Raviolo: Raviolo is an Italian Dim Sum bar located in the West Village. If you think about it, ravioli is technically the Italian version of a dumpling, so this theme really fits perfectly! These “dumplings” come in orders of 4 for $8 and even come with these cute little “chop-stick forks” to eat with! Similar to dim sum, you get 1 menu per table to check off all the sharing dishes you’d like to order! There are a ton of combinations: some are more traditional raviolis such as spinach & ricotta, but they also have ravioli buns, which they serve open face like bao buns, as well as stuffed buns! The pesto buns: warm, fluffy, pillow-type buns filled with delicious pesto, were a must try and were definitely the best part of our meal. We also really enjoyed the tomato and eggplant ravioli, which was under the vegetarian section of the menu. Raviolo has our number one favorite decor item, a bright neon sign that reads, “Life is a Combination of Magic and Pasta”. We couldn’t agree more! They also have a nice outdoor seating area in front along with a foosball table, so don’t get confused when you see this as you walk in; you’re in the right place! This is a great place for fast service (each dish comes out pretty quickly!) and an opportunity to try super fun small bites!
Molly’s Cupcakes: Molly’s Cupcakes (about a 4-minute walk from Raviolo) is the perfect place to have dessert after your yummy dinner! To keep with the stuffed food items theme, Molly’s Cupcakes is also known for their stuffed cupcakes, pretty atheistic, and fun games! To begin, I've never tasted cupcakes so rich in flavor, yet light at the same time. Grab a table, pick up a box of Jenga or Connect Four, and order a cupcake of your choosing (or 2!). Every time I visit, there is always a new flavor I want to try. Most recently, I saw the Unicorn Cupcakes and was completely enamored. We also tried their classic cookie dough cupcake, stuffed with actual cookie dough! We also love the cake batter cupcake, oozing with real cake batter throughout every bite, and is super photogenic. The cupcakes were as beautiful as they were delicious - which is saying a lot! Not many cupcake shops can nail both flavor and beauty. It also helps that they have swings as seats instead of bar stools at the counter; SO many photo opportunities! Molly’s checks off all of our boxes: delicious dessert, activities included, and a fun Instagram all in one!
Locanda Verde: Locanda Verde serves brunch and lunch all day on Saturday and Sundays! I would make a reservation in advance to eat here, but they do have tables by their café reserved only for walk-ins. I always love a brunch that is actually filling and not too unhealthy. Here, the multi-grain apple waffle with their fresh fruit bowl including grapefruit, raspberries, blueberries and pineapple was an excellent combination. The restaurant isn’t very loud and is really spacious, so I would keep this on the list to go with a larger group. It’s a lot more casual than I thought it would be, which is great for those #weekendvibes!
Ring Ding Bar: Ring Ding Bar is around the corner from Locanda Verde (about a 2 minute walk). It’s located inside Duane Park Patisserie, which sells all kinds of pastries and desserts. However, I definitely recommend you come here specifically for the Ring Dings. What is a Ring Ding? I had to ask myself this very question! A Ring Ding is a devil's food cake layered in chocolate. There were so many flavors of Ring Dings to choose from, we didn’t know where to start! Our favorites ended up being Pistachio Raspberry, Strawberry Shortcake, and Funfetti. Get your cameras ready because these are some seriously colorful treats!
Sweet Lily Natural Spa: Sweet Lily Natural Spa (about a 7 minute walk from Duane Park Patisserie) is a nail salon with an updated and natural approach to the simple manicure/pedicure. I thought the manicure was great, but the pedicure is really what makes Sweet Lily worth the visit. The salon features cucumber pedicures, grapefruit pedicures, and rose petal honey pedicures that are soothing and make your feet feel better than ever! The atmosphere is so relaxing and each technician really takes the time to get your feet in perfect condition, all while serving house made tea and flavored water. As a bonus, massages are included and they have more nail polish colors to choose from than your typical nail salon. My pedicure stayed perfect for a very long time!
Shuka: New restaurant alert!! I love when new themed restaurants open up with something exciting for us to try for you! Last week, Shuka, (previously Hundred Acres, a @yourweekendplans recommended spot) opened up in the West Village. I was excited to see the team behind more favorites such as Vic’s, Cookshop, and Rosie’s create a Mediterranean masterpiece! The décor is completely different with carpeted floors, blue tiles, Moroccan pillows, and outdoor furniture seats. We even got to talk to the wonderful Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja, who stayed on board with this new establishment. We loved it for brunch, but it’s definitely a great dinner spot as well. To make sure we got a good selection of the different offerings here, we ordered lots of (probably too much!) amazing dishes! The starters were hands down my favorite part of the meal. I would say you probably need (at most!!) 2 options, but we went a little overboard and ordered a bunch. The beet hummus and pistachio feta dip were 2 of the best appetizers I have ever had. Each had such a unique taste and was served with piping hot pita bread and an array of flatbreads spiced with garlic and basil. Other dishes included a vegetable (and all vegan!) paella, fried cauliflower, za-atar french fries, and skewers of grilled chicken. For dessert, we were graciously served their sliced watermelon with chili and sweet halava (from Seed & Mill) on top. It was the perfect combination of flavors that I would have never expected. For a restaurant that only opened its doors recently, the staff was attentive, excited, and very knowledgeable, which made for an extra awesome experience!
Naturopathica: Naturopathica, located in Chelsea, is a cool, interesting store based off their beauty brand - and we are very much on board with it. It’s best described as a combination of a spa (where you can get a facial or massage), a beauty store (they sell teas and natural skin care products), and a juice bar (they serve pressed juices and healthy snacks). I was really impressed with the staff that took the time to help me learn about their concept and explain everything. I ordered a pressed juice; they were able to give samples and adjust my drink order based on what I liked. They even asked me if it tasted good and offered to add another juice flavor so it would be perfect for my palate. Next, I was offered some tea, introduced to their skin care line, and given a tour of the spa area. It was super relaxing, clean, and calming. Their facials are the most popular, and if you get there early, they have a beautiful, serene meditation room. All rooms were well lit and there is even an area to shower after your appointment. Afterwards, you can also continue to relax in the sample room, where you can sample any and all of the products they have to offer. You can even get a 10% discount off products on the day you get a treatment! Next time you need to treat yourself, this is the place to go!
Patisserie Chanson: Patisserie Chanson (about an 8-minute walk from Naturopathica) is a bakery with one-of-a-kind pastries, breads, and coffee in Flatiron. Since March, Rory Macdonald has been baking up his signature creations such as cranberry walnut bread, ricotta sandwiches, and more. It’s a higher-end pastry shop for sure, but you can still stop by casually for a good pastry or afternoon coffee date. This time we opted for their new soft serve. They recently added black sesame and hazelnut soft serves to their menu and serve it up with insanely delicious white chocolate dots and croissant bits, all in a cup or fresh waffle cone! That’s not all we wanted to share about this recommendation! This month, the bakery also opened up a “Dessert Bar” which features an all sweets tasting menu in the shop’s lower floor. In the 16-seat space, Macdonald himself will serve a six-course dessert menu for $68. We have a reservation to try this soon (so make sure to check our social media platforms as always, @yourweekendplans) but Macdonald says he wants to avoid gimmicks and will change the menu seasonally. For a sneak peek, the first course is an olive-oil gelato garnished with lemon, olive oil, and sea salt. It’s served with liquid nitrogen, which releases the aroma of eucalyptus as you eat the ice cream, and a drink pairing of, Absinthe, Prosecco, and lemon. It’s a pricey dessert, but Macdonald is aiming for an eating experience, where the tasting itself is a fun and memorable activity to share with your loved ones!