East Village, New York, Venezuelan, Arepas, Bar, South American, Sandwiches, Where to eat in New York, NYC, New York City, Recommendations, Chef’s Recs, Where The Chef’s Eat, Local’s Recommendations


It was a wood-burning brick oven that inspired Joel Zighelboim to leave corporate law and become a restaurant owner.  When a small space became available in the West Village, Joel fell in love with the pizza oven and decided to open up Pasita.  Pasita has rustic, yet charming décor, an odd shaped floor plan, and delicious pizza and pasapalos (Venezuelan small plates). 

A painted brick wall serves as the backdrop for a long wooden bar, where locals sip Malbec and Txakoli. In the back, a television plays old black and white foreign films. In the center of the room is the brick oven, lending itself to a theatrical presence with guys twisting and rolling pizza dough. The wood-burning oven means it’s capable of higher temperatures than gas ovens and turns out a crispier crust, without overcooking the other ingredients.

Fine ingredients are used in preparation of their thin-crusted pizzas: “00” flour (which gives the pizza “bite” instead of “chew”), organic Muir Glen tomatoes, small production mozzarella, and high quality meats. 

The toppings are delicious, elegant and interesting. One of my favorites is a nod to Venezuelan cooking called La Reina, which has shredded chicken, avocado, crema fresca and lemon zest. Sounds a bit funky, but it is actually incredibly tasty.  The La Joya is probably their best-looking pizza. Thin sliced prosciutto is generously layered over mozzarella and topped with argula. The Champinon has roasted mushrooms, artichoke hearts, caramelized onions (all produce from Manhattan Fruit Exchange), ricotta salata, mozzarella (cheeses from Murray’s) and extra virgin olive oil. The mushrooms are large and meaty and blend nicely with the ricotta salata. While some of these pizzas may sound rich, they are actually quite light and very fresh.

For small plates, they offer traditional selections like arepitas, emapanaditas , tequenos and tostones.  All are light, crispy and filled with chicken, beef or cheese. The yucca fries come with two zesty sauces, one with avocado and the other, a smoky barbeque ketchup. The salads are fresh all year round and large enough for splitting. The wine list features an affordable variety from South America, Spain, and Portugal.

Why Pasita? The restaurant is actually named after a fortified banana wine with a good back-story. The owner’s grandfather, David Katz, fled France in 1943 as the Nazis were heading south towards his home in Marseille. He hiked over the Pyrenees to Spain and boarded a ship to Venezuela. In Caracas, he built a business producing rum and liquors made from local fruits. The most popular was Pasita. 

The Pasita liquor is a rustic and exotic aperitif not available in the States. Venezuelan fans say it’s the stuff they grew up on, drinking it as teens. I guess it’s their version of Boone’s Farm.

Joel Zighelboim’s goal is to deliver a quality product, yet keep his ingredients simple.  He is definitely achieving his goal.


West Village - New york, NY

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

West Village

Venezuelan / Pizza

47 8th Avenue

New York, NY 10014

T: 212.255.3900