When you walk through the West Village, you’re bound to think a few things. For example, “This neighborhood is way more charming than all the others,” and, “There are a lot of Marc Jacobs stores here.” You’ll also see ton of different restaurants.
Many of them are fantastic, and some just look like they’d be fantastic - remember, brick walls and tiny wooden stools instead of chairs do not actually guarantee the food will be any good. With that in mind, here are the restaurants in the West Village that are absolutely worth your time. And when you’re done, check out our list of the best bars in the West Village, too.
L’Artusi is one of the few restaurants on The Infatuation with a 9.5 rating, thanks to the nearly always perfect Italian food, the excellent wine, the A-plus service, and the constantly upbeat scene. If you ever come across a reservation at L’Artusi, you take it.
If and when you manage to get a table at 4 Charles Prime Rib, come prepared. Prepared to eat meat, drink something strong, and make an appointment to see your cardiologist soon. You’ll eat big hunks of prime rib, a glorious burger, and hopefully some fries dipped in creamed spinach - and if you’re hoping to have such things in a space that looks like someone’s rich uncle’s private drinking den, it doesn’t get much better.
Instead of cacio e pepe and carbonara, Don Angie does a giant lasagna “for two” (it really feeds more than that) and a plate of gnocchi covered in poppy seeds. There are some other pastas and little plates that belong on your table, too, like a stuffed garlic flatbread and a cheese-covered chrysanthemum salad. Eat all those things we just mentioned, and you’ll realize why this is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.
It would be understandable if you wrote Toriko off after learning that dinner costs $70 and almost all of the food is chicken. But it would also be a mistake. This yakitori spot serves two omakase menus focused on various grilled chicken skewers - like wasabi-topped tenderloin and intensely rich chicken oysters - and it’s chicken that you should definitely go out of your way to eat as soon as possible. Sit at the chef’s counter, and you’ll be treated to some enjoyable dinner theater, too, since all of the skewers are grilled and seasoned right in front of you.
The owner here literally saw Jiro Dreams Of Sushi and decided to bring one of his disciples to New York. The result is Sushi Nakazawa, a high-end sushi spot serving fish that’s both excellent and expensive (you’re going to pay around $150 for an omakase). Make sure to sit at the sushi bar, and hopefully bring someone else’s wallet.
If you’re still waiting for Herman Miller to process your refund for that fiberglass stool, then you might want to skip Nakazawa - check out Katsuei instead. For $60, you get a handroll and about nine pieces of really good fish, like firefly squid, ocean trout, and toro. In terms of quality and variety, it’s probably the best sushi option in the city for the price.
When you want Italian in the West Village, it can feel like anything that’s not L’Artusi is a consolation prize. But don’t forget about I Sodi. This small, minimally-designed retaurant is always packed (but never too loud), there’s an entire negroni menu, and the super traditional food (cacio e pepe, brick chicken, lasagne) is excellent across the board. If L’Artusi is where you take that person you think you might want to marry, I Sodi is where you take the parents of that person you think you might want to marry.
We like The Loyal because it’s versatile. You can plan a special dinner here and have a big meal in the back dining room, or you can stop by with a friend and eat a burger in the bar area up front. The menu also has everything from roasted chicken and (actually good) steamed vegetables to duck fat-fried potatoes and several different pastas, so it’ll work for just about anyone. Whatever you get, finish with the DIY ice cream sundae.
Fedora is owned by the same people behind Jeffrey’s Grocery and Bar Sardine, and it’s a dark little space in the bottom of a townhouse that’s perfect for when you want to remember why you like the West Village so much. There are some tables along the wall, but we prefer sitting at the bar, and we always order the chicken.
The Beatrice Inn used to be a restaurant, then it became a nightclub, then it turned into a not-great restaurant - and now it’s a pretty good one. The food is on the heavier side, and there’s an emphasis on meat, like oxtail, venison, veal, and duck. Even the creme brulée comes in a hollow bone, and it’s actually very good. So come here when you want to eat something filling in a West Village townhouse. It isn’t cheap, but it’s a cool space, and it’s great spot to impress someone who enjoys eating animals.
There are a lot of places to grab a slice in NYC, but Joe’s is a classic. The pizza isn’t anything fancy, but it’s exactly what you think of when someone says “slice of pizza,” and it’s something you could imagine a teenage mutant ninja turtle eating. Go for a slice of cheese or pepperoni, and either eat it standing up or find an open bench in the park across the street.
Via Carota is pretty much always busy, and there are several reasons why. First, the Italian food is exceptional - especially the pasta. It’s also in an attractive space decorated like an Italian farmhouse, and it’s in the center of the West Village. Plus, they don’t take reservations, so everyone has an equal chance of getting in. Waits can stretch up to two hours, but just put your name in early and get a drink at one of the many bars within walking distance.
Quality Eats isn’t like other steakhouses. It’s well-designed and relatively casual, and they serve things like monkey bread and grilled bacon with peanut butter and jalapeno jelly. Also, all of the steaks cost less than $40, 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.
People will tell you to order the chicken at Barbuto, and this won’t be terrible advice. But we prefer the pastas, and if you ask nicely, they’ll make you some carbonara for dinner (it’s usually only available at brunch). We also suggest whatever gnocchi they’re currently serving, and you should know that this classic West Village Italian spot is even better in the summertime when they open all their big garage doors.
