No other city has been the backdrop for the world of cinema as much as New York has; a melting pot of cultures, languages and history, but nothing brings all these elements together quite like the traditional cuisines that lend the city its charm. Whether it be a Sichuanese hot pot from Flushing, some lasagna from Belmont, bulgogi beef in Koreatown, lamb shanks with orzo in Williston Park or tacos in Sunset Park, there is no doubt that the cuisine of the Big Apple is something to aspire to.
It is because of the city’s gastronomic charm that the restaurants, food trucks, cafes and diners of New York have taken center stage in many an onscreen adventure. The city has always been an atmospheric setting with lots of character that has framed a countless amount of films and TV series. Whether watching from television sets, cinema screens or streaming on a laptop, all eyes are on New York from all corners of the world. The list below looks at just how pivotal a role food places have had in film.
Saturday Night Fever: Lenny’s Pizza
The opening intro of Saturday Night Fever features the studly John Travolta ordering two slices from the hole in the wall counter of Lenny’s Pizza in Brooklyn. He stacks the two together, and proceeds to strut the streets of the neighborhood to the sound of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” while munching on his classic New York-style pizza
When Harry Met Sally: Katz’s Deli
Katz’s Deli, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is the famous, bustling food spot where Meg Ryan faked an orgasm over lunch in When Harry Met Sally. Katz’s also happens to be known for some of the best pastrami sandwiches in town, which Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan dig into. The 80’s film is an ode to NYC as the two friends-cum-lovers stroll through the streets and frequent various popular venues of the time including Café Luxembourg and Loeb Central Park Boathouse, as well as Katz’s.
The New York director Woody Allen, has cast the city as his main character, so to speak, in countless films and each time it seems like an homage to the vibrant place. Allen skillfully incorporates restaurant scenes into all of his films as places where his characters would unravel slightly. The Oscar-winning film Manhattan, which follows a television writer’s various love affairs around town, features a number of famous eateries: the now closed-down Elaine’s bar and restaurant makes an appearance as a busy venue with plenty of eating, smoking and drinking wine, and the John’s of Bleecker Street pizzeria in Greenwich Village also hosts the new couple for dinner. Lanza’s in Manhattan Murder Mystery is the restaurant where the group solve the murder case over a tasty-looking Italian dinner.
Sex and the City: Magnolia Bakery
In the popular New York TV series Sex and the City, there is an episode where Carrie and Miranda sit outside with a cupcake and divulge intimate details of their sex lives to one another. This little bakery now does a roaring trade down in the West Village where people come from near and far to devour these tasty cupcakes.