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Unable to get reservations at Babbo...

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I love NY. I think the food is amazing there. I've been to NY a few times, each time as a starving student who could never afford to eat in places I've always wanted to try. All I could do was stand in front of the window, longingly looking in and wishing I could be eating with the people inside...(sniff sniff, sad, I know...). Now, I've finished school and have a career (that pays!) where I can afford to enjoy the pleasures of eating well in this amazing city...

On my last trip done a few months ago, it was very short and planned at the last minute that I was only able to barely dip my toes into the immense pool of NY's culinary scene. This time, I didn't wanna just wade; I wanted to jump right into the pool. Folks, I'm ready! I've thoroughly researched the restaurants this time and read all the extensive reviews posted on this board and elsewhere and have formulated my itinerary. No surprise, one of the restaurants on my list is... Babbo. My trip isn't until the third weekend of May, May 19th to be exact and today, I started calling Babbo at 10AM and I couldn't get through at all until 2pm! By that time, the reservationist had told me that all the tables were reserved!!! We're still 30 days away! It seems practically impossible to get reservations there since they won't let you reserve more than 30 days prior to the day of. I'm so upset. My trip's highlighted meal was suppposed to be at Babbo. And now? I don't know. I guess I'll give it a shot and get to the door at 530pm and see if I can get a table at the bar or front area as the reservationist had recommended. If you don't mind my asking, is it realistic or possible to walk in and get seats on a Friday or Saturday night? I would consider Sunday (May 30) and can retry calling again at 10am tomorrow to see if I can get through, but I fly out on Sunday at 9pm and think it'll be cutting it too close if I got dinner at 5pm. That doesn't seem very practical does it? Sigh...

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  1. You sound like a prime candidate for a meal at the bar at Babbo! Are you dining alone? If you are this committed to eating at Babbo, by all means go. It does require a wait. Big deal. Have one of their Bellinis from the bar and hang out. I've always been able to get in eventually but maybe there's a chance that it won't happen. It always works out in my experience though. If you're really worried you can try for a table at Lupa. Different than Babbo but very good pastas (check this board for recs) and another way to taste Batali's delicious food. It's also only about 10 minutes away so you could just walk over if it looks like Babbo won't work out for some reason or you get sick of waiting. Enjoy your trip and eat well!
    Jeremy

    1. Every time I've eaten at Babbo it's been at the bar. The most I've had to wait is about an hour and 15 minutes, so as long as you're willing to wait, go for it. The bar great (I'd eat right at the bar, not at the bar tables) and the bartenders are a lot of fun to talk to, and great with recommendations... I'm also a big Lupa fan, but chances are your wait will be as long there (I've actually had to wait up to two hours to eat at Lupa on prime nights), so I'd stick it out at Babbo, if I were you.

      1. I have a reservation at 6:00 pm on Friday that I am about to cancel. Call now.

        5 Replies
        1. re: clashfan

          I got reservations at Babbo by using American Express concierge services. If you or anyone you know has an Amex Platinum card, you can call them up and ask their concierge services to put the date on their calendar and they will call for you. I suspect that places like Babbo have a separate phone number for concierge because Amex was able to get us an 8pm reservation on that exact day with no problems.

          1. re: eleguin

            Last October I tried for hours to get through, 30 days exactly in advance...when I FINALLY got through at about 6pm that day, the only reservation left was 11pm. On the day of our reservation NYC was experiencing torrential downpours, and we were in the Village wandering around noshing here and there, killing time basically, until we were just soaked to the bone and showed up at 9pm begging for some compassion. We couldn't even squeeze into the bar area. It was a sad day for us. Having really nowhere nearby to wait, we gave up our reservation. I was really unhappy about the whole situation...it shouldn't be that hard to at least get a voice recorded message about the situation. Poor management of the reservation system, which is poor customer service in my opinion. My brother is in the business, so I know that excellent food and a big reputation doesn't have to mean snobby customer service. We won't be trying again for Babbo.

          2. re: clashfan

            Just cancelled my rez for 6:00 pm on Friday May 18th. Give it a shot.

            1. re: clashfan

              Weep!!! Clashfan, I finally got through 20 minutes ago and your spot was already taken! Babbo fans are die hards man! They sniff out every possible lead out there to get a reservation. I guess I'm just too slow... Anyhow, thanks again for giving up your spot Clashfan. If only I had been able to check the message board after your first message, I might have been able to request for you to keep the reservation and just change it under a different name. Oh well, that's what I get for leaving work to head home!

              Elequin, that's an excellent heads up. I have American Express but only the Gold Card and I doubt they'd cater to us more lowly folks :oP But I'll give AE a shot to see if they'd help me out anyways. Here's to hoping!

              Typically, I have no problem dining alone but this time, my friend in NY wants to join me for Babbo because she has been dying to go but had no companion to go with. So I was trying to get seats for 2 people there. I can duke it out waiting for an hour or more but I'm not sure if she can.

              Jeremy and ABT, 6 years ago, I had flown to NJ for an interview for grad school, was so bummed out with the interview, I took the PATH train to Greenwich Village and searched my way to Babbo. I stood in front of the little restaurant and peered into the window. It looked so warm and inviting. The menu looked great. But the prices, oh the prices! How could a scruffy little college kid afford a meal like that? Hence I ended up walking away...few bucks in my pocket, I stopped at Jefferson's Market, picked up a Baguette and a bit of Goat Cheese and took the train back to my hotel room in NJ. Meal wasn't bad, but I'd have been happier to eat at Babbo. So now that 6 years have passed, I want to revisit the place but this time to actually eat in it. So if I'm going to eat at an Italian restaurant at all in NY, I want to experience it there at Babbo. So yes folks, I will be sticking it out with Babbo. Wish me luck!

              1. re: santorinii

                I only had to call twice at 10:40am to get through. Got a table for two at 8pm for a month later to the day. All this fuss seems ridiculous though. I'd be super agitated if I experienced what some of you guys went through. I think it's pure chance. Surely some days you'll never get through and some days it'll be fairly easy. I just got back from +2 weeks in Italy (Rome, Campania and Sicily) so this will be a fun comparison (I ate at a few of Batali's recommended spots as well as several chowhound recommended spots).