Eating + Drinking

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Dates in the West Village

Five quintessentially romantic Greenwich Village restaurants and the sexy nearby bars where you can wait for your table.

5 Best Restaurants in The West Village

There may be no New York neighborhood more romantic than the West Village. It’s a safe bet, though, that many of its restaurants are fully booked for the 14th. Thank goodness we found the best no-reservations-required date spots for you and your valentine.

Of course, there will still be a wait (did we mention the West Village is the most romantic nabe in the city?). But that’s all the better, because we’ve got the perfect plan for your last-minute date: Put your name down at one of these hot spots, then wait out your table at a perfectly paired nearby bar. The impressive mixologists will make the time fly by…or is it the vodka? Who needs reservations when, after all, spontaneity is sexy.

Start the Night Off at: Fairfax
Heat Things Up at: Via Carota

best restaurants west village

Fairfax has the feeling of a cozy living room, with its mismatched, worn seating; bookshelves filled with knickknacks and plants; and framed miscellaneous prints seemingly collected over a lifetime. If only our living room served excellent Mediterranean small plates and imaginative cocktails like the Bonita Applebum, with bourbon, Calvados, Averna, and chocolate bitters. Happy Cooking Hospitality always gets it right—just peek around the corner to see the bustling crowds in Jeffrey’s Grocery, Fedora, and Joseph Leonard. If you are looking for a more casual space to ease into the pressure of Valentine’s, this is the spot for you. 234 West 4th Street (between Charles and West 10th Streets)

best restaurants west village

Via Carota, the love child of two quintessential “cute West Village restaurants,” I Sodi and Buvette, is the perfect place to continue the night. A couple themselves, chefs and owners Jody Williams and Rita Sodi know exactly how to create perfect date spaces; request a seat in the lesser-known wine vault for ultimate intimacy. The design and menu of this neighborhood gastroteca was inspired by Sodi’s childhood home: a 17th-century villa tucked in the molto romantic foothills of Florence. 51 Grove Street (between Bleecker Street and Seventh Avenue South)

Start the Night Off at: The Spaniard
Heat Things Up at: Buvette

best restaurants west village

The Spaniard, a West Village watering hole from the team behind popular Bowery bar The Wren, has a buzzy vibe that’s perfect for easing any V-Day date jitters. Snag a seat at one of the multicolored plush-velvet stools that line the bar and take your pick from the Spaniard’s voluminous list of whiskeys. Hold off for now on its famous juicy burger (you’ve got a full French meal coming up), but if things are going well, you can make plans to come back for it. 190 West 4th Street (between Barrow and Jones Streets)

best restaurants west village

Buvette, a quaint French bistro, is the standard-bearer when it comes to charming West Village restaurants. Jody Williams (who also co-owns Via Carota; see above) transports you to Paris in every detail, down to the waitstaff’s caps and hair ties. Share coq au vin, paired with a red Burgundy selected from the French wine region map overhead. Très romantique! 42 Grove Street (between Bedford and Bleecker Streets)

Start the Night Off at: Little Branch
Heat Things Up at: Takashi

Little Branch, an underground haunt serving handcrafted cocktails, lies behind an unmarked door on Seventh Avenue. If none of the drinks on the menu strike your or your date’s fancy, the mixologists thrive in shaking and stirring unique, personalized concoctions. What’s more romantic than knowing your valentine’s perfect drink order? Snuggly situated in a candlelit corner sipping your specialized cocktails, you’ll actually be able to hear your special someone’s whispered sweet nothings. The strong drinks will kick in your daring side for some of the less-typical cuts at Takashi. 22 Seventh Avenue South (off Leroy Street)

best restaurants west village

Takashi is no place for non-meat lovers; only take your significant other here if they love premium Japanese and American Angus, cooked tableside, as much as they love you. Whether you want to get a little adventurous with some calf brains, yoke, or namagino on V-Day or not, sitting by the glow of the grill in Takashi’s cozy and cool atmosphere is a welcome change from the typical “romantic” spots.  456 Hudson Street (between Barrow and Morton Streets)

Start the Night Off atEmployees Only
Heat Things Up at: L’Artusi

best restaurants west village

At Employees Only, you may wish your wait for a table at L’Artusi was longer. Behind its obscured entrance—it is only identified by a neon pink “Psychic” sign—is a world-renowned bar program (named as one of the top 100 bars in the world by World’s Best Bars) with a luxe, retro ambience reminiscent of Prohibition-era New York. In honor of St. Valentine, order a Lazy Lover (made with cachaça and jalapeño-infused Chartreuse) or the Besos Caliente (a tequila cocktail with grapefruit cordial and habañero bitters). 510 Hudson Street (between West 10th and Christopher Streets)

best restaurants west village

L’Artusi requires a lot of forethought to snag a reservation, as it is among the best Italian restaurants in New York. But one of this city’s best-kept secrets (we’ll tell you, but keep it to yourself!) is its walk-in-only bar, a sophisticated and well-appointed marble counter flanked by comfortable upholstered bar chairs. Snag your seats and share rustic Italian small plates with your love, side by side. Don’t worry about keeping up conversation; you’ll both fall silent upon tasting the mind-blowing house-made ricotta and the mushroom ragu garganelli. 228 West 10th Street (between Hudson and Bleecker Streets)

Start the Night Off at: Anfora
Heat Things Up at: Malaparte

best restaurants west village

Anfora‘s cozy booths, all tufted leather and candlelit, are a terrific place to wait out your table at Malaparte. Its extensive wine list matches the swanky setting; some of the offerings are aged using ancient Greek and Roman traditions (called amphorae). Sample Anfora’s notable bar snacks—a charcuterie plate with smoked duck breast or artichoke and Aleppo pepper crostini—prepared in the shared kitchen of its delicious sibling restaurant Dell’anima34 Eighth Avenue (between Jane and West 12th Streets)

best restaurants west village

Malaparte is the West Village restaurant of your rom-com dreams, with its brick walls and candlelit, low wooden tables. Not only is the aesthetic perfect, but so are the expertly executed pastas, like spaghetti al pesto Genovese. The restaurant is by no means fancy, but it strikes the perfect balance between a romantic and neighborhood spot. 753 Washington Street (at Bethune Street)

Looking for some more romantic recommendations? Our experience-planning Cupids can assist you.  Find more delicious dining destinations in The Guide.