Good food since 1997
Chef-Owner Abigail Hitchcock dined at Camaje when it opened in 1997 and was impressed by the menu at this tiny bistro on a quiet block of MacDougal Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. Little did she know a year later, her offer to “help on the weekends” would translate into running the show. She transformed the restaurant into the cozy spot it is today–and that’s how our story begins.
Camaje uses seasonal, local and organic (where possible) foods. The menu is French-American but also includes Chef Abby's love of the exotic to add some surprises. “Simplest is best” are words Abby lives by. There’s no need to over complicate good ingredients. As a sommelier, she chooses wines from France and America to complement the menu. And, she jokes that she has more teas than tables in the restaurant. All desserts, including our ice cream, are made by us.
At the heart of a good restaurant are the regular customers, those diners who become friends over years of sharing glasses of wine and food together. That’s what Camaje does best. We create a comfortable environment, an extension of your living room, a home away from home in which to savor excellent food.
Camaje is a staple of Greenwich Village, a reliable old friend. Join us at a table or at the bar, where you will enjoy fabulous fare and the best people-watching in New York City!
Owner and Executive Chef
Abby Hitchcock grew up on Long Island’s rural East End, known for its fishing and farming (fresh bay scallops, stripers, flounder, farm stands, and pick-your-own strawberries/pumpkins/apples). From her mother she learned to love simple fresh local fare and from her father, an amateur chef who enjoys preparing American and ethnic feasts, a love of reading menus and preparing exotic fare.
But it was not until she attended university in England, where she was placed in a “self-catering flat” (shop, cook and feed yourself) that Abby suddenly found that food was her passion: shopping for it, cooking it, eating it, researching it. She began poking about in the greengrocer’s and butcher’s shops and preparing amazing repasts for her English flatmates (happily eating beans on toast)—a New York brunch or an American Thanksgiving for 12— in her tiny kitchenette.
After she earned her degree in botany, she returned to the States and enrolled in Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now The Institute of Culinary Education).
With her blue ribbon cooking diploma in hand, Abby went on to work at The Tea Box at Takashimaya in New York, at Vong in London and at the BBC’s Good Food Magazine. She has been a private chef, worked at Martha Stewart Living television and ran her own catering company. Perhaps it was her Botany degree that led to Abby’s love of the science of cooking (why do onions make you tear?) and to her three years as a recipe development chef, which she occasionally still dabbles in. She eventually settled down as part owner, then sole owner, of Camaje in Greenwich Village. It has been open since 1997: something of a record in Manhattan.
It’s something of a record in the competitive New York dining scene for a restaurant to make it for 2 years, let alone 20. So what’s our secret? Staying creative by offering delectable and fun culinary events.
Abby has been offering hands-on cooking classes for 17 years. One reason for their huge popularity is that they run while the restaurant is open! For the last 12 years, Camaje has hosted Dinners in the Dark Events (formerly known as Dark Dining), sensory feasts served to blindfolded diners. Wine dinners, Tastings, Ladies Afternoon High Teas, Kids Cooking Classes, Corporate Team Building Events and Private Parties are just a few of the other types of events that keep Camaje fresh. Watch a video about our cooking classes here.