Vai Restaurant & Wine Bar

★★★☆☆
The Upper West Side's Choice - Italian & Mediterranean Food & Winebar!
  • 221 W 77th St

    New York, NY 10019

    Map & Directions
  • 212-362-4500

Food

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Cozy. Intimate. Comfortable.
Amazing food! Great staff and absolutely a joy to have experienced such great service and dishes. The space is great for a small gathering and highly recommend you book with Vai to help you host it. Their food is incredible, and great menu to choose from. The staff serves with a smile and are happy to help each guest as necessary. The neighborhood is very fortunate to have such an amazing restaurant to choose from.

4
★★★★☆

Cozy. Intimate. Comfortable.
Amazing food! Great staff and absolutely a joy to have experienced such great service and dishes. The space is great for a small gathering and highly recommend you book with Vai to help you host it. Their food is incredible, and great menu to choose from. The staff serves with a smile and are happy to help each guest as necessary. The neighborhood is very fortunate to have such an amazing restaurant to choose from.

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When you eat here, you feel you're from the neighborhood. It's worth it to go off your carb free commitment in order to enjoy the bread. Their meat dishes are deeply flavorful. Pasta tastes like it does in an alley trattatoria in Rome. Salads are good to the last green leaf. Great wine selections by the glass.

On a cold night, sit at the tiny bar. You'll feel like you're in Rome. And this menu isn't a budget buster.

4
★★★★☆

When you eat here, you feel you're from the neighborhood. It's worth it to go off your carb free commitment in order to enjoy the bread. Their meat dishes are deeply flavorful. Pasta tastes like it does in an alley trattatoria in Rome. Salads are good to the last green leaf. Great wine selections by the glass.

On a cold night, sit at the tiny bar. You'll feel like you're in Rome. And this menu isn't a budget buster.

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After a long day of shopping on the UWS my mom and i stumbled upon Vai. It looked nice and cozy inside and the menu appealed to our mood. The atmosphere was very comfortable and the service was friendly. We ordered a glass of wine, me red, which they helped me choose. We also split a pizzette, a seafood salad, a pasta and a fish dish which were all delicious and hit the spot. This was the perfect place to stumble upon where both the food and wine hit the spot. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a casual declicous meal, with friendly service and a nice atmosphere.

2
★★★★☆

After a long day of shopping on the UWS my mom and i stumbled upon Vai. It looked nice and cozy inside and the menu appealed to our mood. The atmosphere was very comfortable and the service was friendly. We ordered a glass of wine, me red, which they helped me choose. We also split a pizzette, a seafood salad, a pasta and a fish dish which were all delicious and hit the spot. This was the perfect place to stumble upon where both the food and wine hit the spot. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a casual declicous meal, with friendly service and a nice atmosphere.

Pros: Great Menu and Wine List - Cozy Atmosphere

Cons: A bit loud and sometimes slow because it was busy

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I've been here a few times because I live in the neighborhood and I admit that the food is pretty good/decent for a wine bar (and I enjoy the atmosphere), but I can honestly say that every time I have been there Vincent the chef/owner/host was so rude and obnoxious that it made me uncomfortable to eat at his restaurant. He seems to favor his friends or people he knows as far as getting a table, so if you get there first, but a friend of his shows up, he will give his friend the table. I actually overheard them cursing at one of the waitresses which he probably should avoid doing in front of customers. I'm not surprised about the bad reviews on here about service, because I have experienced the same thing. If you want a local place, with decent food and good wine, but don't mind potentially waiting for a table while other's get ahead of you, overhearing some curses, or being treated badly by the owner - then I would say go here, but I definitely would not recommend going out of your way for this place!

