Luncheonette, NoMad
Johny’s Luncheonette has been serving delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner for over 20 years. This barstool-only spot offers a menu full of breakfast options, entrees, and of our favorite, their signature sandwiches. Try anything from the “Famous Sloppy Johny” to the “Delicious Doug.” Each meal is made with passion and love at this joint and you can definitely feel that if you get to talk with Johny himself.
Where: 124 W 25 St
11. Tom’s Restaurant, UWS
A list of the all-time best diners in NYC wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the most famous one of all: Tom’s Diner. Immortalized in the minds of people all over the country due to its namesake song, Tom’s Diner has been proudly family owned and operating since 1936. Or maybe you even recognize it from the hit sitcom Seinfeld? The nostalgia and history of Tom’s is truly iconic.
For all the hype and NYC-size fame, however, Tom’s retains a humble and delicious menu. With most items on the menu averaging just $14 or under, any meal of the day is well spent here. Whether you’re looking to split some appetizers with friends or feast on a juicy hamburger, their overzealous sized menu will have you wanting a little of everything.
Where: 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
12. Empire Diner, Chelsea
If you’re in the mood for yet another classic diner experience, Empire Diner is perfect for your next meal. Located in the heart of West Chelsea since 1976, Empire’s updated design balances traditional New York decor with modern touches, making it the hippest old-new place to hang out with all your favorite people. Plus, with newly refined quality ingredients, every bite of a meal at the new and improved Empire Diner is sure to be the best around.
Here you can indulge in an Empire Omelette for $18, or treat yourself to their local take on the ever-popular avocado toast for $14. This diner is open daily from 9AM to 11PM and it’s a local landmark worth marking off time to visit.
Where: 210 10th Ave New York, NY 10011
13. Bel Aire Diner, Astoria
Last but not least, Bel Aire Diner in Astoria is one of our favorite spots in Queens, and New York in general. The chefs in this diner are top-notch and the quality of the food and ingredients proves that. Their menu consists of a smorgasbord of different types of food including classic American, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Greek, and more. However, our absolute favorite part about this diner is their delectable drink selections. They have an assortment of signature cocktails for lunch and dinner, while also boasting an impressive amount of speciality coffees for an early morning. They are proud to be open 24/7.
Where: 31-91 21st St, Queens, NY 11106
14. Lexington Candy Shop, UES
This diner takes form of a luncheonette that instantly gives you a bit of nostalgia. Lexington Candy Shop is the oldest family-owned luncheonette in NYC and still serves some of the best food around (for a great price t00). Inside, you’ll find photos and memorabilia from the entire 1900s, all while getting to know the friendly staff who’s there to wait on you. The menu is stocked full of classic luncheonette items and the charm of the entire experience can’t be matched.
Where: 1226 Lexington Ave
15. Soho Diner, SoHo
Combining retro decor and modern New York eats is the Soho Diner located inside the Soho Grand Hotel. Deemed “SoHo’s best bite morning, noon & night,” their menu will truly keep you satisfied any time you visit. Between their all day menu, dinner, and even “late nite” specials, you’ll be sure to find something that will suit your tastebuds. For drinks, their coffee bar will keep your energy up in the morning, or stay for the night where restorative cocktails will set the night off right. Plus, there seating selection is plentiful and comes with a true nostalgic diner feel.
Where: 320 W Broadway