Ok. So Zabar's isn't exactly a restaurant. But it's almost an entire city block long, sells over 8,000 lbs of coffee a week, and is visited by nearly 5,000 customers a day. And it has the most amazing nova in the entire world. So I think it deserves a post.
In one form or another, Zabar's has been located on the corner of broadway and 80th for over 70 years. It's a grocery store that has one of the most celebrated fish counters in the city, an on-site bakery and an impressive selection of cookware. But, as they say, Zabar's has to be experienced to be truly understood. The feel of old new york is everywhere: crowds of people squished into narrow aisles packed with food, the smell of smoked fish, brewing coffee and baking croissants, the samples of fancy, foreign cheese and just-out-of-the-oven russian coffee cake (dense and gooey and filled with chunks of apple and raisins - definitely recommend it!). Don't come here for every day grocery shopping - it's too expensive and too crowded. Come to grab a slice of chocolate babka or a homemade bagel smeared with fluffy cream cheese and topped with salty, unbelievably creamy nova, come with friends from out of town (they'll be impressed, I promise), or come just to wander - the aisles are packed with more treasures than you can imagine, and the samples (often found around just about every corner) make for a far more than satisfactory lunch.
2245 Broadway (at 80th Street)