When does a group of women going out to dinner officially become a "girls' night out"? We don't have a clear answer to that, but it probably has something to do with Sex and the City.
What we do know is that "Girls' Night Out" is one of the most popular "Perfect For" categories on The Infatuation - and for good reason: planning a dinner for your girl crew can indeed be a stressful situation. To that end, we're here to help, with a list of places that are generally fun, mostly not impossible to get into, and with menus that should keep your whole group happy (and to any non-females reading this: we’re pretty sure you’ll like these places too).
Summer trip to the Amalfi Coast didn't work out? That's what Santina is for. This big, bright, colorful Italian restaurant looks more like it belongs on an Italian coastline than right under The Highline. The food is tasty overall, good for sharing, and while you can definitely order pasta, it's also highly accommodating to people who only eat seafood or vegetables. Another thing: if members of the group are still drawn by the lure of Meatpacking (bless 'em, really) - this is your best bet for something that's legitimately fun without being at all cheesy.
You've been tasked with organizing a group dinner before heading to a birthday party no one really wants to attend, and you're scrolling OpenTable at 4pm in a daze. The criteria? Something somewhat central, moderately priced, and suitable for sharing, with strong cocktails, big tables and a pleasant environment. Galli has all of the above, and usually isn't too hard to get into.
A sceney hotel restaurant probably either sounds really good or really horrible to you. But Narcissa defies all stereotypes of a fancy restaurant in a hotel, and it’s basically impossible not to like (read: your friend who finds a way to complain about everything might just be silenced here). It’s a beautiful space, the service is friendly, and it’s also easy to eat relatively healthy here - not because there happen to be a few gluten-free things available, but because the entire menu is oriented around seasonal produce. All the more reason for you to definitely get dessert - which is also excellent here.
We’re not sure if it was an accident or if the guy’s a genius, but the owner of Red Farm basically created the ideal girls’ night out food. Modern takes on traditional dim sum, like dumplings with faces on them? SO CUTE. Emoji food aside, Red Farm is ideal for a communal meal in the West Village. The people watching’s top notch too.
Sitting down to a big bowl of pasta for yourself can be pretty gratifying (obviously). But sharing a huge spread of pastas amongst friends? That’s how you win at Thursday night. It’s an easygoing but still happening environment - candles and red brick are great for dates, but you and your ladies need something more lively. The next time it’s your turn to plan dinner and you forgot about it until the day before, keep in mind that it’s also pretty easy to grab a reservation at Bar Primi last minute.
If Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion were set in 2016, Romy & Michelle would definitely be regulars at The Lucky Bee. But while the place is covered in hot pink and black and white stripes, it’s not cheesy - it’s just fun. The Thai menu is split between small plates and bigger bowls, and the best way to eat here is to share everything - except the (very good) cocktails. You need a few of those for yourself.
"Something kind of healthy" is likely a phrase someone has requested in planning this dinner, and Cafe Clover is an excellent place to fulfill that need. It just so happens that the other details of this place work well for a girls' night out: a prime West Village location, and an environment that feels like you could be in Santa Monica.
Barbuto’s kale salad is good enough to convert even the most stubborn kale-hater. (And yes, we have tested this theory.) But that’s not the only reason it’s girls’ night out appropriate: it has a warm but modern vibe, an outstanding indoor/outdoor situation when they open up the garage walls in the spring, and an excellent wine and cocktail list. Barbuto might not be “trendy” anymore, but it has aged extremely well.
"Maybe something cute in the West Village," someone just wrote in the group chat, after shutting down your first twelve suggestions. Fine. Make a plan to go to Malaparte, which is really the platonic ideal of a charming West Village Italian restaurant. You'll find a good wine list, great but simple food, and Italian servers who you'll want to sit down with you at the end of the meal. For groups of six, you can book a table, but do know it's cash only.
Some restaurants are so good that you stop in the middle of your meal for a moment to look around and appreciate how excellent it is to be an adult. Because only as an adult could you be eating this delicious meal and drinking these strong drinks in this awesome place. It’s these kinds of moments at these kinds of restaurants that are best shared with other adults that you like (i.e. your friends). And if you haven’t guessed this conclusion already, Lilia is one of these restaurants. Get here, bring your friends, be thankful that you’re all adults.
Been one of those weeks? A dinner with friends and a bucket of fried chicken is a good first step to remembering the great things in life. And because Root & Bone fully anticipated your girls’ night out needs, they’re serving it in an environment that looks like everything on your “Interiors” Pinterest board combined in one space. If there are people in attendance avoiding meats or fried food (it happens), there are plenty of other dishes that will please.
Empellon is one of those few West Village restaurants that's actually good, and which you can actually get into. Fancy tacos and tequila for all.
It’s 6:30pm and the first predictable email comes through on your chain: “You guys. I’m really tired. I’m sorry to be sooooo lame but I think I need a Netflix night at home.” What you’d like to tell Sarah is that she’s not being lame - she is lame. But instead, you convince her (and everyone else now thinking of bailing) by telling her she can just come to Dante for one excellent negroni and then be on her way. Plus, there are very friendly and attractive waiters. And pizza and pasta if she happens to get hungry. Which she will. Because Sarah won’t end up leaving - Dante is the kind of place you just end up wanting to stay a while.
A girls' night out loves Jack's Wife Freda, and we've recently come to enjoy the newer Carmine Street location more than the original. The food is pretty much the exact same, but the room is more spacious, meaning you'll be slightly more than six inches from a fashion blogger talking about Instagram. It'll still only be about 12 inches, but it's a big difference nonetheless.
If your group has expressed some interest in "dancing" or "partying" after dinner, Miss Lily's 7A is a great option to consider. The Caribbean food is good, but Miss Lily's is really about the environment, one which happens to turn into a dance party pretty frequently on Saturday nights.
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