Diving into the best places to eat in the West Village is one of the greatest ways to enjoy a trip to New York City. NYC has so many restaurants that it would be impossible to try them all, even if you ate at three different restaurants a day for the rest of your life. For a visitor to the Big Apple, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to eat for dinner.
One of the best neighborhoods in New York for finding somewhere to eat is the West Village in Downtown Manhattan. The real estate in this neighborhood is pricey, and many celebrities have homes here.
However, New York University is also in the area, so there are plenty of amazing casual restaurants that cater to college students with lighter wallets. No matter what your budget is, you will surely find somewhere to enjoy on this list of the best places to eat in the West Village.
There are few things that New Yorkers take as seriously as they take reviewing “slice shops”. In the West Village, the two favorite choices for a slice of cheese pizza tend to be Joe’s or Bleecker Street Pizza, both of which attract many customers at all hours. The slice should be piping hot out of the oven, and you need to fold it in half while eating it, like real New Yorkers do.
If you’d rather sit down to a whole pizza, the classic John’s of Bleecker is the best choice in the neighborhood. And if you’d rather experience Neapolitan-style pizza like they serve in Naples, stop at Song’E Napule, which is always popular, especially for outdoor dining when the weather is great.
This Italian café is a must-visit spot when you check out the West Village. It has actually been around since the 1920s, and it’s the place that introduced Italian cappuccino to the United States. (You can see that historic cappuccino machine, which is still in the café.)
The café itself has been part of many films, from the Godfather series to Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Brothers. Even if you don’t get one of their yummy pastries, it’s worth stopping by just to experience a truly historic cappuccino.
It might not be much of a surprise to learn that there are many excellent pizza places in the West Village. But not everyone knows that you can also get amazing ice cream in this area. One of the best places for those with an adventurous palate is Morgenstern’s, which serves every kind of flavor from plain chocolate to pickles and mayo. (It’s delicious.)
Vegans or other non-dairy ice cream fans will love Van Leeuwen, which always has tasty vegan and non-vegan treats. And don’t miss Cones, which specializes in Argentinian ice cream. If you like dulce de leche, this is the spot for you!
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En Japanese Brasserie
This glamorous restaurant was started by a woman who wanted people to experience Japanese cuisine beyond just sushi. They make their own tofu, which will probably be the most flavorful tofu you will ever eat.
They also serve deliciously cooked fish dishes like miso cod or salmon en papillote, and they even serve incredible fried chicken. On top of that, they have a spectacular Japanese whiskey and sake collection. If you’re looking for a splurge, you can try their multi-course tasting menu, which is much like what you’d find in a fine dining restaurant in Kyoto.
Bus Stop Cafe
The West Village used to be full of adorable diners, but there aren’t as many as there used to be, and the food isn’t always spectacular at the ones that do exist. However, if you do want a delicious diner breakfast, stop at the Bus Stop Cafe. They can cook your eggs any way you like them and serve them up with the perfect breakfast sides.
They also serve diner classics like burgers and omelets all day, so you can enjoy this cute spot any time. Just make sure not to miss their soothing corned beef hash if it’s on the menu. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry because they have plenty of great options.
Spicy Moon has something for everyone. If you like spicy Szechuan cuisine, you’ll love their Dan Dan Noodles and Kung Pao style. This restaurant is vegan, so these dishes will be made with tofu and meat substitutes, but even the biggest carnivores won’t miss the meat because the flavors are so strong and delicious. Just tuck into some dumplings and scallion pancakes and enjoy.
They have two locations, and the one in the West Village is usually crowded, so either be prepared to wait, or order takeout and enjoy a picnic in nearby Washington Square Park.
Balkan StrEAT is one of the newest fast-casual restaurants in the West Village. What makes this place unique is that it serves specialties from the Balkans, such as shopska salad, the case-less sausages called cevapi, or hand pies called burek which are made out of phyllo dough. You can get the burek filled with anything from cheese and spinach to ground lamb and beef.
Expats from Balkan countries like to come here to get a taste of home. It used to be much harder to get Balkan food in the West Village, but now fans of Serbian and Albanian cuisine have a great and affordable option.
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One thing that sometimes confuses visitors to New York City is the question of what to do for brunch. It seems ridiculous to line up for hours just to eat some of Benedict’s eggs. That’s because it is ridiculous!
Instead, just make a reservation for jazz brunch at North Square, which is right off of Washington Square Park. You’ll get a delicious brunch, wonderful music, and you won’t have to wait on a long line. Everyone wins! All of their brunch specials are good, but their pumpkin pecan pancakes with a side of chicken and apple sausage are probably their most famous dish.
Loring Place is one of those restaurants that still seems cool and happening even though it has been open for years. Their specialties are their creative vegetable small plate dishes, whole wheat pizzas, and a very fancy cheeseburger. Save room for dessert because their ice cream sundae, topped with pretzels, toffee and other treats, is not to be missed.
Claudette is a French Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that will introduce you to all the wonderful flavors you can find in this region. There’s a classic French steak frites, but there are also delicious Moroccan tagines. You can get a bouillabaisse like you would find in Marseille as well as refreshing gazpacho and a rich ratatouille.
If you like cocktails, get a seat at the bar and indulge in one of their citrusy concoctions.
Tea and Sympathy
There’s a small corner of the West Village known as Little Britain, in large part because of this adorable British restaurant, which has been around for decades. They are famous for their afternoon teas. The tea comes with your choice of sandwiches, which can be vegetarian or not, scones with clotted cream and jam, and assorted cakes.
However, they also serve British classics like beans on toast and Welsh rarebit for your enjoyment. Be sure to order a pot of tea, no matter what else you get. They have a billion flavors, and the tea will come in one of their many fabulous teapots in all sorts of shapes, from animals to English country houses.
Da Toscano is the place to try if you are interested in Italian food that isn’t just the same old spaghetti Bolognese. They have creative pasta dishes like pappardelle with duck ragu or squid ink spaghetti. However, don’t pass up the chance to try one of their meat or fish dishes, like the garlic butter stuffed chicken. And save room for dessert, especially the olive oil cake.
These omakase sushi counters have become a very popular trend in the West Village in recent years. They offer top quality sushi at reasonable prices because there are no extra frills. You come in, get served about 11-17 pieces of flawless fish in the space of 60-90 minutes, and then leave.
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Some of these counters are BYOB, while others offer beer and sake for purchase. If you love all kinds of sushi from Kumamoto oysters to sea bream to uni, you will adore this unique experience. The best omakase counters in the West Village are Shiki, Genki, and Omakase Room by Maaser.
If you are looking for a fine dining, special occasion restaurant in the West Village, this is definitely the place to go. It isn’t cheap, but the price is quite reasonable for a seven-course, gourmet-tasting menu.
The first course will generally be several amuse-bouches, followed by three smaller fish courses, a main meat course, a fruit dessert, and a chocolate dessert. Stop by, and you’ll see why this restaurant is recommended by the prestigious Michelin Guide.
These are just a few of the amazing places to eat that you can find in the West Village, and there are so many other wonderful spots to discover. Head out on your West Village culinary adventure today to find them for yourself! You can also explore some great Greenwich Village tours to find even more places to eat in the West Village.
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