Babbo of Chicago
A recent transplant from Manhattan looking for a Babbo-style restaurant in Chicago. (I'm reading 'Heat' right now and missing Mario...) Any suggestions? I'm craving a plate of fresh pasta with a light sauce and a great glass of red wine.
I'm a city girl, so I don't go out to the suburbs, but anywhere in the city works for me!
I wrote about this once before. I do not believe there is anything that has the hipness factor of Babbo combined with the rustic simplicity Babbo offers. However, the pastas at Cafe Spiaggia definitely are up to par with Babbo. It just is a completely different atmosphere...more quiet and less bustling than Babbo. I think Cafe Spiaggia's pastas are unbeatable. There are usually no more than 5 ingredients in each, all amazingly fresh and tasty. Enjoy.
OK, I haven't been to Babbo (despite several tries), but for excellent pasta with a glass of red wine I would go to Cafe Spiaggia or Coco Pazzo.
Cafe Spiaggia is the less formal sister restaurant to Spiaggia, which is fine-dining Italian. The pastas there are fabulous. Their signature pasta is a "guitar-string" pasta with a wild boar ragu, which is not light, but I've had the guitar string pasta as a special with wild mushrooms and it was wonderful.
Coco Pazzo also has great pasta. I haven't had a pasta there that I haven't liked. Their gnocchi is wonderful and light. Their risottos are not light, but they are consistently outstanding.
What is Babbo and what makes it so unique?
I'm sure there are places all over New York where you can get good pasta and good wine, just like you can here.
nsxtasy...Babbo really is a special place. It is one of Mario Batalli's restaurants. Most of the food is very rustic in nature with very simple ingredients (maybe just pasta with olive oil, a bit of porcini, and some reggiano, etc.). What makes it stand out is that everything is impeccable in freshness. At the same time, Mario has built a place that oozes hipness without pretentiousness. When you get in to Babbo, which is a feat in itself, you feel lucky to be there.
We owe a lot of thanks to Babbo as it was one of the firsts to start the charcuterie resurgence that is so popular in many of our restaurnats here.