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If there’s a single neighborhood that makes NYC feel like the movie-set version of itself, it’s the West Village. Just look at the rows of immaculate brownstones draped in ivy and the Parisian-inspired cafés complete with shady sidewalk seating. But more important, those picturesque streets are home to some seriously good dining. Choosing just a few favorite West Village restaurants is like choosing a favorite child, but we’ll give it a shot.

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1. Via Carota

Don’t show up at Via Carota hangry, because on any given night you’re probably going to be waiting at least an hour before you’re seated. But this ever-popular Italian eatery on Grove Street, from chef power couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, is one of the few places we don’t mind waiting for time and time again. So here’s what you do: Grab a negroni at sister spot Bar Pisellino just down the block, then return when your table is ready and order plenty of vegetables and pastas—paying extra attention to the cacio e pepe

51 Grove St.; viacarota.com

west village restaurants sushi nakazawa
Evan Sung

2. Sushi Nakazawa

Do you love sushi? Are you OK with spending a pretty penny on it? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you need to get to Sushi Nakazawa, stat. When you sit down at the sushi bar, you might recognize the head chef, Daisuke Nakazawa, from the Netflix documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi (he’s a former protégé of Jiro Ono). There’s no menu here, just a chef’s selection of sushi so decadent it tastes like butter. From the uni and the fatty tuna to the final piece of tamago (egg sushi), each piece is more delicious than the last.

23 Commerce St.; sushinakazawa.com

west village restaurants jefferys
Courtesy of Jeffrey’s Grocery

3. Jeffrey’s Grocery

This cozy spot on the corner of Christopher Street and Waverly Place is the sort of spot where you want to become a regular. It’s great for any occasion, whether you’re seeking a casual weeknight dinner, weekend brunch or quick happy hour of oysters and negronis. While you’ll find something for everyone on the menu, the specialty here is seafood. We really can’t resist the Fresser Platter for two, a generous portion of bagels served with smoked sablefish, nova, cured gravlax, scrambled eggs, whitefish salad and more.   

172 Waverly Pl.; jeffreysgrocery.com

4. Buvette

You’ll find an offshoot of this Grove Street gastrothèque in Paris’s Pigalle neighborhood, in case you were wondering exactly how French it is (very). The all-day café and wine bar from chef Jody Williams serves breakfast (our go-to meal here) until 4 p.m., and after that dinner runs until 2 a.m. The eggs are on our short list for best in the city—particularly the outrageously fluffy steamed eggs topped with smoked salmon and crème fraîche on toast.

42 Grove St.; ilovebuvette.com

west village restaurants lartusi

5. L’Artusi

We couldn’t possibly choose a single favorite Italian restaurant in NYC, but if we had to try, L’Artusi would be a top contender. While getting a reservation can be a difficult feat, if you’re a party of one or two, your best bet is walking in and sitting at the bar. The menu is divided into crudos, vegetable antipasti, pasta, meat and fish, and you’re best off trying something from every section. The savory roasted mushrooms with pancetta and fried egg are a must, as are the pastas, especially the tagliatelle with Bolognese and the pici with lamb ragù. We’re also suckers for the wine list, which spans just about every Italian wine region from Campania to Sicily (at varying price ranges too).

228 W. Tenth St.; lartusi.com

6. King

The West Village is full of trendy restaurants begging to be Instagrammed. This women-run spot is, refreshingly, not really one of those places. The interior is bright and modern yet homey, and the menu is small, focused and constantly changing. Expect creative Italian-inspired dishes like carta di musica crackers topped with whipped ricotta and figs, chickpea-flour pancakes garnished with zucchini blossoms and anchovies, and thick maltagliati pasta with fava bean pesto. On sunny days, the sidewalk seating is one of the best spots for people-watching in the neighborhood.

18 King St.; kingrestaurantnyc.com

west village restaurants decoy
Noah Fecks

7. Decoy

Below RedFarm on Hudson Street sits the nondescript entrance to Decoy. And if you’re eating there, you’re going for one thing: super-crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside Peking duck. Like most things in the West Village, a meal here isn’t exactly a bargain. But $95 gets you a full duck, complete with consommé shots, light-as-air Chinese pancakes and dipping sauces. Our favorite meals here are group affairs where you can opt for the prix fixe menu and share a few duck entrees alongside a handful of small plates like black truffle soup dumplings, pastrami triangles, and crab and scallop fried rice.

529 1/2 Hudson St.; decoynyc.com

west village restaurants bar sardine
Courtesy of Bar Sardine

8. Bar Sardine

Bar Sardine calls itself a gastropub, but it feels more like a closet-sized bistro with an awesome cocktail list and oversized windows that make you feel like you’re eating outdoors on a warm day. Like Jeffrey’s Grocery, Bar Sardine is owned by Gabe Stulman, so you should have high expectations when you take a seat at the bar and order one of the very best burgers in the city. Pro tip: If you go for brunch, do yourself a favor and order the Bloody Caesar, which is topped with horseradish, a shrimp and an oyster on the half shell. 

183 W. Tenth St.; barsardinenyc.com

9. I Sodi

By now, you’re probably sensing a theme, which is that the West Village is a prime spot for excellent Italian cuisine, and I Sodi is no exception. The brainchild of Rita Sodi (who’s also a co-owner of Via Carota), this Christopher Street gem is inspired by Tuscan home cooking. We have a few favorites on the menu, including the juicy fried artichokes and the life-changing meat lasagna, made of about a hundred paper-thin layers of pasta, Bolognese sauce and cheese. But everything is good—so good that after a decade of service, I Sodi is still one of the toughest reservations around. 

105 Christopher St.; isodinyc.com

10. Pearl Oyster Bar

Modeled after your typical New England lobster shack, Pearl Oyster Bar is nothing fancy, but it’s easily one of our favorite places to eat seafood. The restaurant is almost always packed, so we like to grab a seat in the bar area and order a glass of muscadet. The menu is simple and straightforward with some chilled options from the raw bar, small plates like clam chowder and Caesar salad, and some larger dishes, of which our go-tos are the lobster roll (fair warning, it’s heavy on the mayo) and the fried oyster roll.  

18 Cornelia St.; pearloysterbar.com

11. 4 Charles Prime Rib

Scoring a reservation at 4 Charles before 11 p.m. on a Monday night feels a lot like finding free street parking in midtown Manhattan. In other words…good luck! But if the stars align and you happen to get a table, you’re extremely fortunate. Despite its reputation, the atmosphere is totally unstuffy (no white tablecloths here) and the food is steakhouse dining at its finest. Order some cocktails and, depending on your mood, the decadent cheeseburger or the rib eye served rare. Of course, any steak dinner is only as good as the sides, and in this case we’d go for the creamed spinach or the mac and cheese. 

4 Charles St.; nycprimerib.com

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