1
★★★☆☆

I've been here a few times because I live in the neighborhood and I admit that the food is pretty good/decent for a wine bar (and I enjoy the atmosphere), but I can honestly say that every time I have been there Vincent the chef/owner/host was so rude and obnoxious that it made me uncomfortable to eat at his restaurant. He seems to favor his friends or people he knows as far as getting a table, so if you get there first, but a friend of his shows up, he will give his friend the table. I actually overheard them cursing at one of the waitresses which he probably should avoid doing in front of customers. I'm not surprised about the bad reviews on here about service, because I have experienced the same thing. If you want a local place, with decent food and good wine, but don't mind potentially waiting for a table while other's get ahead of you, overhearing some curses, or being treated badly by the owner - then I would say go here, but I definitely would not recommend going out of your way for this place!

Pros: Ambience, bread, sangria & wine

Cons: Owner's attitude

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Lovely Lively Neighborhood Gem. Really busy most nights and if you anything like me you will LOVE this place. Intimite and always busy without being too trendy. Bronzino is the most amazing thing I have ever had and service is warm. Nice wineselection where everything they have is available by the glass and they will let you taste also. They also offer fun wine flights. Can get very noisy but I happen to like that. My east side friends are dying for a place like this!!

2
★★★★☆

Lovely Lively Neighborhood Gem. Really busy most nights and if you anything like me you will LOVE this place. Intimite and always busy without being too trendy. Bronzino is the most amazing thing I have ever had and service is warm. Nice wineselection where everything they have is available by the glass and they will let you taste also. They also offer fun wine flights. Can get very noisy but I happen to like that. My east side friends are dying for a place like this!!

Pros: Food, Service and Vibe

Cons: Noisy but vibey

.

The manager is terribly rude. I was very disappointed as I was really looking forward to eating there, but they lost our reservation and were extremely unapologetic about it. Unfortunate.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The manager is terribly rude. I was very disappointed as I was really looking forward to eating there, but they lost our reservation and were extremely unapologetic about it. Unfortunate.

Pros: None

Cons: Rude manager.

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Had dinner there last night with my husband. We showed up with no reservation, yet Vincent sat us with no problem! The ambiance is great - and the place is beautiful. Nice music, soft lighting, candles - it was all very romantic and very "New York." The UWS needs more places like this. Our apps were great - grilled shrimp - as were our salads. The main courses were good (although not to die for), but definitely good enough. The dessert was the best part though - little powdered donut type things dipped in white chocolate. There were absolutely amazing!

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. We will definitely be back!!

2
★★★★★

Had dinner there last night with my husband. We showed up with no reservation, yet Vincent sat us with no problem! The ambiance is great - and the place is beautiful. Nice music, soft lighting, candles - it was all very romantic and very "New York." The UWS needs more places like this. Our apps were great - grilled shrimp - as were our salads. The main courses were good (although not to die for), but definitely good enough. The dessert was the best part though - little powdered donut type things dipped in white chocolate. There were absolutely amazing!

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. We will definitely be back!!

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I'm not sure what these reviewers are talking about. I've been to Vai about 6 times and the service is always fantastic. They always greet me when I come in, are friendly and helpful.
The food is delicious and the menu has a nice variety. Most wine places serve mostly cheese and meats, but Vai has fish, pasta and good sides. For those of you who had a bad experience, try it again. For those who haven't been, go and enjoy.

2
★★★★★

I'm not sure what these reviewers are talking about. I've been to Vai about 6 times and the service is always fantastic. They always greet me when I come in, are friendly and helpful.
The food is delicious and the menu has a nice variety. Most wine places serve mostly cheese and meats, but Vai has fish, pasta and good sides. For those of you who had a bad experience, try it again. For those who haven't been, go and enjoy.

