Vai Restaurant
Vai Restaurant

Vai Restaurant

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.vairestaurant.com/
  • Phone: (212) 362-4500
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Daily 5:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Vincent Chirico
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: We are accepting reservations for holiday parties. Please inquire with restaurant.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Between 80 and 81 street
  • Parking: No
A word from Vai Restaurant
A great meal is not just about the food and wine. A great meal is not just one that fills you up. A great meal opens up your senses and introduces you to new tastes. What we choose to do at Vai is take the simple act of eating, an ordinary activity, and make it extraordinary. Our staff will make your visit an amazing experience. Vai, which means "go" in Italian, is a beautiful space, warm atmosphere, filled with people who care. We will treat you as a guest in our home. Sit, relax, breathe...let us take care of you. Let us create a memory.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMediterranean
Vai Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
102 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (64)fit for foodies (63)great for outdoor dining (30)romantic (25)special occasion (21)notable wine list (17)hot spot (12)great for brunch (11)great for lunch (7)late-night find (6)vibrant bar scene (5)good for groups (5)kid-friendly (4)Show More
  • average food, awful service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    Waited 10 minutes to be seated (despite a reservation, and 2 or 3 empty tables on Friday evening), food was just ok (you could expect better for the price), undercooked pork, wine was just ok for the price as well. Added 20% gratuity on the check for no reason -- we were only 2. Warn the customers about the forced gratuity in advance. Else it's called a scam.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    Yes. It may be a little crowded... And if you dont know how to order off the menu go to applebees youll be just fine. But if you want a menu that is clear, concise and will leave you telling your friends about it.... Go!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2001
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    We were delighted with the care and craft of the food, and the wonderful friendly service. We had never been to Vai and picked it out from open table combined with zagat and yelp, and were pleasantly surprised. Friends had come to join us from New Jersey for a pre-concert meal, and our experience at Vai made it worth their trip!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food and service
    ShiraVIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    We came for brunch on a Saturday. Food was superb and service was attentive and kind though it's not fast. We were happy to realize they don't charge for kids pasta! There isn't much for kids there but they likes their pasta and we loved our Burrata raviolis and eggs.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice dining experience
    SAMR0
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Had the 3 course lunch on Saturday with my bf. He had the tuna duo, charred octopus and salmon-all of his dishes were amazing, especially the octopus which was cooked to absolute perfection! I had the fluke ceviche which was too citrusy (I recommend the tuna!), the burrata ravioli (to die for,wish I had more), & slow roasted pork w/ egg (just okay) I felt the dish had too much sauce & wasn't particularly flavorful. We also shared the white choc. cheesecake which was good. It was a really nice dining experience, great atmosphere which the exposed brick, intimate setting and the lighting they have. Service was outstanding as there were only 2 other tables. Def plan on returning for dinner to get the prime rib for 2!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • love vai!
    Hcl10VIP
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    Went for the Monday night lobster and wine dinner (been many times already)! The food and wine were excellent as always. The veal and lobster tail dup came out on a platter for 2 with the most delicious looking chop! Anyway, they seemed slightly understaffed for the evening, but it was still a nice time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Saturday night at Vai
    XmanVIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Good food. Very crowded waiting on a table. Always get a reservation on weekends
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious food
    Mickie
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    Food and service wonderful but noise level extremely high so it's difficult to really enjoy the great food and service since it's impossible to hear each other speak. If that can be changed, it would warrant a 10!!!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious
    SGK10023VIP
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Our meal at Vai(our second in about a month) was delicious. The deboned fish is delicious. Enjoyed everything, but drives our group crazy when we have to ask for water refills rather than it to be done without us even noticing.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Never disappointing!
    ElnjoyVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    So lucky to have this neighborhood gem across the street from me! Wonderful, savory dishes, great ambiance and knowledgeable staff. Always happy to go with friends or just to sit at the bar and have a bite...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous dinner
    Oak2bosVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Well- I relied on Open Table reviews and picked Vai for a date night dinner on a weekend getaway. What a great find! Every dish that we ordered was delicious. Service was impeccable. The owner/chef even spent a good deal of time checking on us and getting to know us. This place puts all of the best restaurants in Boston to shame. We'd definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • WOW!!
