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Best Batali restaurant for weekend night Dinner?

Weekend getaway to Manhattan and we'd like to go to one of Mario's restaurants. Italian and Spanish are both options. We love both. We'd prefer a more intimate setting. Thoughts?

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  1. Do you have any reservations yet? When are you coming? What's your price range? I don't think any of them are especially intimate except for maybe Po, his first restaurant, where he's no longer involved.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Sorry I didn't include these details!
      May 7 & 8, 2011. No reservations, yet. I've looked at most of the menus and the prices are acceptable on the one's I've seen. There are just so many Mario options!

      1. re: dancehound

        If you wish to dine at Babbo, call ASAP. They began taking reservations for those days on April 7 and 8 respectively and may only have very early or very late times left.

        Babbo is my favorite Batali place and while I love the food there, the reservation dance can be quite annoying. If you do score a reservation, request a table upstairs -- it's much quieter and while really intimate or romantic per se, it's certainly better than the cramped downstairs dining room.

        -----
        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    2. Assuming that you already know the logistics and costs involved in Batali restaurants, and don't care much as to his personal involvement in the kitchen, here is the order that I would suggest if coming to NYC from out of town and looking for a more intimate setting:

      1. Babbo
      2. del Posto
      3. Lupa
      4. Casa Mono (have read some negative posts lately so this may be moved down the list)
      5. Otto

      -----
      Lupa
      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Casa Mono
      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

      Del Posto
      85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      Otto
      1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      7 Replies
      1. re: RCC

        Thank you! And...if I were looking for Mario involvement?

        1. re: dancehound

          The level of exact involvement is unknown to me, and I suppose to most that posts here who are not connected with the restaurants, but based on what I read and heard, the first 2 in my list above (Babbo first, then del Posto) would be my hands-down choices. Batali is also listed as the "chef" in Babbo'site.

          Fyi, I have seen him on one dinner occasion while waiting for our table at Babbo, if that has any bearing at all.

          -----
          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: dancehound

            In the kitchen, I think it's unlikely. I've actually seen him wandering around Eataly a lot lately on weekdays and he's also on Foursquare -- checks into his own restaurants a LOT but probably is just eating or doing paperwork. I do know that he likes to drop in at all of his restaurants on a daily basis just to check on receipts.

            -----
            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            1. re: dancehound

              I agree with kathryn that it's highly unlikely Batali is actually doing any cooking at his restaurants.

              Eataly is a gigantic food hall and a zoo on the weekend. Despite that, you might want to consider Manzo, the only sit down restaurant there that accepts reservations. It's actually small, cozy and fairly quiet, since it's located in the back and away from the crowds. We had dinner there on a Saturday evening and have also had lunch at the bar. The food is delicious, there's a very good wine list, and service is friendly and professional.

              Manzo photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

              -----
              Manzo
              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: RGR

                A good restaurant is not dependent on the presence of any particular chef in order for the food to be executed well. The mark of a good chef is, among other things, to insure that the restaurant will be good at all times, not just when he/she is in the kitchen.

              2. re: dancehound

                You're not going to find Mario at any of his restaurants on a weekend. During the week, he might be kicking around Otto, but chances are, no.

                I would go with Del Posto or Esca if I had to choose, because Dave Pasternack (Esca) and Mark Ladner (Del Posto) are both talented, exceptional chefs in their own right, and care a great deal for the food they prepare personally.

                -----
                Del Posto
                85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                Esca
                402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

            2. In terms of where I like to eat:

              1. Babbo
              2. Del Posto
              3. Esca

              I might even switch Esca & DP, now that DP's prices have risen.

              Everyone's crazy about Manzo, it seems, but I haven't been yet so i can't really comment.

              Casa Mono & Otto are both great, though I think the others are more of an experience. Babbo really is Mario's baby, though. I think if you can get in there, go for it.

              -----
              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              Casa Mono
              52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

              Del Posto
              85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              Esca
              402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

              Manzo
              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. can you specify the reason you'd like to go to a Batali place instead other NYC Italian and Spanish?...that will help w/ the suggestions...

                8 Replies
                1. re: Simon

                  We are going to be in NYC for only a few days. My hubby is letting me 'plan the weekend'. He has indicated that it is all up to me - but, when pressed for ideas or '*anything*' he'd actually like for me to plan, he indicated - "Yeah, I'd like to go to a Mario B restaurant." So...the only real request is this. Having said that, I still don't have any reservations... and I'd GLADLY accept any awesome gastronomic suggestions!!! Bottom line. We like to dine well and we really only have two evenings (Sat & Sun) to do so in NYC. (Possibly Monday night, too.)

                  1. re: dancehound

                    well, i'm not of fan of Batalt's places (though many people here are, and if you are curious, then by all means try one)...but rather than be negative, which i've done many times here, i'll just offer a few other suggestions that you might like as much or more...

                    -- Scarpetta is my fav upscale Italian in NYC

                    -- Tia Pol has delicious tapas (especially the suckling pig), though the waits can be very long since it's popular...

