Rao's is arguably the hardest reservation to get in all of New York City. Why you ask? Because they don't offer reservations. All 10 tables are owned and reservations are either gifted by the owner of the table or auctioned off for charity. Everyone who fills the room is an interesting character - millionaires, celebrities & wise guys. The incredibly warm restaurant was opened in 1896 and walls are adorned with photos of the owners and the amazing people who have graced this venue. They accept walkins at the bar and you may be fortunate enough to charm an owner into letting you take a table. The food is just like mama made (if mama was an Italian grandma). No frills here, just old school Italian food cooked with love. I still dream of their meatballs. They have locations in Las Vegas and LA as well as a great jarred tomato sauce which are all way more accessible options than the Harlem location. 


Address: 455 E 114th St, New York, NY 10029

Phone:    (212) 722-6709

Neighborhood: Harlem

Website: http://raosrestaurants.com/

Price: $$