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Apr 11, 2007 09:43 AM

Can't Get into Babbo...

can anyone make a non-batali suggestion for a fantastic fresh pasta dinner for a special occasion?

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  1. bellavitae on minetta lane. has been linked in some discussions to babbo. as the place to go if you can't get in.. try to sit at the chef's counter that's great....

    1 Reply
    1. re: jsmitty

      And Lupa. It's always much easier to get into than Babbo, and equally good.

      - Sean

    2. L'Impero would be perfect for a special occasion dinner. Chef Scott Conant's modern Italian cuisine is excellent, and you will certainly enjoy his house-made pasta dishes. But there are many other wonderful things on the menu, including the not-to-be-missed seriously delicious polenta with mushrooms. The space has lovely ambiance with low-key elegant decor.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        Had a fantastic meal at Beppe this weekend.

      2. Even if you can't get in Babbo, you can still have Batali's pasta at Lupa or Del Posto.

        If you want to completely depart from from Batali's establishments, I suggest Hearth. They don't specialize in pasta, but I love their gnocchi and duck pappardelle. I also like the pasta (ravioli) at A Voce which is more contemporary.

        6 Replies
          1. re: jsmitty

            thanks for the good ideas! what's cesare casella's new place? any reviews?

              1. re: RGR

                I've been twice and loved it. Great food and friendly service.

                The first time, I had a sliced pork special which was to die for. The second time I had the prok shank which I didn't enjoy as much (just not my thing). My friend had the short ribs -- YUM!!

                All the appetizers were great as well...we had some gnocchi like thing and the pesto crepes. Lamb meatballs were also tasty. Fries were also yummy to share with our dinner.

                Overall, great meal and I will go back again.

              2. re: Yaccochow

                I second the thoughts about Maremma, however, it is not as up scale as Babbo. Having said that we have had a number of terrific meals there and highly recommend it. Afterall, where else in the city can you sit down and have a 'cowboy italian' dining experience.

                1. re: Yaccochow

                  i didn't like maremma. it thought the flavors were not as pleasing to me as i wanted. the restaurant is very cool though...

              1. I know these are both Batali suggestions, but I suggest Del Posto Enoteca--won't hurt your wallet as badly as Babbo or Del Posto, and you can (only) make reservations the day of. Lupa's always a great alternative too, but yo'ull have a hard time getting unless your special occasion is a ways away.

                I just went to Bellavitae last week and thought it was pretty good, not great.

                I second A Voce too; that's an excellent option ... although, I find the dining room a bit spare and lacking and warmth--not the most intimate, cozy place for a special occasion.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kanger

                  While I really liked the food at A Voce, the thing that would eliminate it for me as a special occasion place -- and that has kept us from going back -- is the insanely high noise level when the room is full. In my view, having to shout across or around the table is never a comfortable way to converse while dining, but it would seem especially annoying if I were there for a celebratory meal. I think a major reason for this problem is, as you mentioned, the "spareness" of the room; that is to say, it's *all* hard surfaces with not a hint of softness anywhere that could help mediate the noise level. :-(