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Jeffrey's Grocery
Photography: Henry HargreavesJeffrey's Grocery

The 20 best restaurants in the West Village to try right now

Our West Village restaurant guide includes hidden gems and buzzy hot spots

Written by
Rachel Pelz
&
Bao Ong
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The bohemian roots of the West Village have long since branched into one of the buzziest, busiest Manhattan neighborhoods. The dining scene, though, maintains many of the nabe’s intimate charms—lean over a small table while dining outdoors or dish about last night’s date at a weekend brunch with friends. Currently, indoor dining requires proof of vaccination, so be sure to bring your vaccine card or download a vaccine passport app. Whether you’re stumbling out of a bar to grab some cheap eats or nabbing a reservation at one of the best Manhattan restaurants, the West Village restaurant scene has it all. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best West Village restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

The soulful Italian plates served at Via Carota, the first joint effort from chef power couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi—at once rustic, sophisticated and heart-swelling—proves simple food can be anything but basic. The glass-fronted Grove Street gastroteca (named after the Tuscan thoroughfare where Sodi once lived) is a chestnut’s throw from West Village charmers Buvette and I Sodi, where, respectively, Williams and Sodi took the reins as downtown’s doyennes of comfort food done excellently.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

Over the past decade, Jody Williams has established a serious food-industry following. At the tiny, Gallic-themed Buvette, she's got just enough space to feed a neighborhood following. Her self-consciously retro cooking is a showcase not of the chef's creativity but of her very good taste. Buvette is the sort of place where you pop in for a glass of wine and a snack and three hours later realize you've stayed for dinner.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

At some restaurants, bread is an afterthought—baskets of chalky, uninspired dinner rolls shuffled out with chilled, foil-wrapped butter. This is not that restaurant, and it’s certainly not that bread. At High Street on Hudson, the day-to-night West Village sibling to chef Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin’s lauded Philadelphia restaurant, High Street on Market, head baker Melissa Weller bakes astonishing loaves of bread and pastries. Here, it is the meal.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • West Village
King feels a bit like London's River Café—a landmark restaurant known for its seasonal Italian fare—in front and back of the house. In the kitchen, River Café alums and chefs Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt focus on cooking that's not overly precious: a vegetable-heavy menu complements the meat and fish courses; you'd be just as happy with a salad as you with the baked fish (the carta di musica, a crackly flatbread, is also irresistible). The simply-designed space is filled with natural light during the day, and at dinner, the ambiance is sophisticated yet relaxed. The menu changes almost every day and that's just one reason to come back again and again.
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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

From the folks who brought us American Bar, Saint Theo’s features a coastal Italian menu inspired by Venice. Even the drinks highlight the best of Italy—Calabrian chilis, artichoke liqueur, and Galliano all make an appearance on the menu. Pair a specialty cocktail with one of the house-made pastas for a night out that almost feels like a vacation. And dress to impress! Judging by the number of celebs spotted at American Bar, don’t be surprised if you see somebody famous.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • West Village
  • price 3 of 4

Last we saw Daisuke Nakazawa, he was toiling over egg custard as the modest apprentice in the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, humbled by the rigors of an 11-year stint under the world’s most distinguished sushi chef, Jiro Ono. The pupil is now the teacher at this sleek West Village sushi bar. For his daily changing omakase, Nakazawa swiftly sets each of the 20 or so perfect pieces on your plate in succession.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pan-African
  • West Village

This grab-and-go counter is a West Village mainstay, serving up pan-African food that’s best eaten standing on the street while swapping bites with friends. Order a handful of empanadas, a plate of djolof rice and Nigerian suya skewers dusted with spice, then make sure you get to try a bite of everything. You’re welcome to take a seat in the small space inside, but this transporting meal is made for traveling.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

Matt and Emily Hyland hit it out of the park when they opened their thin-crust, wood-fired pizza spot, Emily, in Clinton Hill in 2014. Three years later, they opened their first Manhattan location, taking over the former Blue Ribbon Bakery space in the West Village. Here, the Detroit-style grandma pies, as well as New York and New Haven styles are fired in a century-old wood-burning oven.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

RedFarm is indeed groundbreaking: an interpretive Chinese kitchen whose high-end ingredients and whimsical plating have helped pack the dining room since opening night. The restaurant is an Ed Schoenfeld joint, building on the work he began with head chef Joe Ng over at Chinatown Brasserie. Buzzy RedFarm feels like a return to those boom times, a stab at bringing some of that old energy back.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

