The Best Matzo Ball Soup in NYC
Head to these spots when you need a bowl of pure comfort.
Life in New York City is always just a little bit harder than it needs to be, but at least we have matzo ball soup. This peak comfort food feels like getting a warm hug from your grandma and can cure everything from the common cold to a bad breakup. These are our favorite places to sit down and self-soothe over salty chicken broth and giant, fluffy matzo balls.
Sarge’s feels like a cross between a Jewish Deli and a diner in all the best ways. The softball-sized matzo ball is a little less fluffy than some others, but we love it, and there are also noodles involved. The seasoning is a little lighter, but that’s what gives it a homestyle flavor, as though the cook in the back knows that your grandpa is watching his sodium intake. Portions here are huge, so come with a friend and be prepared to share.
Essen NY Deli
Midwood has a sizeable Orthodox Jewish population, so it’s no surprise that one of our favorite Jewish delis is in this South Brooklyn neighborhood. Don’t reach for the salt shaker before you taste the matzo ball soup here, because the seasoning is spot on. The broth is rich and has a chicken-forward flavor. It comes with one big matzo ball that strikes the perfect balance between density and fluff, and a whole bunch of noodles.
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This Kosher lunch counter is the kind of classic New York place that makes us say, “goddammit I love B&H Dairy” every time we pass by. It’s been open since the 1940s and is now run by a couple who met in the East Village. Their matzo ball soup is light and simple, making it our number one choice for days when we’re feeling a little under the weather. It has chunks of carrots, herbs, and a single fluffy matzo ball. Best enjoyed with a side of heavily buttered challah.
There’s something different about the matzo ball soup at S&P Lunch that makes us keep coming back for more. The broth has a complex flavor, a pleasant amount of salt, and a unique richness that makes us wonder just what they put in there. The matzo ball has a slightly nutty flavor, and it’s bouncy, soft, and delicious. If you sit at the counter, you can watch the cooks fill enormous trays with perfectly-formed matzo balls. It will make you want to order a bowl immediately, even if you’re here for breakfast.
The matzo ball soup at Sadelle’s has minimal salt, so you can really taste the flavor of the chicken broth, and it also has some herbs, carrots, celery, and tender cubes of chicken. But the actual matzo ball is what makes this dish unique. It’s fluffy, airy, and literally starts to fall apart as soon as you touch it with your spoon, so it’s a real accomplishment that the kitchen can make what is inherently a very heavy thing seem so light.
2nd Ave Deli
The dining room at 2nd Ave Deli looks like a hundred other diners, but this place—now in Kips Bay after moving from the East Village in 2007—stands out because it’s still one of the best delis in NYC. Before your server places the bowl of matzo ball soup in front of you, you’ll already start to smell the dill. You have the choice to add egg noodles, rice, or kasha (go for the noodles), and there are also big chunks of carrots. The matzo ball is on the dense side, and the salt level for everything is just right. When someone asks us where they can get a classic and hearty bowl of matzo ball soup, we send them here.