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Is Babbo really that good?

went to babbo about 5 years ago. didn't think it was amazing but there are so many great reviews here on the board. i have a reservation this week to take a friend. wondering if i was wrong the first time or had too high expectations. ate at craft tonight and was very disappointed. i have definitely had much better meals at way cheaper places.
should i give babbo a second chance?
thanks for your help!

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  1. Was just there last night and while we thought it was good, my wife and I both personally feel there is better to be had in the city.

    That being said, the prices certainly are not unreasonable ... I believe around $85 pp (inclusive of tax, tip, and a bottle of wine). Go and enjoy!

    1. Just went to Craft for first time recently-hated it!!! I love Babbos!

      1. Personally, I've never had a bad meal there food-wise. There are definitely criticisms to be made in terms of room/space, noise, service, and difficulty obtaining a reservation. I tend to order very carefully and the menu can be kinda hit or miss. Often, I read a review on CH where someone didn't have a good experience, they ordered a bunch of dishes that I never or rarely order.

        And the check is surprisingly reasonable for a celebrity-chef, 3 NYT-star restaurant in Manhattan. I've spent more on dinner for two at other places and been less satisfied and less full! We tend to do two appetizers, two pastas, a single main that we split, and a dessert or two, for two people.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Hi Kathryn, what do you usually order at Babbo?

            1. re: kathryn

              thank you kathryn! still can't decide whether to go to babbo or scarpetta, but either way itll be great, right? :)

              1. re: eviemichael

                Personally I MUCH prefer Scarpetta. Sorry Kathryn!

                There are dishes that i cannot live without there (tomato pasta & polenta) whereas my meal at Babbo was definitely good, but honestly not that memorable. could be because I ordered the wrong dishes but I'm not clamoring to go back

                1. re: kelea

                  Scarpetta leaves Babbo in the dust, both with respect to service (lovely, not a hint of snobbery but very sophisticated) and food. kelea is right on target: the polenta and tomato pasta are unreal. Totally transformative.

          1. re: kathryn

            I was able to snag a reservation at Babbo in Nov., but it's at 6:00 p.m. Wondering if we should just eat way too early and experience Babbo (first time), or cancel and go elsewhere. Any suggestions? Felildia, Lupa, Il Buco, Erminia, Scarpetta???
            Appreciate your experienced feedback...

            1. re: gracegiamo

              Lupa is great IF you can get a res there, or are willing to walk in and wait, but if you want a Babbo-like experience (and IMO, an even better one) just go to Scarpetta or Convivio.

          2. I ate at Babbo a couple of months ago and we had a great meal. My friend said the lamb chops were some of the BEST he has ever had and all my food was great. Service was wonderful and very nice ambiance. Give it a 2nd try.

            1. We just came back from eating our way through the city and ate at some wonderful places, which my husband kept comparing every place to Babbo!!!

              Please give Babbo a second chance, it is worth it and for another place that is not Italian try Public!

              1 Reply
              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                Kathryn - "Often, I read a review on CH where someone didn't have a good experience, they ordered a bunch of dishes that I never or rarely order."

                I could not agree more....