8 Restaurants for a True Greenwich Village Experience
During your trip to New York City, it's highly recommended that you visit Greenwich Village - there is no place like it on earth! Here are 8 restaurants that capture the flavor of the neighborhood.
With a reputation as a haven for bohemian culture and artistic expression, Greenwich Village is a hotspot for New York tourists. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, the Village holds hundreds of historical landmarks and icons that date back to the American Revolution. Cultural landmarks such as the Stonewall Inn mark the importance of this area in the LGBT rights movement, and historians regard this area of New York as the birthplace of the East Coast 60’s counterculture and Beat movements.
The home of avant-garde ideas and movements, Greenwich Village holds significance for historians, artists, poets, and activists both living and visiting this part of the city. With New York University as a prominent landmark, the area also attracts a diverse student population. Recent surges in the building of upscale housing, the boutique shops, and restaurants have led to this culturally rich area being a booming source of entertainment for tourists and locals alike.
With hundreds of restaurants, cafes, and bars available, it can be challenging to choose a dining experience that serves up both quality food and unique Greenwich Village history. The variety makes the Village worth repeat visits, but for the tourist with limited time, we’ve selected eight restaurants and highlighted their fascinating histories, making them ideal for a tourist who wants a dining experience that’s both delicious and unique to the Greenwich Village area.
Greenwich Village is home to a number of beautiful 19th Century townhouses, which have now been repurposed into artisan shops, cafes, and restaurants. Mediterranean restaurant Alta occupies one such townhouse, giving this small-plate dining experience some local historical flair. Diners can enjoy wood-burning fireplaces in the winter months and open doors in the summer, all part of the restaurant’s goal to bring a diverse Mediterranean experience to the Village.
As a small plate restaurant, Alta is ideal for large groups or tourists looking to sample a variety of dishes. Diners have the opportunity to experience the full range of flavors and concepts the Mediterranean has to offer with bread and pasta plates, raw samplers, vegetables, and classic desserts. Whether you’re looking for a unique experience for a large group, or simply hoping to enjoy a cocktail and tapas, Alta is a fantastic option for a tourist in the Village.
There’s no shortage of good Italian food in New York City, but any New York local will tell you of the importance of a good slice of pizza. Most point to Little Italy for a classic New York pie, but if you find yourself in the Village and desperate for authentic New York pizza, Arturo’s Coal Oven Restaurant and Pizzeria has you covered.
As one of New York’s original coal oven pizzerias, Arturo’s offers up history alongside its delicious food. Opened in 1957 and family-owned, Arturo’s serves large pizzas at affordable prices alongside old-school charm. Usually crowded, this restaurant is open from 4 PM to 1 AM on weekdays and 2 PM to midnight on weekends. It’s a casual spot but accepts reservations if you’re looking to ensure yourself a booth.
With a full bar, dine in and dine out options, live jazz music every night, and a wide variety of appetizers, pasta dishes, and desserts, Arturo’s is a must-visit for a tourist seeking a classic slice of New York coal oven pizza.
Bell Book and Candle
The increase in popularity of the use of organic and sustainable ingredients is another popular draw for Greenwich Village foodies, as the neighborhood holds numerous farm-to-table restaurants that serve locally-grown seasonal produce. One such sustainable restaurant, Bell Book and Candle, graces our list because of its unique approach to providing local, seasonal produce. This Contemporary American restaurant makes use of an aeroponic rooftop tower garden, growing produce year-round that allows them to offer truly local herbs and vegetables. Menus shift with the seasons depending on what grows in the garden and diners can expect to try rooftop-grown herbs, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and eggplant depending on when they visit Bell Book and Candle.
The small seasonal menus include daily specials selected by chef John Mooney, and the restaurant is open daily at 5:30 PM, serving food until 10:30 PM Sunday through Wednesday and 11:00 PM Thursday through Saturday. Diners exploring the Village earlier in the day can also enjoy Sunday Brunch from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and night owls can try cocktails at the bar until 4:00 AM on weekends.
