New York City’s West Village is one of its most iconic and beautiful neighborhoods, thanks to tree-lined blocks dotted with classic brownstones, quaint cafes, and cobblestone streets that have witnessed cultural movements. The neighborhood’s dining scene is diverse, with everything from Italian and Mediterranean to Chinese and Japanese cuisine, and it is home to restaurants run by city’s top chefs and restaurateurs like Jody Williams, Rita Sodi, and Gabe Stulman.
Husband and wife Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli met in a restaurant kitchen and dreamed of opening their own place that would showcase their Italian-American heritage. In 2017, they opened Don Angie, serving cult favorites like their lasagna rolls, stuffed garlic bread, and buffalo milk caramelle pasta alongside riffs on classics like veal da pepi, prime rib, and an antipasto salad. The art deco dining room is always abuzz (don’t go here for a quiet meal) and in the summer they have outdoor seating. The cocktails and wine list are worth sampling and consider indulging in the tiramisu and zeppole for dessert.
When three Masa vets (Taka Sakaeda, Jihan Lee, and Lisa Limb) open an affordable Japanese spot, it's worth a stop. Nami Nori, which opened in the fall of 2019, is a casual temaki bar serving Japanese snacks and open-style hand rolls from two adjacent circular light wood bars. Appetizers and snacks are fun plays on Japanese classics, like crunchy nori chips with yogurt chive dip, shishito peppers with honey miso dip, and fat calamari covered in rice flour before being fried and served with a yuzu soy dressing. The temaki open rolls, which are served directly from the sushi chef one at a time, include classics like spicy tuna and the like, but try something new like the x.o. scallop with tobiko and lemon, the salmon with tomato, onion cream, and chives, or one of the crunchy varieties, like spicy crab dynamite.
There's also a premium uni and truffle section and a vegan line-up. Beer, sake, and wine are available on tap and by the bottle or glass. Be sure to save room for one (or three) of the ice cream temakis to end the meal. Did we mention the entire restaurant is gluten-free?
This hidden gem underneath the also-excellent RedFarm serves some of the best Chinese food outside of the city’s various Chinatowns. Specializing in Peking duck, Chef Joe Ng and Managing Partner Ed Schoenfeld serve the crispy-skinned ducks with ultra-thin pancakes, consommé shots, and three sauces for $95. Other menu items include seabass with black bean and basil sauce, octopus salad, and Sichuan chicken and mushroom dumplings. All reservations are for the Peking duck pre fixe ($79.95), while the a la carte menu is only available at the bar for those with no reservations.
This is the second location of the Australian cafe from Aussie natives Josh Evans and Nick Duckworth. Opened in October 2019, the sunny spot offers breakfast and lunch fare with Down Under flair. Portions are large and you can pick among inventive dishes like the Spicy Caesar Salad with radicchio, kale, oregano, pecorino, breadcrumbs, and spicy dressing; a Mango Smoothie Bowl with mango, banana, granola, kiwi, blackberries, and chia seeds; and the photogenic Golden Folded Eggs served with crispy bacon, greens salad, roasted mushrooms, and avocado. Order a side of grilled Halloumi cheese to perk up any meal.
Easily one of New York City’s best sushi restaurants, Sushi Nakazawa is where to find top-quality sushi prepared by chef Daisuke Nakazawa from the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." As long as you have the cash to throw down—$150 at the bar and $120 in the dining room—for the 21-piece omakase, this is a must-have experience. Of course, the fish on offer changes nightly, but there’s often chum salmon, mature yellowtail, and fatty tuna on the menu. There’s a reason this spot garnered four stars from The New York Times.
Every neighborhood should have a French bistro and Buvette is it for the West Village. Full of rustic French appeal, perfect omelets, and rows of wine bottles, it’s impossible not to be charmed by this restaurant. Ideal for any meal of the day, dishes include the aforementioned omelet as well as croque madames, roasted beets with horseradish crème, salmon rillettes, and a variety of open-face tartines. It’s so authentic, that a second location opened in Paris in 2012.
