Alternative to Babbo?
We are looking for awesome food, relatively quiet but not stuff in the Wash Sq area. Of course, Babbo was totally full...any one have other ideas?
Since everybody is going to say Scarpetta, I may as well be the first. It actually fits your description better than Babbo does, because as much as I adore Babbo I wouldn't really describe it as "relatively quiet". Scarpetta is in the same price range and also has excellent pastas and apps. I'm not a huge fan of the mains but others here are.
You could also go with Lupa--again not exactly quiet, but delicious, and at a lower price point right in your geographic area.
If you are not set on italian, Perilla is also a good option in the area.
I've also heard good things about Scarpetta, but haven't tried it yet. I must also say that I've always found Lupa to be fabulous and although a different experience from Babbo I much prefer it. I adore Lupa's gnocchi and the atmosphere (but it isn't quiet).
P.S. IMHO, Babbo isn't what it used to be. We didn't have good service during our last two visits, and one was for a birthday celebration.
P.P.S. Not in the area you prefer, but Convivio is also very good and although not quiet, wasn't very noisy (at least it wasn't the two times I've been).
Scarpetta certainly disappointed my wife and I, but we seem to be in the minority.
Babbo is great every third or fourth visit, and enjoyable every visit. If you sit upstairs, it's pretty comfortable and relaxed. I don't know a similar ambience in the village.
But there are lots of other good Italian restaurants. We've had excellent meals recently at I Sodi, L'Artusi (well, 3 out of 4 dishes were great, but you wouldn't be silly enough to order buckwheat agnolotti as we did), BellaVitae, Pepolino (actually Tribeca).
i like babbo and i like scarpetta, too. dining at either bar in lieu of reservation is ok by me: i know where to sit, what to order and seldom leave either disappointed.
if i wanted a similar food experience without the fuss i would go to felidia.
the olive doesn't fall far from the tree.