let’s have what she’s having: favorite movie restaurants


So, have you ever been to Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side?

Chances are good that even if you haven’t physically been there to inhale one of their world famous hot dogs or pastrami sandwiches, you’ve seen this:

*fans self*

Ever since 1888, Katz’s has been beloved by generations of locals and tourists, and is today touted as the oldest and best Jewish kosher style delicatessen in NYC — to the tune of 5,000 lbs. of corned beef, 2000 lbs. of salami, and 12,000 hot dogs per week. During WWII, Katz’s began shipping gift packages to soldiers overseas (their motto: "send a salami to your boy in the Army"), something they still do today.

Interior of Katz’s by Bryan Hong.

Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene from "When Harry Met Sally" was filmed there in 1989, 101 years after Katz’s was first established by a Russian immigrant family. The most interesting things seem to happen in restaurants, don’t they? They play a large role in romantic comedies; Meg Ryan appears in another memorable scene in "You’ve Got Mail":

This was filmed at the Lalo Café, 201 W. 83rd Street, NYC:

photo by DeaPeaJay.
I also love Darryl Hannah as the mermaid in "Splash," chomping on her lobster, and the brilliantly acted scenes in "As Good As It Gets," where waitress Carol (Helen Hunt) spars with obsessive compulsive Melvin (Jack Nicholson):

Sometimes there is high drama and violence, like in "The Godfather," when Michael Corleone shoots Sollozzo and McClusky at Louis’ Italian American Restaurant in the Bronx (video here), or red hot seduction, as in the long titillating meal in "Tom Jones," where Tom is sitting opposite Mrs. Waters in the Upton Inn, and they positively gorge themselves. O love, sweet savage love! Go to a restaurant serving a menu of sunshine and sorrow. 

And doesn’t food always look extra delicious in the movies? Remember the scene in "Michael" when John Travolta and his friends are sampling all those different pies? I crave pepperoni whenever I see "Mystic Pizza" with Julia Roberts, and of course the most beautiful food spreads ever have to be those in the Harry Potter movies (though technically not in a restaurant, they must be mentioned). Yum!

Hogwarts Dining Hall scenes filmed at Christ Church College, Oxford.
(photo by Image Zen.)

Of course, I go totally bananas when an entire movie revolves around a restaurant:

♥ "No Reservations"
♥ "Waitress"
♥ "Eat Drink Man Woman"
♥ "Ratatouille"
♥ "Mostly Martha"
♥ "Big Night"
♥ "Spitfire Grill"

So, what’s your favorite restaurant scene from a movie? Or, what’s your favorite restaurant movie? Please dish! I’d love to see the ones I’ve missed, and compile a nice list.

Meanwhile, have some lunch, compliments of Katz’s,

Katz’s Pastrami Sandwich (photo by cchen).

but if you’re at work or in a public place, proceed with caution, just in case you suddenly turn into Sally. ☺

"Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash. But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie." ~ from "When Harry Met Sally"

Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

28 thoughts on “let’s have what she’s having: favorite movie restaurants

  1. Oh yes!! Especially that scene in the kitchen when the older brother, Primo, tells Allison Janney when you eat it, “you have to die!” Such passion and integrity in cooking. LOVE it.


  2. Oh yes!! Especially that scene in the kitchen when the older brother, Primo, tells Allison Janney when you eat it, “you have to die!” Such passion and integrity in cooking. LOVE it.


  3. It’s not really a restaurant scene, but I love the moment in Miss Congeniality when Sandra Bullock, “in training” for going undercover (FBI) at the Miss Something competition, finally pulls a gun on someone for telling her she has to give up yet another donut. πŸ™‚


  4. It’s pretty hard to beat the “When Harry Met Sally” scene. πŸ˜€
    Other good choices:
    Lady and the Tramp at the Italian restaurant.
    From “Return to Me” – David Duchovny is out on a blind date with this freaky woman, at the restaurant where Minnie Driver works. The woman orders bottled water with a straw, talking about how she can’t stand the taste of tap water. She goes on and on, very annoying. Minnie Driver goes in the back, gets a bottle of water, pours it out, fills it from the tap, and puts the straw in. David Duchovny happens to be walking by and he sees her – but only laughs. Minnie Driver returns to the table, gives the woman her “bottled” water. The woman takes a sip, and again claims how much more fantastic this is than tap water. David Duchovny and Minnie Driver share a quick glance, suppressing grins. πŸ˜€
    No, it’s not really about the food in that scene, but I love it anyway. πŸ˜€
    This isn’t a restaurant, but have you seen Charlie Chaplin eating his shoe in “The Gold Rush”? Word is, the shoe was made of licorice. πŸ˜€


  5. Oh yeah — Lady and the Tramp. That’s definitely a good one.
    I’ve only seen parts of “Return to Me,” and can’t recall the restaurant scene. Sounds funny. Gotta rent “The Gold Rush.” Haven’t seen it in ages. Thanks for the good tips!


  6. Diner! Where the guy orders half the menu…
    Oh I love the potato knishes at Katz’s. Last time I went there i bought one of those cute T-shirts (send a salami to your boy in the army) for a friend who LOVED it.
    This post makes me miss NYC in the winter. It’s so much fun πŸ™‚
    Kim Baise


  7. I’m jealous that you’ve been to Katz’s! NYC is fabulous any time of the year. I’m definitely putting this place on my MUST EAT THERE list.
    Yay! I’m going to rent “Diner” too. πŸ™‚


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