West Village Restaurants
28 7th Ave. S., West Village
Galen Zamarra became the Chef de Cuisine at Bouley Bakery at the tender age of 24, and all eyes have been on him and his restaurants ever since. Almanac, his hyper-seasonal spot in the West Village, offers a tasting menu and a la carte options, depending on your preference. The menu changes daily to accommodate the freshest product, and although there's definitely a bend toward the experimental, you can't really go wrong with any dish here. The private dining room is decorated with pine and stone, with tufted red leather banquettes, which is kind of the perfect décor for a food-focused holiday party.
110 Waverly Place, Greenwich Village
This is probably Mario Batali's best restaurant, serving up his perfectly executed, regional Italian dishes in a dressed-up, white tableclothed setting. Unlike many other upscale NYC restaurants, Babbo has a fun (and never stuffy) vibe. It's hard to get a table but we like to go to the bar for an incredible plate of pasta and a glass of wine. The private room is a great place to host a fancy lunch.
268 6th Ave., West Village
Bustling, no-frills, and speedy, the chalkboard of reliable specials (and menu classics) pleases all palettes: For one, they do a really good and simple Rigatoni Pitti. There’s seating inside and out, though in warmer months, you’ll want to grab a chair on the sidewalk patio.
775 Washington St., West Village
While crowds line up for the semi-al fresco dining in the summer, Barbuto is wonderful in the winter, too, when the garage doors close and the wood burning oven warms up the room. Their "Pollo al forno"—roasted chicken with salsa verde—is amazing, as Jonathan Waxman has perfected many arts, including serving perfectly light, rustic Italian.
73 Gansevoort St., Meatpacking District
There’s not much to confuse or offend on this un-intimidating, all-American menu. It’s based on comfort food, meaning you’ll find casual basics like great mashed potatoes, pancakes, and pies galore. The no-frills, laid-back atmosphere make both outposts equally kid-friendly, as do sweet offerings, like the homemade pie (they're most famous for key lime).
42 Grove St., West Village
Rooted in an appreciation for traditional French cuisine, Jody Williams's beloved neighborhood wine bar is a favorite for indulgent pastries and French toast at breakfast, and snack-size French Coq au Vin and the like at lunch and dinner. It's as good for a quick bite to eat as it is for a full meal, and the setting, with a tin ceiling, exposed bricks, and French-style cafe seating, is a perfect, romantic spot for a date or intimate dinner. Williams' food is so good, and the concept so well-received in the city, that she's taken it to Paris, where even the hard-to-please French have welcomed her style of French cooking.
529 ½ Hudson St., West Village
This Peking Duck-dedicated spot—tucked away in a converted laundromat beneath RedFarm—has the sort of exquisite Chinese food that you’d expect from Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng. While the Peking Duck was excellent (you have to reserve one in advance), we were most blown away by the uni noodle and octopus salad and the crab fried rice.
35 Downing St., West Village
Matt and Emily Hyland now have three pizza shops in New York–the original in Clinton Hill; Emmy Squared, their Williamsburg homage to square-cut, Detroit-style pizza; and now, a second version of Emily in the West Village. Here, they serve New York-style pizza (heavily influenced by Matt's upbringing in New York and with a little New Haven apizza thrown in) alongside their famous "Emmy burger," which hardly needs an introduction at this point. There will be lines, but it's so worth the wait.
EN Japanese Brasserie
435 Hudson St., West Village
EN Japanese Brasserie flies a bit under the radar, which is a great thing because it means that it's generally quiet and hushed. While the tall ceilings make the space feel much bigger than it actually is, the vibe is still warm and inviting. The traditional Japanese cuisine goes way beyond sushi (though the sashimi hardly disappoints) and offers great options for picky and adventurous eaters alike. There are two private rooms set up in traditional Japanese style without chairs; the intimate spaces only hold eight or nine people.
234 W. 4th St., West Village
Last month, restaurateur Gabriel Stulman (of Happy Cooking Hospitality) re-concepted his West Village Italian restaurant, Perla, into Fairfax, a Mediterranean restaurant with a straightforward menu and a great wine list. Part of the swap was changing out formal dining room tables for living room furniture and communal tables, making it super comfortable, but more of a drink-and-snacks place than a full dinner destination. If you come before 6:30, you can get a glass of wine and a plate for $20. It's also a great place to host a party.
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