Where To Get A Last-Minute Dinner In The West Village

10 good options for dinner in the West Village when you don’t want to hear, “We may have something in the bar area around 10:30pm.”
Where To Get A Last-Minute Dinner In The West Village image

The West Village is a very charming place to hang out. It has quiet tree-lined streets filled with brownstones, shops where you can buy vintage records, and plenty of great spots to eat. The problem is that none of that’s a secret, so most of those great restaurants tend to be packed. But that doesn’t mean a spontaneous dinner in the neighborhood needs to involve wandering around aimlessly until everyone goes home and orders delivery. There are still places where you can go on short notice and have a dinner that ranges from perfectly satisfying to surprisingly special. Here are 10 of our favorites.

The Spots

photo credit: Leena Culhane


West Village

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDrinks & A Light Bite
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Bella Dea, from the owner’s of LA’s Crudo e Nudo, serves crudos, oysters, natural wine, and a mix of small cooked seafood dishes. The seafood is of excellent quality, but the dining room is super casual. They share the space with Breakfast By Salt’s Cure, which closes before Bella Dea takes over operations in the evening, so you can burrow into a cozy breakfast nook while you eat some oysters with pink-peppercorn mignonette. This is a low-key spot for light bites that works well for a date when you want the romance of the West Village but none of the chaos.

photo credit: Silver Apricot

After Little Tong Noodle Shop in the East Village closed, the chef opened Silver Apricot. This time, there aren’t any brothy noodles, but some of our favorite small plates from Little Tong made the transition (hello scallion puffs). Inside, there are a few tables lined up against a yellow wall that looks like it came from a Whoville house, but we recommend grabbing a seat out back. Their patio is a secret oasis, and you should have no trouble getting a walk-in spot if you don’t mind sitting under one of the exceptionally effective heaters.

You’ve probably seen Rosemary’s. It’s that big, light-filled Italian restaurant at 10th and Greenwich, and it gets extremely busy. Instead of going there, try Le Baratin. It’s only a few doors down, and it’s a charming neighborhood spot that feels like something you’d find on a residential street in Paris. You can get some solid steak frites or a good piece of duck here, and you’re going to want to hang out for several hours regardless of what’s in front of you.

Llama San used to be hard to get into, but these days it’s easy to get a walk-in spot or day-of reservation. They serve the type of Japanese-influenced Peruvian cuisine known as Nikkei, and when you take a bite of something here, you’ll feel as though you discovered a new genre of music. There are usually a few raw seafood preparations on the menu, in addition to some inventive small plates and a few larger items like Ibérico tonkatsu with a side of bright green pesto udon. The space is nice but not especially fancy, with blonde wood, potted plants, and pleasant ambient lighting.

Happy Hour went on a little too long, and now you and your crew are looking for a last-minute dinner spot—preferably one where you can keep the party going. Make your way to Nat’s On Bank. This seafood restaurant might look like a quaint place tucked between tree-lined streets, but it couldn’t be further from a sleepy neighborhood hang. Their bathroom is bright pink, and the menu lists a caviar-lined seafood platter as a “!BALLER SHOT CALLER TOWER!!” Day-of reservations can occasionally be tough, but you should be able to find something, especially if you’re willing to sit outside.

Panca is a lowkey Peruvian spot that’s quietly held its ground since 2008, and, in a neighborhood where last-minute dining is nearly impossible, you can easily walk in and grab a seat. We’re fans of the skillfully stir-fried lomo saltado, but even if you navigate Panca’s menu like a Ouija board and order whatever you land on, you’ll leave satisfied. Everything about this place—from getting a table to the guarantee of good ceviche—feels easy, which we love.

It’s kind of hard to find great fondue in NYC, but The Lavaux is good enough to make up for that. This traditional Swiss restaurant has an array of cozy things, like a window table that’s literally inside of an enclosed ski lift car, a weathered wooden table with a built-in bread slicer, and enough copper bowls to make Julia Child jealous. You’ll want to get fondue here, obviously, and you should enhance it with a cheese and charcuterie board. There’s also an impressive selection of Swiss wines.

You aren’t sure exactly how long it’s been since you last stood up from your computer, but you do know that you’re hungry, it’s late, and aside from Joe’s and some bars on 7th Avenue full of people who wish they were still at Cornell, most places have stopped serving food. Head to Corner Bistro, a classic and charmingly divey spot that stays open until 4am everyday. The booths and tables might be full, but you can almost always find a seat at the bar. Get some $5 beers and one of the best burgers in the city.

Maybe one day you’ll meet your friends near their apartments in Hell’s Kitchen or Crown Heights. But for now, your long streak of convincing them to come to the West Village continues. Make it easy on them and recommend dinner at Hao Noodle & Tea. This Chinese restaurant is within eyeshot of the West 4th St subway station, and your friends will forgive you for the long commutes once the food arrives. From the clay pot chicken soup with dumplings and glass noodles to the perfectly fried shrimp in a huge bowl of spicy chili, everything here is excellent.

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

This spot is Permanently Closed.

Quality Eats isn’t like other steakhouses. It feels modern and relatively casual, and the menu is full of things like monkey bread and grilled bacon with peanut butter and jalapeño jelly. Also, all of the steaks cost less than $50, and they come with either a salad or a side of curly fries. Bring a date or a couple of friends, and get a birthday cake sundae for dessert. You should be able to get a table as soon as you decide you deserve a steak for answering two emails that day.

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Suggested Reading

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