Permanently Closed - Vai Restaurant and Spuntino Bar

4.4
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200 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. Vai, meaning “Go” in Italian, is a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant with Italian influence which has established itself as a neighborhood staple for the past 8 years.

Owner and Executive Chef Vincent Chirico delights his guests with a carefully curated menu featuring delicate & refined dishes, created with the freshest seasonal ingredients.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Mediterranean, Italian
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Hours of operation
Daily 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
Sat, Sun 12:00 pm–3:00 pm
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Phone number
(212) 362-4500
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Vincent Chirico
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Catering
We are accepting reservations for holiday parties. Please inquire with restaurant.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Between 80 and 81 street
Additional
Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wine
What 200 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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G
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was very good but they changed the menu so you are not able to select your appetizers. Our waiter was very nice but the food was slow in coming out.

r
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Great date night venue. Very expensive, limited menu. The server was a bit odd

JS
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time here...will definitely come back. Inventive & delicious.

L
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the prix fixe menu! Intimate space, great staff, excellent food and wine!

LR
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

The menu online and what was on offer was vastly different. We were supposed to get a chefs tasting of appetizers which was only side of greens and some bread. No ala carte options-pretty much a fixed menu to choose from. And on the pricier side.

f
New York Area
128 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Don't know why it took us so long to go here but we will go back again soon. Special menu at $39 is great!

SP
Dublin
22 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is amazing! It’s a very unique menu style, where you pick one main course and the chef picks the appetizers, sides and dessert. You share everything with your table, except your main course, so you get to try so many different dishes, all of which were absolutely delicious. I told the server about my food preferences and they were honored. There were four of us there and we all loved our main courses and all of the creative, incredibly tasty dishes that came with them. It’s really a great value for the amount of dishes you get. I can’t wait to go back! The quality of food is definitely among the best in NYC.

U
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The fixed menu with the chef preparing the antipasto and 1st course was at 1st a little unnerving, but the selection and the presentation was superb. Not an everyday meal but one for special occasions. They also have an ala carte menue. The whole fish was prepared perfectly. The backed little neck clams were to die for.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great time at Vai! The food was outstanding - the ingredients were fresh and the kitchen clearly pays attention down to the smallest details of every dish. The restaurant has a cozy yet energetic vibe. The servers/manager were very attentive to our larger group. I would recommend for any occasion!

s
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

VaiWas a pleasant surprise. We had several different choices from the prix fixe menu. The brick chicken was tender and flavorful, the Bronzino was light and delicate, and the red snapper catch of the day was delicious. The appetizers were all wonderful. The price was unbeatable for the quality of the food. This is a definite must stop on the upper West side.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great value for money for the menu. Nice ambience and a perfect venue for dinner with friends

FJ
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

I was extremely unhappy with this restaurant. I let them know with my reservation that I was allergic to garlic and also called to make sure they could accommodate me. They assured me they could. And reassured me again upon arrival. I was reassured several times by my waiter as well. While eating dinner I found 2 garlic cloves in the dish I was served. I was severely ill all night and couldn’t sleep til 4 in the morning. Ruined a day of my brief vacation. They apologized and comped my meal but that did not make up for this serious carelessness.

OT
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always have an amazing meal and time at vai ! From the food to the service, this place is a favorite. Chef Vincent always does a great job with keeping the menu fresh and exciting!

GO
New York Area
61 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 1

What is clear, this place has gone through a transformation. If the good looking dark featured gent who always could be found in this space assuring excellence has anything to do with this version of V, there are too few signs of it. Things have moved more toward the Thai side of the street. This could be good but here the flavors fall short. The inclusion of loud hard rock music is different and out of place for what I was expecting: Mediterranean and foodie worthy fare and atmosphere. Neither to be found here any longer. Live and learn. Important to mention, service was good. I wish this version well, they’ll need it.

RG
New England
4 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

While the food was excellent, the service was lacking. While the servers were prompt with taking our order and getting the first course out, it was the small things that would have made the experience more enjoyable. For example, when serving appetizers for a group of people, making sure there were serving utensils available. Similarly, we ordered one of the dinners for 2 people, and again the serving utensils were lacking. While there was some time that elapsed between the first course and the main course, the servers were inattentive to us during this time. After we finished our cocktails, we were hoping to get some wine with dinner. We couldn't get the servers attention. And then they came and cleared away our first course dishes and brought out the dinner almost immediately. We ordered wine promptly at this point, but were done with dinner by the time it came out. A little more attentiveness would have gone a long way to make the experience more enjoyable.

a
New England
12 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A great upper West Side gem. The room is comfortable and stylish. The menu is a rotating Mediterranean mix. You shouldn’t miss trying vai.