This hidden Italian-food gem is overseen by former fashion executive Rita Sodi. The toque’s homey menu favors simple dishes like a delicious lemony artichoke salad with shaved Parmigiano or the popular cacio e pepe. Be prepared for a long wait but once you're in, it's worth it.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

This sequel to the popular dell’anima strives to deliver more than its precursor, with buttoned-up Ralph Lauren–inspired decor and pristinely presented small plates like beef carpaccio. The upscale trattoria's larger dishes offer a homey quality, including a comforting bowl of garganellis pasta with mushroom ragu. Sip from the pages-long wine list or snag a bottle of the fan-favorite house wine, which puts all other table reds to shame.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Greenwich Village

Yuco offers multiple ways to explore the flavors of the Yucatán. Order Wagyu and octopus tacos a la carte, choose the prix fixe menu or go all-out with the tasting menu, which features squash blossoms, lobster, and oxtail mole with rare chilis sourced from the Yucatán peninsula. The wine list is good, but don’t miss the Mexican corn whisky and beef fat washed rum on the surprising cocktail menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Austrian
  • West Village
  • price 4 of 4

Kurt Gutenbrunner still delivers his best Austrian fare at this airy West Village corner perch that feels like a neighborhood hangout despite walls filled with Julian Schnabels. His seasonally influenced menu hasn’t evolved drastically, rotating between haute takes on Austrian standbys—soft lemony spaetzle mashed up with corn, morels and rabbit; Wiener schnitzel with an eggy shell that peels off like a bread blanket; apple-walnut strudel; and more unusual fare, including a salmon strudel. The wine list stands out for the city’s best selection of the pride of Vienna’s vineyards: Grüner-Veltliner.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village

Three Owls Market joins the growing number of all-day cafes in New York. Fans of Fairfax, Dimes, Gertie, Golda, Hunky Dory and Ole & Steen will rejoice at the concept inspired by New York delis and European markets. For breakfast, which is served all day, you can snack on chia seed pudding, overnight oats or a daily rotation of pastries. At dinnertime, the 24-seat space also functions as a bar, so you can sip a glass of natural wine (or a White Claw from the beer fridge) after work.

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Perry St.
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village
  • price 4 of 4

Jean-Georges Vongerichten has brought his trademark virtuosity to one of Richard Meier’s gleaming glass towers on the edge of the Village. The sleek, minimalist space fronting Hudson River Park is cast in luminous whites and neutral tones that focus attention where it belongs: on the food. The menu, overseen by Jean-Georges's son Cédric, features playful and innovative variations on seasonal favorites.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

On the ground floor are tatami-style rooms; on the mezzanine are re-creations of a living room, dining room and library of a Japanese home from the Meiji Era. But the main dining room is where the action is: Diners sit at tables around a small pond under high ceilings. The menu changes frequently with seasonal specials. Try the sake and shochu flights (or wonderful original cocktails) to get your buzz on.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

This convivial, New England–style joint was a forerunner of the city’s fish-shack trend. The outstanding lobster roll—sweet, lemony meat laced with mayonnaise on a butter-enriched bun—is Pearl’s raison d’être, but more sophisticated dishes fare equally well: A bouillabaisse features briny lobster broth packed with mussels, cod, scallops and clams, with an aioli-smothered crouton balanced on top.

Kesté Pizza & Vino
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

It’s getting hot in New York’s Neapolitan pizza scene, and not just because of the blazing hearths: The man behind Kesté, Roberto Caporuscio, carries a big name. President of the U.S. branch of the Association of Neapolitan Pizza Makers, Caporuscio introduces New Yorkers to his pie expertise in an intimate, 46-seat space, with pizzas that range from the classics to original creations.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

Joseph Leonard owner Gabriel Stulman sowed the seeds of a burgeoning West Village mini empire with this grocery store and casual eatery. The homey corner space has wooden floors, exposed brick, and distressed-wood shelves. Stock up on farm-raised meats, house charcuterie and domestic cheeses, or eat in at their indoor or outdoor dining options.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

This casual Italian restaurant packs a cult following of neighborhood locals (including the occasional celebrity) The spacious dining room with a high ceiling spanning to the rooftop garden echoes with conversations, making for a lively atmosphere. Don't miss the gorgeous Italian fare including a line of handmade pastas that will have you making repeat visits.

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