    Queen
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    We were looking for a restaurant close to the Beacon Theater and after checking reviews of several places I decided on Vai. This turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip to NYC. The food was fabulous! The wait staff was very knowledgeable and attentive. I was impressed by how much time Chef Vincent spent chatting with us. Very enjoyable!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wow
    travelerVIP
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    Friendly, professional staff, cozy and classy decor and really exquisite food. Enjoyed every single bite of all courses. Definitely going back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good meal
    KSaxVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    2nd time eating @ Vai. Food is always good. Very romantic atmosphere. The night I went, they had live Spanish music. The music was good but it was sooo loud, I had to shout to have a conversation bc it is a small space. Thought it was weird they didn't serve butter/oil with the bread and they ran out of a few things that we asked for so that was disappointing.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really good food but too cramped
    nnovikVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    The food we had was all really good and a pleasure to eat, and the space is charming. Unfortunately, it is also tiny, there is no coatroom, and as a party of two we were crammed in between two parties of four and there was just not enough room. While seated I apologized/was apologized to for jostling five times in the less than one hour we were there. In addition, there was a live guitarist tucked into a corner playing amplified music in this tiny space and it was literally impossible to have a conversation. We ate our meal quickly, refused dessert, and got out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Never disappoints
    LeeBVIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    This is one of our neighborhood go to's. Fun vibe, awesome food! The octopus appetizer was amazing and my striped bass was fantastic! My daughter had the lobster risotto with truffle. Almost fell over at the price but it was INCREDIBLE!! My only complaint is that it's a bit loud.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • seating issues
    ChelseaVIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    going for an early meal, with a reservation, to an empty restaurant the two of us were led to a back, corner table close to stinky greasy fumes from the kitchen. we asked for another table and were reluctantly given one, but not the one we preferred. the place never got full. wine were overpriced with small protions, but the food was really nice. service was scatty. overall not worth going back to in such an overloaded avenue of restaurants.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Experience
    tristeandlawrenceVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Our first time here after a show at The Beacon - greeted like we were old friends, very warmly - dining space is crowded - service was friendly and attentive though informal - food was INCREDIBLE - Pork, Scallops and Salmon were real standouts. Bread and dessert were good but not standouts like the rest of the meal. Great drinks and wine service was professional and knowledgeable - we will definitely go back. A great value for what you get in NYC!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful dinner spot on UWS
    DrBass
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Read the reviews and wasn't disappointed. Service, food and dining expererience were superb in a warm and cozy atmosphere. From being greeted by the owner/chef to our waiter who was excellent and the sommelier who was very attentive, food was simply prepared but the flavors popped in our octopus and mushroom appetizers and veal chop and seafood risotto. Spanish cabernet sauvignon was excellent too. Highly recommend this neighborhod gem!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious!
    HblondVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Really great food, excellent service! Three course brunch was perfect :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful ability to handle a crowd
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Warm friendly meal as we descended on this restaurant. They were gracious as we came in waves to eat at a nice neighborhood restaurant
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • always a great meal!
    Tina
    Dined on 10/9/2014
    We had another wonderful evening at Vai -- delicious food, wonderful service, surprise treats from the chef. We will definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect to the last bite
    Foodfordays
    Dined on 10/9/2014
    Took my boyfriend here to celebrate and it was perfect. The food was so delicious that we left not a single bite over. Expensive but worth it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • food4meVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    Excellent food, very accomodating service, a real treat. Based on a good experience last year, a friend and I had dinner at Vai before attending a show at the Beacon. We had arrived a little late due to traffic, but the service was great, we were on time, and really enjoying the marvelous pris fixe three course dinner. When cofee was delayed and we only received one cup, not two, the chef comped the coffee and also gave us a complementary dessert. Over all, delicious food, a professional attitude and a positive experience. I will definitely return and highly recommend Vai.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mondays are quiet
    Tony
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    I've been to Vai twice. The food is always very good. One time was a weekend and we had a very long wait and it was so noisy that it was difficult to talk (small place, brick walls, enthusiastic diners). The second time was a Monday night, and it was a completely different experience. Relaxed and quiet.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great dining
    nycfoodie1
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    great dining experience best in the neighborhood inventive excellent food great cocktails
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    i made a reservation for 8PM, my table was not available because the diners before us ran late. Was given a free glass of white while we waited, but ended up finally being seated at the bar around 8:30. Great food, disorganized front of house.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Impeccable Everytime
    jsigh
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Nothing compares to the Burrata ravioli, which is rich and delectable every single time. The prime rib was cooked to perfection and the artichokes were delicious and crispy, a perfect texture balance with the creamy parsnip purée. Usually I choose from the amazing wine list but opted to try the passion fruit margarita. It was refreshing, sweet and spicy all at the same time. To top it off, the service was beyond exceptional!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Like tasting menu but rushed us!
