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Babbo vs. Del Posto

My wife and I are visiting NYC in June and were thinking of going to Babbo, but some of the threads I've read on this board don't seem that impressed. Would Del Posto be a better option?

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  1. How formal or casual a room do you like? I find the rooms at each to be very, very different. Does a rock'n'roll soundtrack (Babbo) to your meal turn you off?

    How casually (or not) do you wish to dress? I find that the room at Del Posto makes me feel like some dressing up is in order. Meanwhile, some people show up to Babbo in a sweatshirt.

    How much trouble are you willing to go to to get reservations? Del Posto is on OpenTable; Babbo means lots of redialing at 10am one month in advance to the numerical date.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      We're open to either casual or formal, though it sounds like Del Posto is closer to what we're looking for. The ease of reservations sounds nice as well, but we're mostly looking for the better meal. Do you have a preference on food?

      1. re: zacmccoy

        This may or may not be controversial, but I think the food is better at Babbo.

        I'd be curious to hear what kathryn thinks.

        1. re: Sneakeater

          I like Babbo more but I've also eaten there way more often.

        2. re: zacmccoy

          Del Posto is definitely more of a relaxed meal - huge open room, live piano music, and so on. Babbo is a scene - louder, more crowded.

          Del Posto is also more expensive, unless you go for lunch (which, even after the increase, is a great deal).

          As for food, this has been my experience: if you do your research, and order well, you can have a better meal at Babbo. They have some amazing dishes. They also have some complete misses.

          I've found Del Posto to be more solid overall - I've never had anything there that was outright bad, which I have experienced at Babbo. Everything I've had there was good to great, but nothing truly revelatory.

        3. re: kathryn

          Babbo IS on Opentable now, though only for certain time slots, and for some reason only for parties of 3 or 4 (though I suspect that last part will change) - so it would depend on what night the OP is dining, and if they're cool with early or late tables, if they have potential dining companions...

          All that aside, I think Babbo is the better restaurant, especially if you have an idea what to order beforehand (no lack of threads here on that subject, seems there's a fair amount of agreement among CHers on the standout dishes)

          I like Del Posto quite a lot, but it just a "different" kind of meal. There's more formailty, but there's also more in the way of amuses, petit-fours, etc. You're getting something more than just ambience for the extra $$. But like lexismore, I've had fewer "revelatory" dishes at DP than at Babbo, that's for sure - though I've never had anything outright "bad" at Babbo. Some underwhelming things, but not BAD bad... (but there are going to be underwhelming dishes at ANY resto, really...)

        4. I vote for Del Posto over Babbo for the overall experience of a beautiful restaurant, top notch service and wonderful food. If you cannot get a reservation at either though, I suggest you might try Manzo, another Batali/Bastianich restaurant located in Eataly. Here is a great, current review: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844611

          And if you cannot get a reservation there for some reason and you really don't mind informal, try eating at the bar there. The bar staff is very educated in all the menu items and very attentive. I love eating at the bar at Manzo.

          1. Its really gonna depend on your expectations of the meal and experience. My buddy *loves* Del Posto, in part due to the pomp and circumstance. Its fine dining with 13 sets of cutlery, proper glassware, high server/patron ratio, captains, wine stewards, etc etc.
            To me, this takes some of the fun out of eating (I'm not partial to "fine" dining).
            I ate at Del posto 2 weeks ago and while the food was good and properly executed, it wasn't necessarily memorable.
            I ate at Babbo 2 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself and still remember the food. Its more relaxed and fun (for me).
            Menu-wise, Del Posto is restricted to a 5 or 7 course tasting menu at a fixed price ($115/$145pp). Babbo's menu is more traditional offering individual apps, mains, pastas, etc.

            So I think if you enjoy yourself in the fine dining milieux, Del Posto might be the choice. If you want a more relaxed (less uptight) evening, Babbo might be the way to go.

            1 Reply
            1. re: porker

              Actually, you are not restricted to either a 5-course prix fixe (each guest's choice of a structured menu from the a la carte menu) or a 7-course tasting menu (which is pre-set for all dining) at Del Posto if you are dining as a party of four or less. You can order a la carte, or choose the 5-/7-course options in the dining room or at the bar (which can now accommodate twelve diners). You are only limited to 5-/7-course menus if you are dining as a party of 5-12 people. The website does have an a la carte menu posted but it is not specifically titled as such.

              I have also noticed a broad spectrum of attire at both Babbo and Del Posto. While the ambience at Del Posto suggests a more formal dining experience, I have seen jeans and clean sneakers in both restaurants. And often.

            2. I love both but I'm much more of a fan of Babbo's atmosphere than Del Posto's...I find the latter too stuffy and dainty (but if you're looking for a formal atmosphere and the menu appeals to you more at Babbo, there is the upstairs). I also think that Babbo still remains one of the best values in the city, particularly their pasta menu, which I don't think has increased all that substantially in price for a number of years now (someone can correct me if I'm wrong). The only downside of Babbo for me (haven't been in over two years I think) was the maitre'd who to me is a huge jerk. I'm not sure if he's still there. Bald man.

              2 Replies
              1. re: alexinct

                Yeah, I hear you. That bald guy with bulging eyes is obnoxious. He's been there for a long time and i truly don't understand how the Batali organization otherwise well known for their sense of hospitality, can tolerate so much incompetence and rudeness.

              2. I like Del Posto better - it's more of an "event" and you can't beat their 100-layer lasagna!

                1 Reply
                1. For me, Babbo is a very good food restaurant, and if you sit upstairs, very comfortable and excellent service. Del Posto is trying too hard, too fancy, and the few times I've been there the food fell down. But we mostly order veggie on the lower price scale, if you want uber-fancy and meaty, I can't advise. If your goal is to blow a lot of money, Del Posto is a better bet.

                  1. The food is better at Babbo. But I'm not a big fan of either restaurant.

                    10 Replies
                        1. re: porker

                          Bound to happen, I suppose. Give people two choices and there will be a few "neithers." At any rate, I appreciate the responses everyone, I think we've got enough information to make a call once we get closer to the time.

                          1. re: zacmccoy

                            Enjoy yourselves wherever you wind up eating on your trip to our wonderful city!

                            1. re: zacmccoy

                              And let us know about your experience.

                              1. re: porker

                                Will do. I think we're leaning Babbo right now.

                                1. re: zacmccoy

                                  Do yourself a favor, skip both and go to Marea.

                                  1. re: baldwinwood

                                    I've had more consistently good meals at Babbo than at Marea. You really have to order carefully at Marea to get an outstanding meal (which is certainly possible with homework). On the other hand, I had a wonderful 4-course lunch at Del Posto today and was perfectly happy. The food, service and live piano music were all lovely, if slightly more formal than Babbo (or Marea). So to the OP, I'd say the choice comes down to atmosphere. You'll enjoy the food at either restaurant.

                                    1. re: baldwinwood

                                      I've consistently eaten much better at Babbo than Marea. Marea seems more about ambience and complexity than about Italian food.