New Yorkers are notoriously tough critics, so when they give one of the city’s many, many restaurants their blessing, it’s worth taking note. Here are eight of the top local-approved eateries in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and West Village, from classic spots that have withstood the test of time to more recent establishments that have quickly made themselves at home.
Corner Bistro is one of those places that’s in all the New York City tour books yet somehow still manages to remain a local hangout. This place is the definition of no frills: The decor has remained virtually unchanged since the restaurant and bar opened in 1961, and its namesake Bistro burger—piled high with bacon and cheese—is served on a plastic plate. At $12.75, the price might seem sky high to locals who remember cheaper burgers, but hey, rent is expensive and it’s still one of the better deals in town. —331 W. Fourth St. | cornerbistrony.com
Dominique Ansel Kitchen
In 2015, Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel opened this West Village outpost (the “sister shop” to his Soho bakery)—and the crowds have yet to thin out. You’ll find no gimmicky treats at this made-to-order café, simply classic pastries reimagined as their decadent best selves. Highlights at Dominique Ansel Kitchen include a croissant piled with boursin cheese and prosciutto, mini matcha beignets, a roasted wild mushroom velouté, and the richest croque monsieur you can imagine. —137 Seventh Ave. South | dominiqueanselkitchen.com
Elephant and Castle
This isn’t a restaurant that shows up in tour books or on the pages of glossy food magazines, but that’s exactly what has kept locals coming back since 1973. Elephant and Castle has a cozy dining room and a menu that mixes seasonal dishes with old favorites the chefs wouldn’t dare stop serving. The smoked chicken salad with avocado, apple, hazelnuts, and orange-ginger dressing is good at any time of year, but in cooler weather, nothing beats a bowl of one of the soothing soup specials, such as cauliflower with lemon oil. —68 Greenwich Ave. | elephantandcastle.com
Mimi is the kind of place that’s just as appropriate for a night out with friends as it is for a romantic date. This hip, 25-seat French restaurant attracts repeat customers for its solid seasonal dishes such as sea trout tartare and scallop crudo served in a chic, intimate environment. For an elevated treat, eat from the chef’s tasting menu, which for $75 per person includes five courses: four savory plates and one dessert.
—185 Sullivan St. | miminyc.com
Murray’s Cheese Bar
Murray’s Cheese, which has been open since 1940, is a Greenwich Village institution in every NYC guidebook. So when the specialty shop opened a cheese-focused restaurant just a few doors down the block in 2012, West Villagers were extremely excited. Murray’s Cheese Bar quickly became a neighborhood favorite for its cheese-focused food and carefully curated craft beer and wine list. It changes the menu often, but some favorites—like a killer macaroni and cheese with a secret blend of cheeses—persist. If you can’t decide what to order, ask one of the knowledgeable cheesemongers on hand to help you make your selections. —264 Bleecker St. | murrayscheesebar.com
Pearl Oyster Bar
Before lobster rolls were trendy in New York, they were on the menu at Pearl Oyster Bar. Open since 1997, this tiny, no-reservations restaurant can still have a solid 45-minute wait for a table on any given weekend night. But those who have eaten here will tell you it’s worth it, whether you dine at the namesake bar or in the cozy adjoining dining room (this is not a place to take big groups). Of course, the fresh oysters and lobster roll are sure bets, but don’t overlook whatever market fish it is serving that day, which can be enjoyed pan roasted or grilled. —18 Cornelia St. | pearloysterbar.comSevilla
In an age where most trendy restaurants feature hyper-seasonal menus, Sevilla is the odd restaurant out: an eatery that is seemingly frozen in time. In recent memory, the only thing that’s changed about the menu at this Spanish restaurant is the occasional bump in price; but at nearly 75 years old, why mess with success? The gargantuan portions of dishes like paella à la Valenciana and arroz con pollo come to the table in steaming pots, skillfully carried by career waiters in classic red uniforms. The bar also turns out excellent sangria and the cheapest cocktails in town—but it has a no reservations policy, so expect a wait on weekend nights. —62 Charles St. | sevillarestaurantandbar.comMinetta Tavern
Opened in 1937, this Michelin-starred restaurant has attracted plenty of literary luminaries over the years, including Ernest Hemingway and e.e. cummings. It continues to attract crowds (consisting of the famous as well as the not so famous) with its classic-Paris-bistro-meets-NYC-steakhouse vibe. The menu boasts roasted bone marrow and trout meunière, plus plenty of aperitifs, beers, wines, and cocktails to drink with whatever you order. —113 MacDougal St. | minettatavernny.com
This article originally appeared online in November 2015; it was updated on February 5, 2019, to include current information.
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