Best West Village Restaurants To Dig Into

The West Village is what I thought was the “coolest” neighborhood in New York when I moved here seven and half years ago as a fresh college grad at age 22. I lived right on 8th Street and 6th Ave and saw Cameron Diaz strolling around with a Starbucks cup in her hand chatting with a girlfriend. There weren’t many chains, and only the quaintest and best restaurants. Below, you’ll find a top list of 30 of my favorite restaurants for any occasion whether you’re looking for the most impressive place (Carbone) or the most casual, healthy to-go spot that the most people fly by without even looking back (Eva’s).

  1. OUTDOOR SEATING: Barbuto. This restaurant can fit a lot of categories on here, but that memorable garage door opening onto the patio is a classic. The JW chicken is the famous dish here as well as the kale salad. I love their pizza available at lunch or brunch. It’s not very Italian and has a little doughy yet thicker texture that is dreamy.IMG_5913 copy
  2. PASTA: L’Artusi. You seriously can’t find a better restaurant than L’Artusi. All of the pastas are outrageous and the desserts end the meal on a high note. If you have a big group and can snag a reservation early enough, try to sit in the cozy wine room upstairs. It’s also fun to sit at the bar reserved for walk-ins.
  3. PANCAKES: Extra Virgin. The fact that you can order a pancake as a “Side” here and the fact that it’s the quintessential hot cake, makes me love this neighborhood spot.
  4. BRUNCH: Joseph Leonard. This quaint nook has the best egg sandwich in town: served on a buttery croissant with manchego and sriracha brussels sprouts on the side. All the necessary food groups!
  5. CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE: Dominique Ansel Kitchen. This pastry chef might be famous for his Cronut, Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot, and Frozen S’mores, but everyone needs to talk about his Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are just a bit thicker than a traditional homade cookie, have a few different kinds of chocolate, and each bite melts in your mouth. This is my favorite thing here, obviously.
  6. FRENCH: Buvette. Never have I felt more like I was in Paris than at this tiny restaurant with a brilliant and well executed menu.
  7. PARENTS: Via Carota. This is the same partner as Buvette, but with the larger restaurant it feels a bit of a step up. It’s Italian and also full of fresh vegetable dishes. IMG_9246 copy
  8. CASUAL: Ellary’s Green. Needs a piece of salmon and a side salad? Here you go.
  9. ALL DAY BREAKFAST: Bluestone Lane. This Australian cafe and coffee joint serves eggs all day. I love the Green Baked Eggs with Chimichurri and a side of smoked salmon.
  10. BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH: Philip Marie. This might be in the bottomless mimosa category because I know this is always something brunchers look for, but it should really be in the “best waffle fries” in New York category. I mean WHERE else can you find them not at a bar?
  11. FRENCH TOAST: Jane. When “creme brûlée” French Toast is an actual thing on a menu, of course, it’s going to be the best you’ve ever had. Served on thick brioche bread, the center is almost a pudding texture but not that liquidy and the outside is crunchy yet soft. It’s an incredible plate.
  12. BEST ROAST CHICKEN: Market Table. I really like everything about this corner restaurnat with gorgeous windows. No one ever talks about the roast chicken, and it’s a keeper.
  13. LOBSTER ROLL: Mermaid Oyster Bar. If you’re going to name your restaurant after the most gorgeous sea creature, then it makes sense that you’d have the best oysters and lobster roll. This is also a great place to take out of towners and to go as a local.
  14. BURGER: Minetta Tavern. People have been raving about Keith McNally’s burger as soon as they could step food inside this dark restaurant. It’s the BLB that wins everyone’s hearts, but I’m a bigger and better fan of the Minetta Burger which comes with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese. There! I said it.
  15. PARTY SITUATION: Tortilla Flats. Streamers, an ideal music playlist, beer chugging and hula hoop contests (not together). This is the story here, and the Tex-Mex queso and quesadilla situation make my little Texas heart happy. The Short Stack with blue corn tortillas, chicken, beans, and veggies is the best dish here.
  16. BEST SCENE: The Waverly Inn. When you are paying over $60 for truffle mac ‘n cheese, the scene better be kick-ass. Celebs of all kinds flock here, the red leather booths are sexy, and thank goodness the food tastes awesome.
  17. PRIVATE ROOM: Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen. There’s a little private wine room in the bottom of this restaurant. You’d only see if if you were headed to the bathroom. Snag it for your next party!
  18. MOST LAVISH: Carbone. A $50 Veal Parmesan from Carbone is the only veal parmesan I’ll ever be able to eat the rest of my life. It’s absolutely the best in the game, and the old-school, knowledgeable staff makes this experience feel authentic and very New York at the same time.
  19. BYOB: Tartine.  Salads and spicy chicken with guacamole and fries.
  20. UNDER THE RADAREva’s Kitchen. Why would anyone go in here. You only see cops and body builders here, but behind all the bottles of vitamins and muscle milk, is an awesome grill with some of the best hummus in the city.
  21. BEST OVERALL RESTAURANT: Quality Eats. Steaks under $30, heathy appetizers, my favorite Spanish octopus with lentils, and adorable personal sized ice cream sundaes earns Quality Eats the #1 spot in my book in the West Village. I also love their lunch.
  22. BEST DATE SPOT: The Spotted Pig. Sexy nooks, tons of weird decorations, Jay-Z’s favorite, so it’s our favorite.
  23. CHINESE: Red Farm. A more upscale Chinese restaurant with soup dumplings, noodles, traditional beef and chicken dishes.
  24. BEST KEPT SECRET: Palma. This indoor sanctuary of a resturant has fantastic lighting and makes you feel like you are indeed actually eating in an outdoor garden.IMG_3667 copy
  25. CUBAN: Havana Alma de Cuba. This was the first Cuban restaurant I ate at when I moved to New York. Any chicken dish with black beans and you are all set.
  26. HEALTHY: Cafe Clover. Large portions, light dishes, great seafood options, makes it impossible to feel overly full here.IMG_8172 copy
  27. FOR SINGLES TO MINGLE: The Happiest Hour. With the bar in the center of the restaurant, it’s guaranteed you’ll strike up some fun conversations with strangers here.
  28. VEGETARIAN/VEGAN: By CHLOE. If you were in a sorority, as soon as you step foot inside here, memories will flood. Girls crowd this spot, the branding is cute and perfect, and the taco salad is sweet and filling.
  29. BIG GROUPS: Otto Enoteca Pizzeria. Mario Batali’s most affordable spot serves up plates of red sauce pasta, salads, pizzas, cheeses, gelato and always has room for big tables.
  30. BAKERY: Pasticerria Rocco. The giant M&M cookies in the window give away enough of a need to walk into the place. While they are known for their made to order cannoli’s, do not miss the Snicker’s Pie!