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Babbo VS Del Posto VS Felidia Comparison

I have narrowed down the three restaurants to Babbo, Felidia, or Del Posto I think. My mother loves Italian food and she really loves Batali and Lidia so I figured any of these would be great choices. Seems like everyone rants and raves for all of them but was just trying to get some more input one last time before deciding. Pretty sure all have received the presitigious Michelin star but not 100 percent sure.

I would like someone who has been to both to provide a fair comparison of the two based on pastas, entrees, desserts, overall value, experience, etc. I've seen some pics of the food and the portion sizes for the pastas seem to be a bit on the small side for the prices. Seems like these places want you to go through 4 courses so they give you paltry portions. It would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. ive only been to babbo and felidia. i wasnt impressed with either but overall, id go with babbo over felidia.

    felidia is what i consider a mediocre looking restaurant serving better than average italian food than the myriad other italian joints. that said, its also much more expensive and frankly not worth it.

    i had the burrata to start which was excellent but rather commonplace these days. the veal tenderloin i had for a main was in fact quite delicious. it was also $38 or $40 if i remember.

    service was mediocre. i just left feeling like you're paying extra because she is a celebrity but only getting slightly better food.

    im not a fan of batali nor babbo but the restaurant is beautiful and the service is good. we sat upstairs. if i remember, the pastas and appetizers were delicious while no main course interested me whatsoever. the mint love letters, goose liver raviolis, and beef cheek raviolis all were quite good but in 2008, there are much better options for less.

    id go with l'impero or fiamma over either of these places.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sam1

      I've been to all three.....forget Felidia...service is appalling, though food was good, wine selection VG.....Babbo & Del Posto are fantastic...if pricetag is a factor, go to Babbo...either is a no-brainer.

      1. re: drumwine

        Thanks- yeah a bit of a dilemma. Price really isn't an issue. This is what I am weighing right now. Babbo's food versus Del Posto's decor. It seems to me Babbo has better entree choices (a better duck dish, pork chops as opposed to pork loin, ribeye for 2 with better sides and 50 bucks cheaper), while Del Posto's dining room is sprawling and amazingly beautiful and really great for a special occasion. Don't know who has better pasta but have heard both are terrific. Also seems like Babbo's menu is outdated and from 2005 so this might not even be an issue and just a moot point

        How is is Babbo's room? Seems to me like it isn't anything that special. Most important to see is the food but this is somewhat of a factor since it is for my parents 25th.

        1. re: steakrules85

          Have not been to Del Posto but just wanted to mention that I took my parents to Babbo recently and the cramped nature (parents' opinion, not mine...i didn't find it cramped at all as compared to other nyc restaurants) negatively outweighed the incredible food for them. So if you think your rents may be sensitive to closely-set tables you may want to weigh this factor.

          Food was great and in-line with expectations. Pastas much better than entrees and we also totally over-ordered. Depending on which pasta you get it can be a meal on its own.

          1. re: steakrules85

            Both Del Posto and Babbo excel at pastas and to be honest, that should be your priority there, not the secondi. I did really enjoy my secondi at Del Posto which was a Tonno Vitello but thought that my wife's John Dory or Dover Sole (can't remember which one) was good but not outstanding. Don't recall ever being wowed by the secondi at Babbo (except for one, the sweetbreads). I also had the pasta tasting once at Babbo which was amazing but not something i'd ever want to do again.. too much pasta with not enough variation in texture. I like that del posto gives the option of have a choice of a pasta tasting as a primi.

            I think the decor/atmosphere at Del Posto is pretty bad. I felt like I was eating at a fancy hotel in Palm Beach circa 1995. They need to ditch the grand piano player. Some people are bothered by the noise at Babbo, but I am not one of them, especially if you sit upstairs. Its a pretty nice, warm environment vs. a dark/moderny environment at Del Posto. Del Posto definitely gives you more space though.

            I've never left hungry at either place. And dont recall one being more expensive than the other.

            Del Posto is a much easier reservation to get. No need to call exactly one month in advance at 10am to get a good table.

