If you have ever walked into a restaurant for the first time and found it strangely familiar, there is likely a good reason — it could have been one of the hundreds of New York City restaurants made famous by movies and television. Here are a few places where you can eat like a star of the big or small screen.
Since the HBO show “Girls” claims to portray what it is really like to live in New York in your 20s, it is no surprise that at least one of the main characters works at a coffee shop. But Café Grumpy, where Hannah (Lena Dunham) works as a barista while waiting for her writing career to take off, has more going for it than just hipster cred. Grumpy is a well-respected coffee company in the city, and it roasts its own beans right next door to the cafe’s original location in Greenpoint (193 Meserole Ave.).
You do not even have to watch a full episode of the FX show “Louie” to see a scene filmed at Ben’s Pizzeria (123 MacDougal St.). The pizza joint, first opened in 1956, appears as part of “Louie’s” opening sequence. Louis C.K. might be enjoying a slice as fuel before performing at a late night comedy club, but Ben’s is also a great place to grab a quick bite between classes.
Next time you want your life to be just a little bit more like a Woody Allen movie, have dinner at the East Village institution, Lanza’s (168 First Ave.). The famous scene in “Manhattan Murder Mystery” where Allen’s character, Larry, and his cohorts solve a murder over dinner was filmed at this establishment. The scene shows Allen and company doing more drinking than eating, but you can assume that a dinner of Italian-American classics like spaghetti and meatballs and linguini with clams was essential to cracking the case.
“Gossip Girl” might not be on the air anymore, but you can relive Serena and Blair’s glory days with a trip to one of their favorite Upper West Side haunts, The Russian Tea Room (150 W. 57th St.). While it might provide the perfect atmosphere for plotting to take down backstabbing socialites, the restaurant has been used in countless other movies and TV shows. A climactic scene from Dustin Hoffman’s 1982 movie “Tootsie” takes place in one of the Tea Room’s famous red booths.
Anne Hathaway’s character Andy in “The Devil Wears Prada” might work at a fashion magazine, but she still finds time to eat. Andy and her friends try to meet for drinks at Bubby’s (120 Hudson St.), but they only have time to make fun of her Marc Jacobs purse before she is pulled away by her obligation to her new life as an assistant. Though no one in the movie stuck around long enough to actually order a slice of Bubby’s famous pie, you can and should — just ignore any phone calls from Meryl Streep.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 11 print edition. Email Kendall Levison at [email protected]