Visiting Italy may still be one of the top items on your bucket list, although Mario Batali and Josesph Bastianich have recreated the authentic tastes of Italy at Babbo Ristorante for you to try without having to travel across the Atlantic. This has been one of the hottest reservations in town since the restaurant's opening in 1998. Even on a weeknight, a table here, must be reserved at least 3 months in advance.
With this in mind, my boyfriend and I strolled into the space which has an almost hidden entry in Greenwich Village. As we peeled back the heavy velour drapery that welcomes you into this romantic and magical space, a couple was just getting up from the rustic wooden bar space in front of us. Knowing how much we coveted Mario Batali’s cooking we jumped on the opportunity to settle in for an unforgettable meal.
After having prepared the Babbo Beef Cheek Ravioili recipe at home, we decided we would have to try it out from the source to make comparisons to the preparation of this meaty, rich pasta filled with guanciale or "beef cheek." We took notes on the sauce that glazed the homemade pasta, as it was a bit creamier than we had remembered making.
You may be wondering, what makes the Babbo experience so special? One of the most important elements that Mario Batali has incorporated in to his group of varied restaurants is an appreciation for the craft of Italian cooking. The restaurant celebrates “regions of the month” where you can learn a bit more about the specialties that come from the unique terrains from the top to the bottom of the boot. The variety of Italian cuisine, create the country’s rich culture, as different geographic and cultural components contribute to the flare of each town.
At Babbo you will learn the story of the origin of your pasta and find out why Gnocci was invented in Tuscany as a poor man’s pasta, and how Bucatini comes from the word “buco” or "hole" as this hollow pasta has been made famous in Rome. Babbo offers Bucatini alla Amatriciana, a classic Roman staple on the dinner menu to honor to tradition of the dish people have always craved. The chefs will bring you back to Italy or let you experience the flavors just as they are prepared in the osterias abroad.
In the lower dining room, you will find at the heart of the restaurant a large table where everything is prepared to amplify the diner’s plates. The best cheese, homemade salumi, fine cracked pepper and preparation plates sit in the middle of the room as the servers put on a show in front of the forward facing tables.
Poor service would be unimaginable here and it is surely and experience worth waiting for. Next time we will be booking our special table in the main dining room, but anyone who has the chance to experience a touch of Babbo will feel “la vita bella.” Buon appetito!
City girl, traveler, foodie and film fanatic sharing stories on every day, attainable luxury. Passionate about speaking Italian, exploring, cooking, and crafting.