One of the city's best kept secrets
Vai is amazing, I've ordered pretty much everything on the menu and have never received a dish that wasn't carefully thought out and cooked perfectly. The chef, Vincent, has an incredible talent for bringing new flavor profiles into traditional Mediterranean dishes and is an absolute master with seafood.
The staff is friendly and helpful and the vibe is fantastic - everyone there, be they patrons or servers or bartenders, are always smiling. That, for me, says it all.
7/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Neighborhood Find
This restaurant and food absolutely blew me away. Finally great food fairly priced and great wine list. Will definitely be back many times.
7/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Best UWS Restaurant
Beautiful presentation. Innovative (but not weird) menu. Great food. Conscientious, professional service. Are we really on the Upper West Side? A neighborhood place that doesn't feel like the other neighborhood places, Vai is hands down, the best restaurant in the neighborhood.
7/14/2013 12:00:00 AM
I love Vai. The food is outrageous and never disappoints. Vincent and his staff are the best.
7/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Via is a small restaurant with a great vibe. The staff was nice and attentive; the food delicious. We opted for the three course price fixe which gave us a good sample of their seasonal menu. The only complaint (if you could even call it that) is that told the waiter I didn't eat pork or shellfish. He said that could be accommodated when I ordered. However the salad course came out with prosciutto and the next course (Chef's choice) was octopus. They changed both immediately.
It's a great little place in the neighborhood. I'd definitely recommend it.
7/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
The food is perfectly prepared and delicious. Up to date Northern Mediterranean. Nuanced flavors, attractive plating. The service was attentive beyond any need. The brick wall ambiance makes it a great meeting spot. The evening I was there it was all well-heeled folks in their 40s and 50s. A great spot for drinks and splitting appetizers. It is a small room, and reservations seem like a good idea but it wasn't completely packed all the time. I racked up an impressive bill in a short time, so be aware of that. It was worth the cost, though, considering the whole experience.
7/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
I keep going back
The food is consistently delicious. One of my favorite restaurants. Been going to Vai since its original location and this one is less cramped and it's always a nice night out.
7/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
Better late than never
We expected this place to be good, but what we found was spectacular. Don't miss.
7/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Vai is one of our three favorite restaurants on the Upper West Side.
The food is exceptional, the service is usually exceptional , as well,
Though this past Saturday, we met friends there, having RAVED about
Our last server, Who was not only knowledgeable about wine and
Liquor but she was also charming and very amusing, which really enhanced
Our evening. Saturday our server was not well versed in anything and
We had to seam him out for questions, refills, etc. it definitely detracted
From the dining experience. However, that said , it is a wonderful
Restaurant, overseen by the owner/ chef, I'm not sure. A tall gentleman
In the front.
7/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
High quality, satisfying food served in a convivial setting. The owner is omnipresent, making sure guests feel welcome and taken care of. A place we return to again and again.
8/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
Ambitious neighborhood spot
There are very few UWS that arre ambitious AND deliver on these ambitions. If you're looking for a "better" meal on the UWS, then this is your place. Indeed, there are very few other options in the neighborhood in this regard. I have t had a bad dish.
8/3/2013 5:00:00 PM
New Favorite Restaurant
The food at Vai is Amazing! Everything we ordered has been wonderful. The octopus and buratta ravioli appetizers really standout. The entrees such as the Beef Duo, Whole Branzino (which they can filet for you) and the Veal Chop were simply delicious and tasty. You can't go wrong with the pasta- perfectly cooked. The staff is friendly and super knowledgable about the menu and the drinks. I highly recommend the Watermelon Margarita. It's a small place and fills up quickly. Had mad reservations both times we went. Both times seated right away. Probably won't be so easy once more people discover this place. They do have seating at the bar which I definitely wouldn't mind trying out sometime soon.
8/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
Impressed. Loved it!
Really enjoyed this place. I'd been reading good reviews about it for a while and it lived up to the hype. Looking forward to going back!
8/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Lovely neighorhood find
Our waitress was engaging and knowledgeable about the food, including the welcome nibbles. Food and drinks were terrific, as was the service. We'll definitely be back.
8/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great - as usual
A wonderful way to celebrate my husband's 72nd birthday. The food was delectable, our waitress was knowledgeable and friendly and her choice of wine was first rate.
8/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
I just love this restaurant. the food is outstanding - flavorful, fresh and original. had the scallops which were incredible. Went with our kids to celebrate 2 of them going to college.They loved the food and the fact that it was a special dinner. This place has become a favorite of mine on the UWS.
8/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
Warm, cozy environment with
Warm, cozy environment with personal service. We loved it!