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Had to be the worst service ever. Had to wait 15 minutes for someone to come over to take our wine order and then another 15 minutes before the bottle arrived. Then we had to have a busboy track down our waitress so that we could order food. Once the appetizers arrived, they were ok but not great. It was another 15 minutes before the entrees arrived. Again ok but not great. The food in general was uninspired especially considering the prices and the other options in the neighborhood. We had to ask for our server several times throughout the evening. At the end of the night, we asked to see the manager who came over to the table immediately. We related our concerns about the service and he was very apologetic. We assured him that we would give them another try in the future. At that point, the owner came over to see what was wrong and was quite rude when he heard our concerns. He should leave customer service to his manager. There are too many other good restaurants on the UWS that offer good food and service.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Had to be the worst service ever. Had to wait 15 minutes for someone to come over to take our wine order and then another 15 minutes before the bottle arrived. Then we had to have a busboy track down our waitress so that we could order food. Once the appetizers arrived, they were ok but not great. It was another 15 minutes before the entrees arrived. Again ok but not great. The food in general was uninspired especially considering the prices and the other options in the neighborhood. We had to ask for our server several times throughout the evening. At the end of the night, we asked to see the manager who came over to the table immediately. We related our concerns about the service and he was very apologetic. We assured him that we would give them another try in the future. At that point, the owner came over to see what was wrong and was quite rude when he heard our concerns. He should leave customer service to his manager. There are too many other good restaurants on the UWS that offer good food and service.

Pros: Concerned manager

Cons: Rude owner, poor service

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Has been my week to try the newest Italian places in town and this was on my list. To be quite honest was a bit disappointed. The service needs major improvement. The food is okay and the prices are fair which saves it and there is a decent wine list but overall not my newest favorite. It's a bit crowded and loud and just seems like it needs some changes. Not sure who the manager is but he seems to be a bit obnoxious and fake. So onto the next place.

1
★★☆☆☆

Has been my week to try the newest Italian places in town and this was on my list. To be quite honest was a bit disappointed. The service needs major improvement. The food is okay and the prices are fair which saves it and there is a decent wine list but overall not my newest favorite. It's a bit crowded and loud and just seems like it needs some changes. Not sure who the manager is but he seems to be a bit obnoxious and fake. So onto the next place.

Pros: decent wines

Cons: Loud - Needs some service changes

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Vai has an upbeat, "New York City" atmosphere, but I felt very comfortable and relaxed there. The food is simple, yet soooo fresh and fabulous. I had the tuna tartar--which is one of my favorite foods--and this was the best I've ever had! It was served with avocado and some type of sweet rice wine vinigiarette. I also had the caramelized pear and gorgonzola salad and finished with the sweet doughnuts with white chocolate sauce. Wow - yum! It was all delicious and the staff made me feel like I was at home.
I left there definitely wanting to go back

2
★★★★☆

Vai has an upbeat, "New York City" atmosphere, but I felt very comfortable and relaxed there. The food is simple, yet soooo fresh and fabulous. I had the tuna tartar--which is one of my favorite foods--and this was the best I've ever had! It was served with avocado and some type of sweet rice wine vinigiarette. I also had the caramelized pear and gorgonzola salad and finished with the sweet doughnuts with white chocolate sauce. Wow - yum! It was all delicious and the staff made me feel like I was at home.
I left there definitely wanting to go back

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what's up with comparing the owner of this place chrico to daniel? obviously getting someone to give him some credit. it's a small italian place with a wine list not a 5 star french restaurant. dined there with some friends who live in the area. our waitress just could not get it together and the food needs major improvement. the older manager is obnoxious and should not be able to drink on the job. there are a ton of other places to go on the uws like bin 71 or something that are wine bars with a great staff and service. if you want daniel go to daniel don't come here!

0
★☆☆☆☆

what's up with comparing the owner of this place chrico to daniel? obviously getting someone to give him some credit. it's a small italian place with a wine list not a 5 star french restaurant. dined there with some friends who live in the area. our waitress just could not get it together and the food needs major improvement. the older manager is obnoxious and should not be able to drink on the job. there are a ton of other places to go on the uws like bin 71 or something that are wine bars with a great staff and service. if you want daniel go to daniel don't come here!

Pros: ?

