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Two colorful Indian tacos made with thick naan bread.
Naan tacos from Taco Mahal.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Where to Eat in the West Village

Korean ramen, Spanish paella, Indian tacos, and a few of the city’s best Italian restaurants are found in this Manhattan neighborhood

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Naan tacos from Taco Mahal.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

No doubt, the West Village is one of the city's loveliest neighborhoods, composed of stately brownstones dating from the 1800s, modest small storefronts with unique merchandise, a country church with formal flower gardens, and reclaimed port and industrial architecture turned into lofts, galleries, and coffee shops.

The borders of the neighborhood are murky, but we’ve taken them to be the Hudson River to slightly east of Seventh Avenue on the west and east, and Houston Street to 14th Street on the south and north. Though the neighborhood’s real estate is among the city’s most exorbitant, the prices at its restaurants range from expensive to surprisingly modest, with an impressive range of offerings that include reasonably priced sushi, Spanish paella, Brazilian feijoada, tacos fashioned from Indian flatbreads, and one of the city’s most celebrated hamburgers.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it also poses a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Hector's Cafe & Diner

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Opened in 1949, Hector’s is one of the last remaining vestiges of the Meatpacking District, a place where meat cutters and haulers would hang out after deliveries or before work at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. It is in many ways a conventional diner, though the menu is built out with Latin Caribbean and Mexican dishes — and for a diner, the food is above average. It’s a fun and inexpensive place to eat after a walk on the High Line overhead, or a visit to the nearby Whitney Museum.

A cafe of orange brick tucked under an overpass.
Hector’s Cafe in the Meatpacking District is one of New York’s iconic diners.
Eater NY

The Lavaux Wine Bar

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This unusual bar offers wines from a company based in French-speaking Switzerland, making it more of a showroom than restaurant. The decor is exceptionally pleasant — there’s a ski-resort gondola in one corner with a table inside — and the white wines made from the Swiss Chasselas grape are particularly drinkable. Overall, the food seems like an afterthought, though there’s no better place in town for fondue, and the charcuterie and cheese boards are also a good bet.

A hand holds a fork with a small potato being dipped in a cheese sauce.
Fondue at Lavaux Wine Bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tea & Sympathy

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All the commonplaces of British cooking are present in this small cafe decorated with teapots, posters of the Queen, and other knickknacks. The tea service alone is worth experiencing, with finger sandwiches, scones, and ornate porcelain teapots to put you in the mood, but the cottage pie, pasties, fish and chips, roast chicken Sunday dinner, and breakfast pastries are also worth contemplating.

A pie with a browned top crust with tiny peas and mashed potatoes.
Chicken and leek pot pie.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Corner Bistro

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Corner Bistro isn’t so much a bistro as an Irish bar, dating to 1961 with the requisite wood paneling, brass rails, musty beer smells, and a rear room that constitutes something of a neighborhood hideout. The place became famous in the ’90s for its simple burgers and decent fries cooked in a small closet next to the bar, but in the ensuing decades, the quality declined. Based on a recent visit, we’re pleased to report the quality is closer to its original magnificence. There’s no better place to grab a beer on a weekday afternoon when the place is nearly empty.

A beef patty on a bun with two slices of cheese melted over the top, with the top of the bun, lettuce, and tomato slice not yet applied.
The famed cheeseburger at Corner Bistro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Wesley

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This elegant restaurant is situated on a quiet stretch of West 4th Street and decorated like a farmer’s field with actual sheaves of wheat. The majority of the menu is vegan of the highest quality, with a smattering of meat-bearing dishes, including a luscious steak, if you can’t quite get with the program. Dishes free of meat and dairy run to a hash of beans and chard artistically presented, and roasted baby carrots in a coconut curry sauce.

Tiny carrots smothered in beige sauce.
Carrots in coconut curry sauce.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

St. Tropez

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The wine list at St. Tropez is exclusively French, with some bargains if you look carefully, including good glasses of Bordeaux, white or red, at modest prices. The food is Provençale, running from charcuterie to full-plate meals. The frisee salad has more bacon than expected, while the crevettes a l’aioli (grilled shrimp with tarragon mayo) are creamy excellence on a plate. The place looks out on charming West Fourth Street.

