The NYT’s ‘100 best restaurants’ in NYC in 2024 include an Israeli falafel joint and 2 Jewish delis


(New York Jewish Week) — For the second year in a row, several Jewish eateries have made the New York Times’ list of “100 Best Restaurants in New York City,” curated by chief restaurant critic Pete Wells.

When the list debuted last year, Brooklyn’s Falafel Tanami (1305 East 17th St.), a modest counter spot serving up Israeli pitas and plates, was a “locals-only” joint for Midwood residents. Once it became one of New York’s hottest restaurants, lines were out the door for months. 

“Everybody is so excited for us,” the Israeli owner, Galit Tanami, told the New York Jewish Week last summer. Tanami moved up three spots in the rankings, from 68 to 65, and while Wells last year highlighted “the thick cushions of pita, baked to order,” this year he calls out the falafel itself, “which have brittle fried shells protecting a hot interior that is bright green with herbs.”

Wells also recommends getting as many toppings of chopped vegetables and salads as possible and writes that “a screaming yellow streak of amba sauce is probably mandatory.”

S&P Lunch (174 Fifth Ave.) and Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Ave.), two Jewish deli staples in Manhattan, have also once again made the list, with S&P moving up 17 spots from 95 to 78. At the luncheonette, Wells recommends the signature tuna melt, which he describes as “better than you hoped, without deviating in any particular [way] from what you were picturing.” (Here at the New York Jewish Week, we highly recommend the egg cream.) 


The menu at S&P, a new old-school luncheonette where Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop once was, is filled with Jewish classics — and sandwiches are served with a pickle, naturally. (Courtesy S&P)

Barney Greengrass moved up 25 spots on the list, from 91 to 66. Wells calls the deli, which opened in 1908, the “spiritual center of the Upper West Side,” where the eternal questions come in the form of “Sour cream or applesauce? Nova or sturgeon? Toasted or untoasted?”

This year’s list includes 67 spots in Manhattan, 20 in Brooklyn, 17 in Queens, four in the Bronx and three in Staten Island. Many of the restaurants are the same as in 2023, with 22 new spots highlighted. All the Jewish and Israeli spots on the list from 2023 remained, though several did move down in the rankings.

As in 2023, Wells included diner Shopsin’s General Store (88 Essex St.), owned by the eccentric Jewish restaurateur Kenny Shopsin from 1973 to 2018, and Mark’s Off Madison (41 Madison Ave.), owned by Mark Strausman, where Wells highlights the restaurant’s matzah ball soup, tuna melt and “block of lasagna.” 

“The only concept plausibly tying together the Italian American favorites and Jewish classics and diner staples on Mark Strausman’s menu is that Mr. Strausman knows a good recipe for all of them,” Wells writes. 

Shopsin’s moved down just one spot from to 94 in 2024, and Mark’s Off Madison slid down six from to 73. 

The list also includes Shukette (230 9th Ave.) at spot 71, down from 20 in 2023. Owned by Brooklyn-born chef Ayesha Nurdjaja, who is not Jewish, Israeli nor Arab, the menu is inspired by Israeli and Middle Eastern food. Wells recommends ordering “one of everything” — meaning the various dips, spreads and breads. 

Dirt Candy (86 Allen St.) an upscale vegan restaurant from Amanda Cohen, who told Life and Thyme in 2016 that her love of food is inspired by spending Jewish holidays with her family, also made the list again this year, moving down 15 spots from 60 to 75. 

For the second year in a row, Wells also included the Palestinian restaurant Ayat, which has expanded to five locations in just four years of operation. This year, amid the Israel-Hamas war, the restaurant drew controversy for naming the fish section of its menu “from the River to the Sea” and writing “End the Occupation” on its takeout bags. In January, the couple that owns the chain, Abdul Elenani and Ayat Masoud, invited Jewish New Yorkers to join them for a free Shabbat dinner at the restaurant’s Ditmas Park location, drawing a crowd of 1,300 people. Ayat moved up six spots in the list, from 80 to 74.