    RayUWSVIP
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    Participating in a tasting menu allows you to taste several wonderful items but the problem with the experience at Vai was that the servers started bringing food at a rapid pace, which ruins the evening. I had to tell them to slow it down and should have done so when we first ordered. Short of that, the food was very good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So wonderful,we went back again!
    KJbell
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We made 8PM reservations for a Friday night, because we wanted a place that was walking distance from our place for the weekend. WOW! What an experience! It was totally packed (Friday night in NYC)! and very loud with chatter, but we were seated quickly in this small intimate place and looked after by an expert staff. The food was worth the decible level. The Branzino was superb. So, 2 nights later after walking around looking at places, we decided that Vai had to be it again, so we waited ever so little for an outside table to empty and were treated as royalty for the second time! This time my husband had the Branzino, and I had the 2 specials... the warm asparagus appetizer and the scallops over turnip polenta. Again, superb!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious
    DOITVIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Great service and food to match. The proprietor, Vincent, goes out of his way to ensure that every detail is as near perfect as possible
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GREAT AGAIN
    nycfoodie1
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    BEEN HERE SERVERAL TIMES FOOD INCREDIBLY CONSIS EXCELLENT GREAT EXPERIENCE OVERALL
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Will go back
    Firsttry
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We were there for lunch, it was very quiet. Food is good, service was perfect, the waitress was really nice.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food but very noisy inside
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The food is excellent, and the high rating is only because we sat outside. The inside is so noisy that, in spite of the great cooking, we will never come here when the weather prevents outside dining.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A great surprise
    stevenycVIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    I chose Vai based on location for a dinner with a couple of friends. The place was great. Food excellent, wine list was small but well varied, the brick walls and candles made for a warm environment. The service was attentive but reserved. Overall, a place to which I will gladly return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still a Gem
    Frankie
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Vai continues to impress us. Our waitress was lovely, the food was divine. We dine early, so noise level was not an issue. It's still a gem in the wasteland of Upper West Side restaurants.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Terrific food
    FrequentdinerVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Vai stands out for its fresh twists on classic fare. The complimentary tasting-size appetizer features white bean salad and silky hummus. Salads include peach slices, veal chop comes with sauce sparked by truffles oil, fried fresh artichokes are a stand-out side with crispy whole branzino. Even the music was good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • terrible service & limited menu
    livinginManhattan
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The restaurant seated us on time. Drinks were good. The menu is very limited and for someone with dietary issues, that was a challenge. The service was terrible for such a high-end and small restaurant. My adult daughter and I were ignored and treated as if the waitress wished we would go away. the people around us seemed to be served and treated far more attentively by other staff. A dish for two was shown on the menu with its per person cost -- but the "pp" was in tiny letters next to the price. It only comes for two -- why not show the actual price??? In short, not a place I would recommend or to which I would return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was fantastic
    joefood
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Came here before a show at the Beacon- the restaurant was pretty empty, but we got our pick of a table, choosing a great table by the window. Also, the staff was very attentive, and very helpful with recommendations. Drinks were replenished quickly, food arrived at a perfect pace. Everyone loved their appetizers particularly the octopus, Brussels sprouts, and salad with peaches and ricotta. The entrees were also wonderful, and the portions were just the right size. The complimentary pot au creme and chocolates were the perfect finishing touch. I would definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Service
    KackyVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Picked Vai because of location and read pretty good reviews on various sites. Our table wasn't great (right by the kitchen) but there were 8 of us so we couldn't be too picky. Our waiter was Tyler. Tyler made a good restaurant experience an exceptional one. From start to finish, Tyler was helpful, patient, professional and paid attention to detail. Our food was very good. With 8 at the table there was opportunity to try many dishes. I tried the grilled octopus, the burrata ravioli, branzino, artichokes and brussel sprouts. All were great dishes. I would definitely go back again especially if I could request Tyler as my waiter. He was outstanding.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.