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“Good Food, Entertaining "Side Show"” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Babbo

110 Waverly Place, New York City, NY 10011-9109 (Greenwich Village)
(212) 777-0303
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Ranked #848 of 11,186 Restaurants in New York City
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dessert, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Cross street: Between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street
Transit: West 4th street subway station (8th street/Waverly Place exit): A,C,E,B,D,F and M trains. We recommend traveling at the back of the train if coming from uptown, the front of the train if coming from downtown, to find the closest exit at the station.
Orange, California
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
148 helpful votes 148 helpful votes
“Good Food, Entertaining "Side Show"”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

Babbo is one of Mario Batali’s flagship restaurants. It was named the Best New Restaurant in 1998 by the James Beard Foundation, and has been given three stars by New York Times food critics Ruth Reichl and Frank Bruni.

Located in a residential neighborhood and occupying a former residence, Babbo is on the smaller side and has a definite intimate feeling.

As you enter, there is a small bar are which opens up into the dining room on the first floor. A large, steep stairway leads to additional dining upstairs.

The meal started with amuse bouche of spiced chick pea crostini. It seemed to be a very rustic Italian take on hummus. The chick peas were nice and creamy, and whet the appetite for things to come.

The Gnocchi with Braised Oxtail ($20) is a great pasta dish. The gnocchi are soft pillows that just melt in your mouth. The gnocchi is not over sauced, while the oxtail adds a bunch of flavor. Since the oxtail is braised, it is super tender and not at all tough.

The Spaghettini with Spicy Budding Chives and One Pound Lobster ($28) is an absolute steal for the price. The spaghetti was a little too al dente for my taste, as it certainly had a “chew” to it, but was almost on the verge of having a little crunch as well. The lobster was well cooked and tender. The sauce is not too spicy, but did explode with a strong tomato punch.

The Barbecued Skirt Steak ($29) is a nicely balanced dish. The skirt steak is cooked to perfection, still juicy with a lot of beef flavor. The pickled onions help to cut through the richness of the beef. The eggplant adds another “meaty” texture to the dish. The only downside of the dish was the “salsa verde”, as I am not a big fan of any type of parsley.

The “Brasato al Barolo” Braised Beef ($29) is a super tender short rib that is full of flavor. The Barolo wine adds depth of flavor and richness. The creamy polenta is a great vehicle to sop up all of the braising liquid. The celery tops adds a bit of bitterness to the dish to add another dimension.

The Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta ($8) pairs the earthy, slightly bitter and “sulfury” Brussels sprouts with salty, crispy pancetta. The Brussels sprouts are tender and slightly sweet due to caramelization.

The Rapini with Roasted Garlic ($8) adds some serious bitterness to the meal, while the roasted garlic adds some zing and sweetness. Rapini may not be for some due to how bitter it is.

The Saffron Panna Cotta ($13) is silky smooth, creamy and refreshing. The rhubarb marmalade and sorbetto helps to add some bitterness and sweetness. This is a well-balanced dessert and on the lighter side. Perfect after having a rich, heavy meal.

The Warm Apple Crostata ($13) is a perfect finish to a meal on a cold night. Paired with maple gelato, maple cider caramel and finished with Sicilian Sea Salt, the dessert is not cloying sweet. The crostata is not overly sweet and depends on its counterparts to help balance the dish. The sea salt acts both as a flavor enhancer and palate cleanser at the same time.

Although considered fine dining, Babbo definitely has a lighter side. The background music is rather loud and consists mainly of rap, such as Kanye West, Dr. Dre and the like.

Service was somewhat lackluster, as our server would go missing for long stretches at a time. The wait staff also provides a floor show of sorts. On the ground floor in the middle of the dining room, there is a large table in which many bottles of wine, dishes, bread and pitchers of water sit.

The bottles of wine are opened, and are apparently those sold by the glass. Many servers would pour themselves a small glass and taste it. At first I thought it was to make sure that each new opened bottle of wine was okay, but as the night progressed I noticed several servers going back and kept “sampling” every time they passed the table. I would guess that one server had at least 15 glasses of wine during my meal. After seeing what transpired, I’m not surprised that service was a little more lax than what I would expect.

Visited January 2013
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“Mario's Babbo is a classic for a reason”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

We ate here during our last visit to NYC. We are admittedly are not huge fans of classic table service and traditional old school dining....this place converted us. The service was choreographed to be efficient and unobtrusive. The food was outstanding: the mint love letters are recommended for a reason; seafood with squid ink pasta delectable; savoury rib steak for two carved at table-side. We will make it a tradition to visit whenever we are in the city!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Nom Nom Nom!!:)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

Best meal in NYC! Book early and ask to be seated up stairs, as this place gets busy and you will be more comfortable up stairs! The noise isn't too bad, in fact the music was very good, a pleasant mix and almost unnoticeable!
The food was AMAZING and very reasonably priced, especially considering the quality and the celebrity chef behind it! I will go back again, as soon as I can get a Friday/Saturday night reservation!
Seriously - one of the best meals we have ever had!

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Excellent food in a quaint setting.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

The menu at Babbo is the best of everything you know and that that you might have to ask about. Try something you never heard of, I am sure you will enjoy it. The Osso Bucco is great but you must order it for two. The sommelier really know his art and is a great guy to boot. He will guid you through the extensive list.

The location is both the restaurants strength and weakness the small bar and tight dinning room is offset by the food and the cosy feel. The rock sound track drowns out the noisy room. I like the feel of this restaurant and always enjoy my evening.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“The good, the bad, the ugly”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Arriving a tad early because of good luck with NYC cabs, we were quickly shown to our table to start a delicious truly Italian meal- the good. We shared a salumi plate for antipasti, had 2 wonderful pastas in lncluing a quite Roman bucatini amatriciana, delicious secondi of duck and lamb. The bad- the noise level was so high as to block any attempt at reasonable conversation . The ugly- a most obnoxious sommelier who insisted in raving about and touting wines costing $250-400 even after I indicated that was more than I wanted to spend. When I persisted he sneeringly found an " interesting wine at your price point" for about $200. His condescension and lack of understanding tainted the the otherwise delicious food experience. One can have many good authentic Italian meals in NYC and have a better evening than Babbo.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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