Faicco’s is the legendary Italian deli you’ve maybe never heard of. It’s been around since 1902 (and has been operated by the same family throughout its entire existence), and they make one of the best chicken cutlet sandwiches we’ve ever encountered. This thing is probably about half the size of The Rock’s forearm - so plan accordingly. Split it with a friend or be prepared to be catatonic for the rest of your day.
Have you ever found yourself wandering through the West Village thinking, “Isn’t there just something cool and casual I can pop into for some good carbohydrates, and maybe 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, and if we lived nearby, we’d be here every week. Come for some spaghetti with pesto, a pizza with prosciutto, and a simple piece of branzino.
The West Village has some of our favorite pizza in the city, and some of our favorite burgers, too. And if you want to eat both things in the same sitting, you should go to Emily. This place makes both thin, crispy pizzas, and thick, cheesy Detroit-style pies that are great if 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, and it needs to be on your table.
Corner Bistro does not make an elegant burger. It’s 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, it’s exactly what you want - and it’s the main reason you come to this slightly rundown (and very charming) West Village institution.
Sure, it’s a first date, but you’re also hungry and don’t want dinner to be a cauliflower flatbread and 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 all arrives quickly, which may come in handy if you really want to try that egg tortilla with truffle, but you’re not sure you can put up with another story about high school parties at the lake.
You used to fantasize about moving to the West Village and becoming a regular at a neighborhood restaurant that always had a lively crowd of people. Well, you probably didn’t end up moving to the West Village, but Joseph Leonard is that restaurant. It’s more expensive and louder and harder to get a table than you imagined, but this is real life. And despite those downsides, Joseph Leonard is still one of the more fun, casual places to eat in the neighborhood. It’s also underrated for a weekday breakfast.
You probably won’t want to bring your friend who only eats skinless chicken breasts to High Street On Hudson. But if you have a friend who’s going to get excited about housemade bread and exceptional breakfast sandwiches, this is a spot worth checking out. It has a pretty serious menu that changes frequently, but it’s also pretty casual, and it’s open all day. Try it for a breakfast meeting, a fancy sandwich at lunch, or a full-on dinner.
Bistro Pierre Lapin is a French restaurant with white tablecloths and floral wallpaper, and it’s in the quiet part of the West Village just below the nightmare that is Meatpacking. While on paper this place might not sound super exciting, that’s also kind of the point. It’s a calm neighborhood spot where you can bring your aunt and uncle and eat some foie gras and roast chicken.
How much you will love Takashi depends on how excited you are by the prospect of cooking pieces of beef stomach on a grill in front of you. If that sounds great, you’re going to love this Japanese BBQ place. And if you don’t particularly like beef stomach, there are a bunch of different cuts like short rib, ribeye, tongue, and skirt.
Jeffrey’s is a great spot to hang out any time of day, any day of the week, which is why we enjoy it so much. Stop by for a weekday lunch, a weekend brunch, or for oysters and cocktails on a Tuesday night. It’s a big open room lined with windows, and the menu is mostly seafood, with things like cod fritters, mussels, and salmon.
In general, West Village restaurants tend to be a little busier than they deserve, but at Rahi, the opposite is true. It’s not hard to make a reservation at this Indian spot, so it’s perfect when you need a last-minute place with great, interesting food. You can get things like prawn curry with uni butter, housemade paneer with guava compote, and a good plate of duck over a mildly sweet green curry - and whatever else you order, you should add a side of naan and start with the five-spice cauliflower.
Hudson Clearwater has two of the most coveted restaurant elements: a hidden entrance, and a very nice back patio. Once you find your way in (the main inside room is nice, too), you’ll find a solid menu of new American classics - steak, fish, burrata, oysters, etc.
This Chinese spot on 6th Avenue is a nice, bright place to eat nice, bright food. From the claypot dumplings that are basically mini omelettes swimming in the best chicken soup broth you’ve ever had, to the mung bean jelly and the sliced chicken in chili oil, this is the kind of stuff you tell all your coworkers about the next day at work.
Bar Sardine is a casual bar-type establishment from the owner of Jeffrey’s Grocery and Joseph Leonard that does interesting takes on regular bar food, all of which we like. The space is pretty tiny, so it can be tough to find a seat, but the burger alone is worth a wait.
We enjoy Extra Virgin for brunch, particularly if you get a spot on the outdoor seating platform. Raised just a few inches off the street, it’s the people-watching equivalent of sitting next to Spike Lee at a Knicks game. It’s solid for dinner, too, but that isn’t really why you come here.
The first time you walk into Boucherie, you might wonder why it’s so big. But don’t question it. You can generally always get a table, which is a magical thing for a West Village restaurant, and the French food is pretty good. Sure, it’s also pricey - but just try to bring someone who’ll pay for you. If you succeed in doing so, order a steak frites au poivre and have some chocolate-covered profiteroles for dessert.
Did you know there are actually reasonably priced BYOBs in downtown Manhattan that serve very good French food? Well, there’s one, and it’s called Tartine. Apparently, plenty of people do know this, because there’s usually a line out the door. Still, we love this place.