New York is a place that looms large in our collective imagination, but it’s been out of reach for Australian travellers for the last 18 months or so. Fortunately, NY-inspired delis and diners abound in our cities, from Brooklyn Bridge Deli in Sydney’s CBD to Adelaide’s Flying Fig.

In partnership with Magnum’s New York-inspired Chocolate Cheesecake ice-cream, Broadsheet surveys five of the best.

Brooklyn Bridge Deli, Sydney
Brooklyn Bridge Deli is a New York-style deli with a simple offering: coffee, sandwiches, bagels and a few sweets. The CBD eatery makes its pastrami, corned beef and sauerkraut in-house, while a close inspection of the classic Reuben reveals a cream-coloured gravy known as Russian dressing – a New Hampshire invention made with mayo, hot sauce, Worcestershire and onion. Also on the menu are Cubano and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, while Mets games play on the box.

Lox in a Box, Sydney
New York often prides itself on making the best bagels in the world – but the rest of the world is catching up. Lox in a Box is a Jewish-style deli that serves lox, prepared in-house, on bagels supplied by Hungarian baker Leslie Brull from Bondi’s Wellington Street Bakery. The simple menu also features a veggie bagel with vintage cheddar, pickles and a jalapeno schmear, and the Cheeky Reuben bagel with smoked beef cheeks, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.

Saul’s Sandwiches, Melbourne
In 2020, taking inspiration from New York’s delis and diners, Leor Haimes and Elliot Koren – the guys behind Bentleigh East’s Time & Place – opened the first Saul’s Sandwiches in Carnegie, in the city’s south-east. In less than a year they opened a second shop in Hawthorn, focusing on hearty, loaded sandwiches, and now a third in Bentleigh East. The New York-style diners serve up Big Apple classics such as a smoked pastrami sandwich with manchego, cavolo nero slaw, horseradish slaw and kosher pickles, and Saul’s Hoagie, with mortadella, salami, capicola ham, provolone and pickles.

Reuben’s Deli, Brisbane
Manny Rosenberg opened Reuben’s Deli and Bar in June 2019 in the neat little Paddington tenancy once occupied by Little Social. Co-owned with his wife, Peggy Rosenberg, Reuben’s serves the authentic sandwiches, subs and hoagies the couple grew up eating in New York. On the dessert menu you’ll find – what else? – a New York-style baked cheesecake and a hard-to-resist sundae: a decadent mix of Bondi Ice Cream Co vanilla soft serve, hot fudge, brownie chunks, Oreo cookie, sweetened pecans, toasted marshmallow fluff and a cherry on top.

The Flying Fig Deli, Adelaide
At Flying Fig Deli, owner Paul Serafin pays tribute to the Reuben sandwich and prepares cordials and soft drinks, pickled veg, smoked pastrami, bagels and lox (cured salmon) in-house. The menu, showcasing sustainability and top-shelf South Australian producers, features latkes, malawach (Jewish flatbread), matzo ball soup, a sweet blintz and no less than four versions of the venerable Reuben.

Ethos Deli and Dining Room, Fremantle
This East Fremantle hub isn’t based on the modern New York-style deli, but rather the classic German-Jewish hybrid that proliferated through the US in the late 1800s. Betraying both European and classic “New York” hallmarks – such as The Reuban and bagels galore – Ethos warrants equal investigation for its handmade charcuterie, smoked small goods (packaged in compostable material made from rice, potato and corn derivatives) and nods to co-owner Melissa Palinka’s German-Hungarian roots in the likes of nokedli – egg noodles and Hungary’s equivalent to German spätzle – with crab and a poached egg, matzo ball soup, and Croatian roasted lamb peka with vegetables cooked in lamb jus. It might all sound far-flung but all the ingredients are sourced from Western Australia, making it a truly local spin on the New York dream.

Ethos Deli and Dining Room

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