The Christopher Street/Sheridan Square area has developed into one of the most popular neighborhoods in New York City. The West Village’s angular streets of historical brownstones are lined with trees and fashionable folks, as well as a thriving restaurant scene. If you’re in the market for charm and exceptional cuisine, then the West Village is perfect for you. Below are our 10 top restaurant recommendations. Also be sure to check out these LGBTQ-owned restaurants in New York.
Blue Hill, a renowned farm-to-table restaurant off Washington Square Park, is where haute cuisine meets earthbound flavor. Chef Dan Barber has been called a “dirt poet” for the wonders he can make from the fruit of his family farm in upstate New York. It’s bite after heavenly bite from the grass-fed veal to celery root risotto with squid and squid ink. You can have the set daily menu at dinner for $95 per person, or the select tasting menu, Farmer’s Feast, for $108. Blue Hill is not only one of the best restaurants in the neighborhood but in the whole city; we say book ahead ASAP! 75 Washington Pl., 212-539-1776, bluehillfarm.com
Chef Rita Sodi hails from Florence, Italy, a fact that becomes wildly apparent when you view the menu of Tuscan classics at her restaurant I Sodi. This popular Christopher Street eatery wows locals and visitors with its negronis and pastas, particularly the 26-layer meat lasagna with bechamel (a must-order). The chef earns high marks for her artichoke antipasto and cacio e pepe as well. I Sodi is tiny, so remember to book a table in advance. P.S. Sodi’s wife Jody Williams started Buvette, another stellar local restaurant listed below. 105 Christopher St., 212-414-5774, isodinyc.com
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If you’ve watched the extraordinary documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you might remember Chef Daisuke Nakazawa, who appeared in the film as an apprentice at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Nakazawa now has his own sushi bar in the West Village and has earned rave reviews for his transcendent omakase cuisine. Daily omakase menus are determined by the chef’s whims and the availability of fresh ingredients, which also dictates a hefty price tag for your experience.
Nakazawa offers a transcendent presentation of tuna, scallop, horse mackerel, sea urchin, and, of course, rice. You’ll even get a sight of live tiger shrimp before they’re prepared for the meal. A seat at this 10-person open sushi bar is hard to come by, so plan ahead. 23 Commerce St. 212-924-2212, sushinakazawa.com
Little Owl is indeed little at just ten tables. But book ahead at this Mediterranean treasure, and you’ll be treated to unfussy seasonal dishes made with local ingredients, courtesy of owner/chef Joey Campanaro. No matter the season, though, you’ll always find the pork chop on the menu with parmesan, fennel, and wild dandelion, as well as the gravy meatball sliders on tiny garlic rolls. Two floor-to-ceiling windows let in the light during brunch and allow diners to view this quaint corner of Bedford Street over bowl of wedding soup or a glass of Spanish red. 90 Bedford St., 212-741-4695, thelittleowlnyc.com
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Minetta Tavern gets old-New-York elegance just right at its revived iteration on MacDougal Street, with a tin ceiling and black-and-white framed portraits hanging on dark-wood paneled walls. This buzzy steakhouse is always crowded, and regulars know it’s the protein that makes the restaurant a reliable (if expensive) win. From the porterhouse to the famous Black Label Burger, the meat is tender and expertly seasoned, a worthy competitor against the many fine steakhouses in the city. Do yourself and your dining partner a favor, and order the dry-aged cote de boeuf, made for two people, with roasted marrow bones on the side. The French fries are always excellent too. You may have more success getting a table at brunch than dinner, but Minetta promises a fantastic meal any time of day. 113 MacDougal St., 212-475-3850, minettatavernny.com
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In a neighborhood packed to the gills with Italian restaurants, we had to select the universally beloved Extra Virgin. Like many places on this list, Extra Virgin is a stylish, see-and-be-seen kind of restaurant, but the food consistently delivers and won’t break the bank. The pan-Mediterranean menu doesn’t change much, but it doesn’t need to with a lineup reliable, flavorful options like pan-roasted branzino and lobster ravioli. Eat outside on the patio if you can! 259 W 4th St., 212-691-9359, extravirginrestaurant.com
Buvette is everything a French bistro should be. Walk into its teeny Grove Street dining room, and you’ll be greeted by a resplendent bar in front and a French farmhouse feel farther back. The brief menu, available from breakfast to dinner, comes as a tiny brochure on fine paper, often with a pop-out graphic in the center. Whether you’re nibbling on house salt cod with olive oil, cream, and garlic at dinner or a Belgian waffle at brunch, this French food is far from stuffy and always served by a pro wait staff. Chef Jody Williams keeps an eye on local cheeses, meats, and produce to source for her dishes, and the wine list is on-point too. There are no reservations at Buvette, which thankfully stays open all day in case you’d like an afternoon coffee or glass of wine. 42 Grove St., 212-255-3590, ilovebuvette.com
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The Beatrice Inn
Another chophouse, The Beatrice Inn has staked its claim in serving exceptional animal proteins far and wide. From the Russian sturgeon caviar to the chicken liver pate to the Muscadet vine-smoked rabbit, it seems there’s no animal chef Angie Mar doesn’t like. The IPA-battered dates with smoked wild boar catch our eye right away, while the roast duck flambe for two is a gamble meant for 2-4 guests, but completely worth it. This is a four-dollar-sign restaurant housed in an elegant, low ceilinged space on West 12th Street that was formerly a nightclub. Bring a carnivorous date, and enjoy! 285 W 12th St., 212-675-2808, thebeatriceinn.com
Hao Noodle and Tea by Madam Zhu’s Kitchen
Yes, it’s a long name, but you’ll be glad you remembered it after the Pride march, hungry and in the mood for something other than Italian. Hao Noodle, a Chinese restaurant on 6th Avenue, is recommended for something a little different than your standard kung pao chicken or Mongolian beef. Here you’ll find a wonderful spicy fish stew in green broth, crispy shrimp saute, and soft pork buns. There are, of course, excellent noodle dishes and tea as well. Hao Noodle is a bit more relaxed—and less expensive—than other picks here, with a wide-open dining room decked with a sculptural twinkling light fixture hanging in the center of the room. They’ve also opened a new Chelsea location on 14th Street. 401 6th Ave., 212-633-8900, haonoodle.com
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Two words: tableside guacamole. That’s your first priority at Tio Pepe, a casual Spanish place on West 4th Street serving tapas for dinner and brunch. You and your table can share favorite tapas like mussels with garlic and white wine sauce, quesadillas, and fried calamari with chipotle aioli. Mains like their three paella flavors and the pollo al ajillo are filling and flavorful. At brunch, be sure to order sangria—that’s a given—and the coca, a Spanish flatbread with caramelized onions, goat cheese, bacon, and eggs. Larger than most of the other restaurants listed here, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a table. There’s also a skylit garden patio out back too for an atmospheric summer meal. 164 W 4th St., 212-242-6480, tiopepenyc.com
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Last modified: February 3, 2020