HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Are there any Mario Batali restaurants you'd recommend?

I have a big Mario fan coming to visit soon and would like to bring her to one of his restaurants. I'm having a hard time choosing. Any advice - positive or negative - woudl be appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Babbo is my favorite italian place anywhere.

    Otto is good.

    Have not been to others...

    1. thanks - what are your favorite Babbo dishes? and at Otto?

      1 Reply
      1. re: dawner119

        Only been to otto twice so I dont have details but I liked the pasta I had. You must get olive oil gelatto for dessert no matter which batali restaurant you go to btw. It is awesome.

        Babbo I am more familiar with - For the somewhat adventurous
        Tripe Marinara - best anywhere
        Lambs Tongue Vinagrette - Great app - most peoples favorite
        Beef Cheek Ravioli
        Veal Chop
        Pork Chop

        I had their pasta taster menu too which is fantastic but the dishes above are even better. If you are not adventerous the pasta menu might be a better choice.

      2. OTTO...great rendition of his own style of pizza..(very thin crust...almost cracker like) with very fresh and unusual toppings...veggies are all good...gelato is divine...Price is very reasonable...Get reservations

        1. otto, babbo,lupa,esca all winners

          1. Babbo without question. Also, one of the best kept secrets in town, the Enoteca at Del Posto where for $41/person you get a four course prix fixe meal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: livetotravel

              Pitched up at the Del Posto Enoteca at 4.15 yesterday and had myself a very pleasant late lunch (I am European after all) or early dinner as the waitstaff kept pointing out!! Had starter of grilled winter squashes with saba (concentrated balsamic) @ $9, followed by primi of ravioli stuffed with brasato (braised veal in this case) topped with cauliflower and broccoli @ $14 and finished with a dessert (from the main restaurant menu) of a trio of lemony things - sorbetto, lemon millefeuille equivalent and lemon chiboust tart @ $15. Washed down with an "assaggio" glass of Brovia Barolo @ $12. Finished with an espresso @ $5. Had a nice bread selection with lardo and butter. Everything very tasty, the pasta, chiboust tart and barolo standout. $41 4 course prix fixe would be a steal for those with bigger appetites than my own. Every bit as good as Babbo or Lupa although I haven't been to those two places in a while. Will definitely be back for an evening meal in the main restaurant.

            2. I visit NYC once a year on business. I always try to eat at Lupa. Very good food, excellent wine list and less expensive than Babbo.

              1. Babbo is without a doubt the best Mario Batali restaurant. Otto is my second favorite and is probably the most casual. They have just pizza, pasta and appetizers. Lupa is a favorite also!

                1. Agree wth NiKoLe1625 that Babbo is the best among all Batali's restaurants. It is also the most consistent one, so if you can get in you are pretty much guaranteed with great food. I have enjoyed my trips to Otto and Lupa as well, but some CH'ers have had unpleasant experiences in Otto and Lupa, so I think it is more of a consistency issue.

                  Having that said, it is extremely hard to get reservation at Babbo, so if you can get one, definitely go to Babbo. If you can go to Babbo, then go to BOTH Otto and Lupa, since what you pay in Babbo will be enough to cover a meal at both Otto and Lupa! (remember to get the Olive Oil Gelato!)

                  Hope you have a wonderful trip!

                  1. Babbo is very good. But, Lupa for the price-quality ratio and the more casual ambiance is the better restaurant.

                    1. I think both Otto and Lupa are terrible. The plates and presentation are attractive but most of the dishes are not to my liking at all.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tsiblis

                        Terrible is an interesting word. Otto can be terrifying, but the food is hardy terrrible, and the olive oil gelato is worth a visit all for itself (off hours, so you don't get beaten up by either the staff or the crowd).

                        Lupa. Hmm. Try as I might, I can't find anything terrible about Lupa. It's one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. Originally it was conceived as a Roman variation on Babbo theme, but that's been lost in the mix. No question about it, the food at Lupa is outstanding. If they have the duck ragu on the menu, grab it. It's sublimely good.

                        - Sean

                        1. re: Sean Dell

                          get the ricotta-stuffed gnocchi at lupa. it rox.

                        2. re: tsiblis

                          otto and lupa are a far cry from "terrible." yes the service at Otto is subpar and its not the BEST food, but its definitely not terrible. I've always enjoyed myself there. Lupa is definitely NOT terrible. Not even close!