8/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
Went to Vai on.a recommendation for a double date. We were all very pleased. Its solid cuisine witha mediteranean flavor. Good fish and vegetarian options. They have meat as well but we didn't try any of those dishes. Restaurant had a nice feel to it. We ate outdoors. Our server was good. It seems like they have a main menu and a seasonal one which changes...like that. They have enough food options without being overwhelming. A little on the pricier side but we would all return again
8/24/2013 12:00:00 AM
Never having been in this neighborhood, we took a chance based on the reviews and we loved it! We sat in the window and had a great view of the passersby. We were right next to the bar which looked like a great place to sit if you were just having a glass of wine with a friend or were alone, and it wasn't too noisy but it was lively. The food was great - creative and cooked to perfection. Presentation was lovely and portions just right. We'll be back!
8/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Amazing restaurant! It makes
Amazing restaurant! It makes me happy every time I go there!
9/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
Outdoors at Vai
We had a big family group, with people coming and going plus two babies. We sat outside and the staff couldn't have been lovelier or more patient with our lack of organization. The food is always terrific at Vai. I've eaten indoors many times with less crazy groups, and it's always good.
9/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
A unexpected find
First time at this restaurant. Choose it because of its location--near the Beacon Theater. All 3 of us were very impressed with the food and the great service, including 2 small complimentary "tasting desserts." I got high praise from my dinner companions for having selected this place and we will definitely return. 3 pasta entrees and a bottle of wine for about $100, including tip, rates as a "bargain" in this area. Only caution, is that the sign for the entrance is a bit hidden between 2 larger restaurants and you may walk right by it. Note the address when you go and look for it.
9/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great service and food
I went here with my mom for her birthday. We both loved it. The waiter was very attentive. Here is what we ate: Hamachi and Yellowfin crudo - this was done very well. The avocado was very ripe and melted in your mouth. The fish was extremely fresh and I loved the sauce. Baby tuscan kale- it was a refreshing salad but not terribly special. Roasted brussel sprouts- these sprouts were sweet and crispy. So delicious! Burrata ravioli - this was a very heavy dish. Tasted good but I feel that they could have done more with the sauce. Then they gave complementary almond cream pots. These were delicious. AND it was my mother's birthday so they gave her a complimentary chocolate mousse. So nice of them!! love the attention to detail.
9/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
Excellent food & value, but loud
Food was really great and well priced. Good wine list. Very good service.
Only negative is that iris very loud - lots if hard surfaces.
9/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
This place is a gem. Awesome food , creativity prepared. We had a great dinner
and will return soon. Small, intimate and bursting with style & pizazz.
9/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
I enjoyed one of the top ten
I enjoyed one of the top ten meals of my life at Vai! The chef is not only creative, but also able to prepare each dish to perfection. Wait staff is warm, friendly, knowledgeable and professional. From appetizers to coffee, it was a pleasure.
9/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
My new favourite neighborhoos spot!
The food here is mind-blowlingly good... the brussel sprouts, the crudos, the branzino... I really go here now when I want a guaranteed GREAT meal. Yum.
9/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Keeps getting better
I have been eating at Vai for quite a few years now, since it was in its old location. I have always enjoyed the food, but I have noticed that it continues to improve. On our last visit a few days ago, the menu was just superb, the best ever. Vincent clearly does not rest on his laurels and it shows. Vai is one of the best restaurants on the UWS.
9/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Excellent Food: Too Much Noise
This would be one of my favorites, if they brought down the noise level. Too bad.
9/27/2013 5:00:00 PM
Great place, lots of character,
Great place, lots of character, great food! Would go back!!
9/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
Awsome food, but super noisy.
Everything we ate was wonderful, from the ceviche appetizer through the fish special to the chocolate desert.
Noise levels are very high, even though we had a corner spot.
Service was good, with a slight glitch
10/4/2013 12:00:00 AM
We thoroughly enjoyed Vai. Small, unique menu with something for everyone, the food was outstanding. We celebrated our anniversary there and were able to eat outside (in October!), which made for a delightful night. While the wait staff was a little slow to take drink and food orders, the host is polite and efficient -- and even took our order. Better have a reservation! This place was packed and deserved to be.
10/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
My dining partner and I had a fabulous meal at Vai. I had seen the good reviews, but was somewhat skeptical. Every single dish was superb. The service was thoughtful and attentive. I'm looking forward to returning!
10/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
Vai's menu is structured and the first courses chosen by gracious chef/owner, Vincent. I think there were 3-5 courses offered. The food was perfectly seasoned and amazingly fresh. We were quite pleased with it all, including the service and tasteful decor. Vai is no ordinary restaurant. I suspect that it is frequented by people in the neighborhood and is yet to be discovered by the epicureans. However, I'm sure that once they are found out, the price will go up. With just a few minor additions (i.e., amuse bouches), Vai could be worthy of a Michelin Star. I'm not sure what ambitions the chef has, but it's that good. I highly recommend this charming and delightful restaurant. My advice is to reserve ahead.
10/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Delicious food and a place
Delicious food and a place that knows how to welcome their customers back!
