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Top 7 Best Restaurants In West Village, NYC For 2024 – And 1 To Avoid

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4 months ago

No city loves a trend quite like New York City; so, in New York’s ever-changing gastronomic scene, there’s a new player that everyone is suddenly talking about every week. That means that you have to have your ear to the ground to keep up.

We’ve gone ahead and put together this list of restaurants that locals in the West Village love (and one to avoid) so you can experience the best of West Village. We’ve also provided the essential tips you need to get a table (because getting a reservation in New York City is too often a challenge).

A word on our price points: we base average prices on a scale of $ = US$20, and we do it per person. In our reviews of restaurants in the United States, we factor in a standard 20% tip.

7. Carriage House ($$$)

Carriage House bills itself as a New American restaurant, which we’ve come to understand means they can do basically whatever they want to do.

The bar is really nice to sit at on a colder evening because of the cosy vibe and personal service. Absolutely the best part of the meal is the the bread that you’ll be served with a side of butter. I hear you asking, if bread is the best part of the meal, how is this a good restaurant?

Carriage House doesn’t just serve butter. Their butter has a candlestick lodged right in the center to keep it warm and perfectly spreadable. It’s beautiful to behold.

Recommendations

It might seem basic, but the scallop paccheri neri was absolutely excellent, and so were the shaved brussels (they put sweet chilli and feta – what a joy!) I also would make sure to leave room for their salted caramel tres leches.

6. Palma ($$$)

I really love dining at Palma in West Village. They know how to make sure you have an outstanding meal and experience every time. And you get to sit in a beautiful room with exposed brick, mirrors and a textured wall.

There is also a beautiful courtyard if you prefer to eat outside. The roof is closed during winter which makes it even more romantic.

Recommendations

This is the best gluten-free pasta that you can get in New York City right now. I’ve been with a friend who is gluten intolerant, and this is by far her favorite choice in the city.

5. Left Bank ($$)

Left Bank really shines for brunch on a Saturday. The whole restaurant is abuzz and it feels quintessentially New York. They’ve been around for over ten years now so it seems like they come in and out of trend, but farm to table concepts like Left Bank are always good for fresh, tasty meals.

This also might be one of the few places in West Village that you can walk into and get a table. Not always (and you should book ahead), but if you’re looking for somewhere last minute in West Village, Left Bank could be your savior.

For our vegetarians and vegans out there, Left Bank has a special vegetarian/vegan menu. You just have to ask for it.

Recommendations

This might appear to be a little basic, but the rotisserie chicken baguette au jus is anything but basic. In fact, Left Bank nailed its rotisserie chicken so well that they opened a takeout and delivery restaurant just for their rotisserie chicken. For dessert, it’s the maple syrup pie, hands down.

4. Oscar’s Place ($$)

This one didn’t make the list just because it’s a British restaurant (it’s Belgian, too!) – their croque tuna melt is an absolute dream of a combination croque monsieur and a tuna melt. I don’t know if I’m willing to say that all of their other dishes stand up to a British restaurant in Britain itself, but the croque tuna melt is certainly an exciting dish.

Oscar’s Place is often regarded by West Village locals as West Village’s best-kept secret. The atmosphere is very cosy and the service is fantastic (which is not what you’d expect from a British restaurant generally).

Recommendations

Anyone who knows me knows that bread and butter pudding is one of my top three most-loved desserts. It’s versatile and always deeply satisfying. Oscar’s does a delightful bread pudding with banana which is a unique addition to a bread pudding.

If you sit in the café outside, you’ll have a direct view of St Luke’s Garden. It makes you feel like you’re in Europe for a moment in time.

3. Via Carota ($$$)

The reason why Via Carota shot to fame instantly is because it was started by the chefs behind Buvette and I SODI, two New York institutions (Buvette is so popular that they even opened a location in West London’s Notting Hill).

Take a few friends with you because Via Carota is best for sharing. They pride themselves on innovation so make sure you ask for the specials when they give you the normal menu.

The waiter will tell you their specials (usually it’s at least three) and they change on a weekly basis. They once had a ricotta and lemon tortellini which was so fresh and felt so light (definitely get that if it comes on the specials again!)

Booking tips

Via Carota doesn’t take reservations so if you want to get a table, you’ll need to know these things.

If you want to go for lunch, don’t get there any later than about 11:45 am. They’ll either seat you straightaway or within about half an hour. Come any later and you could be on the waitlist for over an hour at the minimum.

If you want to go for dinner, I would suggest that you go put your name on the waitlist at least an hour and a half before the time you wish to dine.

Recommendations

One of their staples is the carrots with spiced yoghurt and pistachios (named ‘carote’ on the menu) which most people wouldn’t consider given the other options on the menu but it is really a dish that they’ve perfected.

2. Emily ($$)

Your friends have almost certainly spoken about Emily. The first and second locations were in Brooklyn, and because it’s reached institution status among Brooklynites, it was only a matter of time before they opened this location in West Village.

It is indeed their Detroit-style pizza (square pizza which is just so much better than the normal, round pizza we’re used to) which established Emily’s name in the restaurant scene, but in my opinion it’s the burger on the pretzel bun that really does it. There’s something about the salty sweetness of the pretzel bun with the incredibly generous beef patty which does it for me.

Recommendations

Emily’s menu is very extensive (honestly, there are a few too many options which can be difficult) with everything from pasta balls to anchovies, to beef tartare. I suggest sticking to what Emily does best: pizzas and burgers, with the one caveat that the stuffed zucchini flowers are a must.

Zucchini flowers are usually stuff with ricotta but Emily stuffs them with fresh mozzarella cheese which makes them just that bit more delicious.

Emily’s menu is packed with vegetarian and vegan options, and they were very happy to make any dish on their menu vegan (though I suspect that doesn’t apply to, for example, their salami plates).

1. Nami Nori ($$$)

Nami Nori is a gift to all those who visit West Village. It’s the creation of three ex-Masa chefs, and it really feels like they’ve taken the best of Masa’s sophistication and combined it with a cool casualness to create a modern Japanese eatery.

The sophistication is in each bite: you won’t be given soy sauce or wasabi when you order their signature temaki rolls; instead, the chefs have seasoned each roll for you so you get the right flavour profile in every bite. The cool casualness is in the beach theme (where else can you find a Japanese, beach-themed seafood restaurant with acclaimed chefs at the helm).

Recommendations

If you’re like me and love crab, get the spicy crab dynamite – and I’ll tell you why: the chefs coat the nori with puffed grains of rice, so there’s a crunch with every bite and it’s just a wonderful experience for the tongue.

Nami Nori is ideal for gluten-free dining as well.

I had just had an horchata cookie from Chip City before I went to Nami Nori so I didn’t have the stomach real estate to try the “mochurros” for dessert but I have on good authority that it’s worth the extra calorie spend. Think the satisfying chewiness of mochi with the indulgence of a churro, with a side of lemon curd to dip.

And the one to avoid

I am very aware that there are die-hard fans of this West Village breezy Italian restaurant. In my opinion, it’s better for people watching than it is for food. It certainly wasn’t a bad meal, but I don’t think I’d be rushing back. We thought the grilled polenta and fresh branzino were fairly basic (though they did at least debone the branzino which is excellent).

Malaparte ($$) is open until at least 11:30 pm each night and is always buzzing irrespective of the night of the week so you’ll get a fun atmosphere at the very least. If you do want to go, know that Malaparte only accepts reservations for four or more guests, so you might have to wait if you’re just two or three. It’s usually not so long a wait, though, because they keep seats available at their marble bar.


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