4 Charles Prime Rib
Before New York got its own Au Cheval, the famous burger restaurant from Chicago, it got 4 Charles Prime Rib, a clubby steakhouse in the Village. You'll be greeted by wood-paneled walls, brown leather chairs, and dozens of gilded frames holding dark paintings. Come hungry so you can fill up on steakhouse classics like the vaunted prime rib, crab cakes, creamed spinach, and a burger. Just don’t expect to get a last-minute reservation before 10 p.m.—the intimate dining room gets booked up quickly.
This lovechild between Jody Williams of Buvette and her partner Rita Sodi of I Sodi is the place to go for simple but delicious Italian fare. Vegetables get the royal treatment here, pastas are perfect, and the meats and fish are just as delicious as their veggie counterparts. In short, it’s a charming neighborhood spot with high-quality food, attracting patrons from far and wide—and for good reason.
Restaurateur Gabe Stulman and his company Happy Cooking Hospitality have chosen the West Village as the home for a majority of the nine restaurants in their group. It all started at Joseph Leonard though, and it’s still one of the best spots in the hood. Joseph Leonard is the quintessential American bistro, open all day and serving a mash-up of French and American fare like a fried chicken sandwich with okra, a ham and cheese croissant, and a hanger steak with blue cheese—and frites, of course.
High Street on Hudson
A Philadelphia import, High Street on Hudson is part-bakery and part-restaurant—and both parts are good. Skilled baker Melissa Weller was brought on board in 2019, joining owners Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp. There’s a small counter up front with a pastry case and coffee machine where customers can grab treats like Weller’s celebrated sticky buns, kouign-amann (in plain and black sesame), and scones. There’s also crusty loaves of bread, bagels, and bialy. Guests can also stay a while and have a seat in the cozy dining room where items like a roasted broccoli faro bowl, avocado tartine, and skillet chicken are on the menu.
Chef John Fraser has more than a few hit restaurants on his hands (The Nix, 701 West, and Dovetail before he left), so it’s no surprise that The Loyal is yet another. This time, the chef known for his vegetarian food prowess delves into classic, richer fare like baked gnocchi, rack of lamb with yogurt and carrots, oysters Rockefeller, duck fat tater tots, and what is arguably the best burger in the Village (it comes topped with Comte cheese and a “22-step tomato”). And for those celebrating a special occasion, the Sundae Set and Candy Shop is a must-order. Brunch is a good bet as well, with options like a lobster frittata, French toast a la mode, a fried chicken sandwich, and, of course, the burger.
Another gemstone in Gabe Stulman’s crowd, Fairfax is an ode to California in the form of a cozy all-day cafe that could double as your stylish friend’s living room. In the morning there’s coffee, pastries, oatmeal, and egg dishes while lunch brings cheese plates, anchovies on toast, and a very good chicken leg. In the evening, the restaurant morphs into a wine bar (although there’s also a small dinner menu).
New York City has a lot of really good pizza but it’s safe to say that Joe’s Pizza, on the busy corner of Bleecker and Carmine Streets, makes some of the city's best. Get in line for piping hot slices of chewy crust, sweet sauce, and gooey, dripping cheese made in the classic New York style. Opened in 1975 by Italian immigrant Joe Pozzuoli, Joe’s Pizza hasn’t changed much and we hope it never does.
Chef Ainat Admony originally opened her flagship restaurant in Nolita but moved it to the West Village in 2018. Beloved for her falafel at the more casual Taïm, Balaboosta (which means “perfect housewife” in Yiddish) is an upscale spot serving modern Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine in a light-filled spot on Hudson Street. Start with small plates like the fried olives, hummus basar (hummus topped with ground beef and pine nuts), cucumber salad, and cauliflower with pickled raisins, pine nuts, and tahini before moving on to larger dishes like grilled whole branzino, za’atar fettuccine, and brick chicken with Persian tahdig rice.