Aria Wine Bar is probably the most ideal date spot I’ve ever seen. The combination of the dim lighting with straightforward, cheap pricing composed of: $9 for appetizers/salads, $12 for pastas, $7 for salumi and $5 for cheese. What more could you ask for than good food, affordable wine and a nice West Village spot? Not only is it good for dates, but it’s an ideal restaurant for your Sex & the City clique to venture to when you need to dish and chatter. The room is pretty small, and they really figure out a way to fit in as many seats as possible. There is an “L” shaped bar with seats on both sides, and a few extra seats thrown in the window spaces making it real romantic with natural lighting. The wait for two isn’t too bad on a weeknight, and can be as little as 20 minutes during after-work rush hour. The staff hustles as does the kitchen to get your food out hot and fast. The portions are all pretty large especially for the quality and what you are paying for. 4 plates for 2 people will keep you full if not waddling depending on how much pasta you get. Make sure to pay attention to the specials of the day. The Veal Osso Bucco is a pretty hefty bone, and you can just strip the meat right off with your fork. It’s tender, not very juicy, but the risotto is so incredible and creamy adding a great contrast. This was actually the best part.
The Scallops came with beet carpaccio which was fresh, fun and cool to see. Each scallop was light and large. Unfortunately, the Octopus Salad wasn’t impressive (pic below). It was more on the tough side, and a bit too round that it seemed more like chicken than the eight legged sea creature. On the other hand, I loved the Lasagna Bolognese. It was very flat and overloaded with meat as opposed to sauce and cheese making it the star of the show. Less noodles and very soft to where you could cut it away with a fork. It’s a nice size and you must order this.
Aria Wine Bar is the kind of place you wish there were more of in New York. The place where you can go to get a glass of wine for a nightcap, the place where you can get a normal size portion of pasta that isn’t too fancy pants such as uni or foie gras toppings and the spot where you can relax with your company without being too distracted by the rest of the world. Basically it’s a desirable neighborhood spot that keeps drawing you back no matter who else is opening. This is what Aria Wine Bar is.