manhattan restaurant guide // week 3

As most of you know by now, the kind folks at OpenTable asked me to write about a few of our favorite restaurants in the city and I decided to turn it into a six week series!

Welcome to week 3 of our restaurant reviews! So far we've covered neighborhoods close to where we lived and currently live. This week we're going further south to my favorite neighborhood in the whole world (really the world!) - the West Village (with a little Meatpacking and Greenwich Village thrown in there too).  

The West Village is known for its cobblestone streets lined with mature trees and brownstones with cute little stoops. It oozes charm. You can just picture a movie/tv/novel set here. It's easy to get lost, as it doesn't follow "the grid", but getting lost here is part of the fun. The West Village was made for meandering.

Besides the charm (and some great shopping), the West Village's main draw, in my opinion, is its FOOD! Splattered with tons and tons of restaurants, many of them with world-renowned chefs and owners, it is a diner's Heaven. Here are some of our favorites - a long list because we love so many! To make reservations, click on over to the OpenTable New York City Restaurants page.

::: Where to Eat in the West Village :::

AOC ::: We love it for brunch, lunch, or dinner. We get a taste of the simple, French food we love in a cute setting, with a great back patio. Bonus points for being on Bleecker Street just steps away from some really good shopping.

Babbo ::: Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Need I say more? Comfort Italian food in a fancier setting. It's my first pick for my birthday dinner every year.

Blue Hill ::: While we've only been to the Blue Hill at Stone Barns, there's no doubt in my mind that this NYC offshoot wouldn't offer the same quality of locally-sourced, perfectly-prepared food.

Cafe Cluny ::: A local favorite. Breakfast is their specialty, but dinner's not bad either. Quaint, good food, and full of neighbors who seem to know each other. The epitome of charm.

Commerce ::: One of our favorites for a leisurely dinner with friends. Situated on the cutest street ever, this place is always bustling with pretty people having drinks, sharing a meal (get the deviled eggs!), and being all around fabulous.

Dell'anima ::: Teeny tiny little spot that serves some of the best Italian food we've had. Go early and have a drink at their bar next door, Anfora.

Ditch Plains ::: One of Al's favorites. Everything from lobster rolls, to hot dogs (with mac and cheese on top!) to fish tacos. It's casual dining with five star food. And they have a TV at the bar, which is good when your date wants to watch the game over your shoulder. ;) 

Empellon::: How New York does Mexican food right. Tacos and margs in a snazzy setting. Great for groups as they don't mind a little rowdiness. Very fun spot.

I Sodi ::: There's a lot of Italian spots on this list, but this is my favorite, I think. Tiny little spot with amazing pastas. We like to get half sizes of a few pasta dishes and have a little sampler platter. Extra gold star for an outstanding Negroni menu.

LArtusi ::: Okay, another Italian restaurant. But they're all so good! This one has a little more of a grand ambiance. Great for group dinners upstairs in their wine room. And the food is fall off your chair good.

The Little Owl ::: One of the very best in all of New York if you ask me. Small and charming space (do you see a trend here? West Village is s-m-a-l-l) with great service and a menu that is perfect. Tip: start with meatball sliders.

The Mermaid Oyster Bar ::: Another of Al's favorites (I guess he likes seafood, huh?). A great neighborhood feel with friendly staff. Go for $1 oysters at happy hour or on Sundays for lobsterpalooza (a full lobester dinner for $26).

Minetta Tavern ::: Minetta will always hold a special place in my heart, as it's where we went after we got engaged. But aside from that, it's a legendary NYC restaurant. Get the bone marrow (trust me) and sit back and have top notch meal (while celeb spotting - we once saw Steven Spielberg with his entire family!).

Otto ::: In the heart of Greenwich Village, this Mario Batali pizza spot is perfect to bring guests (or a date) because of the great prices and really good food (get the clam pizza). A large bar area too if you just want to grab a drink.

Pagani ::: A new Italian spot (sorry!) that we've started to frequent. Really good cocktails and energetic vibe. And judging by their Instagram account, it looks like to do a pretty good brunch too. Good for a Saturday night double date.

Pastis ::: Another classic New York spot. Currently closed for renovations, this is a must-eat if you're visiting the city. One of Keith McNally's first forays into the New York Restaurant scene - it was and is a place to be. No matter what you order, get a side of fries. Bonus points for outdoor seating with water bowl for doggies. 

Spasso ::: A little further west than some of the others, we love this spot for an early dinner or appetizers. We love to get an outside table and order the burrata that's usually on special and a bottle of rose. They also have a lovely squid ink pasta. 

The Spotted Pig ::: Yay for women chefs! April Bloomfield's first restaurant is still highly regarded and still on many 'must eat' lists. Bistro style food served in an un-fussy setting. Great for burgers after a long day at work. (And the parallels to Bloomfield and 'The Pig' to this book are numerous)

Sushi Nakazawa ::: We haven't made it here yet, but I check for a reservation contstantly. The new must-have sushi in the city. All because of this documentary. Friends who have gone have raved. You can make a reservation at ether the sushi bar or the dining room. I can't wait to go.

Believe it or not, I did whittle this list down some. There are so many fantastic dining experiences to be had in the West Village. To see more great restaurants, click on over to the OpenTable New York City Restaurants page.

Look how much of the city we've covered so far! ↓ (Yes, the hand-drawn map lives!)

Check out the previous posts in this series:

Thanks to OpenTable for reaching out. The OpenTable New York City Restaurants page is always my first stop when planning our dining.

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