            1. re: steakrules85

              Im not so sure about the "amazingly beautiful" room at Del Posto. It is certainly opulent but with a bit of a 80's Ceasar's Place Vegas thing going on. It is a little much for me.

              Babbo has a more casual townhouse feel, you would feel comfortable in nice jeans there. Whereas at del posto you would not feel right in jeans. For an Italian restaurant Del Posto is very formal.

              Hands down the food is better at Babbo, particularly the pasta. Babbo day in and day out serves some of the best pasta outside of Italy. Babbo is cramped, they will probably have the Rolling Stones (I love the music at Babbo, many hate it) cranked but it remains after all these years a great restaurant. Ask for seating upstairs, it is far more comfortable.

              1. re: Cpalms

                I have to respectfully disagree about pasta being better at Babbo. The most I will say is that they are the same level, but in my experiences I actually had better pasta at Del Posto. I like the flavor profile at Del Posto better, but that might just be personal perference (or the types of pasta that we ordered).

                If you are going to Del Posto, DO NOT order any entree that said "XX for two". Those are reall overpriced and not particularly impressive. However, other dishes, like the turbot and cod, were skillfully prepared. I did like Del Posto's secondi better overall.

                Desserts is a not brainer. Del Posto is MUCH better than Babbo. I will go back to Del Posto just for the desserts.

                I do agree that I like Babbo's causal environment better. And yes, definitely ask for upstair. It's not just the music; the service, I found, is better upstairs as well.

              2. re: steakrules85

                I was just at Del Posto and have never been to Babbo or Felidia, and just wanted to mention that the pork loin is fantastic, as is the cacciuci (sp) dish you may have read about elsewhere. Also, keep in mind that a plate of pasta at Del Posto is about 3oz. People we were with were disappointed by this small serving, since pasta is not treated as a main course. That said, ravioli with buffalo mozzarella and gnocci with braised pork shoulder were the best I've ever had..

                1. re: spopodopolis

                  Yeah this is a very touch decision. I still have another month but I am as clueless as ever!!!!!!!1 UGH!

          2. Having been to all three, Babbo is the only one I'm looking forward to again.
            All three have great food and outstanding wine lists.
            All three cost the most any one person should spend on one meal.

            Babbo employees, however, display a welcoming demeanor....Not in a "Welcome to New York!" kind of way, but in a "I know you've brought a bunch of money, so let's get you a memorable meal." kind of way.

            Does that make sense?

            I'm not taking anything away from the others, I just mind the high price tag of Babbo much less. I feel I'm getting more than just great food and wine.

            That said, there's this: Felidia serves more traditional Italian food, which might be more palatable to your mom. Just a guess.

            1. Maybe we can get some kind of poll going on here.. Out of these three which is the best? Based on pastas, entrees, and desserts. Also add in which dishes are the best. This is for a really special occasion and I want it to be perfect! Problem is all of these menus seem to be somewhat exotic (which doesnt bother me) but my family has a more conservative palate and are reluctant to try "exotic" foods like say beef cheek ravioli or turbut (althought if you told them it was filet of sole theyd like it).

              2 Replies
              1. re: steakrules85

                Unfortunately I have not been to Felidia.

                At Babbo I remember in particular: Mint Love Letters; Tripe

                At Del Posto I remember and recommend:

                Lamb Crudo w/Warm Mussels
                Spaghetti w/Dungeness Crab, jalapeno and scallions
                Garganelli Verdi w/Ragu Bolognese
                Orrechiette w/Lamb Neck and Sausage, Morels and Spring Onion
                Formaggi Tasting
                Lemon Riccotta Cheesecake (which I sampled from my companion)

                The pastas at Del Posto are highly recommended. The Secondi, in my opinion, can be disregarded.

                1. re: Hurner

                  Since posting this I have been to Babbo. I have a review on the whole experience on here. It was absolutely terrific all around in my experience.