AA
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on April 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Vai.staff are helpful and the good is great

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was delicious and we will make this a regular neighborhood spot.

M
New York Area
78 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Vai Restaurant never fails us and on this occasion our group of four sat at the shared dining table. We totally enjoyed this location and table. Made the evening that much more festive. The balance of service, food and ambiance was one again exceptional.

b
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Used to love this place because the food was great! Not sure if they switched chefs but food was under seasoned. The classic items we loved are were less good, still very enjoyable.

NY
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is hands down one of my favorite UWS restaurants. The owner is a fantastic host; the food is fantastic; the service is just right. It’s a great date night spot.

LW
New York Area
149 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We like Vai a lot, but this meal was a bit disappointing. There were 4 of us, and 3 of us ordered the veal scallopini, a special that sounded great. But it was pounded too thin, overcooked, and somewhat lacking in sauce or flavor. On the other hand, the Brussel sprouts and octopus were great.

UW
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food is above average but overpriced $32 for a plate of pasta is just outrageous

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Not enough servers, poorly managed

M
New York Area
78 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Neighborhood restaurant on the UWS - without doubt. Sense of arrival os always genuine and gracious. Service is unobtrusive and anticipatory. I didn't even see my water glass get filled and drink about 4 or 5 glasses over a meal. The food is artful and perfectly presented. Wine selection and wine service is elegant and value oriented. My only complaint, it was cold outside that night... but inside we felt warm, welcomed and appreciated as they always make you feel.

NC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

very good service, food was really tasty and the environment was nice

LN
New York Area
58 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 2

The food is delicious, but there are very few menu selections, and they are all high priced. For example, there were only 2 pasta items, each more than $30 for small, appetizer-size portions. The fish was excellent, with a side dish of beautifully cooked broccoli, but even with the (very good) bread, we did not feel like we’d eaten a satisfying dinner for which the bill was more than $50 each.One odd note: an Italian restaurant with almost no Italian wine? Since someone is cooking very well, I hope the management can consider dinner from the perspective of the diner and offer a few more reasonable options.

AA
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place!!!

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a hidden gem on UWS. Food was excellent, service amazing, Cant wait to go again!

n
New York Area
111 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Small portions for pasta which is a disappointment at the prices. Brussel sprouts were a let down. Cool atmosphere. Fish was great as was tuna appetizer.

OT
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service are always excellent. We love going to Vai!!!

N
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

Restaurant was freezing cold. Food was sub par, yet uber expensive. Would not recommend.

N
New York Area
126 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic!! The owner/manager is an excellent host He made us feel very welcome and well taken care of. The filet is the best! Arctic char is perfectly prepared. The scallops are some of the best I ever had.

M
New York Area
78 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We just love everything g about VAI

RM
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious meal. We ordered the burrata and hamachi appetizers and the branzino and lobster tagliatelle entrees. Everything tasted great, as did the grapefruit and Thai basil martini. I hope to find my way to the UWS soon to eat here again.

A
Washington DC
36 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Warm and friendly, with nice wine list. Candlelit with exposed brick walls, menu changes but some highlights are the crudo and also the pasta (if burrata ravioli on menu, go for it). They often start with grilled sturdy bread and some kind of spread (recently, creamy/fresh ricotta). The octopus is very good and so is the burrata starter with grapes. sounds out there, but it really works.

s
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Four of us met for dinner Friday at Vai and we can't wait to go back. The environment had a simple/minimal and trendy feel. The host was friendly and welcoming. We had the arctic char, filet of beef, Bronzino and scallops, everyone enjoyed the dishes. The portions were a little on the "nouvelle" side but this is a plus for some of us. The pear dessert was also tasty.

DU
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food, as always, was delicious. Our waiter, Loris, was engaging and knowledgeable. I hesitate to dine there because the noise level can be deafening.

JL
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Always good food, sometimes a wee bit crowded, as most places on the uws; I will keep going back.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great night

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