Much more formal than Babbo, Del Posto is Mario Batali's grown-up venue (in partnership with Lidia and Joe Bastianich), and the dining room—with its sweeping staircase, formal decor, and live tinkling from a baby grand—has the feel of an opulent hotel lobby. This is one of the most consistently dazzling special-occasion spots in the city and the food is stellar. There are a variety of set menus to choose from ($126 for four courses; $179 for eight courses; there are
à la carte options for parties of four and under): pitch-perfect risotto is made fresh to order for two people or more; meat dishes like roasted veal chops are standout, and pastas are ethereal—all with Old World table-side service. For a smaller taste of the experience, come for a cocktail and sample the bargain bar menu.