Best Restaurants in the West Village

April 17, 2018
by Zagat Staff

There are a lot of restaurants to choose from in the West Village - here are the ones where you should be spending your time.

Cafe Cluny
French · West Village · $$$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

A "wonderful vibe" has evolved at this "quaint" West Village bistro, a bona fide "nabe fave" thanks to "appetizing" Franco-American cooking served in a "bright" space; since the weekend brunch can be a "free-for-all" , regulars say "arrive early."
Joseph Leonard
American · West Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

"Original" , "deeply satisfying" takes on New American standards draw "super-cool" folks to Gabe Stulman's West Village "neighborhood joint" that ups the ante with open-all-day hours; the "hiply rustic" , "lumberjacky" setting is so "tiny" that "crowded" conditions and long "waits" are a given.
Hudson Clearwater
Breakfast · West Village · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

Set in a "quasi-hidden" West Village space, this "buzzy" New American "date spot" delivers "inventive" plates to a "trendy" clientele; a "lovely" back patio comes in handy when the "cozy" confines get "a little cramped" – and is another reason it’s a real "find."
Malatesta Trattoria
Italian · West Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

"Wonderful" trattoria staples at "reasonable" , cash-only rates make this "friendly" , "popular" way West Village Northern Italian well "worth" the "waits" at prime times; the "simple" interior gets "crowded and noisy" , but in the summertime, "sidewalk dining" offers a bit more elbow room.
Italian · West Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.9

"High quality" and "low frills" mark this West Village sibling to Malatesta, where the "delizioso" Italian "country cuisine" (read pizza and pasta) draws a "hopping" crowd; seating is ultra- "cozy" , but "the prices are right."
Sushi Katsuei - West Village
Japanese · West Village · $$$

This West Village spin-off of a Park Slope favorite serves both à la carte and omakase sushi, plus appetizers and sake, in a crisp space with a 10-seat bar as well as two-tops. Done in light woods, it has a few dashes of color for a subtle, modern touch.
Waverly Inn
American · West Village · $$$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.0

Maybe the "celebrity buzz has slowed" , but Graydon Carter's "clubby" West Villager still offers "high-end" spins on American "home cooking" favorites in "charming" confines (adorned with droll Edward Sorel murals); in winter, regulars say a "cozy booth by the fireplace" is "where it's at."
EN Japanese Brasserie
Brunch · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.3

"Sexy" , "serene" surroundings provide the backdrop for "innovative" Japanese fare at this "consistently excellent" West Village "date spot" , where highlights include "killer" housemade tofu and "work-of-art" kaiseki meals; a "superb" sake list and "gracious" service are more reasons it’s "worth what it costs."
Italian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

"Exceptional pastas" come out of the "tiniest of open kitchens" at this "energetic" West Village Italian, where a "fun" chef’s counter gives "lucky" diners a glimpse of the "show" ; "small" dimensions result in waits, but you can always pass the time in its adjacent wine bar, Anfora.
Boucherie West Village
French · West Village · $$$

In the lofty former space of the Circle Repertory Theater, this two-floor West Villager focuses on wood-fired dry-aged steaks and other bistro fare by Pastis alum Jerome Dihui. There’s butcher-counter seating in addition to the main dining room and outdoor cafe, and the bar highlights absinthe, served solo and in cocktails.
Sushi Nakazawa
Sushi · West Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.6

The "ultimate showstopper" from "sushi master" Daisuke Nakazawa, this "extraordinary" West Village Japanese specializes in "breathtaking" omakase meals served like "a well-oiled machine" at the bar and in a "serene" dining room; scoring reservations remains a "difficult task" and the cost is "off the charts" , but an attached lounge should help on both fronts.
Chinese · West Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

The Peking duck "soars" at this underground West Village Chinese beneath RedFarm, where the "succulent" specialty is the star of "awe-inspiring" prix fixes enhanced by "craveable" sides and "crafty cocktails" ; the "cramped space" has just a single "long" communal table, but there’s also a bar for à la carte eating.
Upholstery Store: Food & Wine
Seafood · West Village · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

There’s "nothing stuffy about" Kurt Gutenbrunner’s "wonderfully warm" West Village wine bar, where the "excellent" American bites, "stellar cocktails" and "well-chosen" vinos are hailed as "the perfect mix" ; a "super" staff and "relaxed" vibes round out "a rare find."
Italian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

"Incredible" pastas and other "creative" Italian dishes are "done with great care" at this "happening" West Village "standout" where the "polished" staffers also curate an "impeccable wine list" ; the "intimate" bi-level digs "bustle" with a "youngish crowd" , so "bring ear plugs" – and good luck getting a reservation.
Pearl Oyster Bar
Seafood · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

"Just get the lobster roll" say fans of this "nothing-fancy" West Village "landmark" and its "luscious" signature sandwich – though pretty much "everything’s delicious" on the classic New England seafood menu here; it doesn’t take rezzies, and the "cute" space can get "cramped" , so just "go early or expect to wait."
Italian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

The "rewards" are many at Jonathan Waxman’s West Village Italian, from the "simple" yet "delicious" menu starring his "legendary" roast chicken to the "vibrant" garage/urban setting; the "scene-oriented" crowd’s "punishing" acoustics are eased in warm weather "when the doors are up."
American · West Village · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

Gabe Stulman's "low-key chic" West Village basement earns a tip of the cap for its "delicious" upscale American fare, "tasty cocktails" and "beautiful neon sign" ; blending a "speakeasy vibe" with some "Wisconsin hospitality" , it's "an all-around win" , except perhaps for the cost.
The Beatrice Inn
Steakhouse · West Village · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

