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Best Choice for last minute Italian, this Wed or Thurs?

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We just found out we'll be in the city Wednesday and Thursday (January 12 and 13) evenings and my wife definitely wants a good Italian meal. Her heart is set on Babbo but that may not be possible with this short notice, so what are the best alternatives that we will likely get a table if I try to call on Monday or Tuesday.

I have time to hit redial a lot, but are there some decent places for walk in traffic where we won't be treated as "walk-ins?" (I HATE that!)

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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  1. A few suggestions:

    1. Hit up opentable.com and see what's available.

    2. If your wife is unwilling to give up her Babbo dream, you could score big by making it happen. Call the restaurant and see if they can put you on a wait list for cancellations. If that doesn't work, show up at 5 PM when it opens and grab seats at the bar. The full menu is offered there. If you don't want to eat that early, then you could show up later just be prepared to wait a while before eating.

    3. If that doesn't sound worth it to you, then here are some alternatives. If your wife is specifically interested in Batali, then you might try Lupa. It's more casual than Babbo, but the food is very good. Other good Italian places similar to Babbo are Convivio, Maialino, and Scarpetta. Not sure how easy a resie would be, but Scarpetta and Maialino do have tables that are reserved for walk-ins.

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    Lupa
    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Scarpetta
    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    Convivio
    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    3 Replies
    1. re: ml77

      If her heart is set on Babbo, then do #2 as ml77 says. You can dine at the bar or at a few tables specifically reserved for walk-ins in the front of the restaurant. The tables & bar area are in front of the hostess stand and rather cramped, especially as people are dropping off or retrieving coats. You are essentially at "behind" level at the tables; personally I'd prefer the bar, but it's a tight squeeze no matter where you are (the space is quite narrow). But if her heart is set on Babbo? Drop by on the earlier side, put your name down, and go for a long walk or drink, and come back 1-2 hours later, and don't mind the extra elbow or two.

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      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      1. re: kathryn

        Looks like snow is going to postpone this trip til Thursday-Sun Feb 10-13. What are the chances of getting reservations in a popular restaurant on the weekend before Valentine's Day? Other recommendations for our 2 dinners, still including contenders to Babbo, Italian, and one other dinner. We are supposed to meet, greet, eat and drink at Schiller's Liquor Bar in the Lower East Side...any comments there are also appreciated...

        thanks

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        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        Schiller's Liquor Bar
        131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

        1. re: chefsalad

          Schiller's is OK, not great, but not terrible either. It should suffice for a group dinner.

          Regarding Babbo, hard to say until you start calling. Some people dine out on 2/13 on purpose and leave 2/14 to others. Babbo are already taking reservations for 2/10 and 2/11.

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          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011