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Best Italian/Pasta in NYC--Easter Weekend

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I'll be heading down to NYC over the Easter Weekend and we have a ton of spots we want to try out. We are hoping to have one good Italian meal while we're there and wanted to know where we could get the best pasta. We are considering one of Mario Batalli's restaurants (Babbo comes to mind) but we do have some restrictions:

- My wife doesn't eat seafood
- I don't eat beef

I'm not sure if the Babbo Pasta Tasting will work with the above restrictions or not. Are there any other recommendations for some great pasta?

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  1. I've done the Babbo pasta tasting, and man....that's a lot of pasta. I have enjoyed other meals there more when I just ordered off the menu. Why don't you and your wife just order a few pastas that suit your preferences and then swap them around?

    BTW, can you get in Babbo these days on the weekend without reservations more than a month in advance?

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    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    1. BTW, Babbo takes reservations one month in advance to the NUMERICAL day, at 10am Eastern.

      So if you want to book for Saturday April 7th, you SHOULD have called about an hour ago. They book up fast.

      Dependent upon where you're coming from, consider Scarpetta (they have them in Miami, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and Toronto now). Scarpetta is known for their bread basket, short ribs, polenta, seasonal soups, spaghetti pomodoro (yes, it's worth the price tag IMO), and duck and foie ravioli.

      BUT you can still have a great time at Babbo without eating any beef or seafood, IF you still eat lamb, pork, offal, etc. Don't get the tasting menu, make up your own "tasting" and share. The kitchen can plate several shared dishes onto two plates on your behalf.

      My Babbo favorites w/o beef or seafood (no fish, no shellfish):

      Antipasti: Pig's foot, Tripe, or Lamb's tongue with three minute egg. You could also do salumi, proscuitto, testa, etc. for antipasti.

      Primi: Mint love letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage or Goose liver ravioli are my two favorites. The Bucatiniall’Amatriciana is also quite good as is the Homemade Orecchiette with Sweet Sausage and Rapini, Lamb’s Brain “Francobolli” with Lemon and Sage, Chianti Stained Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu.

      Secondi: I'm partial to the pork chop or sweetbreads or lamb chops. The duck and rabbit are good, too.

      Dessert: Olive oil gelato, Maple mascarpone cheesecake, Seasonal crostata. No beef or seafood on the dessert menu! :)

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      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks for all the information!! I'm thinking of going on Sunday April 8th so I'll make sure to call them tomorrow at 10am.

      2. All of the pastas are great at Babbo. Kathryn's post was excellent. Call Babbo immediately, tell them it is a special occasion, perhaps they will try harder to get you in. Upstairs is nicer than downstairs and quieter. Every pasta dish I've had there was excellent. I did find the ravioli dish to be on the small side, but was very good. Babbo would be an excellent choice. Good luck gettin a reservation. Osteria Morini occasionally has lasagna. Easter they would probably have it. It is the best lasagna i have had in any NYC restaurant.

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        Osteria Morini
        218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

        1. I'm not the biggest Batali fan and was pretty disappointed with Babbo. I do love Michael White's cooking though and I bet Ai Fiori will have some outstanding pasta dishes for Easter. For something a little more traditional, Apizz also has some nice offerings.

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          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          Apizz
          217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

          Ai Fiori
          400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

          1 Reply
          1. re: chompchomp

            I've always enjoyed Babbo. Al Fiori I absolutely love the food there. Apizz i have never been too. I guess I should try it.

          2. Locanda Verde is probably my favorite of the Italian I've tried in the city (including Babbo). Might be a *slightly* easier res to get, but still tough so call well in advance.

            If your heart is set on Babbo, don't be disheartened if you don't get in right away. Keep trying as you get closer to the date and you may very well stumble upon a cancellation, especially the day of.

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            Locanda Verde
            377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

            1. I've been to a couple of Batali places and while the food is generally good, I would say its not anything you can't get at many other places. His fame draws people in.

              The thing that may keep me from going to his places in the future is the story about him and his partner skimming the tip pool to improve their profits. If he agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle, how much did he actually take from the tip pool? I get good service so I tip well and then the owner takes it? That's not right. Make the statement he made about bankers being reprehensible seem incredibly ironic.

              http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

              1. Babbo is good but you can get into Manzo with FAR less hassel. I went in with modest expectations and was blown away by the quality of the food and how far "removed" it seemed from the bustle of Eataly.

                The other option would be Lincoln where Chef Benno (of Per Se, the best restaurant in the city) is making some amazing pasta, antipasti, and secondi in a very dynamic dining room.

                http://endoedibles.com

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                Lincoln
                142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

                Manzo
                200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010