Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.05mi
  2. Distance: 0.13mi
  3. Distance: 0.20mi
  4. Distance: 0.22mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.05mi
  2. Distance: 0.13mi
  3. Distance: 0.20mi
  4. Distance: 0.22mi

About Vai Restaurant and Spuntino Bar

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.

429 Amsterdam
New York, NY 10024
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Mediterranean, Italian

Hours of Operation:
Daily 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
Sat, Sun 12:00 pm–3:00 pm

Cross Street:
Between 80 and 81 street

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(212) 362-4500

Website:
http://www.vairestaurant.com/

Catering:
We are accepting reservations for holiday parties. Please inquire with restaurant.

Executive Chef:
Vincent Chirico

Additional:
Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wine

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Vai Restaurant and Spuntino Bar Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.6

ambience

4.3

value

4.3

Noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (30)
Creative Cuisine (24)
Good for a Date (21)
See All
Cozy (18)
Fit for Foodies (18)
Authentic (10)
Fun (10)
Romantic (9)
Special Occasion (9)
Handcrafted Cocktails (9)
Tapas (9)
Good for Birthdays (8)
Casual (8)
Healthy (8)
Bar Seating (7)
Pre/post Theatre (7)
Good Vegetarian Options (7)
Good for Anniversaries (6)
Local Ingredients (6)
Notable Wine List (6)
Great for Outdoor Dining (6)
Quiet Conversation (6)
Worth the Drive (6)
Happy Hour (5)
Hot Spot (5)
Late-night Find (4)
Organic (4)
Comfort Food (3)
Seasonal (3)
Sunday Lunch (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Business Meals (2)
Kid-friendly (2)
Gluten Free Options (2)
People Watching (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Great Beer (1)
Good for Groups (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Scenic View (1)
Vegan (1)
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49 reviews
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 4 days ago

No salads on menu! No vegetarian options except 1 pasta dish. Limited menu. Tables right near door and freezing cold. Wine was served late - after appetizer.

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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 5 days ago

Delicious food! Creative menu! Fun, easy going place.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 10, 2018

The most DIVINE Italian food - really, there's no better meal to be found anywhere in Italy. The chef is extravagantly talented, and his food is served by an incredibly lovely, friendly and customer-focused team. The menu is well-priced, the room is lovely and warm. UWS diners are very fortunate indeed...

Tags: Special Occasion, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch, Business Meals, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 6, 2018

Always perfect

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on January 2, 2018

Food was outstanding. Wait staff was friendly and responsive. Makes me wish I lived in NYC.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 29, 2017

Good food and service. Music was oddly loud.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 24, 2017

fantastic place
great chef
great staff
great time

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Brunch, Worth the Drive, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 23, 2017

This was our first visit since they renovated. Really liked the food, staff and ambiance in the original, love it in its new version.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 23, 2017

Well prepared and delicious food. Love the bread and ricotta. Scallops recommended.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Thoughtful,friendly service--waitress went beyond to make suggestions, and introduce us to her favorites which were spot on. Didn't have to wait long for food. The only aspect that our family noted was the music did not match the type and quality of food nor the spirit of the time (holidays)...but it was not objectionable and everything else so wonderful that I have already recommended this place to many people. Food delicious.

Tags: Healthy, Paleo Friendly, Vegan, Authentic, Good for a Date, Local Ingredients, Comfort Food, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies, Tapas, Kid-friendly, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Casual, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Organic, Quiet Conversation, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 18, 2017

Always perfect

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 18, 2017

We went to Vai on Monday night, totally unaware that it was "no menu Monday." We've been eating at Vai regularly for several years. This meal was THE best we've ever had there and one of the best we've had anywhere. The food was amazing. And the value was incredible. Five courses with wine pairing - $49 per person. Vincent really outdid himself.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 15, 2017

We think this is a Great place, and need to frequent more often. We have been 5-6 times over the past few years, every time the Food, the Service and the Overall value, leaves us asking ourselves, Why don't we get here more often? Four of us went this past Friday, and shared the Scallops, Roasted Beats, Heirloom Carrots, Octopus and Short Ribs. Excellent, cooked to perfection.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch, Cozy, Special Occasion, Bar Seating, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Grand Rapids)·Dined on December 9, 2017

The dining concept for this restaurant is perfect - medium sized plates to be shared. I was thrilled when the server explained this because there were many items on the menu that I wanted to try. The scallops were some of the best I have ever had. Everything we had was fabulous - brussel sprouts, burrata ravioli and veal tenderloin. Can't wait to be back in NYC to go again.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 9, 2017

We had a wonderful time at Vai. We went on a Friday night before a show at the Beacon Theater and really enjoyed it all - the ambiance, friendly staff, our knowledgeable waitress, and the delicious food. Really great option for the UWS and would come back here again.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 9, 2017

We made a reservation for 6 people. We were given 3 tables shoved together, all different heights. The noise was deafening. The food was barely edible. Everything was room temperature. There was no salt, and when we requested some we were brought chunks the size of peas. I requested the necessary mortar and pestle and the waitress finally brought salt. There is nothing good to be said about any of the six meals.

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food1
ambience1
service1

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 8, 2017

Limited menu but everything we ate was outstanding.

