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Oct 30, 1998 09:50 PM


  • c

Have any chowhounds survived the
strict reservation protacol at
Babbo and happily dined there? Is
it as good as I've heard?? What do
you recommend? Thanks ! ( I love
this list !)

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  1. I survived .

    But I didn't have to make the reservations. I was taken by someone who had a tough time getting a reservation. But once we were there, he was recognized because much of the front of the place used to work at Gramercy Tavern, and my friend was a regular there for business meals.

    We shared the pasta tasting menu. Some of it was very good, some of it was indifferent. I'd feel like I'd need another meal or two before I could really evaluate the quality of the kitchen. There was absolutely no attitude once you are seated, by the way -- the service was friendly and professional. But so far, I'm not quite sure what all the fuss is about.


    8 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      I'm a little biased. we're friends with the owners, so reservations not a problem. we've eaten there 3 times since the opening. last time with a group of eight. food has always been very good, fresh,innovative, with good service, good atmosphere.

      1. re: stephen kaye

        Great food, great place, great prices but would
        somebody tell them to get rid of that Joey Heatherton
        sound-alike on their "hold" lin

        1. re: amy tarshis

          Would anyone be able to give me the address for Babbo?
          It sounds wonderful -- I'd love to try it.

          1. re: gail

            It's at 110 Waverly Place between McDougal and 6th. Not
            to imply that I know so much about New York
            restaurants! I very much recommend to you
   for information on almost
            restaurant you may have heard of. You can access a
            map, $ signs denoting how much you can expect to pay
            and a review of the place. I went to Babbo in October
            and it was wonderful.

            1. re: Pat Hammnd
              michael de gennaro

              i have been to numerous restaurants throughtout the world......and most recently covered many of the hot places in the U.K.....which was soon to rival our town as far as restaurants are concerned, but we can now rest easy Babbo, has blown them away....Bravo Mario!

        2. re: stephen kaye

          yea, but how fair is that? the rest
          of us poor slobs have to wait on
          hold for, like an eternity just to
          find out we can have dinner a
          month from now at 11:30 -- and
          you get to waltz in because you're
          friends of the owners.

          That actually puts me off the place

          1. re: annie

            I often go to Home, which is right across the street
            from Po. I look at the lines and the Zagat's ratings
            (which are comparable) and listen to how hard it is to
            get in and wonder why anyone would bother. At home I
            can almost always get a reservation when I want it,
            they always seat us right away, sometimes even without
            a reservation and the food is fabulous. (Note for
            Dave Feldman, the Calvin Trillin fan: I did see him
            eating there once - that's a good enough endorsement
            for me!)
            The bread is always wonderful. The last time we
            went there the special appetizer was juicy, flavorful
            quail, marinated with just enough rosemary on a bed of
            warm mizuna and yellow fingerling potatoes dressed
            with cider vinegar. Wow! If I'd known they were so
            delicious I would have just had a double as my main
            course. One of their signature dishes is butterey
            mashed sweet potatoes with just enough chipotle to cut
            the richness. Food is always fresh, dishes
            inventive. Waitstaff is always courteous and friendly
            without being invasively familiar. I can't recommend
            it highly enough. Why bother with Po or Babbo?

            1. re: Barb H.

              I'm not *quite* as enthusiastic about Home as you, but
              basically I agree with you. I'm going to Babbo on
              Tuesday and we'll see if it's worth the wait. By the
              way, I was a beneficiary of a 5:30 seating.


      2. My daughter made reservations 2 days short of their one
        month (so she'd heard) requirement. We had six in our
        party and got reservations for six o'clock. My New
        York family thought that was early but it was fine by
        me. We all loved the place, the service and the food.
        I hope to go again when I'm in town.

        1. i'm tempted not to share this info due to fear of
          overcrowding, but i will anyway - babbo has a bar area
          with 4 or 5 tables which are given to diners strictly
          on a first-come, first-served basis. no reservations
          required, and usually not too too long a wait (30-40
          minutes). you can also eat at the bar itself from the
          full menu. the food is really great -- and the
          breadsticks at the bar are out of this world.

          1. Before Babbo was given the coveted three star seal of approval, as well as numerous other accolades by various publications, I dined at Babbo about once a week. Now it is nearly impossible to get a reservation. And no, I don't want to eat at 5 or 11:30 (does anybody?).
            But it really is a great restaurant - food, service, setting, price (very reasonable) - it has it all.

            The polenta with grilled mushrooms is a great starter, as is the salad with blood orange vinagerette. All the entrees that I have sampled have been great. The pastas are among the best I have had in NYC. The bucotini with baby octopus is phenomenal, as is spaghetti with lobster, tomato and sweet corn (more of a summer dish), the gnocci with proscuitto and tomatos, and the mint "love letters." I liked, but did not love, the spaghetti served in with a "hundred tomato" sauce (or something like that). It was a bit too sweet and thick for my tastes.

            If you like steak, don't miss the thick cut florentine grilled steak. Incredibly flavorful, and the side of spinach is incredible.

            The deserts are also excellent.

            Wow, I miss the place.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Alex

              We went to Babbo on August 15, about a week
              and a half before "the review".
              It was great. Mario was workin' the room.
              The food was, well, perfect.
              I'm so glad we went back then.
              Sounds like a nightmare now.
              Well when something's that good, it's hard to
              keep a lid on it.

            2. I can second the vote of confidence for the food at
              Babbo. It's some of the best Italian cuisine I've ever
              had the pleasure of sampling. I can also confirm that
              it's a simple matter to get a seat in the bar area
              just about any time. As for service, I can agree that
              it's technically proficient but I've been on the
              receiving end of some attitude problems. I've also had
              reservations problems, such as being kept waiting
              nearly an hour for a table without an apology or even
              an acknowledgement of a problem. And I've heard
              similar tales from several other people, although
              apparently none of you all.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Steven Shaw

                I'm sorry to hear there were
                reservation problems at another
                of Mario Batali's restaurants. I've
                never experienced rudeness (or
                was it sheer stupidity/lack of
                customer service skills?) like I
                did at Po a few weeks back. Sure
                the food's good, but it ain't worth
                being made to wait and then made
                to feel bad when you inquired after
                your table...Sigh. We shouldn't let
                restaurants do that...