Rao's selfieEmily Cohn/Business Insider

Rao’s is one of New York’s most iconic restaurants.
In non-pandemic times, it’s nearly impossible to eat there, as all 10 of its tables are held by regulars with standing reservations.
With restaurants forced to shut down everything but pick-up and delivery due to the coronavirus, Rao’s is offering takeout for the first time in its 124 years of existence. 
I ordered takeout during the pandemic to see what it was like and I was not disappointed.
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Rao’s is so exclusive, even the famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett has reportedly been turned down for a reservation. 

“You would have better luck getting invited to dinner at the White House,” New York magazine wrote, reporting that Martin Scorsese and Bill Clinton have held tables.

When New York forced restaurants to shut down dine-in service on March 17 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Rao’s decided to offer takeout for the first time. 

Though it took more than a week for me to secure a takeout meal from Rao’s, it was a memorable and worthwhile experience that brought some joy during an otherwise grim and scary time. 

Rao’s is one of New York’s most exclusive restaurants.
Emily Cohn/Business Insider



The restaurant is located on 114th Street and Pleasant Avenue in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood.
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Stepping into Rao’s is like stepping back in time. Here’s a shot of the interior from 1998. It looks almost identical today.

The Christmas decorations hang all year long. Diners are squeezed into the restaurant’s small one-room dining room.

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