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Frustration Booking Babbo!

I have been calling nonstop since 10 am and the line has been busy for the last 15 minutes. This is ridiculous. They tell you to call a month in advance to the date at 10 am which is what I am doing and I can't get through. Is it possible that the demand for this place is that great that I cannot get through?

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  1. I feel for you. My father was going to take me to Babbo as a Christmas present last year. He was miraculously able to get a reservation for a Friday night. I don't know how he did it.

    Then my husband got a horrible flu. We had to cancel.

    We were never able to get a reservation there again. No times available or else we just can't get through. Really horrible. Yes, the demand is just that high.

      1. re: jakew8

        Afetr hotting redial all day a real voice answered at around 3:00 p.m. I was so stunned to finally hear someone I almost could.t speak! Not many times left but luckily 9:30 p.m.was fine with us.
        Was it worth it.....yes!

        1. re: trishottawa

          I am starting to think they just leave their phone off the hook!

      2. Here's the trick--stop in the restaurant at 10a.m. Works like a charm.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Produce Addict

          Ditto. And smile! The poor reservationist will be happy to see someone who is patient and smiling.

          See also:
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/375691

        2. Maybe if you kept trying, you will eventually get through. I secured my babbo reservation for next month after trying for 20 minutes.

          1. I've done this several times, starting at exactly 10:00. I got an answer after 5 to 15 minutes of redialling each time. No, they do not leave their phone off the hook. I have always gotten the same person (the pleasant woman with the British accent), so I assume it's just the number of callers trying to get through with only one person answering the phone.

            9 Replies
              1. re: rrems

                You guys must be really really lucky I have been calling nonstop for the last 2 hrs (since 10) and got nada. In the meantime I have booked DB and Del Posto as fallbacks but want to go to Babbo really bad.

                1. re: steakrules85

                  I got through two times within 45 minutes. I had a question and got through the second time after 15 minutes.

                  1. re: DarthEater

                    I FINALLY just got thru and the woman put me on hold for 10 minutes. Then she comes back to tell me the only times they have one month from now are 10pm -11:15. OUTRAGEOUS!

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      Not sure how outrageous it is - just the way it is, unfortunately.

                  2. re: steakrules85

                    Hi Steak, have you really been calling non-stop since 10? I'm talking: dial the number, busy signal, and keep readialing over and over, without putting the phone down? Because that's what it takes, as crazy as it sounds!

                    My boyfriend called at exactly 10am on February 15th. After about 45 minutes of the literal, non-stop dialing, he snagged us a 6:30pm reservation for Saturday, March 15th.

                    The other idea, that worked when I went to Babbo with my dad a couple of years ago, was to tag-team it. We both started dialing at exactly 10am a month before, and my dad got through after about 15 minutes.

                    Best of luck!

                    1. re: Melanie

                      I think he did end up getting a reservation.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Yes to all- I finally did indeed get a reservation but I had to settle for a Tuesday night. Still I am very excited about it! And yes I was dialing nonstop for hours.

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          Great! I'm sure you will love it. Again, I'm going to Babbo on Saturday in mid-March and will be sure to post a detailed review. Enjoy!

                2. Zagat's (in a new guide) just named Babbo the #1 Italian restaurant in the city, so this might explain why you are having a harder time than usual booking a table.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: gloriousfood

                    They take reservations until closing (midnight, I think), so you can sometimes get lucky calling later in the day, after the morning rush. Of course, then the time options are greatly reduced.

                    1. re: Cuisinescene

                      Yeah I will try calling again tomorrow. Maybe someone will cancel and a better time will open? Wishful thinking.

                      1. re: steakrules85

                        Everyone has to confirm reservations the day before, so that's when most cancellations happen. But by all means, keep calling and see what happens.

                        1. re: Cuisinescene

                          Thanks for the recommendation! Will do! I still have a month so if I call every day for the next week or so maybe I'll get lucky.

                          1. re: steakrules85

                            How far away do you live from Babbo?

                            If you desperately want to eat there and aren't tied to a particular day, just show up at 9:55am and talk to the reservationist in person. If you can't make it on Monday through Friday, show up on a Saturday or Sunday.

