The Best Places To Eat In The West Village
It’s no secret that the West Village is one of the most popular and desired areas of Manhattan. After all, it’s where the Friends apartment was, it’s where Carrie Bradshaw lived and, it’s also where some of the best and highly sought after dining spots are. There’s too much to choose from in the West Village so we thought we’d make life a little easier for you and whittle it down to this fine list of some of the best places to eat in the West Village:
Raviolo: No, there isn’t a typo in the restaurant’s name. I can assure you the Italian chef Paolo Mergalli – owner of Mulino a Vino – knows how to spell the pasta dish, which he is now combining with Asian cuisine. Bringing Italian classics like lasagna, cacio e pepe and vitello tonnato into bite-sized dumplings, the chef has created an innovative menu with Italian Dim Sum. I’m a hundred percent sure Italian grandparents are frowning upon these dishes, while New Yorkers are already standing in line to get sum (pun intended). Steamed buns are filled with roasted pork, crunchy onions and creamy carbonara, while the brunch menu features an obligatory avocado item – this time on panini or bruschetta.
Raviolo, 57 7th Avenue South
4 Charles Prime Rib: Step inside this small dark space decked out with dark-wood interior and red booths, and you’ll suddenly forget about the healthy, plant-based restaurant movement happening outside. The Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (known for the famous burger from Au Cheval) brings old-school steakhouse staples to the West Village, including a burger that’s almost as good as the real deal, lamb chops, ribeye steak and of course, prime ribs. Just don’t expect to be able to walk home afterwards.
4 Charles Prime Rib, 4 Charles Street
The Spotted Pig: There are many reasons why the wait is always horrendous at the Spotted Pig. Listed on every guide as the best burger in NYC (and now also on the best places to eat in the West Village), receiving one star from the Michelin Guide for seven consecutive years and chef April Bloomfield running the kitchen are a few. The small (yet another reason) gastro pub looks likes it’s been flown over from England, with plant pots surrounding the entrance and a homely ambiance inside. The famous chargrilled burger with Roquefort cheese is served with a mountain of shoestring fries, but the other dishes are also worthy of your time. I’m thinking crispy pig’s ears salad, steak with lime vinaigrette and pork rilette with pickles.
The Spotted Pig, 314 West 11th Street
L’artusi: If you can manage to score a reservation at this dimly-lit dinner destination, come with a group of friends and a big appetite, so you can sample and enjoy as many of the Italian dishes as possible. Start with the delicately prepared scallops, silky smooth burrata with heirloom tomatoes, and roasted lemony mushrooms topped with pancetta and a fried egg. Then, indulge on whichever homemade pasta tickles your fancy, but make sure to finish your meal on an absolute high with L’Artusi’s olive oil cake.
L’artusi, 228 West 10th Street
Jack’s Wife Freda: The famous Soho brunch spot is a little less busy at the cozy West Village location, while still serving the same homemade hearty dishes we all love. Expect dishes with influences from both the Mediterenean and madame Freda herself, transforming the traditional croque madame into a Madame Freda with crispy duck proscittuo instead of ham; swapping tomato sauce for green tomatillo in the Green Shakshuka, and serving eggs benedict over potato latkes with beet hollandaise sauce.
Jack’s Wife Freda, 50 Carmine Street
Chumley’s: The former speakeasy bar may remain its 1920s décor and vibe, with historic writers and book covers adorning the walls, but the food at this relatively new restaurant speaks to the present with modern American cuisine. Small dishes and salads are far and few between, instead, the small menu revolves around meaty dishes such as a bone marrow burger, beef tartare and chicken al cognac. The drinks, on the other hand, are a nod to the past, offering classic cocktails, whiskey and wine.
Chumley’s, 86 Bedford Street
Loring Place: Run by Chef Dan Kluger, known for leading the vegetable-centric restaurant ABC Kitchen, the chef continues to focus heavily on the veggies at his first solo restaurant Loring Place. But besides butternut squash fries and crispy-spiced cauliflower bites, the menu also leans towards less healthy options including a solid cheeseburger with house-cured bacon, spicy meatballs smothered in cheese and fun desserts – you need the chocolate “hostess cupcake” in your life, filled with orange crème fraîche.
Loring Place, 21 West 8th Street
Fairfax: Replacing Italian restaurant Perla, the all-day spot Fairfax is open for a laid-back breakfast in the morning, Mediterranean lunch plates with a glass of wine during the day, while transforming into a bustling wine bar at night. Expect simple dishes on the menu, such as soft-boiled eggs with herb butter, sourdough toast with grilled apricots, and yogurt with pistachios for breakfast. Dinner items carry on the simplicity and take their form as small snacks, including burrata with tomatillo salsa, serrano ham with melon and scallops with watermelon.
Fairfax, 234 West 4th Street
Waverly Inn: If you’re looking to increase your chances of seeing a celebrity in the West Village, make a reservation at the Wavery Inn. The fireplace and cozy vibes are especially pleasant during the wintertime, while enjoying a comforting chicken pot pie, or if you’re feeling flush, the $90 truffle mac and cheese. But when summer rolls around, the outdoor garden is the perfect setting for a weekend brunch, featuring fluffy French toast topped with globs of vanilla whipped cream, homemade biscuits with honey butter or thickly cut pork belly with potato hash. It’s up to you if you agree with Trump on this one: “Waverly Inn – worst food in city.”