Cons: bad service - over rated food

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This guy is one of best the chef in the world....better than Daniel...wait til the press discover Vai.....you wont be able to get in....as for now enjoy his amazing food at those prices....it's a give away

2
★★★★★

This guy is one of best the chef in the world....better than Daniel...wait til the press discover Vai.....you wont be able to get in....as for now enjoy his amazing food at those prices....it's a give away

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My husband and I live one block away and we have found our favorite new spot!! We literally tried everything!! I ordered the special, a filet mignon, and my husband ordered two pasta dishes--all of which were amazing!! We also ordered all three sides--asparagus, potatoes and artichokes! Clearly we were starving---but oh my goodness---we were so happy that this fabulous new place opened up right next to us. We have decided to have a date night here once a week, and we are super excited about it because they change the menu weekly!!! We cant wait to go back!!

2
★★★★★

My husband and I live one block away and we have found our favorite new spot!! We literally tried everything!! I ordered the special, a filet mignon, and my husband ordered two pasta dishes--all of which were amazing!! We also ordered all three sides--asparagus, potatoes and artichokes! Clearly we were starving---but oh my goodness---we were so happy that this fabulous new place opened up right next to us. We have decided to have a date night here once a week, and we are super excited about it because they change the menu weekly!!! We cant wait to go back!!

Pros: everything--our new favorite place!!

Cons: nothing!!

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I went to vai last night with some friends. there are not many places like this on the uws. it's a very comfortable setting with great music. Not the typical italian restaurant. the food is is delicious and there is a great wine list. we ordered the shrimp and chorizo appetizer along with the truffle mushroom rubiola pizza (yummy!) i loved how frangrant the truffle oil was so order this if you are a truffle fan. we also had the cheese plate, the asparagus and the pasta wih rabbit. All very good and easy to share in case you want to try a number of things. the service was a little slow but i think that was because the place was packed to the point that people were waiting outside. i would recommend making a reservation if you want to secure a spot. we will definitely go back to try it out later in the night, think it could be fun just for drinks!

2
★★★★★

I went to vai last night with some friends. there are not many places like this on the uws. it's a very comfortable setting with great music. Not the typical italian restaurant. the food is is delicious and there is a great wine list. we ordered the shrimp and chorizo appetizer along with the truffle mushroom rubiola pizza (yummy!) i loved how frangrant the truffle oil was so order this if you are a truffle fan. we also had the cheese plate, the asparagus and the pasta wih rabbit. All very good and easy to share in case you want to try a number of things. the service was a little slow but i think that was because the place was packed to the point that people were waiting outside. i would recommend making a reservation if you want to secure a spot. we will definitely go back to try it out later in the night, think it could be fun just for drinks!

Pros: great food- fun atmosphere-reasonable prices-nice waiters

Cons: service a little slow and you might have to wait for a table if you don't make a reservation

.

I recently made a new friend and he suggested that we go to Vai for dinner. What a great spot! I'm an UES girl so I rarely make the trip across the park but this was a nice place - great food, good service and the decor/ambience was spot on for a date...not too quiet, but not too intrusive. At the end of the night, I didn't fall in love with my date, but I definitely fell in love with Vai!

2
★★★★★

I recently made a new friend and he suggested that we go to Vai for dinner. What a great spot! I'm an UES girl so I rarely make the trip across the park but this was a nice place - great food, good service and the decor/ambience was spot on for a date...not too quiet, but not too intrusive. At the end of the night, I didn't fall in love with my date, but I definitely fell in love with Vai!

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Delicious cured meats and asparagus salad and fabulous roasted chicken. Very nice people. Will definitely be returning!

2
★★★★☆

Delicious cured meats and asparagus salad and fabulous roasted chicken. Very nice people. Will definitely be returning!

