NY MAGAZINE (Critics' Pick) by Melena Ryzik

“Do you live in the neighborhood?” is the first thing the super friendly waitress at Gaetana’s asks, even before handing out menus or taking drink orders. It’s a fair question, because if you don’t, you’re not likely to know about this unassuming Italian spot. With a dim interior, beat-up tile floor, and flat-screen TVs over the bar—separated only by a long counter from the dining area—the space is scruffy, if charmingly so, like it’s been around for decades. (It hasn’t.) There are many kinds of chicken, including Marsala, Parmigiana and Milanese, on the menu, Sinatra on the stereo, and a brick oven visible in the kitchen.

There’s no shame in being a red sauce joint here. Accordingly, the ravioli is toothsome, the pizza cheesy, and the wine selection decent and cheap. If you lived nearby, you’d be a regular by now, as much for the unpretentious vibe as for the food. If you don’t—but you’re in the neighborhood—you could do worse than become a paisano.

YELP by Rusty R., Brooklyn, NY

Let's say you're cruising the Village and find yourself craving a local joint with character, some place you can saddle up to the bar and instantly be considered a friend. Not only that, but you want some really tasty food... some true Italian food in a place that is more old-school than trendy.

Then you need to get over to Gaetana's...immediately.

I'll say it right now. The best pizza I've ever had in NYC. There it is. You can quote me on that. Italian Sausage, onions, peppers, fresh garlic, basil, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. Dough was superb, and the fresh mozz was on-point.

Frankie, who runs the family business, has bought me drinks on numerous occasions, and even bought my parents a round when we were at the bar. This guy is old-school Italian American charm...you'll love it. And the bar staff are young and friendly... always having a good time and taking care of you.

Visit Gaetana's and feel loved in NYC...

Every time I visit the city, this is a must-stop!

GRUB STREET NEW YORK

Mickey Rourke Only Goes to Four Restaurants: "That's easy - I only eat at four places: Nello's, Cipriani, this Italian place in the West Village called Gaetana's, and Waverly."

TRIPADVISOR

Go to [this] place for Italian essentials in the most relaxing spot; you can't beat cheap good wine, grandma's cooking and Frank [Sinatra] singing in the background—the limoncello is perfect!

YELP by John F., Houston, TX

Found Gaetana's accidentally one night while following my directionally challenged cousin around the Village…. What Luck! This is the only restaurant I have added to my NYC rotation since I moved away in 2001 and started doing my regular visits.

I love sitting at the bar, ordering drinks, and shooting the bull with the bartenders and the owner. Everyone is extremely friendly, and they run the place as it is....an extension of their family. I recommend the Chicken Parm with a side of Meatballs. Recommended Drink: Dirty Martini and a nice Chianti.

YELP by Amanda D., New York, NY

...What I must mention about "my" Italian restaurant (it IS mine, you know) is that the quality of the food has stayed the same through the past six years I've been eating here.

The bread and oil you are served when you begin your meal is salty and delicious, the pizzas bubbling hot, the mussels garlicky in their white wine sauce, the pasta al dente, and the vodka sauce rich and filling. These are the dishes I always order, in addition to a bottle (or three) of reasonably-priced red wines. Included in Frankie's extensive wine list is the Coppola Rosso, which is my favorite compliment to his mushroom, pepperoni, garlic and onion pizza. (Yes, go crazy choosing your toppings!)

Not to mention, the wait staff has been around for a while and always makes me feel at home, the bartenders are always animated and will engage you if you sit at the beautiful dark wood bar -- and the decor! Every time I bring someone new into Gaetana's, they gasp when they walk in: "Wow, this is exactly what an Italian restaurant in the Village should look like." It's clean, dark, tastefully decorated, low-lit and full of love and home-cooked food.

They’ve made my birthdays very special, not to mention the many, many happy hours, anniversaries and group dinners throughout the years. I always catch myself thinking, "Hey, I'm in the neighborhood; I must definitely stop by." And how many restaurants can brag about that kind of loyal clientele.

CITISEARCH by ekhorowi, New York, NY

Get ready for some gushing -- I recently hosted my engagement party at Gaetana's and it was amazing. We had about 90 people, and we kept it casual - buffet style, open bar, etc. The service was incredible. Between Frankie, a true sweetheart, and the warm and welcoming waiters and bartenders, everything ran smoothly, and the staff only added to the pleasant, laid-back atmosphere of the party.

Friends actually told me that it was by far the best engagement party they had ever been to, that the place was perfect, and the food great. Frankie himself kept coming around and just handing me little plates of food, or putting something to eat down in front of where I was sitting. I thought it was because he knew I'd be busy running around playing hostess, but friends told me later that he catered to everyone in that way, which I found very sweet. I really felt like all the staff went out of their way to accomodate my friends and family. People also loved the food, and told me they can't wait to come back for dinner. (I've been back since, and this all applies to a small sit -down dinner too - great service, great food).

Compared with other restaurants I looked at in Manhattan, Gaetana's was also very inexpensive, and I truly could not have been happier with the way the party turned out. In addition to the food and the staff, the atmosphere of the restaurant itself is charming, and has that old world feel to it.

I could go on and on, but I'll finish with this - if you are planning a private event, think of Gaetana's. Our party took place over two months ago, and friends of mine still bring it up and tell me how wonderful it was. I love love love this place, and i think you will too!