Former home to the Beats, current home to thousands of NYU students, and haven to artists and creatives across the decades, Greenwich Village still buzzes with the bohemian energy that made the Manhattan neighborhood notorious. Now, it takes the form of avant-garde street performances, indefatigable nightlife, and of course, world-class restaurants both modish and unassuming. In The Village, as you’ll hear native New Yorkers call the area, you’ll find a large concentration of the city’s trendiest spots and highest caliber. Choosing from the avalanche of options is no easy task, but the spots below will help you zero in on the highlights of Greenwich Village’s culinary scene.
C as in Charlie
Three childhood friends from Atlanta moved to New York City and started a restaurant, and the result is the raucously fun and always delicious C as in Charlie. To say this locale is hip would be an understatement, but that’s not to say it’s the slightest bit gimmicky. From the streamlined Korean-meets-Southern-comfort menu to the Dada-esque displays in the bathroom, the place feels like stepping into the founding trio’s love letter to their friendship and their heritage.
With the glow of red-tinted lights, a crowd that skews young and lively, and complementary pre-meal sake shots, C as in Charlie thrums with an energy similar to the anticipation of a really good night out. This does also mean that the noise level stays at a consistently high decibel, unless you’re able to snag outdoor seating during warmer months.
The only sign you’ve arrived at this decidedly upscale, Michelin-starred restaurant is a large red paperclip emblazoned above the narrow storefront. The intimate, simple interior makes you feel like you’ve been let in on a secret, especially when the innovative farm-to-table goodness begins to arrive. By pairing Asian flavors like miso, yuzu, nori, and ginger with a classical French style of cooking, Red Paperclip has proved itself one of the most inventive new restaurants in Manhattan.
While the menu is predictably pricey, the prix fixe is far more affordable than most you’ll find at a comparable quality. A la carte offerings are served as well at more accessible price points. While perhaps not an every-night affair, this is the perfect spot to impress a date or visiting family members.
Beyond the storefront that looks like it was plucked from a tiny Belgian town and dropped on the corner of West Third and MacDougal, you’ll find the hallowed halls – or counter, rather – of Pommes Frites. This little shop specializes in one thing: French fries. They’re made Belgian-style here, meaning they’ve been twice-cooked to starchy perfection.
Get your order and a variety of dipping sauces to go (you can choose between 30 daring flavors like Irish curry and wasabi) and stroll over to nearby Washington Square Park to munch and people-watch.
There are more fine-dining sushi restaurants in Greenwich Village than you can shake a stick at – which isn’t to say that each of them isn’t valuable and distinct in some way, of course. What they do share is a certain lavishness when it comes to their prices. At DOMODOMO, though, you’ll be able to attain the elevated experience and top-tier sashimi of its white-tableclothed cousins at a far more agreeable price point. Billed as New York City’s first handroll bar, you’ll find both familiar and inventive dishes on the menu.
The zen atmosphere, stellar service, and comfortable wooden furnishings make this a great spot for a first date or an intimate catchup. Just keep in mind that the room fills up quickly at peak hours.
Olio e Piu
It’s difficult to say what the most memorable facet of Olio e Piu is: the old-world charm or the pure and simple goodness of its Neapolitan cuisine. While the former is the first thing you’ll notice – the dining area is reminiscent of an Italian villa, equal parts elegant and comfortable with plenty of greenery to boot – the latter is the true star of the show. The menu is comprised of hand-stretched, wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas, and reliably delicious classics like Caprese salad and tiramisu. It may not be ground-breaking, but it’s a celebration of everything that sets a true Italian dining experience apart: fresh, locally sourced ingredients, really good wine, and food made with love.
The vine-covered façade is situated across the street from the Jefferson Market Library and its famously beautiful garden, making this Italian restaurant an ideal pick for those craving a hit of nature in the city of asphalt.
Jeju Noodle Bar
Any noodle joint deserving of a Michelin star is certainly worth a visit, and this no-frills locale focused on ramyun – the Korean equivalent of ramen – is no exception. Jeju Noodle Bar is small, well-lit, and simply decorated, allowing more room to focus on good conversation and explosive flavors. While their specialty is indeed their noodles, you’d be wise not to skip out on the smaller dishes.
If it’s too hot for broth, or you’re simply not in the mood for a steaming bowl of ramyun, try the Toro Ssam Bap. A layered dish of rice, egg, and tuna topped with caviar, it has acquired a cult following and comes highly recommended by many repeat customers.
Once a seafood pop-up by husband-and-wife duo Patricia Howard and Ed Szymanski, Dame has now matured into a buzzy brick-and-mortar establishment in the heart of the West Village. The white and blue décor, light wood, and disco soundtrack may be reminiscent of seminal classic Mamma Mia!, but the seafood-centric menu is decidedly English. Their fish and chips are their claim to fame, and dessert is highly recommended here – the unexpected combinations of flavors, like an olive oil cake with figs and fig leaf custard, are heartbreakingly good.
Dame is ultra-trendy and the space is on the smaller side, so be sure to book a reservation in advance to ensure you’ll be seated immediately.