VIA VAI

4.5
58 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian

VIA VAI is a Chef-Owner run restaurant, serving contemporary and authentic Italian food that one would find in the best restaurants and trattorie in today's Italy.



The restaurant is rustic cozy and charming, with a slate and marble top bar serving only select Italian wines, and local and imported tap and bottled beer, that pair perfectly with the artisanal food prepared every day on the premises, and the brick oven roman-style (thin crust) pizza cooked in the imported Italian oven.



Chef-owner Antonio Morichini is Roman born and bred. He did his culinary education and training in Italy, working in some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in Rome. His food is loyal to tradition, but forward looking.

What 58 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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r
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

OMG. I can't say enough. This was hands down one of the best, if not the best, dining experiences my wife and I have ever had. We travel a lot, for both work and pleasure, and primarily internationally. We were in Italy just a few months ago, for about the 10th time. I am very familiar with Michelin starred restaurants, travelling with the red guide in hand, and when researching where to dine close to Manhattan I noticed VIA VAI and saw say that they are Michelin recommended (that's why I made the reservations). Michelin cited their authentic Italian cuisine and their wine list, which sealed the deal for us to make reservations. Boy did VIA VAI hit it out of the park. From the warm and friendly welcome and service throughout the evening, to the delicious appetizers (we shared the polpette, lasgnetta and beets salad), to the insanely good pasta courses (I had the agnello and my wife the squid ink shrimp pasta -- all home made and ), to the incredible branzino cooked in dough -- described to us as their signature dish -- and lastly to their homemade ice creams, we experienced excellence. The ambiance is elegant but genuine, warm and cozy, allowing you to enjoy your dining experience and your company. My wife and I were so blown away that we came back on Sunday with some "foodie" friends, who seconded our experience. We look forward to many more fabulous meals at VIA VAI. Bravo!

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JW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Normally quiet. Last I went here was on NYE, so it was crowded, but luckily we made a reservation. Food was excellent per usual, our bread- normally my favorite part- came out cold.

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MC
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was amazing! Homemade pasta. Service was great, all very pleasant. I wish it was bigger. Very small and tight table. We sat by door and it was cold and raining. Next time I will ask for a table in the back, but definitely plan on returning!

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v
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 1

5 star for the food, 0 for ambiance and service. They sat us on wobbly folding chairs in front of kitchen where staff constantly bumped into us. Another couple was placed awkwardly 3 feet in front of entry door where cold air and wind & rain would hit them each time someone entered or exited. Not acceptable when the bill is $350 for 4 people.

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KE
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 2

The food here is wonderful. But the customer service is ALWAYS lacking. I went for NYE dinner and it seemed as though they put 10 extra tables in the restaurant to get more business. Nobody could get by one another and people were getting very upset. Our server was nice but really didn't know what he was doing. The head waiter is arrogant and unwilling to work with the customers.

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m
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was our first time at this restaurant and it was great. Our waiter was kind and knowledgeable. The food was fantastic. It is a casual place but comfortable. We will definitely be back. Great neighborhood gem!!

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I want there with my girlfriend was the first time for us , I was looking for a restaurant like this with a beautiful location and atmosphere, wine list and menu excellent like the service , the waiter that I talked to before she came in , he made our dinner really romantic .. the risotto was SPECIAL , thanks for make that Night really special for me ! 5 Star !

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Authentic Italian food, fresh pasta, amazing service and great ambience. It was a real amazing experience, I’ll definitely go back again soon.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic experience from the apps to the house made pasta I tried the ravioli stuffed with shrimp my husband the risotto and then we shared a branzino made in a bread crust hands down this is a real Italian gem ! Incredible wine list and they are very knowledgeable about what they sell professional and friendly service ! I’ll spread the word! Thanks to bring a piece of Italy here in nyc .

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our first time on via vai the food is outstanding pairing perfectly with the extended wine list and professional service.
What a great experience!

