West Village: Top 10 Date Night Picks
By: Sophia Marina
The West Village is a timeless, well-traversed and totally enchanting sliver of the city, teeming with options upon options of great, good things to do with your lover. The enticing mix of classic and trendy restaurants, in-depth attractions, exciting exhibits, cool coffee shops and chic bars is one that begs to be taken advantage of, but with so much to do, you’ve got to pick and choose what’s worth your collective time. Using our guide to the West Village, you and your S.O. can experience a handful of unique, intriguing and perfectly sentimental scenes that’ll enrich and expand your memories of New York, and of each other.
605 Hudson Street, Manhattan
Of the many French spots this city boasts, finding the one that most caters to your romantic sensitivities without slipping into cliche can be tricky, but La Ripaille, a West Village outpost of almost forty years, nails it with grace and vintage splendor. The old world feel, generated by chunky, scarlet brick walls, vintage posters, and dim chandeliers, leads you into an undeniable romantic stupor that fits perfectly with the rich cuisine that dots the menu. The hors d'oeuvres will truly tempt you, with a ridiculous broccoli mousse in a velvet butter lemon sauce that’s all the rave. Fancy entrees to follow that include Supreme de Valaille Saute aux Pommes et Calvados (chicken breast flambeed in Calvados with apples), Magret de Canard Sauce Cassis et Fruits Rouges (duck magret in red currant sauce and seasonal red berries), and Raviolis Farcis aux Epinards et Fromage, aux Herbes (fresh ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese in velout of thyme, rosemary). You won’t be disappointed on a date with stuff this sumptuous.
1919, 28 Jane Street, Manhattan
There’s always a need for that perfect, pretty cafe, and this little gem of a coffee shop, Grounded, is just the place. Rust red floors, leafy hanging plants, white walls, and mismatched wooden chairs give this airy space the bright, chill vibe you want out of somewhere to hang, sip coffee, and canoodle with your love—with deliciously innovative drinks to match. Signatures include fun stuff like their Cowboy Cappucino (3 shots of espresso, milk), the German Chocolate Cake Latte (espresso, chocolate, caramel, coconut milk), and the Honeynut Latte (espresso, local raw honey, hazelnut, cinnamon, milk). This is the cozy West Village nook that’ll serve you and your love for a cute date all year round—whether you need a smooth cappuccino to warm up, or a zingy iced tea to cool down.
34 8th Avenue, Manhattan
34 8th Avenue, Manhattan
The long, enticing leather couches at Anfora mean you can get cozy while browsing an artisanal wine list that is likely quite unfamiliar—but in the best possible way. Prepare to get a little daring and fun with what you try, because the wines from here aim to give your palate a more intimate experience with the details of wine from around the world, with an impressive beer list that includes Swedish and German brews to match. The same philosophy applies to their bar food—smelly cheeses to delight the senses, and crusty, flavorful, complex crostinis and beautiful bacon wrapped dates. It’s a sleek, soft and lowkey spot absolutely begging for cool, calm couples to come in and take their spots, order up, and guzzle the wine.
Center For Architecture
536 La Guardia Place, Manhattan
This astounding urban hub is an unconventional way for you and your S.O. to get an intimate museum experience, with critical, intriguing exhibits that span the ins and outs of architecture both old and new. Lots of noble quality, sustainability and community goals guide what you’ll see at the Center for Architecture, so that the experience gets all the weight and meaning essential to appreciating and understanding the built environment. In a city that is all architecture and design, it’s an enriching space for you and your person to absorb astounding visuals and spend some quiet time milling around. Current exhibitions include Paul Rudolph: The Hong Kong Journey, and Design and the Just City in NYC.
