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If you can't get into Babbo, where does one go?

We've been to Lupa. Would like a similarly inventive Italian or a sublime Northern Italian.

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  1. I love A Voce. Interestingly, the latest Iron Chef Challenge was between Mario Batali and Andrew Carmellini (A Voce's chef)...the judges agreed it was the best challenge they ever had (Batali won by one point...)
    http://www.avocerestaurant.com/

    5 Replies
    1. re: Marge

      Unfortunately, Andrew Carmellini just left A Voce. I really loved that place. I haven't heard any word on how things are since his departure.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/18/din...

      If you're willing to eat at the bar at Babbo, you can show up right when the open. If you aren't a big group and get there right away it shouldn't be a problem.

      1. re: bml

        Can my 14 yo who looks 17 if she sits up straight eat at the bar?

        1. re: VAfoodie

          That's a good question. I don't know if they have a problem with kids who are clearly under 21 dining at the bar. That might be worth a phone call. But I also agree with the poster below that Peasant is excellent. I haven't been there in a while but I loved there suckling pig.

        2. re: bml

          Aha, I was wondering why there was no longer any mention of AC on the A Voce website...oh, well...

          1. re: bml

            Ironically, the interim chef at A Voce is Manuel Trevino, who used to be the sous chef at Babbo, but is more known for his brief appearance on Top Chef this past season

          1. We tried Morandi recently. Very much enjoyed the whole experience. Yummy fried artichokes. Good pastas. And they do a dessert of sugar coated fried doughnut holes that are delicious, I would go back for sure to try more.

            1. Morandi looks intriguing though dinner reviews are spotty. A Voce vs. Da Andrea vs. Morandi? Or perhaps help me choose between the first 2, and I could do Morandi for our goodbye NYC Sunday brunch.

              4 Replies
              1. re: VAfoodie

                Morandi's brunch is outstanding...absolutely check it out during that meal. I've heard not-such-good things about its lunches and dinners, though I've not experienced them for myself.

                www.thelunchbelle.com

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  I just went there with some friends for dinner the other night, and it was wonderful. No compalints here, yummy pasta, good fried olive and salumi plate apps.

                  1. re: rugburn

                    I just went to Morandi and found the food to be very disappointing. Nothing was outstanding, everything was average and I could make better at home. The atmosphere is nice though.

                    If not Babbo, why not try Del Posto for a pasta tasting or Lupa for very similar pastas and lower prices. I also second Peasant (below). I love Peasant and always have a great meal there.

                    1. re: stephaniec25

                      Been to both Lupa, which I liked, and Del Posto, which I thought was...meh.

              2. Peasant in Nolita is a good Northern Italian restaurant. Quite a lot on this board likes it.

                1 Reply
                1. Alto is excellent northern italian - we visited in February and Michael White is doing some amazing things there. We also love il Mulino - but find that harder to get into than Babbo. Personally we were not impressed with Babbo on the two occaisions we visited.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                    I also had a superb meal at Alto last fall. I think I read that L'Impero is going to be closing at the end of the month for renovations - and a name change.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      You are right. I had forgotten that the last time we were at L'Impero the maitre'd told us about the upcoming renovation.

                      1. re: rrems

                        I've not been to L'Impero, but my BIL went recently - really enjoyed the food but thought the decor was a bit dated/dull - so hopefully this will be a positive.

                  2. I think Alto and L'Impero are the best substitutes for Babbo. You mentioned Da Andrea, which is very good for the price, but in no way a substitute for Babbo or even Lupa. Scarpetta is also very good. The chef, Scott Conant, was formerly at L'Impero.

                    1. try bar stuzzichini. food is very good and they have a large selection of dishes and small plates. they won best small plates in new york magazine a few months ago. def worth it!

                      1. Not sure if you are up for Brooklyn, but Al Di La is absolutely fantastic italian.