If you want a night out in NYC's hippest neighborhood, you've got many choices these days but one that is a sure bet is the West Village. Whether you are on a date or out with the girls, this neighborhood has something to offer. You can take the 1/9 train to Christopher Street and you will exit into the heart of the area-Sheridan Square. Here are some ideas for your night out on the town:
If you are on a date:
If you are looking for a place with romantic ambiance and a extra special menu, you should walk over to Waverly Place to Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante and Enoteca, where you can get authentic Italian wine and food. Before you go there, make sure you call ahead and make a reservation because it is red hot! For a more traditional place, try One if By Land, Two if by Sea, consistently voted one of New York's most romantic restaurants. Their beef wellington is the signature dish and is delish. Another old time romantic stand by is the Italian restaurant called Il Mulino that is as classy as it gets. A little pricey for home cooked Italian, but the ambiance is wonderfully special. A newcomer to the area that has delicious food is Maremma which features the food from the Maremma region of Italy (coastal Tuscany). If Mexican is what you are into, try Mi Cocina, a bit tight on space but the food and drinks are delicioso!
If you are out with the girls, guys or any old gang of peeps:
There are a few places that are good for groups in the West Village where you can be loud and no one will really care. One old time favorite is Tortilla Flats, which serves great Mexican food and huge margaritas. Monday nights is bingo night so it tends to get a little crowded. In the summer, there is outdoor seating available. Malatesta is a super casual Italian place that also has outdoor seating in the summer and great food and a really friendly staff. One note-it's cash only so stop by the ATM on your way! Cowgirl Hall of Fame (Southwestern cuisine) is a total blast as is the White Horse Tavern (burgers)-two places that are great for groups and the happy hour scene. Not exactly the West Village (it's just off 5th ave on 8th st), OTTO is worth mentioning because of its great pizzas, but also the size of the place can accomodate large groups without a problem. A legendary joint is Café Loup, where they serve French food, like cassoulet and escargot, in a true Village atmosphere. It's one of only a few places of its kind left. This next restaurant is pretty small but if you can call ahead and get a table, try Mamma Mexicana for its unique Mexican fare-very affordable and healthy! Agave on 7th Avenue South makes Southwestern fusion food and superb drinks, like their fresh fruit margaritas.
See and be Scene
If you want to drop some real coin, go to Da Silvano for a "scene" and possibly the best Italian food in NYC. The Osso Buco is one to write home about. Don't miss Waverly if you can get in, the food is good but the atmosphere is absolutely charming. Pastis is a reliable bet for French bistro food, like steak frites and frisee salad with poached egg and lardon. It's always got a packed house, literally day or night.
If you've got the kids with you
There are a few kid-friendly places in the West Village, especially since the neighborhood is swelling with families now! Try the Bus Stop for a reliable diner meal, or walk across Bleecker Street over to Miracle Grill and sit in the back room where there is tons of space for the little ones to run in circles and annoy no one. Mamma Buddha on Hudson Street is another good bet for inexpensive and fast Chinese food in a no frills setting. All of the above are conveniently located within steps of the Bleecker Street playground for a little aprês meal run-around. There is also Peanut Butter & Co, a little east of the West Village but a must stop if you've got the itty bitties in tow, especially picky eaters.
After Dinner Sweets
Magnolia Bakery is known for its cupcakes but they also carry stand-out old fashioned cakes and pies, like their super sweet banana cream pie. Also try Bruno's on Bleecker if you like Italian desserts like their assorted cookies and pastries. You can also get a good espresso there. For you chocoholics, you must stop into the Chocolate Bar for your fix of assorted, fine chocolates. Mary's Dairy has great ice cream and even has a low-fat version that tastes really good!
If you have your groove on and want to belt it out, stop by the Duplex or Marie's Crisis where you'll find a group of young and old sitting around the piano singing show tunes. The Stoned Crow is a great bar for shooting pool and Alexandra is small but has a talented bartender!
The Day After/Brunch spots
Tartine is a low key breakfast/brunch/lunch spot nestled in the heart of the West Village with outdoor seating in the summer. Another great brunch choice is Cornelia Street Cafe, which sometimes has a jazz brunch. Afterwards, you can stroll down Bleecker and get your shopping done at Murray's Cheese, Faicco's (Italian pork store) and Amy's Breads. If you get up early enough, try the Grey Dog Café which is tiny but serves good, strong coffee and hearty food and will make you feel like you just stepped into Vermont. If you have your pooch with you, they'll be kind enough to give him/her a doggie treat too. The only thing is, by 11 it gets too crowded to sit so you'll be taking your joe to go if you get there too late. If all you can handle is a slice, then don't miss Joe's Pizza- it's the best around and that's saying something in this town!