New York City Restaurants

Advertisement

Guidebooks

Babbo Ristorante

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Babbo Ristorante Review

It shouldn't take more than one bite of the ethereal homemade pasta or tender barbecued squab with roast beet farrotto for you to understand why it's so hard to get a reservation at Mario Batali's casually elegant restaurant. The menu strays widely from Italian standards and hits numerous high points, in particular with the "mint love letters": ravioli filled with pureed peas, ricotta, and fresh mint, finished with spicy lamb sausage ragout; and rabbit with Brussels sprouts, house-made pancetta, and carrot vinaigrette. This is the perfect spot for a raucous celebratory dinner with flowing wine and festive banter. But be forewarned: if anyone in your party is hard of hearing, or bothered by loud rock music, choose someplace more sedate.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 110 Waverly Pl., between MacDougal St. and 6th Ave. Greenwich Village, New York, NY 10011-9102 | Map It
  • Phone: 212/777–0303
  • Hours: Lunch Tuesday-Saturday
  • Website:
  • Subway: A, B, C, D, E, F, M to W. 4th St.
  • Location: Greenwich Village

    Restaurant Details

  • Reservations essential.
  • Credit cards accepted.
  • No lunch Sun.–Mon.
Updated: 02-25-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Food  
    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    Babbo Ristorante Review

    Great Food, Decent Service
    My spouse and I ate lunch at Babbo on the July Fourth holiday 2012. We had tried a few times in years past to eat at Babbo, but we never got more than a continuously busy signal when we called to make a reservation. Now things are different for two reasons – diners have more choices on when to dine because Babbo is open for lunch, and you can use the Open Table reservation system to make a booking on-line rather than having to call on a specific date at a specific time and take your place in the on-hold queue. The ground-floor restaurant space is attractive, with a nice-size bar towards the front and tables towards the back. There’s a grand staircase toward the back of the restaurant, but I’m not sure what is upstairs. It may be more dining room, but on the day that we lunched, even the tables on the ground floor were not fully occupied. Babbo is better equipped to handle small parties (tables of 2 or 4) but can accommodate up to 6 people at one table, I believe. We didn’t have the greatest table – it was all the way in the back of the restaurant nearest the doorway to the restrooms and kitchen; however, it did provide a good vantage point from which to see the entire first-floor dining room. Our reservation time was 11:30, but Babbo didn’t open/unlock the doors until exactly that time (no possibility of having a drink at the bar first), so there were lots of customers waiting around on the street who all wished to be seated at the same time. Service was acceptable, but not great, although there were many wait people present. It seemed like the larger parties (and parties imbibing in bottles of wine) received preferential/better service than smaller parties. We were encouraged to try the lunch tasting menu because it was our first time dining at Babbo; however, we declined because the items did not interest us as much as some of the items on the a la carte menu. The set tasting menu would have been a better “deal”, with 4 courses for $49. Even though we didn’t participate in the lunch tasting, we each still ordered four courses each, with the total amounting to much more than that per person; however, we felt that we tried the dishes that really appeal to us rather than what the restaurant wanted to serve. We would loved to have been able to try the multi-course pasta tasting or the traditional tasting menus, but those are available only at dinnertime. For antipasti, we ordered the bufala mozzarella with coppa salumi and the market beans Milanese topped with a duck egg (both fantastic!). For our second course, we each ordered a pasta dish – gnocchi and ravioli (again, both excellent), and for our entrées, we ordered the turkey porchetta and the mixed grill, which contained a tiny lamb chop, sweetbreads, and tongue. The porchetta was a hit, but the mixed grill was a bit of a miss. For dessert, we ordered a saffron panna cotta accompanied by rhubarb sauce and rhubarb sorbet, which was underwhelming despite Babbo employing a well-know pastry chef (Gina DePalma). The food was terrific, so it was the service that needed improvement. A long time elapsed between our courses (it took more than 3 hours for our lunch – more acceptable on a holiday, but unacceptable during a business day), and our drink glasses were continually empty. This particularly surprised us, because restaurants tend to make a lot of money from alcohol, but our waiter did little to increase our bill. Overall, a pleasant dining experience – fortunately the food was good enough to overcome the lackluster service.

    by fluffnfold, 7/24/12
  • Food  
    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    Top Notch

    I have been to Babbo 4 times. Each time was of the same top quality that everyone knows they can expect from Mario Batali. I am totally baffled by the people who are leaving bad review for this place. The wait staff are attentive & unbelievably knowledgable about the food & wine. And then, there is the food...incredible! True, getting a reservation is not as fun, but worth it! Just takes a little planning in advance.

    by TravelMonster1, 9/11/08
  • Food  
    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    Incredible evening at Babbo

    You may pay for it, but it was worth it. Table at the appointed time; excellent service and wine stewards; incredible food that makes one want to come back.

    by teek, 7/11/08
  • Food  
    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    A bit overrated

    I took my parents to Babbo this weekend. Considering the difficulty of obtaining a reservation, I expected a little bit better.

    We each had the pasta tasting menu. There were certainly highlights: the second course, a ravioli filled with beets and smoked ricotta, was outstanding. In addition, a price of $69 for an 8-course tasting (5 pasta courses, 3 desserts) is hard to beat.

    However, while all the pastas were very good, the menu was hardly inventive: a short-rib-stuffed pasta w/ tomato sauce? pasta bologenese?

    The desserts were also very good, but not outstanding and not terribly inventive: a goat cheese fritter, a chocolate panna cotta...

    As many people have remarked, service was sub-par. The waiters were not rude so much as rushed, and the timing of the dishes across the tasting menu was increasingly hurried.

    by dj55, 6/23/08

Add your own review

Advertisement

View more trip reports

View more travel discussions

· News & Features

View more blog stories