The Best Restaurants In The West Village
All the spots you’ll want to know about the next time you wind up in this neighborhood full of brownstones and celebrities walking their dogs.
When you walk through the West Village, you’re bound to think a few things. “This neighborhood is very charming,” for example, and “There are a lot of high-end boutiques selling $75 candles.” You’ll also see an absurd number of restaurants. Many of them are fantastic, and some just look fantastic—remember, brick walls and tiny wooden stools do not actually guarantee that the food will be any good. With that in mind, here are the West Village spots that are absolutely worth your time. Once you’ve found a place for dinner, check out our list of the best bars in the West Village.
If you want the best Italian food in the West Village, go to I Sodi. This small, minimally-designed restaurant is always packed (but never too loud), and the food is incredible across the board. They’re known for their meaty, many-layered lasagna, but if that sounds like a bit much, go for their cacio e pepe or the rich and peppery pappardelle al limone. If you score a reservation, consider that a legit accomplishment. They technically take walk-ins, but if you don’t come right at 4:30pm, don’t bother showing up at all.
photo credit: David A. Lee
The Dhamaka team is behind Semma, which serves South Indian regional specialties typically made in rural home settings. A smart decision, because the food here is some of the best in the city. When you stop by this place with colorful designs on white brick walls and a weaved bamboo mat ceiling, order some chili-flecked Mangalorean cauliflower, snails with ginger-tamarind paste, and crispy uttappam with vegetables. If you’re one to prioritize unique seafood experiences, we recommend calling ahead to reserve the whole Dungeness crab. Only a handful are available each night.
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photo credit: Teddy Wolff
Via Carota is always busy, and there are several reasons why. First, the Italian food is exceptional—especially the pasta, fried rabbit, and svizzerina. This restaurant also has an attractive space decorated like an Italian farmhouse, and you might see someone who’s due for their first (or next) Oscar win. Limited reservations are available 30 days out, but if you don’t snag one, you might be told to come back in several hours, so put your name in and get some drinks at one of the many bars within walking distance.
4 Charles Prime Rib
Like a lot of spots on this list, 4 Charles Prime Rib is tough to get into. If you manage to score a table, prepare yourself to eat meat and drink something strong in a small dark space filled with diners who look like they talk about market caps and liquidity all day. Order a few big hunks of prime rib, and be sure to dip your fries in creamed spinach. For dessert, have a sundae, a burger (one of the best in the city), or both. If you’re looking to have dinner in a space that feels like a rich relative’s private drinking den, it doesn’t get much better than this.
It’s hard to get us excited about eating New American food these days, but The Noortwyck manages to do just that. Even their most basic dishes get unexpected accents, like fresh oysters topped with yuzu kosho and preserved cranberry. And despite the fact that this isn’t an Italian restaurant, their pasta is some of the best in the West Village. (That’s saying something.) The space is casual enough for after-work drinks, yet special enough for a birthday dinner. Be sure to save room for dessert. We’ll shed tears if they ever take their banana mille feuille off the menu.
Lavaux Wine Bar
Really great fondue isn’t easy to find in NYC, but The Lavaux is good enough to make up for that fact. This traditional Swiss restaurant in the West Village has an array of cozy things, like a window table that’s 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, but there are also some salads, cheese and charcuterie boards, and things like beef tartare and rösti. There’s also an impressive selection of Swiss wines.
If you’ve been disappointed with your sushi outings lately and need a sure thing, book a table at Sushi Nakazawa. You might have heard about this West Village spot because the head chef was featured in Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The mostly-black-and-white space feels modern, and if you sit at one of the counters, you’ll get around 20 courses of flawlessly-prepared sushi for $180. (You can get the same omakase in the dining room for $30 less.) This place is pricey, but you get what you pay for.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Instead of cacio e pepe and carbonara, Don Angie does a giant platter of rolled lasagna for two and a plate of gnocchi with crispy garlic. Both dishes are very much worth your time, and there are some other creative pastas and little plates that belong on your table too, like a stuffed garlic flatbread and a parmesan-covered chrysanthemum salad. Eat all of those things, and you’ll realize why this is one of the top Italian restaurants in NYC. The dimly-lit restaurant is filled with leather and shiny things, so it’s a sleek destination for a date night.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Sushi Katsuei started in Park Slope, and it became so popular that it expanded to Manhattan. This is one of the best places in the West Village to eat incredible, creative sushi for under $100. Sit at the long wooden bar, and after a couple pieces of nigiri, you’ll wonder why there aren’t more places that serve raw fish this good for this price. Omakase options start at $65 for nine pieces and a handroll, and they often include unusual options like firefly squid or barracuda.