A salad of chickory with an egg on top and loads of bacon and greens around the periphery.
Frisee salad at St Tropez.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Mary Lane

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The Mary Lane is a sleeper, a pleasant restaurant with a relaxing setting on a West Village side street known mainly to area residents. The restaurant describes itself as farm-to-table, and while the dishes reflect this type of sourcing, the execution is often surprising. An engagingly green asparagus soup comes with crab, smoked creme fraiche, and slivered almonds. Chicken cacciatore arrives ensconced in ravioli, with olives and swatches of crisp chicken skin.

A pea green soup with stuff floating in it.
Asparagus soup at Mary Lane.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

In its exploration of southern Indian cooking, Semma, from chef Vijay Kumar, who was born in Tamil Nadu, is unlike anything our city has seen before. Whether you stray into unfamiliar territory — the goat intestines served on a banana leaf are an example — or stick with curries of venison or lobster tail, you will enjoy subtle spice combinations and high-quality ingredients. The triangular gunpowder dosa is the best around.

A perfect equilateral triangle of a dosa, with three sauces underneath in tiny bowls.
The gunpowder dosa may be the best dosas in NYC.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Morandi

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We didn’t very much like Morandi when it opened right off Seventh Avenue South in 2007, but on a recent revisit, the food from Keith McNally was splendid. The pan-Italian menu features lively salads, fried artichokes, bruschetta, seafood fritto misto, hand-rolled pici with lemon and parmesan, and Sicilian meatballs. As an added plus, the place opens weekdays at 8:30 a.m. with espresso and Italian breakfast selections.

Three toasted with a bright green topping surmounted by ricotta.
Fava bean bruschetta at Morandi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cafe Panino Mucho Giusto

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This is where West Villagers hang. A small shop with a friendly staff peddles panini — try the chicken one with generous slices of tomato and avocado — soups, breakfast pastries, beer, wine, and coffee beverages, the latter good and strong.

Three women sit around a wooden table with chalkboard menus behind and above them.
The afternoon scene at Cafe Panino Mucho Giusto.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mary's Fish Camp

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Part of a mini-fad of small neighborhood seafood joints at the turn of the century, Mary Redding’s restaurant takes a Florida fish camp as its theme, serving up exemplary chowders, haystack fries, lobster rolls, fish tacos, and even a bouillabaisse on a menu that’s constantly changing. The corner location is hedged with potted herbs and flowers, and many of the patrons live nearby.

A long white rectangular dish with cubed raw fish and capers and herbs on top.
Japanese yellowtail tiradito at Mary’s Fish Camp.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sevilla

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Decades ago, Greenwich Village boasted many Spanish restaurants, many dating to the time of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. Now, Sevilla is one of the few that remain, a palace for paella where the waiters wear short tuxes, the decor will cast you back to the 1940s, and the chorizo arrives aflame. You can smell the garlic wafting down the street.

An aluminum pot with seafood, yellow rice, and bright red peppers.
Sevilla’s paella feeds two or three.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Perry St

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This modest project in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s sprawling empire was founded in 2005, serving an international take on French cuisine with a casual edge, with dishes like yellowfin tuna burger with yuzu sauce, grilled lamb chops with black olive crumbs, and orecchiette with charred sweet corn. The views of Jersey and the Hudson River from the outdoor terrace are unmatched.

Fancy fried chicken in a yellow habanero sauce surrounded by a ring of leaves
Chicken in habanero sauce at Perry St.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Fairfax

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Seafood, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and Old Bay tater tots are the forte of this spot for the neighborhood from notorious restaurateur Gabe Stuhlman on a busy corner. The furniture is plush and comfortable, the windows offer urban views, and a convivial crowd collects, especially in the afternoon.

A juicy burger with the bun halves reversed and stuffed with potato sticks.
The unusual upside-down burger at Fairfax.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

El Jalapeño Truck

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This bright orange-and-green van has become a fixture on the south side of Sheridan Square, where you can eat your purchases next to the stark white “Gay Liberation” sculpture by George Segal in what is now a national park. The tacos are good, for sure, with the usual fillings running from steak carne asada to the more uncommon ox tongue. Even better are the burritos, finished on the flattop until its flour tortilla warms, browns, and bubbles.

