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West Village charming (French) restaurant?

Sandro Tuzzo Aug 31, 2009 10:13 AM

Hello. I am planning a visit to NYC from San Francisco over this Labor Day Weekend and could use a good recommendation for a quaint restaurant (preferably French) to take a woman whom I've recently met out for dinner on Sunday night.

I'm hoping to spend no more than $150 (including wine) and am trying to stay in either the West or East Village because I absolutely love walking around that part of Manhattan.

Thanks, in advance, for any and all of your tips!


  1. smokeandapancake Aug 31, 2009 10:18 AM

    YOu can go to tartine and bring your own.

    1. c
      chow_gal Aug 31, 2009 10:36 AM

      Le Gigot is what you want. Don't go to Tartine as you'll likely have to wait in line for a seat in this small spot. Not good for a first date.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chow_gal
        ChefJune Aug 31, 2009 11:30 AM

        I love Tartine, but it is not what you want for this occasion.

        I second Le Gigot. very romantic and good food. Or you could go to Gascogne on 8th ave at 18th street in Chelsea. also delicious food and wonderful ambiance.

        1. re: ChefJune
          amyleechen Aug 31, 2009 07:33 PM

          I love Le Gigot. Sweet and romantic. If you make reservations, you miight want to request not being seated at the table for two just in side the door that requires you to sit side by side.

      2. p
        psybab Aug 31, 2009 03:16 PM

        Bellavitae, though italian, is a fantastic little romantic restaurant in the area.

        1. c
          cricri7 Aug 31, 2009 04:46 PM

          I went to Extra virgin in the West village and it is good and a good place for romantic, but not over the top.

          1. h
            hellomarisa Aug 31, 2009 05:51 PM

            Le Gigot is a great choice. The Little Owl is charming too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hellomarisa
              psybab Aug 31, 2009 07:32 PM

              ah, also, Hundred Acres is a great romantic place.

              1. re: psybab
                amyleechen Aug 31, 2009 07:38 PM

                We were just at Little Owl last night. Terrific food, lovely "village-y" ambience, the noise level was much louder than we remember. Le Gigot or Little Owl are wonderful choices.

            2. Sandro Tuzzo Sep 1, 2009 06:40 AM

              Thanks everyone! I like pretty much all of your suggestions. Of course, I had hoped that a lot of you New Yorkers were going to be out of town for the holiday weekend so getting a reservation would not be too challenging....which is proving to not be the case. Since they're pretty much all booked, I'm guessing that there is a decent chance that I can get something if I call the day of and/or day before to see if there are any cancellations?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Sandro Tuzzo
                Spends Rent on Food Sep 1, 2009 06:49 AM

                Yes, and as mentioned above you can always try your luck in line at tartine - no reservations and BYO. I think you'll enjoy it coming from SF, it's got a vibe that's similar to places I remember well from my trips out west.

                1. re: Spends Rent on Food
                  ABT Sep 1, 2009 11:39 AM

                  I really wouldn't recommend Tartine for a date. It's more of a casual neighborhood cafe with dependable if not great food in my experience. As noted below, Le Sirene is much better, as is Le Gigot if there are any cancellations!

                  You could also try Cafe Cluny, right in that area. Charming corner, food is always reliable and space is cozy.

                  1. re: ABT
                    Spends Rent on Food Sep 1, 2009 04:57 PM

                    I guess it all depends on personal taste in date spots. I took my wife there on a date (before she was my wife) and we both loved it. It is quaint, as the OP's requested, the food is solid, and is very much true to a classic french bistro.

                    I agree it is no Le Gigot but I think it works as an alternative since the OP said most of the others were booked.

                    1. re: ABT
                      Sandro Tuzzo Sep 1, 2009 11:10 PM

                      Cafe Cluny seems to be touted for it's brunch, although dinner sounds solid as well. So far, it looks like I can reserve now at both La Sirene or Cluny......is it a toss-up between the two for dinner, or do you have a preference?

                      1. re: ABT
                        chow_gal Sep 2, 2009 06:32 AM

                        Absolutely agree with you ABT. Not a good date place.

                  2. r
                    RCC Sep 1, 2009 11:31 AM

                    Well, it's not in the West Village, but La Sirene is only about an extra 5 minute cab ride south to Soho. This place is much. much better than Tartine for the food and it's BYOB as well.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RCC
                      niia Sep 1, 2009 06:56 PM

                      While not French, Little Owl is a charming West Village spot. The food is wonderful and it's small, intimate and welcoming. The corner is a picture perfect West Village spot. I work in advertising and when I sit there, I think this would be a location scout's perfect find for that sweet place where a couple meets and their relationship takes off. It's just lovely.

                      1. re: niia
                        RCC Sep 1, 2009 07:04 PM

                        We've dined at Little Owl many times and agree about the charming ambiance and solid food. It's a good suggestion, imho, but it's very popular and so the issue may be getting a reservation with so little time before Labor Day.

                    2. f
                      foodwhisperer Sep 1, 2009 11:04 PM

                      I dont know Tartine or Gigot,,, Lucien is reasonable and good and French but maybe not upscale enough . Paradou in meat market is good and french and not expensive. There's always the old standby ,, Raoul's in Soho its been around for a long time.

                      1. c
                        Catherine C in NYC Sep 3, 2009 01:00 PM

                        It's not French, but The Place on West 4th between Bank and 12th has a lovely atmosphere and good food.

                        1. m
                          mahler5 Sep 3, 2009 07:33 PM

                          Le Gigot is just what you want.

                          1. c
                            captkenjeroo Sep 3, 2009 07:43 PM

                            Agree with Little Owl, Hundred Acres and Le Gigot (your best bet, but a tiny place that books fast.)

                            Cafe Cluny is definitely cute and romantic but the food was so-so given the price. But worth a try.

                            Might want to also consider Market Table. While not quite as quaint and cozy as the above, it was once run by the partner of Little Owl and the service is incredibly gracious and the food impeccable. It's still quite charming and it's on Bedford and Carmine. Close to all the West Village cuteness and a skip / hop to SoHo.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: captkenjeroo
                              Pan Sep 11, 2009 02:00 PM

                              I haven't had a meal at Hundred Acres yet, but I love their bread pudding with caramel ice cream.

                            2. Sandro Tuzzo Sep 10, 2009 10:41 PM

                              I ended up getting a walk-in at Little Owl and LOVED IT! Thanks so much for all of your suggestions, I couldn't have done it without you.

                              1. m
                                mahjede Sep 11, 2009 02:16 PM

                                shorty's 32 is on the cusp of soho and the west village and i would reccomend it highly. it should meet your price point (depending on your wine choice of course). it's in a great little area and is a cool, dim restaurant. of course, the food is ex. cell. ent.

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