The Best Restaurants In The West Village guide image

NYCGuide

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 here.” 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.

The Spots

I Sodi review image
9.1

I Sodi

$$$$

105 Christopher St, New York
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

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), it has an entire negroni menu, and the food here is excellent across the board. The cacio e pepe is an essential order, but the many-layered lasagna is technically I Sodi’s most impressive dish. Order it. Reservations are pretty much impossible, but just stop by, put your name in for a seat at the bar, and find somewhere to drink for an hour or two. This place is worth it.


photo credit: David A. Lee

Semma review image
9.0

Semma

The team behind Dhamaka decided to turn their restaurant Rahi into a new concept serving South Indian regional specialties typically made in rural home settings. That was a smart decision, because the food here is some of the best in the city. Stop by for some chili-flecked Mangalorean cauliflower, snails with ginger-tamarind paste, and crispy uttappam with root 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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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. Whether you come for seafood towers, bucatini with uni, or bottles of wine, a meal here feels like an intimate, yet lively, dinner party full of oyster-slurping regulars who live nearby.


Small plates like mini flaky scallion puffs with scallion butter, poached shrimp on toast with celery and walnuts, and a duck-confit grilled cheese dominate the menu at this spot on Cornelia Street. If the wagyu slider is available, get it. (It wouldn’t be out of place on a list of the best burgers in NYC.) While the menu at Silver Apricot changes regularly, and there are no big bowls of noodles like the ones you’ll find at chef Simone Tong’s previous restaurants, the charming back patio is a constant. A date will think you put some serious thought behind choosing this place for dinner.


If and when you manage to get a table at 4 Charles Prime Rib, come prepared to eat meat, drink something strong, and not once think about the field of cardiology. 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.


Still waiting for Herman Miller to process your refund for that fiberglass stool? You might want to skip Nakazawa and check out Sushi Katsuei instead. For $65, you get a handroll and nine pieces of nigiri with fish like firefly squid, ocean trout, and toro. In terms of price, quality, and variety, this one of the best sushi options in the city.


Via Carota is always busy, and there are several reasons why. First, the Italian food is exceptional—especially the pasta. This restaurant also has an attractive space decorated like an Italian farmhouse, it’s in the center of the West Village, and you might see a Golden Globe nominee here. Plus, Via Carota doesn’t take reservations, so everyone has an equal chance of getting in. Waits can stretch up to four hours, but just put your name in early and get a drink at one of the many bars within walking distance.


Faicco’s is a legendary Italian deli that you should scream about to everyone you eat lunch with regularly. This place has been around since 1902 (and has been operated by the same family throughout its entire existence), and it’s where you’ll find one of the best chicken cutlet sandwiches we’ve ever encountered. This sandwich is probably about half the size of Dwayne Johnson’s forearm—so plan accordingly.


Llama San isn’t the only Nikkei restaurant in NYC, but it is the only Nikkei spot where you can eat 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, and the space is full of plants and blonde wood. Bring someone for an impressive dinner or brunch that you’ll replay in your mind for the next few weeks.


L’Artusi is a longtime favorite of ours. Sure, we like I Sodi and Via Carota slightly more, but this place is still incredibly good at what it does. The pastas are immaculate, the kale salad is perfectly dressed (and not nearly as boring as it should be), and the beef carpaccio is unreasonably flavorful. If you’re looking for a special occasion spot in the West Village, this is a very safe choice.


In some ways, Anton’s feels like it’s been around for at least 100 years. Maybe it’s the martinis and broiled oysters, or maybe it’s the candlelit room with oil paintings and wood-paneled walls. Either way, you should know that A) this isn’t an especially old West Village restaurant, and B) it’s an ideal spot for an intimate dinner that isn’t too formal. Get the bucatini with chunks of bacon and the steak that comes over a pile of sautéed onions, and remember to have a few martinis. That just feels like the appropriate beverage here.


This Chinese spot on 6th Avenue is a nice, bright place to eat nice, bright food. From the clay pot egg dumplings swimming in the best chicken broth you’ll ever have to the dan dan noodles and sliced chicken in chili oil, the food at Hao Noodle & Tea is exactly the sort of stuff you’ll feel compelled to discuss at work the next day.


Instead of cacio e pepe and carbonara, Don Angie does a giant lasagna for two and a plate of gnocchi covered in poppy seeds. Both dishes are very much worth your time, and there are some other pastas and little plates that belong on your table as well—like a stuffed garlic flatbread and a cheese-covered chrysanthemum salad. Eat all of those things, and you’ll realize why this is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.


Nami Nori serves relatively affordable sushi in the form of various hand rolls, and it’s a great place for a quick meal that could cost as little as $20. The handrolls come shaped like tacos, and they’re filled with things like scallop with tobiko or salmon with chives and onion cream. Some have a little too much going on, so try to keep things simple—and if you actually want to get a seat in this bright restaurant that looks like an upscale nail salon, either get here early or anticipate a wait.


The West Village has some of our favorite pizza in the city, and it’s where you’ll find some of our favorite burgers, too. If you want to experience both in the same sitting, go to Emily. This place makes thin, crispy pizzas as well as thick, cheesy Detroit-style pies that are perfect for when you intend to spend the rest of the night under a fleece blanket on your couch. Whichever pizza(s) you go for, get the burger as well. It’s a double-stack mess of cheese and special sauce on a pretzel bun.


Corner Bistro does not make an elegant burger. Their version is really just a large puck of meat on a bun that’s just a little too small, with some lettuce, tomato, and optional bacon. If you’ve had a few drinks, this burger is exactly what you want—and it’s the main reason you come to this slightly rundown (and very charming) West Village institution.


Have you ever found yourself wandering through the West Village thinking, “Isn’t there something cool and casual I can just pop into for some carbohydrates and a nice salad?” That place exists, and it’s Malaparte. This dark little spot on Washington Street is good for either a date night or a meal with a few friends. Come for some rigatoni with pesto, a pizza with prosciutto, and a simple piece of branzino.


Joseph Leonard is a tiny, unofficial West Village clubhouse, from the same people behind Fairfax and Bar Sardine. This is one of the more fun, casual places to eat in the neighborhood, and the menu here consists of stuff like hummus, roast chicken, and a burger on an English muffin. If you’re looking to eat some granola or an omelet, this is also a highly underrated weekday-breakfast spot.


Lamano review image

Lamano

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open table

Sure, it’s a first date, but you’re also hungry and don’t want dinner to be a cauliflower flatbread and some marinated olives. Go to Lamano, a casual tapas spot that’s great for low-commitment meals in the West Village. This place is the size of a studio apartment, and the food is cooked behind the bar, so it arrives quickly—which may come in handy if you really want to try that egg tortilla with truffle, but you’re not sure if you can put up with another story about high school parties at the lake.


Did you know there’s a reasonably priced BYOB in downtown Manhattan that serves some very competent French food? Well, there is, and it’s called Tartine. Apparently, plenty of people already know about this place, and that’s why there’s usually a line out the door. Still, we love this place.


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.


The revolving door of restaurants in the West Village can leave us with some trust issues when choosing where to dine in the area, but Panca is reliable. It’s 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. Everything about Panca—from getting a table to the guarantee of good ceviche—feels easy, which we love.


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Suggested Reading

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Forgot to make plans for tonight? Try one of these spots.

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