The Jewish deli is as much a part of NYC cultural fabric as the Yankees or the Empire State Building. Delis are about tradition, nostalgia, and healthy debate over what’s orthodox, what’s not, and who has the best pastrami, tongue, or lox bagel in town. Some New Yorkers are singularly devoted to that one delicatessen, but there’s room in our hearts for several great institutions. There are the historic delis that are as much living museums as restaurants, like Katz’s and Barney Greengrass, then there are the newcomers who’ve upped the ante without disrespecting tradition. Before you dive into this list, a word of caution: It will inspire severe and intense cravings for pastrami, matzo ball soup, and Kosher dills.

Here are our five favorite Jewish delis in NYC.