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My girlfriend and I enjoyed a delicious Pear Salad and Ravioli. The food is not exceptional in the grand scheme of things, but considering the price and in comparison to all the other wine bars on the Upper West Side who just offer Panninis, Cheeses and Meat; the place is great! There is only one but- and a big one. BUT, the service here is so horrible, I just won't return. The older manager was pounding glasses of wine at the edge of the bar and our server could barely speak English. When we inquired about the food and the wine- she knew absolutely nothing. We ordered salads and pastas, which all came out together. The food was dropped off at our table, and in such a small place, we could not get our server to come back. A glass of water- forget about it. Corked wine. We sat there with our corked wine, and it wasn't until our food came before we could mention it to anyone who would listen. Perhaps, there marketing strategy is to make the prices so cheap that there is low expectation. So what!

1
★★☆☆☆

My girlfriend and I enjoyed a delicious Pear Salad and Ravioli. The food is not exceptional in the grand scheme of things, but considering the price and in comparison to all the other wine bars on the Upper West Side who just offer Panninis, Cheeses and Meat; the place is great! There is only one but- and a big one. BUT, the service here is so horrible, I just won't return. The older manager was pounding glasses of wine at the edge of the bar and our server could barely speak English. When we inquired about the food and the wine- she knew absolutely nothing. We ordered salads and pastas, which all came out together. The food was dropped off at our table, and in such a small place, we could not get our server to come back. A glass of water- forget about it. Corked wine. We sat there with our corked wine, and it wasn't until our food came before we could mention it to anyone who would listen. Perhaps, there marketing strategy is to make the prices so cheap that there is low expectation. So what!

Pros: cheap

Cons: very poor service

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First of all very small place, not very hospitable, hot room, the food is okay, my boyfriend could put cheese on a plate. A lot of running around staff. Not much organization. Good wine list. Place is so, so. Expected more. Didn't deliver.

0
★☆☆☆☆

First of all very small place, not very hospitable, hot room, the food is okay, my boyfriend could put cheese on a plate. A lot of running around staff. Not much organization. Good wine list. Place is so, so. Expected more. Didn't deliver.

Pros: wine

Cons: unorganized, hot, pretentious

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I ate there 2 times this week- and both times were great! Must have the grilled calamari and the pizza. The wine was delicious- We also had the tuna tartare - which is ruby red and has an outstanding taste. You can't go wrong. They even made us a custom pasta dish- Service is friendly and accommodating. They remembered me the second time and greeted me like I was family. MUST TRY!!

2
★★★★★

I ate there 2 times this week- and both times were great! Must have the grilled calamari and the pizza. The wine was delicious- We also had the tuna tartare - which is ruby red and has an outstanding taste. You can't go wrong. They even made us a custom pasta dish- Service is friendly and accommodating. They remembered me the second time and greeted me like I was family. MUST TRY!!

Pros: Food and Service

Cons: Small and tight seating

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The place was crowded, we were told to wait for a table-inspite of having a reservation. we were told to wait for food, "cuz the kitchen was in busy"..the kitchen is busy? it's a 50 seat restaurant?!? have less seats and handle the customers better!
the owner was flip when we asked what was going on, and he said what do you want me to do about it?!?
once sat- we kept fighting for room with the excessive amount of staff who couldnt handle the crowded floor, and the other customers for room-we were packed in like sardines.
once we got the food-ok-not spectacular-its steak and steamed asparagus. how hard and innovative is that? store bought tasting chocolate cake-confirmed when we asked the server who the pastry shef was and he didn't know.
im sure the food is fine-not worth the annoyance that we had to endure during dinner.
never again

0
★☆☆☆☆

The place was crowded, we were told to wait for a table-inspite of having a reservation. we were told to wait for food, "cuz the kitchen was in busy"..the kitchen is busy? it's a 50 seat restaurant?!? have less seats and handle the customers better!
the owner was flip when we asked what was going on, and he said what do you want me to do about it?!?
once sat- we kept fighting for room with the excessive amount of staff who couldnt handle the crowded floor, and the other customers for room-we were packed in like sardines.
once we got the food-ok-not spectacular-its steak and steamed asparagus. how hard and innovative is that? store bought tasting chocolate cake-confirmed when we asked the server who the pastry shef was and he didn't know.
im sure the food is fine-not worth the annoyance that we had to endure during dinner.
never again

