We were looking for a place to have a last-minute dinner in the East Village on Saturday night, and once again Chowhound came to the rescue. My friend (as usual) wanted Italian, so I suggested trying Tanti Baci based on the recommendation a while back from George Lynch. I can't comment on much of the menu as we went for a lighter meal, but what we did have was excellent. We split roasted artichokes with prosciuotto, which was one of the special appetizers, and both had the lentil soup. The app. was fabulous, with meltingly tender artichokes and several large slices of top-notch prosciuotto.We actually bickered a bit over it, accusing each other of hogging more than the allotted share. The soup was likewise a winner. Lentil soup can sometimes be a bit flat, but this had a nice depth of flavor with an herbed oil garnish and bits of pancetta. The only flaw was the service, which while very friendly and accomodating was also the slowest I've experienced recently. We had to ask for everything: to order, to get our drinks, to get water refilled, to get silverware, to get the check...Still, that won't dissuade me from going back to try a more substantial meal - their graciousness, coupled with an excellent, very reasonably priced dinner totally won me over. Thanks for the tip, George!
Glad to have played even a small part for your enjoyable dinner, Lauren. And, coincidentally, a group of friends and I happened to have visited Tante Baci on Friday night, my first time since my original posting. There were 10 in our party, and we had a great time. Our visit was a celebration of sorts, so we splurged (as much as one can splurge in such an economical place).
On our first visit, we were charmed by having our wine delivered from the local wine store; however, since then, Tante Baci has gotten its liquor license and now sports its own wine list. The wines range in price from $14.00 to $32.00 (only two being over $30). They have a nice selection of reds, several from Chile, with some good Italian choices, including a Montepulciano, a Barbera, a Valpolicella and a couple of Chiantis. The smaller selection of whites range from $14.00 to $24.00, most from Italy. They also offer a reasonable selection of wines by the glass.
Everything I tasted Friday night seemed superb to me, from the appetizers to the main courses. Most of us had pasta dishes and I managed to try several, any of which I would order myself again.
I agree that the service is slow, but, like you found, it is friendly and charming. We also had to keep asking for things, but when did, we got whatever we asked for without problem or attitude.
And on a very satisfactory note for us, we happened to walk by Coup, the restaurant a couple of doors west of Tanti Baci, and they were less than half full. You may remember my original post, where we ended up at Tanti Baci because Coup failed to honor our reservations on a Saturday night. So we got our small measure satisfaction as well as our terrific meal.
Great little place...
re: George Lynch
Had dinner at Tanti Baci last night, a very pleasant little place indeed. Nicely done pasta, interesting specials, affordable list, comfortable room, pleasant service. Smoking permitted. On the down side Bolognese sauce lacked brightness and besides pasta, the selection is somewhat limited. At these prices (apps $6-7, pastas $12.50, it would be ingracious to gripe much.
re: Roger Lee
Went to TB with a few people over the long weekend. This is a lovely place with a wonderfully authentic Italian ambience (except for the iceskates on the wall). Our servers were from Italy and practiced English on us, which really made us feel like we were in the hills outside Roma. Salads and pasta were molto bene. The portions were smallish but matched the low prices, reminding me of Mappa Mondo in the West Village, but with far more elbow room. Will go again.
re: Jack Sprat
had lunch today at TB. Maybe everyone else is going at night when the fairy lights are on, but in day light (what gets in) this tiny, basement restaurant is so grotty in appearance that it nearly puts you off food. The curtains, walls, chairs -all look grubby. Dirty cutlery-fork had to be replaced. Not just a stain. A piece of meat attached! I don't think I've mentioned the physical cleanliness of a waiter before but must. South Park fans: think of the female school bus driver. For non-south park viewers: looked as tho her hair hadn't been combed in years. And as for the sweater....it was scary.But we persisted, me and my friend the only customers today. Surely the food will be good!
Bread appeared. Pretty poor semolina bread with sesame seeds. Then a basket of focaccia- bread, hard as nails.
A dish of white beans with light sauce and rosemary--on the house. Beans varied in quality, some a little hard. Very bland.
I had spaghetti with garlic, chili (not much evident) and olive oil. It was average. The parmesan tasted of the ready grated, store bought variety. I didn't try my friend's pasta and tom sauce. She said it was ok.
Cheap yes, but i won't be back..
re: yvonne johnson
I have not been in close to 5 years but I used to frequent Tanti Baci in the W Village. Based on your description of it's subterranean dingy decor it sounds like you may have dined at the same location.
The earlier positive posts on this thread are referring to a Tanti Baci in the E Village. Am I confusing the situation or could this be a case of mistaken identity?
oh dear, we were posting at cross purposes. i'm usually diligent about posting addresses & phone #s, but i thought we were talking about the west vill one! and it did strike me as odd, at the time of writing, that my perception was so much at odds with others'.
in any case...a warning should go out about the tanti baci at 163 w 10 (bet 7th ave and waverly). this is more than a dive (as i relayed in my post) and the food is not that good. i really couldn't wait to get out of this decrepit hole