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Tartine, West Village

253 W. 11th Street
West Village
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 229 2611's insider take:

On a pretty, tree-lined stretch of the West Village, this cafe is loved as much for its B.Y.O.B. policy as its easy-on-the-wallet Americanized French bistro fare. A young, casual crowd regularly queues up out front, chatting with each other as they gaze expectantly at seated guests chowing down on cheesy French onion soup; cheesier croque monsieurs; creamy and crusty chicken pot pie; and addictive frites. Of course there is a catch: There isn't much breathing room in the nautical-themed interior (blond wood-paneled walls, maritime pictures, and a collection of miniature lighthouses), and it's tight on the narrow sidewalk patio, too. Reservations are not accepted, and the lines sometimes verge on the absurd, especially in summer, but the convivial staff will uncork your wine bottle and proffer glasses while you wait. (The closest liquor store is Manley's Wines & Spirits at 35 Eighth Ave.; just walk up W. Fourth St., with the traffic, until you hit Eighth.)

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