photo credit: Teddy Wolfe
Buvette is very small and consistently packed. That might not sound like a place where you want to eat a meal, but this French bistro (with locations in other cities like Paris and Tokyo) will win you over with its charm as soon as you sit down. There's a long marble bar and a big chalkboard map of France, and the homey space is filled with vintage knickknacks. Bring a date to this romantic spot for some classic French dishes like coq au vin, duck cassoulet, and tartines that you’ll definitely want to try to make at home.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
There’s a correct way to do L’Artusi, and this is it: You come with one other person, and you sit at the bar. You order a crudo and the roasted mushrooms with pancetta and a fried egg, and then you share two pastas. You drink wine. You go home happy. Unlike a lot of rustic downtown Italian spots, the decor here is modern with upholstered seating and gray tile floors, and a dinner here is about as good a date night as they come. You can’t go wrong with any of the pastas, and the Wagyu carpaccio alone is worth coming back for.
There are sushi spots in the city that seem like a party, but Kosaka lives at the opposite end of the spectrum. The tranquil dining room makes you feel like somebody is about to place cucumber slices over your eyes and give you a massage. Only one omakase is offered ($250 or $225 depending on where you sit), and it consists of an amuse, sashimi, 12 sushi courses, soup, and a dessert with tea. Service here is faultless—if a drop of soy sauce somehow lands anywhere other than your plate, someone will wipe it up within seconds.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Have you ever found yourself wandering through the West Village thinking: “Is there a place that’s charming and casual I can just pop into for some carbs and a nice salad without a two-hour wait?” That place exists, and it’s Malaparte. This dark little spot on Washington Street with exposed brick everywhere and wood floors that might be a hundred (or more) years old is good for either a date night or a meal with a handful of friends. Order some rigatoni, a pizza with prosciutto, and the simple grilled whole branzino.
Sushi 456 looks like a somewhat nicer version of your average casual sushi spot. It’s a tiny space with a small counter up front and a few tables to the side, and the soundtrack consists of smooth jazz. But most casual sushi places don’t serve pieces of nigiri that are as perfect and precise as you’ll find here. The king salmon is buttery, the scallop is fruity and floral, and even the leanest tuna melts in your mouth. You can get 10 courses for $70 or 15 for $100. Either way, remember to bring your own booze.
Llama San isn’t the only Nikkei restaurant in NYC, but it is the only Nikkei spot where you can eat things like lobster with beef heart and kampachi tiradito with uni and matcha foam. This Japanese-influenced Peruvian restaurant (from the people behind Llama Inn) serves food that’s equal parts inventive and delicious. Bring someone to this place that’s full of plants, blonde wood, and fancy candles for an impressive dinner or brunch. Your meal will be so memorable, you’ll replay it in your mind for the next few weeks.
Faicco's Italian Specialities
Faicco’s is a legendary Italian deli that you should scream about to everyone you eat lunch with regularly. It’s been around since 1900 (and has been operated by the same family throughout its entire existence), and it’s where you’ll find what we’re fairly certain is NYC’s best chicken cutlet sandwich. (It’s about the size of The Rock’s forearm.) They also have every kind of high-quality meat to stuff into a long roll. This place is more like a little grocery store than a restaurant, so grab some jarred pesto on your way out.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Hao Noodle & Tea
“Where have you eaten that’s good?” is the sort of question we get all the time. And Hao Noodle is the type of place that we respond with. As soon as you’re done eating here, you’ll want to tell someone about it. From the egg dumplings and straightforward crispy pork dumplings to the sliced chicken in chili oil, nothing on the menu at this Chinese spot on 6th Avenue is really a miss. We suggest coming with a group and making good use of one of their big tables in the dining room that reminds us of an Anthropologie store.
Nat's on Bank
Unlike other places with big seafood menus and long wine lists, Nat’s on Bank makes you feel like you can let loose a little bit and have a lively conversation with your party in whatever the opposite of hushed tones is. Everything about this restaurant feels like a party from its loud crowd and bathroom with a motorized disco ball to the bright yellow menu with a seafood tower named “!BALLER SHOT CALLER TOWER!!” Whether you come for scallop aguachile, bucatini with uni, or snacks with bottles of wine, a meal here feels like an intimate, yet fun, dinner party full of oyster-slurping regulars.
Creative small plates like deviled tea eggs, duck-confit grilled cheese, and fried rice with Chinese sausage and garlic-oyster sauce dominate the menu at this tiny spot on Cornelia Street. Dishes constantly come and go, but the mini flaky scallion puffs with scallion butter are always available because people come here specifically for that one item. The whole indoor space is filled with a single row of tables and a cushioned, pillow-filled banquette running along one wall, and in the back, there’s a charming fenced-in patio that’s perfect for a date.