10/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Menu Just Keeps Getting Better
The food at Vai has been consistently good since it opened, yet the menu and execution just keep getting better. Vincent has really outdone himself with the latest menu. The UWS has long had mediocre neighborhood restaurants: Vai has given us the rare gift of a truly exceptional restaurant with a neighborhood feel.
10/31/2013 5:00:00 PM
I have been to Vai many times, and each time I feel as if I were swept away to another place and time. The owner and staff make you feel special and the food is always excellent. The food is comparible to the best restaurants in Manhattan but at an affordable price. I highly recommend Vai to all who love fine dining.
11/1/2013 5:00:00 PM
This is how it's done. The
This is how it's done. The place was jam-packed but the food was wonderful and the service efficient & friendly - this place makes it look so easy. Can't wait to go back.
11/7/2013 4:00:00 PM
Small restaurant with a personal
Small restaurant with a personal touch. Lovely meal, terrific personal service, couldn't have been better.
11/8/2013 4:00:00 PM
my favourite UWS restaurant
I love this place, the food is Dee-Lishious. I always seem to order the Branzino and brussel sprouts...a little decadent and rich, but oooh so good. Thanks for a great dining experience again!
11/13/2013 4:00:00 PM
great food not so great service...
Pros: The food is really great and well prepared
Cons: The service is not that good and definitely not professional
In the end of the day though, the food counts, so this is recommended
11/15/2013 4:00:00 PM
love this place
Our second time eating here. Food as creative and original as it was scrumptious.
11/15/2013 4:00:00 PM
A perfect evening
A wonderful menu that combines creative seasonal favors. Staff was superb and wine list quite nice. The brazino is a favorite!
11/17/2013 4:00:00 PM
Still The Best
Vai continues to impress as arguably the best restaurant on the Upper West Side and in Manhattan in general. I have been a regular since it first opened. Last Saturday my party of 4 let chef Vincent "do his thing" with all of us ordering the 5 course tasting menu. The five courses actually turned into 10, as each of us received a different dish than our friends--a lovely concept. Among the winners (all) the hamachi duo, pastas, arctic char, scallops, and beef duo all stood out. House chosen by wine pairings (all generous pours) complimented each course and added to a great experience, punctuated by excellent attentive service.
When considering where to dine, we usually gravitate to Vai. It's just that good!
11/22/2013 4:00:00 PM
teeny space big food
Although at a larger space than before, it feels very cramped when dining. At a 2-top table, the waiter was trying to put two appetizers on large plates and it simply could not fit. Perhaps smaller plates?? The kale appetizer was delicious as was the snapper. Service was good although at times the waiter would suddenly appear by your side which was somewhat startling as yuo could not hear he was approaching (loud) nor see him (tight space). Overall, worth going. Owner not that friendly upon arrival.
11/29/2013 4:00:00 PM
The food was great. We really
The food was great. We really enjoyed the hamachi and pasta courses. My fish was beautifully cooked. The lamb was tasty but tough and took a lot of chewing. The polenta side dish that came with it might have been my favorite part of the meal. Our main complaint was that the service was very slow. We waited almost thirty minutes before someone came to take our order and another fifteen at the end to get someone's attention for the check. There were a number of servers tidying tables and refilling water, but it seemed like there was only one waiter for the whole place. Everyone was very friendly and professional, but the meal took twice as long as it should have. Hopefully the restaurant was just short-staffed because of the holiday weekend.
11/29/2013 4:00:00 PM
Very good Mediterranean food
This small restaurant is a little heaven for foodies. The food is very good and the spot is very romantic. The wine list is small but with a good price / value. The service is ok but it took a little long to get the 3 course menu. The tables are close to each other but it's cozy and with all the candles very romantic.
11/30/2013 4:00:00 PM
Delicious food and fabulous service
We were a large group - a table of 10 rowdy, enthusiastic dinners but Michael was efficient, delightful and handled us so deftly. The food was delicious, enticingly presented and all arrived hot. Despite so many plates all needing to arrive at the same time. The bread was out of this world. It did turn out to be a little pricey, and the restaurant is pretty noisy but this wasn't a problem for our party.
12/6/2013 4:00:00 PM
The food IS the thing
3rd visit since my first in early summer. Have recommended it to several neighbors/friends who have all reported the same experience with the food....borderline awesome. The venue's small, with a clear & significant following. A prime time reservation is going to be met with a bit of chaos....goes with the sq foot territory. Get past all that, take your seat when available, and you will be rewarded for your patience. Chef is on his game with the kitchen. We were 7 and each was as happy as the next. So book a reservation, arrive no earlier than on-time, and keep your zen until you reach your table. After that.....awaken !
12/6/2013 4:00:00 PM
Terrific food and Vincent
Terrific food and Vincent truly knows how to make you feel welcomed and appreciated.
12/6/2013 4:00:00 PM