A burrito browned on the outside cut in half and oozing cheese and meat.
A carne enchilada burrito from El Jalapeño.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Jeju Noodle Bar

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Douglas Kim’s stylish restaurant Jeju Noodle Bar serves up the Korean version of ramen, known as ramyun. These wavy noodles are dense and of high quality. One dark and tall bowl called “so ramyun” features a beefy broth made from veal bones. Pieces of brisket and raw steak are dropped in the bowl, as pickled garlic, fried garlic, and garlic oil ramp up the flavor. The exterior of the restaurant recalls Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” but it’s not the original — his real inspiration was a now-demolished diner at Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South.

A well windowed facade with a couple of figures walking by and a red awning.
The exterior of Jeju plays off its resemblance to Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lin & Daughters

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Dumplings and noodles are the forte of this tiny upstairs restaurant on bustling West Fourth Street. The Taiwanese beef noodle soup is something of a standout, but many of the other dishes constitute lighter fare, some conventional, some more experimental. In the latter category find shrimp dumplings with a sprightly lime chile sauce as green as green can be.

Pale dumplings in a bright green sauce.
Shrimp dumplings at Lin & Daughters.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taco Mahal

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It’s a great place for a quick bite, but in good weather, the sidewalk seating area at the corner of Bleecker and Seventh Avenue South proves excellent for people-watching. The spare menu of this northern Indian cafe consists of flatbread “tacos,” including one made with a small roti and another with big puffy naan. The less-starchy roti is the way to go: It can hold a substantial serving of palak paneer, lamb curry, crumbed and fried salmon, chickpeas, or chicken kebab. The palak paneer (spinach with cubed fresh cheese) is a favorite.

Two colorful Indian tacos made with thick naan bread.
Palak paneer tacos on naan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Jupira Lee, a Brazilian Chinese expat, founded Casa in 1998, and it quickly became a Village staple. The interior is like a farmhouse, and the centerpiece of the menu is feijoada, a black bean stew loaded with pork and served with sides that include orange segments, collard greens, polished rice, and farofa (a condiment of toasted yuca meal). Further menu highlights, some with African influences, feature shrimp and other seafood.

A cast iron pot of beans and plate of rice, toasted yuca meal, and shredded kale.
Feijoada, a Brazilian black bean stew.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sushi 456

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Sushi 456 replaced the legendary Takashi, a restaurant specializing in grilled meats like steak and offal. It offers high-quality sushi at slightly reduced prices from the omakase institutions in the immediate vicinity. There are virtually no appetizers, with the exception of miso soup, edamame, and broiled tuna collar.

Sushi lined up in three rows, with lots of mellow reds and yellows.
The cheapest of the sushi assortments at Sushi 456.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Osteria Carlina

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Osteria Carlina focuses on the cuisine of Italy’s far north, centering on Turin, and its tables spill onto the sidewalk in the southwestern corner of the neighborhood. The go-to starter is vitello tonnato, thin veal slices with a pureed sauce of tuna decorated with caperberries. Follow up with a pasta like beet ravioli or a main course such as stuffed cuttlefish. The wine list isn’t cheap, but it has many estimable Italian vintages, making this a great place for a celebratory meal.

A shallow plate of red ravioli in yellow sauce.
Flower-shaped beet ravioli.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Commerce Inn

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This might be the most unusual of the West Village’s restaurants, with a layout left over from a Portuguese bar of the 1960s, but with overtones of colonial Americana added. It represents the most recent experiment of Via Carota owners Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, who are exploring Shaker culture in an offhand sort of way. The cocktails are historic, and the food runs to roasted bone marrow, spoon pudding, melted cheese rarebit, beef tongue, poached leeks, and a marvelous roast chicken for two to share.

Two glistening and grilled slabs of meat with a dab of mayo and shredded purple slaw.
Poached tongue at the Commerce Inn.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hector's Cafe & Diner

Opened in 1949, Hector’s is one of the last remaining vestiges of the Meatpacking District, a place where meat cutters and haulers would hang out after deliveries or before work at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. It is in many ways a conventional diner, though the menu is built out with Latin Caribbean and Mexican dishes — and for a diner, the food is above average. It’s a fun and inexpensive place to eat after a walk on the High Line overhead, or a visit to the nearby Whitney Museum.

A cafe of orange brick tucked under an overpass.
Hector’s Cafe in the Meatpacking District is one of New York’s iconic diners.
Eater NY

The Lavaux Wine Bar

This unusual bar offers wines from a company based in French-speaking Switzerland, making it more of a showroom than restaurant. The decor is exceptionally pleasant — there’s a ski-resort gondola in one corner with a table inside — and the white wines made from the Swiss Chasselas grape are particularly drinkable. Overall, the food seems like an afterthought, though there’s no better place in town for fondue, and the charcuterie and cheese boards are also a good bet.