Pros: what pros

Cons: old owners nasty attitude,bumbling staff,long wait for food,paper menu done by a 3rd grader

.

good food and good place, nice service, and very inexpensive, check it out on a weekday not so busy, vince will take care of you

2
★★★★★

good food and good place, nice service, and very inexpensive, check it out on a weekday not so busy, vince will take care of you

Pros: this is a great place with a great owner and staff

Cons: small place sometimes no room, call for a res

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the food seems too ambitious for the service in this place. the entrees don't come with sides and that isnt explained. lack of english is a problem, as well as an educated staff. no help on wine, drink explanations. the manager isn't helpful. waitress couldn't handle all her tables and he didn't help. he sat down with what seemed to be favorite customers, which I could have been, but won't go back. when he did approach us, his canned answers and psuedo friendliness is obviously phoney.
too bad, the food is very good-the only reason why I gave it 3 stars.
with so many restaurants on the uws, this one is a miss.

1
★★★☆☆

the food seems too ambitious for the service in this place. the entrees don't come with sides and that isnt explained. lack of english is a problem, as well as an educated staff. no help on wine, drink explanations. the manager isn't helpful. waitress couldn't handle all her tables and he didn't help. he sat down with what seemed to be favorite customers, which I could have been, but won't go back. when he did approach us, his canned answers and psuedo friendliness is obviously phoney.
too bad, the food is very good-the only reason why I gave it 3 stars.
with so many restaurants on the uws, this one is a miss.

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I have also been to Vai many times since it opened, 2 weeks ago with my husband. I am on the local community board and live in the area. This my favorite place to dine. The personal attention I get when I go in, remembering my name, what I drink, what my husband had last time we went, etc makes it special. There are two wonderful employees there that I adore. The chef is talented and it is a terrific space. I am a picky diner, and they have never said no whenever I modify the items, or ask to try a wine.
I did have a bad experieince with the manager my first time there though. He is truly rude, and I have seen him reprimand people, myself included, and be obnoxious. But, there are so many positives, they truly outweigh the negatives.

2
★★★★☆

I have also been to Vai many times since it opened, 2 weeks ago with my husband. I am on the local community board and live in the area. This my favorite place to dine. The personal attention I get when I go in, remembering my name, what I drink, what my husband had last time we went, etc makes it special. There are two wonderful employees there that I adore. The chef is talented and it is a terrific space. I am a picky diner, and they have never said no whenever I modify the items, or ask to try a wine.
I did have a bad experieince with the manager my first time there though. He is truly rude, and I have seen him reprimand people, myself included, and be obnoxious. But, there are so many positives, they truly outweigh the negatives.

Pros: tuna tartare,cheese plate,pear salad,prosciutto pizza

Cons: rude manager,music too loud sometimes,no lunch or brunch or delivery

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I didn't like our table - front of the restaurant-in humidity, and the busser kept running into our chairs...and we had to wait for this table. I tried to call for reservations, no one answered the phone.
Had an inexperieinced waitress from florida?!?-it seemed like her first day...training would help-maybe?!? she didn't seem too bright. Not only did she forget our wine, she knew nothing about it-hard for a wine bar with an obscure wine list. Thankfully another waitress brought our wine and told us about it, and recommended a better paing for our food. also was interested in the chef's tasting menu-but the original waitress didn't even know what that was. Also asked her what Branzino was like and she said its "fish"...you're kidding right?!? She gave us cookies on the house like that was going to make up for her ineptitude.
The manager was too busy to tend to our table even though we tried to wave him down to get our entrees. there was a looooong lapse between our appetizers and entrees. We also wanted to be moved from our table and he just ignored us. He was busy schmoozing a table of women, and demanding things from the waoters and busboy.
The food-good, clean delicious food. Branzino whole, great sauce. The ravioli sauce was also good. Sopped it up with my bread (which also took forever to get) The only reason this place has any stars was for the food really.
To sum it up: Food was executed well, great prices. Inefficiently and idiotically managed, overall, an unpleasant experience. Will not go back, shame...it's what the neighborhood needs.

