New York Restaurants From Movies (That You Can Visit in Real Life)

As silly as it sounds, one of my favorite things to do in New York is visiting restaurants and bars from my beloved movies and TV shows. I usually don’t have high hopes for food in such places, unless the restaurant was famous long before the movie came out. But then again gourmet cuisine is not the reason I come here. Reliving my favorite movie scene is. When food turns out to be great, it’s a win-win!

Katz's Delicatessen New york

Katz’s Delicatessen

Movie: When Harry Met Sally

Katz’s Deli is a perfect example of a restaurant that was famous among New Yorkers long before the movie came out. The deli was opened in 1888 and by the time When Harry met Sally opened in theaters in 1989, Katz’s Deli was celebrating it’s 100-years-anniversary. The classic line “I’ll have what she’s having”, following the scene in which Meg Ryan is faking an orgasm to prove her point, is, probably, one of the most famous lines in world cinematography.

Scene from When Harry Met Sally, in which Sally is imitating orgasm in Katz’s Deli

The actual table where the scene was shot is marked with a sign hanging from the ceiling, which reads: “Hope you have what she had”.

famous new york movie locations

Is food good? It’s mind-blowing good.

What to order: If you, too, want to have what she had, go for turkey sandwich. But the dish Katz’s Deli is most famous for is their pastrami sandwich – it’s absolutely amazing and definitely a must-try! Read more about the deli and their signature dish here.

Katz’s signature pastrami on rye sandwich.

Katz’s Delicatessen – 205 East Houston street (corner of Ludlow Street)

new york restaurants from movies

Serendipity 3

Movie: Serendipity

Serendipity 3 was featured in one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies Serendipity with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Although, the café was a phenomenon long before their characters, Johnathan and Sara, had a conversation about fate and it’s little signs over frozen hot chocolate here.

serendipity cafe from movie
Sara and Johnathan having hot frozen chocolate at Serendipity 3 in romantic comedy Serendipity.

Soon after café’s opening in 1954, Andy Warhol dropped in for a cup of coffee. And then again. And then he proclaimed Serendipity 3 his favorite sweets shop. Marilyn Monroe was a regular. So was Jackie Kennedy. As you see, there are many reasons for visiting the iconic café in Upper East Side. I wrote about Serendipity 3 in more detail here.

frozen hot chocolate at serendipity

Is food good? Food is fine, but nothing to write home about. Their signature frozen hot chocolate is amazing!

What to order? Frozen hot chocolate! This is what Serendipity 3 is famous for and what Sara and Johnathan were having in the movie scene. John Cusack’s character actually proclaims it “the ultimate blended drink”!

Serendipity 3 – 225 E 60th St.

Tip: make a reservation in advance or come before opening on a weekday to escape long lines.

McGee's pub inspiration of MacLaren's

McGee’s Pub

TV series: How I Met Your Mother

I wish I could tell you that MacLaren’s Pub where Ted met Robin for the first time, where Barney was hitting on every girl in sight and where Lily and Marshall brought baby Erickson for his first outing, exists but in reality scenes in pub were shot in studio. Good news: MacLaren’s was inspired by a real Irish bar called McGee’s where creators of the show, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, used to spend evenings while working for Letterman on The Late Show.

maclarens pub himym
Scene from How I Met Your Mother in front of MacLaren’s Pub.

MacLaren’s is named after Carter Bays’ production assistant Carl MacLaren, who also gave his first name to the pub’s bartender. The real McGee’s pub has similar padded booths, pictures of actors on the walls and a special menu, dedicated to the popular series.

Is food good? Unfortunately, food leaves a lot to be desired. But it’s a pub, so concentrate on drinking instead of eating.

What to order: Cocktails with quirky names like The Slutty pumpkin, The Naked Man and Robyn Sparkles.

McGee’s Pub – 240 W 55th St

magnolia bakery carrie bradshow

Magnolia Bakery

TV series: Sex and the City

Magnolia Bakery’s original location in West Village is a tiny sweets shop with cute deco and cakes that are being iced right in front of you. In the 3rd season of Sex and the City Carrie and Miranda are sitting on the bench in front of the bakery enjoying cupcakes and discussing Carrie’s latest crush on Aidan.

scene at Magnolia bakery from Sex and the city
Scene from Sex and the City with Carrie and Miranda eating cupcakes in front of Magnolia Bakery.

Magnolia was a local’s favorite for many years and is sometimes credited for initiating a 1990s “cupcake craze”, according to Wikipedia.

Magnolia bakery West Village

Is food good? It’s amazing! Magnolia has opened several franchises in New York and around the globe. There’s a reason why people go nuts over their pastries!

What to order? Cupcakes if you want to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment. Pretty much anything else if you want to indulge yourself, but especially banana pudding.

Magnolia Bakery – 401 Bleecker Street

Tip: Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment is only 3-minute walk away from the bakery. Read about my experience visiting both the apartment and Magnolia bakery here.

 Joe's Pizza New York

Joe’s Pizza

Movie: Spiderman-2

Joe’s Pizza was named “Best of New York” by New York Magazine, included in the list of “Best 25 pizzas on Earth” by GQ Magazine and is referred to as “the quintessential New York slice”. The tiny pizza joint is also the place where Peter Parker worked as delivery guy in Spiderman-2.

joe's pizza spiderman filming location
Peter Parker worked as delivery man for Joe’s Pizza in Spiderman-2.

Joe’s pizza opened in Greenwich Village in 1975 by Joe Pozzuoli, a native of Naples, where pizza was invented. His thin-crust pizza is popular among both locals and tourists, not to mention pretty much every A-list celebrity, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.

Joe's pizza Spederman

Is food good? Absolutely!

What to order: Joe’s pizza doesn’t have an extensive menu, only the most basic classic options. As they state on the website: “no fancy pants pies, no pretentious nonsense and no gimmicky budget pizza either”. Try the plain cheese or fresh mozzarella pizza.

Joe’s Pizza – 7 Carmine Street, @ Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014

Tip: If you are a fan of visiting movie locations around the world, like myself, check out this Pretty Woman’s guide to LA!

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Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.

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