A hand holds a fork with a small potato being dipped in a cheese sauce.
Fondue at Lavaux Wine Bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tea & Sympathy

All the commonplaces of British cooking are present in this small cafe decorated with teapots, posters of the Queen, and other knickknacks. The tea service alone is worth experiencing, with finger sandwiches, scones, and ornate porcelain teapots to put you in the mood, but the cottage pie, pasties, fish and chips, roast chicken Sunday dinner, and breakfast pastries are also worth contemplating.

A pie with a browned top crust with tiny peas and mashed potatoes.
Chicken and leek pot pie.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Corner Bistro

Corner Bistro isn’t so much a bistro as an Irish bar, dating to 1961 with the requisite wood paneling, brass rails, musty beer smells, and a rear room that constitutes something of a neighborhood hideout. The place became famous in the ’90s for its simple burgers and decent fries cooked in a small closet next to the bar, but in the ensuing decades, the quality declined. Based on a recent visit, we’re pleased to report the quality is closer to its original magnificence. There’s no better place to grab a beer on a weekday afternoon when the place is nearly empty.

A beef patty on a bun with two slices of cheese melted over the top, with the top of the bun, lettuce, and tomato slice not yet applied.
The famed cheeseburger at Corner Bistro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Wesley

This elegant restaurant is situated on a quiet stretch of West 4th Street and decorated like a farmer’s field with actual sheaves of wheat. The majority of the menu is vegan of the highest quality, with a smattering of meat-bearing dishes, including a luscious steak, if you can’t quite get with the program. Dishes free of meat and dairy run to a hash of beans and chard artistically presented, and roasted baby carrots in a coconut curry sauce.

Tiny carrots smothered in beige sauce.
Carrots in coconut curry sauce.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

St. Tropez

The wine list at St. Tropez is exclusively French, with some bargains if you look carefully, including good glasses of Bordeaux, white or red, at modest prices. The food is Provençale, running from charcuterie to full-plate meals. The frisee salad has more bacon than expected, while the crevettes a l’aioli (grilled shrimp with tarragon mayo) are creamy excellence on a plate. The place looks out on charming West Fourth Street.

A salad of chickory with an egg on top and loads of bacon and greens around the periphery.
Frisee salad at St Tropez.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Mary Lane

The Mary Lane is a sleeper, a pleasant restaurant with a relaxing setting on a West Village side street known mainly to area residents. The restaurant describes itself as farm-to-table, and while the dishes reflect this type of sourcing, the execution is often surprising. An engagingly green asparagus soup comes with crab, smoked creme fraiche, and slivered almonds. Chicken cacciatore arrives ensconced in ravioli, with olives and swatches of crisp chicken skin.

A pea green soup with stuff floating in it.
Asparagus soup at Mary Lane.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Semma

In its exploration of southern Indian cooking, Semma, from chef Vijay Kumar, who was born in Tamil Nadu, is unlike anything our city has seen before. Whether you stray into unfamiliar territory — the goat intestines served on a banana leaf are an example — or stick with curries of venison or lobster tail, you will enjoy subtle spice combinations and high-quality ingredients. The triangular gunpowder dosa is the best around.

A perfect equilateral triangle of a dosa, with three sauces underneath in tiny bowls.
The gunpowder dosa may be the best dosas in NYC.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Morandi

We didn’t very much like Morandi when it opened right off Seventh Avenue South in 2007, but on a recent revisit, the food from Keith McNally was splendid. The pan-Italian menu features lively salads, fried artichokes, bruschetta, seafood fritto misto, hand-rolled pici with lemon and parmesan, and Sicilian meatballs. As an added plus, the place opens weekdays at 8:30 a.m. with espresso and Italian breakfast selections.

Three toasted with a bright green topping surmounted by ricotta.
Fava bean bruschetta at Morandi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cafe Panino Mucho Giusto

This is where West Villagers hang. A small shop with a friendly staff peddles panini — try the chicken one with generous slices of tomato and avocado — soups, breakfast pastries, beer, wine, and coffee beverages, the latter good and strong.