1
★★☆☆☆

I didn't like our table - front of the restaurant-in humidity, and the busser kept running into our chairs...and we had to wait for this table. I tried to call for reservations, no one answered the phone.
Had an inexperieinced waitress from florida?!?-it seemed like her first day...training would help-maybe?!? she didn't seem too bright. Not only did she forget our wine, she knew nothing about it-hard for a wine bar with an obscure wine list. Thankfully another waitress brought our wine and told us about it, and recommended a better paing for our food. also was interested in the chef's tasting menu-but the original waitress didn't even know what that was. Also asked her what Branzino was like and she said its "fish"...you're kidding right?!? She gave us cookies on the house like that was going to make up for her ineptitude.
The manager was too busy to tend to our table even though we tried to wave him down to get our entrees. there was a looooong lapse between our appetizers and entrees. We also wanted to be moved from our table and he just ignored us. He was busy schmoozing a table of women, and demanding things from the waoters and busboy.
The food-good, clean delicious food. Branzino whole, great sauce. The ravioli sauce was also good. Sopped it up with my bread (which also took forever to get) The only reason this place has any stars was for the food really.
To sum it up: Food was executed well, great prices. Inefficiently and idiotically managed, overall, an unpleasant experience. Will not go back, shame...it's what the neighborhood needs.

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Hate this place now. Poor staff. Prices are cheap to compensate for the cramped space. It could be very good-chef is amazing for the conditions-tiny kitchen-generous menu-bold flavor combinations.It misses the mark every single time. I can't wait for the restaurant to open up across the street. The manager is lacking in grace, direction and basic manners. Shouldn't someone that old be retired already?

0
★☆☆☆☆

Hate this place now. Poor staff. Prices are cheap to compensate for the cramped space. It could be very good-chef is amazing for the conditions-tiny kitchen-generous menu-bold flavor combinations.It misses the mark every single time. I can't wait for the restaurant to open up across the street. The manager is lacking in grace, direction and basic manners. Shouldn't someone that old be retired already?

.

I have dined at Vai a couple of times since they opened a few weeks ago and I just LOVE the place! Both the food and the wine are excellent and certainly several notches above what you would expect looking at the prices - everything is very reasonable indeed. The Chef knows his food and serves the most tasty and unforgettable meals. The staff is very friendly and makes you feel welcome right away. I do not at all agree with the description of the manager in the reviews below. On the contrary, I was very impressed by the way he connected with guests at every table in a light, elegant and professional manner. Sure, some of the staff needs a little more training but give it another couple of weeks and it will be the most terrific place in the neighborhood. Anyway, they are all very charming and they do their very best to make you feel good. The UWS really needed Vai. The ambience is vibrant, warm and intimate (it s a great dating spot) and I sure will be going back again, and again ,and again....

2
★★★★★

I have dined at Vai a couple of times since they opened a few weeks ago and I just LOVE the place! Both the food and the wine are excellent and certainly several notches above what you would expect looking at the prices - everything is very reasonable indeed. The Chef knows his food and serves the most tasty and unforgettable meals. The staff is very friendly and makes you feel welcome right away. I do not at all agree with the description of the manager in the reviews below. On the contrary, I was very impressed by the way he connected with guests at every table in a light, elegant and professional manner. Sure, some of the staff needs a little more training but give it another couple of weeks and it will be the most terrific place in the neighborhood. Anyway, they are all very charming and they do their very best to make you feel good. The UWS really needed Vai. The ambience is vibrant, warm and intimate (it s a great dating spot) and I sure will be going back again, and again ,and again....

