NYC Neighborhood Guide: West Village
One of New York’s oldest and most iconic neighborhoods is the West Village. This is one of the locations that I feel like I get asked about constantly because of its charming streets and fun restaurants and I’m so excited to finally be sharing a neighborhood guide post about it. Every New Yorker’s goal is to own a brownstone in this neighborhood and I can’t say I blame them (or that I’m not one of them!).
This ‘hood has it all from old-school jazz bars, to some of the best brunch that you’ll find in the city, to excellent coffee shops for plopping, chatting, and working. The next time you’re in the West Village, make sure you add these to your list of things to do there. And don't forget to just make time to wander around. After all, that’s the best part!
Breakfast and Brunch
Aussies know how to do many things well, but a big one is brunch. I’ve only been to Banter for brunch twice but every time I remember it, I start plotting my next return visit. My no-fail order is a matcha latte with almond milk accompanied by an order of avocado toast with an egg on it (for more amazing NYC brunch spots with avocado toast on the menu, check out Francesca’s guide to basic brunches) and it was as delightful as the atmosphere of this place.
While We Were Young
While We Were Young may be a popular place to grab brunch and snap a few picks, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is an Instagram bait restaurant. The interior design is beautiful, the cocktails are unique and crafted by experienced bartenders, and the food was delicious. They don’t take reservations, so get there when it opens to get the best seat.
Baker & Co
We went to brunch at Baker & Co for my mom’s birthday this past year and loved it. I’ve also been for happy hour drinks with Devon, which I totally forgot about because we popped into it when our first-choice bar was too packed. Get there early and take a seat on the covered terrace if the weather is nice and order one of their classic brunch dishes with a Bloody Mary. You won’t be disappointed.
I was introduced to Extra Virgin when I went with my gal pal Alejandra for one of our catch-up brunches and we were both really impressed with the place. I ended up going back with my parents and Andrew for a few reasons—the food was delicious and the service was excellent. I already can’t wait to go back again.
One of my favorite roasters is the Brooklyn-based Toby’s Estate and I must admit the West Village location actually captures the cool, outer borough vibe of Toby’s very well. With similar design elements of their Williamsburg flagship, Toby’s will deliver on a rich roast as much as they will a quick bite.
I met the lovely Krystal Bick at Bluestone Lane for a cup of joe over the summer and have found myself wanting to go back ever since. You’ll be greeted by a smiling waitress and asked if you’d like a pastry to go with your latte. Sit outside if it’s nice weather or cozy up indoors for a while with a book in the cooler months.
Whenever I have a meeting with someone I always prefer to pick a new place that I haven’t tried before since there is still so much in New York that I haven’t seen and done. Prodigy Coffee was a recent new discovery and I’m so happy that I chose to pop in here. I was served a cold brew by a friendly owner and was surrounded by laptop workers as well as friends who just popped in to catch up over an espresso.
Andrew took me to the seafood-focused eatery, The Clam, for my birthday this year and I thought it was absolutely divine. We split some oysters to start (four west coast, four east coast, but I can’t taste the difference!) and then I ordered these lobster and fried shrimp sliders that totally blew my mind. It was such a treat and I’d definitely recommend it if you love shellfish!
Okay, so I’ve never actually eaten a full meal at Carbone (because it’s $$$) but man oh man I cannot wait for the day I have a full dining experience here. When I was an intern at New York Magazine, I got to assist on a shoot they were doing there for the best steaks in New York and when they wrapped there was a full steak there that no one wanted except for me. I’ve never loved a steak so much in my life. I’ve also heard their pasta is amazing.
Do you ever just want really amazing pizza without any fuss? Carroll Place has got you covered. I actually first discovered this place when I was working at NYLON because it came up listed as a restaurant on MealPal, a food app that I was using. Their pizza is delicious and the restaurant is spacious so you can usually drop in and find a place to sit with a friend and catch up on life while eating pizza. It doesn’t get much better than that.
If you’re searching for a not-too-pricey place to grab dinner with some girlfriends, Rosemary’s will hit the spot. They’re best known for their seasonal Italian dishes and their homemade pastas. Don’t forget to order a glass of wine to enjoy with your meal!
Off The Wagon
The West Village is filled with classy bars that serve expensive cocktails, but who wants to go to those?? Off The Wagon is part of one of my favorite bar chains in NYC and for good reason—the servers are awesome, the drinks are cheap, and the fun is practically guaranteed. Get a pitcher and play a game of pong, or go during football season and order as many wings as they’ll let you.
Andrew and I went on one of our first dates to this fun spot. The way it works is you go in to The Uncommons and pay a cover ($5 on weekdays, $10 on weekends) and you can sit and play as many board games as you want for however long you want. They have a small selection of craft beer and it’s pretty well-lit so I hesitate to call this a “bar” bar, but it’s a great place to head with a group of friends to chill for a few hours and have a drink. They also have coffee if you’re not in a beer mood.
I hit up Fat Cat, a West Village locale, when my friend Jessie got a new job and had a little going away celebration with her old co-workers. There was live jazz, pool, foosball, and so much more. It’s a great place for when you want to play some games with a large group of people, or sit and enjoy the live jazz.
The Doughnut Project
One of my most-liked photos on Instagram ever was the prosecco doughnut that I had at this awesome hole-in-the-wall doughnut shop. Stop in to The Doughnut Project and grab one of their delicious desserts and a cup of coffee.
Few things make me feel like I’m in Italy quite like the taste of a great scoop of Gelato. Grom (which you can also find in Italy!) is one of the places I retreat to when I want to go on a European adventure without leaving the West Village. My flavor recommendation is stracciatella, which is vanilla ice cream with chocolate shavings.
I haven’t actually had a chance to visit Snowdays yet but as soon as it gets warmer that will be the first place on my list to visit! This eatery makes Asian-inspired desserts and features its shaved cream cups that you can top with syrups, cereal, candy, and more.
Have you ever tried any of these spots? What’s your favorite place in the West Village?