344 West 11th Street, Manhattan
There’s plenty of Italian, French, and Spanish spots for fancy European fare in the city, but Austro-German? Such cultural gems tend to be harder to find, which is why Wallsé tips the scales in terms of capturing the robust, hearty flavors of these European regions. The chic, intellectual Kaffeehaus tradition finds its place in New York here, with sleek, dark designs plus Expressionist art making clear the mission to make fine dining and fine art meet in the same wonderful space. Dishes range from the heavier, more traditional plates of Spätzle (braised rabbit, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts) and Veal Wiener Schnitzel (potato and cucumber salad, lingonberries), to lighter fare like Porcini (gnocchi, potato broth, chives). Desert won’t disappoint, with perfectly flaky, Schlag-dolloped apple strudel there for the taking.
163 West 10th Street, Manhattan
163 West 10th Street, Manhattan
If you fancy a cup of tea and a unique experience, then truly niche tea room Té Company is exactly where you’ll want to while away an afternoon together in the West Village. With a focus on oolong teas from Taiwan, this specialized shop offers a chance to taste and sample special teas in the oolong realm that are often overlooked. The vibe is simple, spare and serene, perfect for sipping on something soothing and putting your arms around one another on a mild, relaxing afternoon. A Taiwanese-inspired snack menu includes delicacies like sweet kumquats, spicy peanuts and braised pork belly over rice, and in-depth tea tastings are available for booking that include introductory, informed tastings and promise one of their famous pineapple linzers.
Secret Garden at St. Luke in the Fields
487 Hudson Street, Manhattan
It may seem like winter will stretch on without end, but the city is already showing signs of a budding spring with those few mild, sunny days that inspire us to wander outside and bask in the winter sunlight. Cold or not, the secret garden oasis at the 200-year-old church St. Luke in the Fields is a hidden wonder that bursts with sweet, serious, romantic delight. Comprised of six sections that weave silently through the urban landscape above and around it, your lovely stroll will consist of circled enclosures of benches and trees, lavender, pink and white blooms (in the spring), long open expanses, cherry trees, and 200 year old maple trees all enclosed within the church’s stately stone walls. Whether you save it for a sunny day or take in that white winter gloom with a bit of romanticism, walking along the tree-lined allée with your love will bring you all the peace and gentle sweetness of a soul-renewing stroll.
28 Cornelia Street, Manhattan
The simple, rustic charm of Palma is the perfect setting for the rich, authentic Italian cuisine that’s served there. Countryside villa vibes abound, with white walls and a wood-beam ceiling that bring a sense of serenity and leisure to enjoying a decadent serving of pasta. The Italian-Provençal cooking style here dates back to generations of family recipes and techniques, for a titillating spread of crispy Arancini, prosciutto filled Tortellini in Brodo, Agnolotti Ricotta e Spinaci in a full-flavored tomato basil sauce, and superb cuts of veal, like their Cotoletta alla Milanese. A candlelit glow, fresh flowers all around and a superb glass of wine make this West Village gem more like a romantic cottage getaway in the Italian countryside, so when you’re feeling an escapade, this is your place.
143 Perry Street, Manhattan
143 Perry Street, Manhattan
Beer, wine, and sexy, swanky darkness are the main attractions at The Otheroom, a West Village nook of a bar that’s perfect for lowkey dates where it’s all about having a conversation. The fact that you’ll be straining your eyes to see the menu just means you’ll have the privacy to PDA and get boozy on ritzy craft beers and an extensive old and new world wine list without being bothered. It’s cozy, seductive, and intimate, with a menu that changes every week to ensure you’re getting the best and brightest in beer and wine.
Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street, Manhattan
You’ve been to the Met, the MoMA, and the Whitney, but have you been to the Rubin? This museum focuses primarily on Himalayan art, culture, and ideas, with a series of rotating and permanent exhibits that span Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and many more. An especially impressive Tibetan art collection is the museum’s star, with awe-inspiring scroll paintings (thangka), sculptures, masks, textiles and illuminated manuscripts on view for you and your love to marvel at. Current exhibitions include Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, The Wheel of Intentions, The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room, and Masterworks of Himalayan Art.