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EP
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The night we went they were having a private party later so we could only get an early reservation. The place was almost empty. We ordered the mussels appetizer which was tasty. The bread and olive oil were very good. We ordered the pappardelle with lamb Radu which was delicious and the tagliolini with shrimp, which was not my first or second choice. They weren’t serving all the items in their menu. The homemade pasta is cooked to perfection but not happy about the number of menu items that were not available. I’m pretty sure they didn’t ‘run out’ of them at 5:45pm on a Friday night.

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T
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always enjoy our dinner here! Can’t get enough of the yummy bread and olive oil. Pasta dishes are divine!

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

Always a delicious meal! However, the service is always very slow whenever I dine here (even when it’s not busy). Other than that, I still love coming here and really enjoy the pastas.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just a great time, great service, great food! We would definitely go again!

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W
Charleston
33 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This was a real find; delicious food, gracious host and attentive service. Best eggplant parm I've had in a very long time. We will definitely go back.

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L
New York Area
52 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I would have given vai vai a 5 Star if they changed up the menu a bit. The pasta dishes are excellent and the pizza quite good.. just think a few more additions or different specials are needed .

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FB
New England
7 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

A very large party came after we sat down and the noise level was deafening. We should have been told this was the case before reservation was accepted. As this large party had every indoor table but ours and the seating at the bar. The food was very good however the service was ok but the noise level was way too loud. Would go back , but will peek in before entering .

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every thing was excellent!

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R
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We enjoyed a nice bottle of Barbera (a bit pricey, though!). The burrata & prosciutto appetizer was tasty, but also pricey! The arugula salad was excellent! My friend enjoyed her simple pasta with fresh tomato sauce. I enjoyed the special pasta with crabmeat! Overall, everything was yummy but we were disappointed that there was no ice so our Pellegrino was warm & so was our water🤨

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a
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every time i’m here, I remember why love Tuscany so much. Great friendly staff, with delicious food & deserts. What more could I want?

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OT
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I come here once in a while because I also work in the same industry, “Italian good” when ever I have off from work, I bring my wife because I know the food is going to be great. Will be back soon, thanks Antonio and the staff

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TL
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

It was really hot- felt like the air wasn’t working. But, our food was good. We got the carrot gnocchi and fettuccini. Both good!

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L
New York Area
52 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is true gourmet Italian!! Absolutely delicious

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j
New York Area
97 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

This is my third visit to Via Vai. The food is consistently good, but the service can use some warmth. The space can get a little crowded and definitely make reservations. It gets packed during peak hours. We recently celebrated Mother'd Day here for 5 and the bill came out to $250 inc. drinks and no dessert. The food is ample to share and you won't leave hungry for sure. The pastas are cooked perfectly al dente and the sauces are well seasoned. It's a neighborhood gem indeed. Italian with a few Greek notes! If you can disregard the brash service, it's a gem !

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C
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Relax atmosphere. Personable front man! Very attentive staff.

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MT
Philadelphia
68 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Very good food in a pleasant atmosphere. Friendly servers. A bit crowded and seats are not the most comfortable. But, I’d definitely return for the good food at a less crowded time.

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E
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

It was okay. We went on Valentine's Day and didn't realize there was a special & more expensive menu. We were looking forward to the fig pizza here since we read such good reviews on it. There were no pizza options.

We came in and didn't realize how small the restaurant was. Nothing wrong with it, just was surprised. There were four people working. One waitress, a bus boy, manager and a guy who brought the food out. Even though it's small there were still about 12-15 tables of two's and thought there should have been another waitress to help out on such a busy night.

We had 6:30 reservations and arrived on time and were seated right away. My husband and I each ordered a glass of wine and the waitress was very knowledgeable of each wine. The wine, bread and water came moments later. A couple of minutes later we decided to order the calamari to share to start. The waitress advised on ordering the main dish at the same time. My husband ordered the eggplant parmigiana and I with the risotto. The waitress told us the risotto would take 20 minutes and if that was okay. Usually the meal takes about 20 minutes so we were okay with that. It was 6:40 and I said "it will come out a 7 then" and she nodded.