                    What other cuisines do you and your husband enjoy?...what city will be coming from? (just so we can recommend places that you don't have lots of in your hometown -- e.g. if you were coming from Vancouver i wouldn't recommend dimsum, etc)...what kind of vibe do you want for your other evening meal? (i.e. trendy? quiet? casual? etc)...

                    -----
                    Tia Pol
                    205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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

                    1. re: Simon

                      BTW, Tia Pol takes reservations up to 5 days in advance, now.

                      http://www.tiapol.com/reservations.html

                      -----
                      Tia Pol
                      205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                      1. re: kathryn

                        wow, that's great to know...there are many times in the past when i've decided not to go to Tia Pol because i didn't feel like waiting and general madness...thanks for the tip...

                        -----
                        Tia Pol
                        205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        1. re: Simon

                          We'll be flying in around noon on a Saturday from Dallas. We are adventurous eaters (but not crazy-odd). Sushi, Asian of almost any type, Italian (spicier), Spanish, Mexican (all varieties), Mediterranean, Russian, Ukrainian, German, French, Turkish, Indian, etc. I think our focus in NYC is European/Mediterranean in general. But also, we enjoy the ambiance of a restaurant or the breezy patio, outdoor seating or deck of an establishment.

                          As of today, I'm thinking our itinerary is shaping up like this:
                          *Arrive/check in.
                          *Head to Eataly for afternoon noshing OR find a really good place for a NY style hotdog.
                          *Museum, top of the rock, or tenement museum + dinner around 8:30 + a Jazz club after dinner. (Maybe a comedy club instead?)
                          *Sunday: sidewalk breakfast around 9, Possibly Accomplice-New York or a food walking tour or a podcast walking tour
                          * 3PM tix to a 90 minute broadway production (already purchased)
                          *Dinner at a good place at some point after the show. (Could be a 5:15 dinner or as late as 8:45.)

                          As I see time ticking away and I haven't made reservations; I see my dining options dwindling. I need to get a move on my meals!
                          Any input is greatly appreciated!

                          -----
                          Eataly
                          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                          1. re: dancehound

                            Saturday afternoon is the worst time/day to visit Eataly. I would do lunch at Lupa perhaps, instead.

                            Museums -- which one? A lot of them close at 5:30pm or 6pm. By the time you get into Manhattan from the airport and check into your hotel, it'll probably be 2pm. Doesn't leave a whole lot of time for a late lunch and a trip to a museum. Where is your hotel?

                            The Tenement Museum is on the Lower East Side and many of the other museums are on the Upper East Side, which is a bit of a trek from Eataly.

                            For Sunday, how about RGR's self-guided walking out of the Lower East Side?
                            Sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy is 108 Rivington.
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

                            For dinner post show, is there a specific neighborhood? Cuisine? What's your price range for food only? $30 per person? $50 per person? More? I might recommend a dinner at Degustation or Txikito (definitely make a reservation for both if you are interested).

                            -----
                            Lupa
                            170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                            Pickle Guys
                            49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                            Degustation
                            239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

                            Economy Candy
                            108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                            Txikito
                            240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                            Eataly
                            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                            1. re: kathryn

                              kathryn - so many thanks. Eataly is probably out (I'll go on Monday by myself while the hubby is at work). I didn't realize where the T-museum was - so good info. RGR's tour is probably JUST what the doctor ordered. AND both Degustation and Txikito look just awesome!! (Now, if I can only get reservations...)

                              I can't say that we are on an unlimited budget, but it is not uncommon for my hubby and I to spend well over $50 pp on good dining while on holiday. (And for no apparent reason in our own town!)

                              On the flip side...I think I'm gonna direct us to nathan's hotdogs (7th Ave & 50th) for lunch on Saturday afternoon so we can enjoy dinner at almost any hour past 5 on Saturday. Unless, of course the 'hounds can direct me to a better NY style hotdog spot that is easily accessible from Rockefeller Plaza (hotel is nearby).

                              I'm a fan of 'convenience' in the sense that I won't hesitate to hop the subway or take a taxi to get to where I want to go when I want to be there. I've been to Manhattan at least once per year for the last 6 years and I am comfortable moving about the area. (However, this is the first time it will be only me and my husband and we will not be beholden to the tourist sites, TKTS, or tight budgets! Yippee!) We have Sat afternoon, all day Sunday, poss. Monday night to plan. (Monday day and tuesday day and night, I'm on my own.)

                              Again, thank you kathryn and everyone for your input. I've never put this much thought into NYC before! I'm open to any and all suggestions!

                              PS any one have comments on 230 Fifth (for a pleasant patio deck drink)?

                              -----
                              230 Fifth
                              230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                              Txikito
                              240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                              Eataly
                              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                      2. re: Simon

                        I echo Simon's comments. I've been to Babbo and Del Posto (much preferred the food to Del Posto but I think I just misordered at Babbo and was left entirely underwhelmed)

                        But Scarpetta is my fave upscale italian as well.

                        -----
                        Babbo
                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                        Del Posto
                        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

                  2. Want to say thank you to everyone! I'm still formulating my trip and you continued posts are soooo welcome! Thank YOU! (I'll be sure to post what we end up doing with reviews!)