Waverly Inn, 16 Bank Street
Barbuto: If I told you Barbuto is located in a garage, you’re probably not going to be sold on the idea for a dinner spot. But if I told you the garage doors are made out of glass, pouring sunlight into the large space, and that they open on warmer days for el fresco dining, you might be more impressed. Just as important is chef Jonathan Waxman – James Beard award winner for Best Chef NYC in 2016 – working his magic on Italian cuisine. Highlights include the carbonara on bucatini, a thick spaghetti with a hole running through the middle, as well as gnocchi with slow roasted tomatoes and parmesan. Less carb-loaded dishes can be found under the antipasti section on the menu, with traditional options such as salumi and insalata burrata.
Barbuto, 775 Washington Street
Mas Farmhouse: After being closed for a year due to an electrical fire in the kitchen, Mas re-opened its doors with an updated décor and dining experience. Yet the vision of the restaurant remains the same, focusing on locally sourced ingredients from organic farms that are worth the splurge. The menu features everything from sweet corn soup with scallops to chicken breast stuffed with apricot sausage or caviar with crème fraîche. Make sure to save room for dessert, where cakes, puff pastries and ice cream are accompanied with fresh fruit.
Mas Farmhouse, 39 Downing Street
Quality Eats: The original outpost of Quality Eats can be found in the West Village, serving steak and American comfort food with a fun twist. Think bacon with peanut butter and jalapeno jelly (this should be illegal), baked potato monkey bread with bacon butter (again, illegal) and a patty melt club burger. Instagrammers are drawn to the dressed up desserts in cups, including birthday cake with confetti and vanilla icing, or s’mores with marshmallows that look like meringue, finished with a drizzle of fudge and graham cracker shortbread. Things get even better for brunch, as the monkey bread gets an upgrade with bacon egg and cheese, while your black & white French toast can be paired with a French toast cocktail.
Quality Eats, 19 Greenwich Ave
Extra Virgin: Like people watching as much as eating? Take a seat on the elevated patio at Extra virgin and watch the care-free couples walking their dogs, while you dream of living in a grand house in the West Village. For brunch, order the eggs benedict with a side of fries or the basque scramble with creamy polenta and small pieces of chorizo. For dinner, expect a dim-lit warm ambiance and Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as pistachio crusted goat cheese salad, sesame crusted tuna and bacon wrapped sea scallops.
Extra Virgin, 259 West 4th street
Don Angie: Opening a new restaurant with authentic Italian food isn’t going to cut it in New York. Luckily, the dynamic duo Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito (known for some of the most popular dishes at Quality Eats) are smart. Very smart. Don Angie is what you get when Italian cuisine meets the world of social media, resulting in lasagna shaped as cinnamon buns or buffalo milk caramelle pasta that look like candies, feasting your eyes and tummy at the same time. Large windows are wrapped around the restaurant, filling the space with natural light for the perfect picture.
Don Angie, 103 Greenwich Ave
The Happiest Hour: Do you really need convincing this colorful cocktail bar is worth your time when it’s called The Happiest Hour? If so, maybe the comfy blue velvet lounge booths will win you over, or maybe the creative cocktails that allow you to choose your spirit, will do the trick. If that doesn’t do it for you, the food will. Choose a happy life with the Happy Salad (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, chicken, bacon, beets and avocado), or live a happier life with the Happy Burger (a single patty and all the works), or live your happiest life and tuck into The Happiest Burger, made with two patties, American cheese, a special sauce and the like.
The Happiest Hour, 121 West 10th Street
Emily: It’s hard to believe a Detroit-style pizza restaurant can win the hearts of New Yorkers – dedicated to their New York slice – let alone it being a restaurant that serves one of the best burgers in New York too. The second outpost of chef restaurateur duo Matt and Emily Hyland expanded their success from Williamsburg to the West Village, serving the Detroit-grandma pies with a crunchy cheese crust, while the center is soft and chewy. The burger is served on a pretzel bun, swimming in a secret Emmy sauce, caramelized onions and Grafton cheddar (an aged cheddar that’s slightly sweet as opposed to bitter).
Emily, 35 Downing Street
Akashi: You don’t get to see a full-menu at Akashi. Instead, chef Tatsuya Sekiguchi creates a personalized 18-course sushi experience, tailored to your taste, preferences and desires. The distance between chef and guest disappears after engaging in a conversation about your curiosities, and continues at the bar that’s wrapped around the kitchen. And for $200+ per person, the Omakase tasting is made with the best fish – sourced from both the US and Japanese coasts – and the highest quality ingredients. From seared waghu that melts in your mouth to tender and sweet anago nigiri, this is fine dining at its finest.
Akashi, 14 Christopher Street
Corner Bistro: In a city where burger choices aren’t particularly sparce, there’s one place New Yorkers consistently go back to. That place is Corner Bistro. The iconic corner spot in the West Village has been serving the same classic Bistro Burger for years, a juicy fat patty with cheese and crispy bacon, the same grilled cheese sandwich that will make a cheese lover’s heart melt, in the same casual pub-like ambiance. And all of this can be enjoyed without the classic New York price tag.
Corner Bistro, 331 West 4th Street
Words & Photography by: Siobhan Gunner