This "grown-up" destination inhabits a storied West Village basement, where the New American fare is considered "good" enough, but it's the cocktails and clubby "mystique" that people "love" ; it's equally suited "for a group of friends or date night" , though plan on "upscale" pricing.
4 Charles Prime Rib
Steakhouse · West Village · $$$

Brendan Sodikoff (of Chicago’s Au Cheval, famed for its burger) steers this West Village steakhouse focusing on its cuts of beef, richly topped patties and elaborate sundaes. Wood-beamed walls are covered with framed prints and mirrors, lending a warm, old-time feel to the space.
Hao Noodle (好面馆)
Asian · West Village · $$

A Sichuanese impresario behind restaurant chains in China touches down in the West Village with this eatery serving dishes drawing from different Chinese regions, a number of which incorporate housemade noodles and seasonal ingredients. The warm, brick-walled space has both communal and two-top tables.
Extra Virgin
Brunch · West Village · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.7

The "young" and "glamorous" hobnob at this "fashionable" West Villager over "dependable" Med fare that "won't break the bank" ; although the place is usually "crowded" and there are sometimes "waits" , amusing "people-watching" helps pass the time.
Japanese · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

"Adventurous" eaters head to this West Village Japanese to grill "insanely good" classic meats on tabletop BBQs, along with some "crazy" options (intestines, calf’s brains); on weekends, it adds "out-of-this-world" "late-night ramen" to the mix.
Cocktail Bar · West Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.5

The menu may be "small" , but "the flavor isn’t" at this "sweet" West Village bistro where the French cuisine is "inspired" yet "without pretension" , and the "tiny" space is "well appointed" and "cozy" ; "terrific" cocktails and "exceptional" service further boost its "date-night" appeal.
Market Table
American · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

A "solid farm-to-table" approach makes for "engaging dishes" at this West Village New American, a corner outfit with "big picture windows" , "warm" service and an "unpretentious" vibe; it "continues to amaze" a wide following, meaning it's on the "crowded" side at prime times.
The Loyal
West Village · $$$

This West Village American from chef John Fraser (Narcissa, Dovetail, NIX) takes its inspiration from coastal taverns and European brasseries, serving seasonal, group-friendly plates with a twist on both comfort-food dishes and cocktails. The polished space is outfitted with tiled floors and generous booths, as well as some white-tablecloth settings for a touch of formality.
Empellon Taqueria
West Village · $$$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.9

"First-rate" ingredients in "imaginative" combinations make for some seriously "haute" tacos at this "trendy" West Village Mexican where the "strong" margaritas are just as "creative" ; "slightly upscale" pricing doesn’t deter those who keep its "barlike" space "crowded and noisy."
Breakfast · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

At this "charming" West Villager, Jody Williams’ "sublime" French small plates and "thoughtful" wine list will "transport you to Europe" – right down to the "tiny tables" ; since it’s "postage-stamp-sized" and doesn’t take reservations, it can be "difficult to snag a table" , but it’s "worth the wait – and the squeeze.
The Clam
Seafood · West Village · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

Yep, you’ll find "all things clam" ( "pizza, sliders, chowder" ) at this "charming" West Village seafood spot where "interesting" preparations elevate classic dishes to "excellent" levels; "welcoming" staffers and a "grown-up" atmosphere make it a "slam dunk" for both a "hot date" or dinner with "your parents."
Corner Bistro
Burger · West Village · $
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.0 · Service 3.5

"Memorable" , "messy" burgers dished out on paper plates in "sticky booths" make for classic "slumming" at this "dingy" Village perennial (with a slightly "nicer" LIC spin-off); "cheap beer" , "long waits" and "student crowds" are all part of the timelessly "cool" experience, as are the late-night hours.
Bar Bolonat
Middle Eastern · West Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

Chef Einat Admony (Balaboosta, Taïm) takes Israeli cuisine to "new levels" at this West Village "standout" , where her "inspired" dishes "showcase the Middle East’s best flavors" ; "tiny" digs and "not-so-tiny" prices are offset by "helpful" service and an "upscale" yet "relaxed" vibe.
Bar Sardine
Gastropub · West Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

Gabe Stulman (Perla) pairs "sophisticated" cocktails with "upscale" American bar fare, including a "fantastic" burger at this "charming" West Village hang; it’s "small" and fills up fast ( "go early" ), but the format is perfect for a "drinks date that turns into dinner."
Quality Eats
Steakhouse · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

These "accessible" Quality Meats spin-offs court a "young crowd" with "lesser-known" but "still delicious" cuts of meat, plus "inventive" starters and sides; "chill" settings with whimsical details further the "great buzz."
Cafe Clover
American · West Village · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

Health-conscious fare in a "chic" setting is the "refreshing" spin at this West Village New American, where the "creatively prepared" locavore menu features "ultrafresh" vegetables; "inviting" vibes and seasonal cocktails help account for the "lively atmosphere."
I Sodi
Italian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

"Incredible pastas" and other "truly authentic" Tuscan dishes are "made with love" at this "quaint" West Villager, where the "well-put-together wine list" and "superb" Negronis boost the "neighborly" vibes; since it’s "always busy" , the "only drawback" is a "squished" space where it’s "tough to get a table."
High Street on Hudson
American · Meatpacking District · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

"They do everything right" at this Meatpacking District cafe (sequel to a Philly original), where the "stellar" lineup spans especially "heavenly" homemade breads and pastries, "great sandwiches" for a "casual lunch" and more "adventuresome" Americana for dinner; "cheerful" staffers heighten the "lively" neighborhood feel.
Don Angie
Italian · West Village · $$$

Alums of Quality Italian, married chef-owners Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli are the team behind this Italian-American in the West Village, serving classics with carefully sourced ingredients and a few contemporary dishes. The light-hued space, designed with leather and marble accents, also offers a brief by-the-glass list, as well as cocktails, aperitivi and house-infused after-dinner drinks.