Greenwich Village Bistro
Another family owned and operated restaurant, the Greenwich Village Bistro has been a community favourite since it opened in 1999. Located on Carmine Street in a building that dates back to the early 1900s, this Bistro has Parisian charm combined with a showcasing of classic American dishes. Diners have the choice of indoor and outdoor dining, and the Bistro serves food that is designed to be comforting and evoke mom’s home cooking, including breakfast items served until 4 PM.
Open daily from 10 AM to 11 PM, tourists should check out the Greenwich Village Bistro, located just two blocks southwest of the West 4th Street Subway station. Whether you’re looking for a late breakfast, a sandwich for an early lunch, or a classic American dinner, this spot is not to be missed.
Greenwich Village’s renowned farm-to-table restaurants owe their thanks to Home Restaurant, the original sustainable dining experience. A cozy, 30-table restaurant on Cornelia Street, Home Restaurant has worked to showcase locally raised and produced food as well as supported local Village businesses since 1993. This focus on community is reflected in the food, influenced by Chef Scott C. Brown’s diverse experience in both America and Europe and his desire to support New York and New Jersey farms and businesses.
Home Restaurant’s draw comes from its use of local artisanal businesses to source many of its delicious ingredients. Tourists can visit shops such as Murray’s Cheese to learn more about the cave-aged cheeses they supply worldwide, or try the cakes and pastries at Amy’s Bread, before enjoying a meal that makes use of products supplied by these local Artisans. As well as nightly dinner offerings and a seasonal menu, Home Restaurant also offers weekday lunch from 11 AM to 4 PM and weekend brunch. For a uniquely Greenwich Village experience that emphasizes the importance of seeing what the local culture has to offer, you won’t regret paying Home Restaurant a visit.
New York City is the original American melting pot of cities, and Greenwich Village has always reflected this as a neighborhood. While classic American restaurants offer contemporary spins on national dishes, often as a tourist, you may have the urge to try something that truly reflects the diversity of the Big Apple.
Opened in 1971, Mamoun’s began as a hole-in-the-wall Middle Eastern restaurant that served authentic from scratch recipes and has since grown to the point of having six locations in New England. Mamoun’s locations now include a sit-down restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut, a second New York location in the East Village, and three New Jersey locations in Hoboken, New Brunswick, and Princeton. That said, tourists seeking the original Mamoun’s experience can find that same hole-in-the-wall Falafel restaurant on Macdougal Street in the West Village.
As well as its famous Falafel, a draw for vegetarians and carnivores alike, Mamouns also has a variety of kabobs and appetizers available for modest prices. Open from 11 AM to 5 AM daily, tourists can grab lunch, dinner, or a late-night Baklava at this family-owned landmark. Mamoun’s is the perfect option for tourists looking for a taste of what the Greenwich Village melting pot has to offer.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea
Established in 1973, One if by Land, Two if by Sea maintains a rich history in Greenwich Village beyond the restaurant itself. Located on Barrow Street, this restaurant operates inside a land-marked carriage house, built in 1767 and famously owned by Aaron Burr. Named for the famous poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, this New York dining spot has garnered a reputation for romance. With decorations featuring a baby grand piano and a private garden, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is a favorite spot for engagements as well as anniversary and wedding celebrations.
Tourists seeking a fine dining experience in a location ripe with historical significance can dine on three-course meals, try Executive Chef Gary Volkov’s tasting menu, or experience the popular Jazz Brunch on weekends. With delicious dining in a beautiful historical setting, the experience at One if by Land, Two if by Sea is perfect for visitors to the city eager to experience revolution-era architecture and fine dining flavors.
Italian restaurant, Volare, concludes this list due to both its quality food and the rich history surrounding its location. The West 4th Street restaurant was the original home of the Whitney Museum of American Art, now located West of Greenwich Village. The building also served as home to actress Lillian Russell and author John Reed at different points in history, and thus offers visitors a snapshot of the fascinating history every building in the Village has to offer.
As well as historical insight, tourists can enjoy portions of classic Italian dishes at Volare, and New York historian Richard Snow states that there isn’t a better sirloin steak available anywhere on the island of Manhattan. Decorated with beautiful and racy paintings done by Broadway set designer Cleon Throckmorton in the 1950s, Volare is an unpretentious and classic Italian restaurant perfect for a night of wine and discovery in the Greenwich Village area.
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