Calamari came out really fast, like they knew everyone was going to order it and had it waiting. And by the looks of it everyone did order it. It was delicious but they didn't bring out a side of Marinara and had to ask for it. I noticed that no one got one and everyone had to ask for it. Thought it was a standard. So far so good for the most part

Then we waited. And waited and waited. I get it's a busy night but the main dish didn't come out until 7:55pm. An hour and 15 minutes after we ordered. We nicely asked a few times if it was on its way and they said coming right out and it didn't come right out.

When it finally came out it was not good for both of us. Just was highly disappointed overall.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was fantastic from start to finish. The ambiance was dim and romantic. Our server Eleanora was so attentive and sweet. I felt like I was in Italy visiting a neighborhood restaurant. This place truly is a hidden gem and you must try it. You won’t regret it, I promise!

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GC
New York Area
45 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food, especially the homemade pasta. Sauce was very good. This would have been perfect if the waitress didn’t mess up my order and forget my entree. Thankfully we had extra apps. We will be back thanks to the great food and reasonable prices. Nice atmosphere.

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MN
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went with 3 other couples to Via Vai and had a fabulous meal. The octopus carpaccio special appetizer was right on the mark. The Polpette meatballs, served in a smooth tomato sauce, took what is usually a mundane standard and made it something special. I had the Gamberi black ink tagliolini entree, clearly house made and perfectly al dente. My wife enjoyed the Rotolo di Gnocco and our friends were equally happy with their food choices. Together we spilt a few bottles of excellent Sicilian Nero D'Avola and followed it all up with an assortment of dessert options from the chef. The bombolini and tiramisu were particularly good.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent!!!!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Very good italian food! Enjoyed the meal and the service was great! Very friendly staff!

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SR
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

True gem. Italian can be really boring, but this authentic Roman restaurant is firing on all cylinders: quality ingredients, creative but approachable recipes, & friendly knowledgeable service. I will be coming again and recommending it to all.

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OT
New York Area
61 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food is always excellent as is the service.

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LP
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our favorite restaurant in Astoria. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu. The pizza is delicious and crispy. Can't wait to return.

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T
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's always a great time at Via Vai. Our server was thoughtful and attentive and my fettuccine bolognese was delicious!

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A
New York Area
31 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Wonderful, authentic Italian cuisine at a reasonable price. Very pleasant ambiance. Nice wine list. We plan to come here often.

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T
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is always great! The branzino special baked in bread was delicious, and the tiramisu is one of the best. I keep hoping that they'll bring back the bomboloni!

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BC
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Ever ate fresh caught clams at a trattoria in Tuscany? Highly recommended while in Italy but if you happen to be in Astoria and craving a similar experience then head over to this spot. The owner/bartender/server was awesome. His Italian accent added to the ambiance of this place.

We started off with appetizers: calamari and mussels pot. The broth from the mussels outshone my calamari which could have been more seasoned. The entrees were generous portions of (1) short ribs in tomato sauce over a large order of polenta and (2) fresh made linguine over clams in a white wine sauce. Everything was tasty again my options came in second because I'm used to a more seasoned clam. Nonetheless I did choose the winning dessert; Nutella pizza was banging and the rich panna cotta came in an honorable second.

The food was solid and filling but the service was superb. I will be back and maybe try a cocktail this time.

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OT
New York Area
61 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2015
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 4

Small, inviting neighborhood restaurant. Excellent Italian food - traditional dishes plus a few with a modern twist.

I've sat outside both times I've gone, so can't really speak to the atmosphere inside.

A shared salad of kale, apple slices, avocado was not Italian, but the ingredients were fresh and the textures and tastes went together perfectly. I might have added shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano to it for an Italian twist.

The fresh bread and excellent olive oil is a meal in itself!

The Pizza Margherita was to die for. Perfect, crispy, then crust. The freshest toppings.

Risotto with beets, goat cheese, and balsamic reduction was excellent. The risotto was perfectly al dente and the flavors were perfect together.

Both nights, in the beginning of our evening the service was welcoming and attentive. As the evening wore on, we had to constantly look for our waiter and catch his eye. And yet, the restaurant was not at all busy. On one occasion, a friend of the waiter stopped by and they chatted and chatted and chatted, leaving us completely unattended. Not good.

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