Three women sit around a wooden table with chalkboard menus behind and above them.
The afternoon scene at Cafe Panino Mucho Giusto.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mary's Fish Camp

Part of a mini-fad of small neighborhood seafood joints at the turn of the century, Mary Redding’s restaurant takes a Florida fish camp as its theme, serving up exemplary chowders, haystack fries, lobster rolls, fish tacos, and even a bouillabaisse on a menu that’s constantly changing. The corner location is hedged with potted herbs and flowers, and many of the patrons live nearby.

A long white rectangular dish with cubed raw fish and capers and herbs on top.
Japanese yellowtail tiradito at Mary’s Fish Camp.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sevilla

Decades ago, Greenwich Village boasted many Spanish restaurants, many dating to the time of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. Now, Sevilla is one of the few that remain, a palace for paella where the waiters wear short tuxes, the decor will cast you back to the 1940s, and the chorizo arrives aflame. You can smell the garlic wafting down the street.

An aluminum pot with seafood, yellow rice, and bright red peppers.
Sevilla’s paella feeds two or three.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Perry St

This modest project in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s sprawling empire was founded in 2005, serving an international take on French cuisine with a casual edge, with dishes like yellowfin tuna burger with yuzu sauce, grilled lamb chops with black olive crumbs, and orecchiette with charred sweet corn. The views of Jersey and the Hudson River from the outdoor terrace are unmatched.

Fancy fried chicken in a yellow habanero sauce surrounded by a ring of leaves
Chicken in habanero sauce at Perry St.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Fairfax

Seafood, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and Old Bay tater tots are the forte of this spot for the neighborhood from notorious restaurateur Gabe Stuhlman on a busy corner. The furniture is plush and comfortable, the windows offer urban views, and a convivial crowd collects, especially in the afternoon.

A juicy burger with the bun halves reversed and stuffed with potato sticks.
The unusual upside-down burger at Fairfax.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

El Jalapeño Truck

This bright orange-and-green van has become a fixture on the south side of Sheridan Square, where you can eat your purchases next to the stark white “Gay Liberation” sculpture by George Segal in what is now a national park. The tacos are good, for sure, with the usual fillings running from steak carne asada to the more uncommon ox tongue. Even better are the burritos, finished on the flattop until its flour tortilla warms, browns, and bubbles.

A burrito browned on the outside cut in half and oozing cheese and meat.
A carne enchilada burrito from El Jalapeño.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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Jeju Noodle Bar

Douglas Kim’s stylish restaurant Jeju Noodle Bar serves up the Korean version of ramen, known as ramyun. These wavy noodles are dense and of high quality. One dark and tall bowl called “so ramyun” features a beefy broth made from veal bones. Pieces of brisket and raw steak are dropped in the bowl, as pickled garlic, fried garlic, and garlic oil ramp up the flavor. The exterior of the restaurant recalls Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” but it’s not the original — his real inspiration was a now-demolished diner at Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South.

A well windowed facade with a couple of figures walking by and a red awning.
The exterior of Jeju plays off its resemblance to Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lin & Daughters

Dumplings and noodles are the forte of this tiny upstairs restaurant on bustling West Fourth Street. The Taiwanese beef noodle soup is something of a standout, but many of the other dishes constitute lighter fare, some conventional, some more experimental. In the latter category find shrimp dumplings with a sprightly lime chile sauce as green as green can be.

Pale dumplings in a bright green sauce.
Shrimp dumplings at Lin & Daughters.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taco Mahal

It’s a great place for a quick bite, but in good weather, the sidewalk seating area at the corner of Bleecker and Seventh Avenue South proves excellent for people-watching. The spare menu of this northern Indian cafe consists of flatbread “tacos,” including one made with a small roti and another with big puffy naan. The less-starchy roti is the way to go: It can hold a substantial serving of palak paneer, lamb curry, crumbed and fried salmon, chickpeas, or chicken kebab. The palak paneer (spinach with cubed fresh cheese) is a favorite.

Two colorful Indian tacos made with thick naan bread.
Palak paneer tacos on naan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Casa

Jupira Lee, a Brazilian Chinese expat, founded Casa in 1998, and it quickly became a Village staple. The interior is like a farmhouse, and the centerpiece of the menu is feijoada, a black bean stew loaded with pork and served with sides that include orange segments, collard greens, polished rice, and farofa (a condiment of toasted yuca meal). Further menu highlights, some with African influences, feature shrimp and other seafood.