Pros: Food, Ambience, Friendly Staff

.

I love the food at this place, been there twice and they only opened last week. Food really cheap & good for the place. Love the arugula salad, proscuitto pizza, grilled calamari, ricotta ravioli, nutella crepes. Also like the flights of wine that they have, and the selection is reasonabley priced...plus the waiter let me try the wine before I picked my bottle..only $29 for a syrah-rose, which I have never seen before! The waiter was very attentive but seemed like he was overwhelmed. Probably because the manager kept yelling at him. For nothing. So uncomfortable for me and my boyfriend. He also yelled at the waitress, and she was so frazzled, I saw her spill a glass of something on a diner. He also ordered around the staff/other guests...as he was drinking with his friends at a table. I actually walk by now, to see if he's there, and I won't go in. He has a smarmy attitude, and I even though I have been there twice, he doesn't recognize me-and just takes care of his "friends" vs. potential new people. He told 1 table of his buddies that he "got" the wine..hey, I want free wine too! I would sort of like him too for free booze! They don't do delivery, so I can't even get that. So I will continue to go there, but with alot of hesitation.

1
★★★☆☆

I love the food at this place, been there twice and they only opened last week. Food really cheap & good for the place. Love the arugula salad, proscuitto pizza, grilled calamari, ricotta ravioli, nutella crepes. Also like the flights of wine that they have, and the selection is reasonabley priced...plus the waiter let me try the wine before I picked my bottle..only $29 for a syrah-rose, which I have never seen before! The waiter was very attentive but seemed like he was overwhelmed. Probably because the manager kept yelling at him. For nothing. So uncomfortable for me and my boyfriend. He also yelled at the waitress, and she was so frazzled, I saw her spill a glass of something on a diner. He also ordered around the staff/other guests...as he was drinking with his friends at a table. I actually walk by now, to see if he's there, and I won't go in. He has a smarmy attitude, and I even though I have been there twice, he doesn't recognize me-and just takes care of his "friends" vs. potential new people. He told 1 table of his buddies that he "got" the wine..hey, I want free wine too! I would sort of like him too for free booze! They don't do delivery, so I can't even get that. So I will continue to go there, but with alot of hesitation.

Pros: food-candles-wine selection-nice service

Cons: a little cramped-crowded-music-staff overwhelmed-the manager is obnoxious

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So I went there after seeing it mentioned in the Times... Very crowded, but it was friday night. Waited 15 mins for a table for 2, but we got free 1/2 glass of wine from a cute scruffy guy...
The bartender waited on us-gave great recommendations. Get the cheese plate and arugula salad, and the pasta with the marsapone cheese. The tall waitress was super helpful about talking about the food and getting us bread with this tasty eggplant & tomato dip thing.
OK, would love to give it a better rating, but the cheesy-trying too hard old bald owner guy was soooo annoying. Kept saying him and his partner opened this place, and kept yelling at the staff!!! Like that's supposed to impress me and my girlfriend. He's so rude! Kept trying to kiss us hello and goodbye, creepy old guy kiss, no thanks!
Not going back... don't care if they gave us free anything.

0
★☆☆☆☆

So I went there after seeing it mentioned in the Times... Very crowded, but it was friday night. Waited 15 mins for a table for 2, but we got free 1/2 glass of wine from a cute scruffy guy...
The bartender waited on us-gave great recommendations. Get the cheese plate and arugula salad, and the pasta with the marsapone cheese. The tall waitress was super helpful about talking about the food and getting us bread with this tasty eggplant & tomato dip thing.
OK, would love to give it a better rating, but the cheesy-trying too hard old bald owner guy was soooo annoying. Kept saying him and his partner opened this place, and kept yelling at the staff!!! Like that's supposed to impress me and my girlfriend. He's so rude! Kept trying to kiss us hello and goodbye, creepy old guy kiss, no thanks!
Not going back... don't care if they gave us free anything.

 

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