Tags: Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 1, 2017

always a great restaurant experience here gets better and better

Tags: Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Tasting Menu, Handcrafted Cocktails, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 25, 2017

Delicious and interesting food in a pretty space with great service!

Tags: Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 24, 2017

the renovation of this neighborhood favorite seems to have been a success, it's attractive and has a more open feeling than the previous configuration. the food remains excellent. we had the delicious hamachi appetizer, heirloom carrots, and branzino. the carrots with a balsamic glaze are a wonderful new addition to the menu, and the branzino, which we have always considered a signature dish, is so good that we have given up eating branzino anywhere else. finally, the prices seem perfectly reasonable given the originality and quality of the food. go there and eat!!

Tags: Cozy, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 23, 2017

Fantastic meal and great service. For someone who has ate at many restaurants in NYC, this is one of my absolute favorites The staff is warm and friendly and makes for an amazing ambiance. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a romantic dinner with a wine bar atmosphere.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 22, 2017

Good creative cuisine. Noise level can be intolerable

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 20, 2017

Always wonderful and creative. No menu Monday is so much fun. The chef, who is terrific, makes what he feels like. And it is GREAT! Total fabulous value. $49 including wine pairing. Couldn't be better!!!!!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 18, 2017

Amazing place. Excellent food and service

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 18, 2017

Delicious food, great service and nice ambience very cozy and comfortable

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 18, 2017

Vincent is a gem of a chef. I highly recommend this restaurant as one of the best on the upper west side. Every bite is an exquisite experience. If you love exceptional food, then you must try it.

Tags: Tapas, Bar Seating, Healthy, Authentic, Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Hot Spot, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Notable Wine List, Local Ingredients, Great for Outdoor Dining, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Great Beer, Comfort Food, Organic, Fun, Casual, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 17, 2017

great experience from host to service and topped off with excellent food

Tags: Good for a Date, Happy Hour, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy, Vibrant Bar Scene
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Always good. Service is excellent, food is terrific. Great spot on the UWS.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Spuntino by Vai is even better than before. The restaurant had a warm and cozy feel. The new small plates menu for sharing adds another excellent reason to visit our favorite UWS restaurant. Scallops were perfectly prepared and the pork tenderloin was so delicious we ordered a second! Desserts were a perfect size to end the meal and were both excellent.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on November 9, 2017

A meal or drink at this restaurant will be memorable-the wine is poured into your glass from the bottle at the table-people serving are very amiable-atmosphere relaxed but classy and the homemade pasta is an indulgence. Delicious wine beer and food but for the very hungry, the meals may be a bit small.

Tags: Casual, Late-night Find
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on November 3, 2017

Fine quality food prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Creative but somewhat limited and pricey menu. Creative mixed drinks available to accompany meals. Be prepared to share dishes designed more for tasting (smaller portions) rather than offerings of individual full-size dishes. Dishes served as prepared and when ready — not all at once. Seating capacity limited. Dark bar interior space that tends to be loud with full capacity crowd and background music. Wait staff is knowledgeable, very patient and accommodating. Service tended to be on slow side with capacity crowd. Would return for the food combinations and quality. My tender rabbit cooked in sherry sauce with Maitake mushrooms and chestnuts was perfect for a fall evening.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Healthy, Casual, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Organic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine, Seasonal, Fit for Foodies, Authentic
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food4
ambience2
service4
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 25, 2017

GREAT TIME HERE
GREAT SERVICE AND FOOD
NICE ROOM

Tags: Romantic, Notable Wine List, Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 24, 2017

This is a "small plates" venue, but the plates are not priced that way. The food, however, is delicious. Great for sharing.

Tags: Tapas
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 24, 2017

Absolutely amazing meal! We loved everything we got but standouts include the Heirloom Carrots, Crudo dishes, and Burrata.

Tags: Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Local Ingredients, Bar Seating, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 23, 2017

Went for the first time and just loved it. Warm service, fabulous food. Recently redecorated and it's the perfect mix of chic and comfortable. A total find.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 21, 2017

Fantastic !!!
Great place
Food /Staff
Great bread

Tags: Fun, Happy Hour, Special Occasion, Good Vegetarian Options, Scenic View, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 18, 2017

Fantastic "New" Restaurant
Awesome food and service
Beautiful interior
Great Value

Tags: Fun, Gluten Free Options, Good Vegetarian Options, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Outdoor Dining, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 17, 2017

New incarnation includes new seating arrangements and lots of room to have an extended drink or drink and snacks. New menu is a little strained (recherché) and could use some more depth in the food area (unless they are really mostly hoping to attract drinking customers who want a cocktail, wine and then dessert or after dinner alcohols).

My pork tenderloin was exquisitely presented, with lots of attention and multiple time-consuming to prepare parts. Meat was not super tender though and the dish overall lacked flavor and moisture. The scallop dish is not as elegant as the pork, just three large-ish scallops and a heavy textured sauce. No vegetables or anything else on the plate. Chocolate dessert was AMAZING. But there are only two desserts on the menu!

They are trying really hard to please and threading the needle between a very upscale menu and a more casual physical plant and neighborhood pricing. It might be a tough sell.

Tags: Special Occasion, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 17, 2017

Please please improve your signage so that VAI is discernible

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Healthy, Seasonal, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Loved experience. Even though they seated us late, the owner came and hung out with us, got us drinks, made us feel at home. Food was awesome!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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