                        3. babbo - masterfull... enjoy fb

                          1. Avoid Otto and go to Babbo.

                            1. I have been to all of them multiple times except haven't made it to Del Posto yet. Every one's a winner.

                              1. our experience at Lupa in December was mixed. my wife liked it - she had the carbonara and a pork shoulder dish, but they served her polenta cold - one of the ovens was broken said the waiter. I had potato and fennel stuffed trout that came tied in three places with heavy twine. I couldn't cut the twine with my knife and asked for scissors or something and it took five minutes to find a pair of scissors. When I finally got to eat it, the fennel just overwhelmed the fish. we enjoyed much of the meal, but frankly the place just seemed disorganized and sloppy

                                1. "Lupa is terrible"
                                  Wow. That's a new one.

                                  My wife and I treat ourselves to Lupa once a month or so and it's always just that...a treat.

                                  ...and we're really obnoxious Italian food and wine snobs.

                                  1. I may be a lone dissenter about Babbo. We visited NYC last October and were very excited to have reservations there. We found the restaurant to be truly manic. We were seated at a table that was as good as any but the wait staff traffic was VERY distracting both in numbers of bodies rushing past the table and in their hurried pace. I know the staff needs to be efficient but we felt very rushed as if they needed to turn the table quickly and we were in the way. We were pressed for our drink order and felt pressured to order immediately. Also, my meal, (squab which I ordered on mistake, meant to order another fowl) was underwhelming. Really sub par for a restaurant of this reputation. To top it all off it was raining the evening we were there and it was so HARROWING trying to get out of the restaurant through the bar area. It was a terrible end to a marginal meal. I understand that people don't want to stand in the rain but to have customers literally NOT BE ABLE TO ESCAPE the restaurant was highly concerning. All in all not one of our better dining experiences in the city and a general disappointment. I know that every restaurant has it's off days I just wish it hadn't happened to us.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pate

                                      that is really unfortunate that you experienced that. I eat there often and have never once felt rushed when ordering. I have always felt that I could have the table for the entire night. I can totally understand the thing about the bar situation. That area is so ridiculous and they definitely need to expand it or something. Its way too chaotic!

                                    2. Babbo, Otto, Lupa, Casa Mono. Haven't been to the others.

                                      1. I've been to Lupa twice and both times I was very impressed. Haven't tried any others, though.

                                        1. I've never been to his other restaurants, but just ate a BABBO on Friday night and it was magnificent. Highly, higly recommended. Grilled octopus appetizer, mint love letters and beef cheek ravioli.... I'm still thinking about those dishes. I'm going back next week with some out of town guests. I can't wait. The drawback? It is very hard to get a reservation at Babbo. Call at 10 am when the phones open and be prepared to hit "redail" over and over again. Don't give up trying to get through. Babbo is worth it.

                                          1. Babbo and Lupa. I was less into Otto or Casa Mono. Never been to Esca or Del Posto.

                                            1. I've been to Lupa once Del Posto once, Otto twice, Casa Mono once and Babbo three times, twice the past two weeks. I like them all, but LOVE Babbo. My wife and I had the pasta tasting menu with the riserva wine pairing, outstanding and I was full for most of the following day. One slight gripe is the papardelle bolognese was way too salty. We ate at the bar and I mentioned it to the bartender who was serving us and he said it is normally a salty dish, but IMHO it shouldn't have been that salty. But aside from that, Babbo rocks. If you have trouble getting a reservation, just show up and eat at the bar, I love it there, you always have the attention of the bartender and they know their stuff. Last week when I was there (eating alone), I left the menu selections up to the bartender and I was not dissapointed.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: MagnumWino

                                                Thanks, everyone! I am pleased to report I was able to give Otto a try and enjoyed it immensely. My frined and I split the romaine salad, a margherita pizza and a plate of pasta alla norma, which was absolutely fabulous... the simple sauce along with the perfectly sauteed diced eggplant and the fresh buffala ricotta was spot on. We finished the meal with a lovely cheese plate including a nutty peccorino, a really snappy/sharp parmiggano reggiano, and a soft goat cheese, all served with black cherries in a port wine reduction, a spiced apricot marmilade and a wonderful spiced lavander honey. I had to sneak in some lavander gelato then rolled myself and my friend out of there. It was all less than $75... terrific, really.

                                                I am looking forward to Babbo and Lupa next up, although I am seriously jonesing for that pasta alla norma at Otto again!