              2. We've been to Babbo a good handful of time and still love it. We've ordered the pasta tasting menu twice, but will say it's too much food. By the time the dessert course comes we are way too full to enjoy it. We've also ordered the regular tasting menu and I agree with some other posters who said the pasta is what excels at Babbo. So what we do now is create our own pasta sharing menu by looking at all the pasta entrees and selecting 2 or 3 to share. I like going for pasta offerings that you just can't get anywhere else, for example, the mint love letters. The first time I tried it my reaction was WOW. The second time it didn't wow me. Twice was enough. But order what interests you in the selections.

                We are going to Del Posto for the first time in a couple of weeks. From what I've read, pasta is the way to go there too.

                5 Replies
                1. re: synergy

                  Reading this posts makes me ask what is probably a goofy question but I'll ask it anyway. If you go to Del Posto or Babbo for pasta dishes, can't you find Italian restaurants in Manhattan that serve similar dishes that are just as good at far less expensive prices? Personally, when I go out to eat and am going to plunk down a whole lotta money on a great meal, I'm not interested in eating pasta (except perhaps as an app or primi piatti). I can make pasta quite well (though of course not at the level of Del Posto or Babbo) and have had incredible pasta at many fine restaurants, but why go to such a renowned place as these and have pasta as your primary dish? Probably a stupid question but I had to ask........

                  1. re: Schpsychman

                    I don't think it's a stupid question at all. I have been to Babbo several times, and although I have had a pasta course each time, I would never have an entire meal of pasta, and yes, I think there are other restaurants that do pasta as well as or better and for less money than Babbo, such as Crispo, Pepolino, and Lupa.

                    1. re: rrems

                      Thanks rrems for your response. Someday I'll make it to Babbo or Del Posto but in the meantime go to the other places you mention when I want some great pasta (or hit some of our great South Philadelphia restaurants as well). Ciao.

                    2. re: Schpsychman

                      Hi Schpsychman,

                      May be I have different taste compared to other hounds, but to me that pasta at Crispo and Lupa is not at the same level as Babbo and Del Posto. It may not be as obvious as dishes like spaghetti and bucatini, but for pasta that requires more "hand-made" techiques, like gnocchi and ocecchiette, I can notice a substantial difference in the texture of the pasta. I still think among all the gnocchi that I have tried in the city (including Lupa and Crispo), Babbo and Del Posto have the best!

                      Beside textural difference, it is the flavoring of the pasta dishes. I think this is more subjective, and I personally just like the flavoring combination better at Babbo and Del Posto. I like the condiments that come with their pasta dishes which tend to be of more unique meat cuts or cheese or herbs, etc.

                      And the pasta dishes at Babbo and Del Posto aren't really that much more expensive than other places (like Crispo), just a few bucks more for each. Del Posto is more expensive because of the environment. What I think is expensive there are actually the antipasti and secondi dishes compared to say Lupa or Crispo.

                      I actually do like Lupa and and Crispo for the no frill dinners, but if I were to compare head to head pasta only, I will give Babbo and Del Posto higher ranking in my book.

                      1. re: Schpsychman

                        great pasta is special, and you can't get great pasta everywhere. I have not dined at Babbo or Del Post, but my favorite spot for Italian is Al Di La. I certainly cannot make pasta as good as them as hard as I try.

                    3. I thought Frank Bruni's 3 star review of Felidia was interesting to read after browsing this thread. He talks about Lidia's contributions to Del Posto as well.

                      http://events.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/...

                      1. I've only been to Babbo and I absolutely loved it! I ordered the pasta tasting menu.
                        http://www.eatgohan.blogspot.com/2008...

                        1. I had an awful experience at Del Posto. Read my review here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505600

                          Its a tourist spot and not worth visiting. Go with Babbo.

                          1. i have been to both many times... the pastas are great at both Del Posto and Babbo. At Del Posto the decor was far superior, but the apps and entrees were not quite as good as Babbo. At babbo, the food is better, but the decor is plain, especially upstairs. the service was the same at both places. i'd take her to Del Posto bc the atmosphere is more upscale and it will seem more special. just know what to order beforehand.