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$500, 3 people, where to go?

Hello! I'm going to NYC in July with my best friend and my boyfriend. I have $500 (or ~$600 with tip and tax) to spend for one dinner and I'm looking for suggestions! I'd like to note that this is a rare opportunity for me (and my friends) because I work for a non-profit which makes me quasi-poor. In other words, this is a once in a lifetime experience!

So far Babbo is at the top of my list. I've always wanted to go there, but even at Babbo $500 is a LOT to spend! So, I'm open to suggestions (even though my heart is leaning me towards Babbo). I looked at Le Bernardin but the tasting menu is so expensive that we wouldnt be able to order drinks.

One more thing... if I end up at Babbo, which would be better:
-The traditional tasting menu with wine pairings plus a salumi plate and a cheese plate...and cocktails :)
or...
-Each of us could order like crazy off the al la carte menu and get a nice bottle of wine (or two) for the table

THANK YOU!

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  1. i think you should go to Babbo. just do it. there are other places where you could spend $500 easily, but Babbo is so wonderful and it's obviously an experience you'd like to have at some point - not to mention that it really is worth it. besides, if the three of you go, have a tasting menu and some nice wine, it'll be about $500.

    i'd recommed either the pasta tasting menu or ordering a la carte, but stick with the pastas. the secondis have gotten mediocre reviews on here.

    the gnocchi there is just incredible. the best i've ever had. just unreal and perfect in absolutely every way.

    funkymonkey
    thebestbite.blogspot.com

    2 Replies
      1. re: funkymonkey

        I also vote for Babbo. You wouldn't be stressed about staying on budget and could really enjoy the meal. One note about pasta dishes. I love all of the pastas I have had there except one - Mint Love Letters. Many people on this board recommend them so they may want to chime in - I would choose the beef cheek ravioli as a filled pasta instead. Maybe my palate isn't that developed but I think the Love Letters are out of balance. Also don't miss the garganelli the texture of the pasta and the earthy quality of the mushrooms is fantastic.

      2. For 3 people at Babbo, $500 is probably about right.

        1. We were just there, at Babbo, last Friday. $500 would be a satisfying budget, imho, for 3 people. Including a bottle or 2 of some nice wine.

          The Black Spaghetti dish with spicy Calbrese sausage is a terrific dish. If you eat tripe, don't pass on their trippa appetizer - it's one of the best out there.

          1. yes babbo- do the pasta tasting menu with wine- you'll have money left to go to peter lugers and eat steaks too... enjoy- fb

            1. You can't go wrong with Babbo. However, if you want to consider a couple of places that aren't easily replicated outside of major cities, I would suggest Nobu or Tabla. They're still expensive, but they won't bust your budget by a long shot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Marco123

                My choice would definately be Babbo. To my mind your $500 budget for three people would probably just make it. My experience has been, one time we went, we were four people, had the regular tasting menu. With tip came to $660+. But that was with a bottle of wine while waiting for a spot at the bar to open up, and some after dinner drinks. Then I ate there solo one night, at the bar, left the ordering up to the bartender. The bill came to $294, with the tip. The last time there with my wife, we had the pasta tasting menu with the riserva wine option, a couple of pre-dinner and after dinner cocktails, with tip, I seem (meaning at that point, was feeling no pain, due to some outstanding food paired with some great wines) to remember the bill came to around $495 or so. Regardless, Babbo would be my choice for sure. You are all sure to enjoy it immensely.