                            You get first pick of the tables. I scored a 2-top at 8pm when I tried this last. Making a reservation in person is better than wasting that much time on the phone, IMO.

                        2. re: steakrules85

                          When you call, ask if there is a realistic possibility that they will get a cancellation this far in advance. I suspect they won't until the day before.

                      2. re: gloriousfood

                        This is nothing new. It's been this way for years.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          Yup. Been a tough reservation to get for many years.

                          1. re: ESNY

                            Maybe i've just been lucky but I've been prob a half a dozen times in the past few months and made the reservation myself each time (always on weekends and for parties of 2 or 4). I always wait til 11-11:30 to start calling and have only once been stuck once with a table later at 10 or later. If your not overly concerned with time let the initial rush of calls die down before you start calling.

                      3. They're not taking the phone off the hook, you just need to start calling a few moments before 10 am, or around 1-2pm (lunchtime). Always a good idea to show up in person with a smile.

                        1. Reservations? We don't need no stinkin reservations!!!I Walk in @ 5pm and chow down at the first place they give you a seat. They don't take you as seriously at first but when you bust out the Lambs toungue, and the Beef Cheek, they know you are serious and you will have an awesome meal. Don't forget, they serve olive oil gelatto for dessert here too...

                          1. I took one advice and went there at 10am-Pronto-got a reservation for March 30-they had the next 3 days after that wide open. They do not take phone off hook as I witnessed in person-the lines were all lit up and operator doing her best to accomodate calls. Bet if you go in person you will have much easier time but of course you need to know your schedule that far in advance. Can't wait!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: UES Mayor

                              "they had the next 3 days after that wide open."

                              Does that mean they would have taken a reservation for those days if you did it in person even though it is more than a month in advance? If so this is a really great way to reserve.

                              1. re: rrems

                                Yeah I thought they only take a month in advance to that day.

                                1. re: steakrules85

                                  Well yesterday was March 1st-she said I had my choice of March 30, 31 or April 1st-i made for March 30. perhaps they reserve by calendar "months"

                                  1. re: UES Mayor

                                    Yes, I should have figured that out. Since there is no February 30 or 31, those 3 days would become available on March 1.

                                    1. re: rrems

                                      Do you think I'd have a better shot at securing a reservation during the week? Also, if I showed up at Babbo at like 5:30 on a Friday or Saturday night, how long would the wait be for 6 unreserved tables?

                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                        It makes no difference when call during weekdays or weekends.

                                        The walk-ins are for bar area usually, so I will not recommend walk in for party of 6 (and it not be ideal for talking anyway). It will be unlikely that they have table area open for 6 on Friday/Saturaday night.

                                        1. re: kobetobiko

                                          I actually got really lucky. Called today and received a 5:45 reservation for a Tuesday! I'm excited!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            2. This may not be a very good answer, but they do hold two bar seats for diners only. There are two spots at the top of the bar and they only allow two people, not one, to sit down and only two people who are eating. I frequently go to Babbo early and sit down with a friend. It is pretty terrific.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: austinruse

                                I believe there are more than just two bar seats available for dining, I think they are all available for dining. Also, one person can certainly eat at the bar, you don't need to have two people. I've dined alone there twice, last year and then again a week and a half ago. And once there were four of us that ate at the bar. I'm not sure where your info comes from.

                              2. here is some advice I heard about any of Batali's places. Walk-in. Sit at the bar and eat or wait a while but you can usually get in. be flexible and maybe have a bach-up plan.

                                1. Yes, all bar seats are open for dining but two are reserved ONLY for dining.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: austinruse

                                    Got it. Sorry I misunderstood you. Thanks for the clarification!

                                    1. re: LeahBaila

                                      Babbo is on the drop down menu but if you choose it it will bring back no results. Useless.

                                    2. strange...
                                      I called yesterday at 10.15am and was ready to wait for a long time...got through immediate and 2 minuttes later I had a reservation for May 12th..they could however not gurantee a table upstairs

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: danishdinning

                                        I've never had too much trouble getting a table there either, as long as I was willing to be flexible. I called around 3pm on Apr. 11 and got a table for 4 on May 11 at 6:15, but there were many other decent times available (ie, not 11pm). Unfortunately, I have to cancel! Guess someone else will get lucky too!