Hailed with a glowing 3-star review by Ruth Reichl of the New York Times shortly after its opening, Babbo has since been met with much critical acclaim, and was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant Award for 1998. The menu is a roster of Chef Mario Batali’s lusty creations, incorporating the best and freshest seasonal produce, Italian cheeses, meat, game and seafood, accented with fine Italian olive oils, traditional aceto balsamico and many unusual ingredients that will surprise and delight.
The wine list represents one of the most extensive and intelligent collections in the city, and indeed the country, presided over by Bastianich and Beverage Director Alec Steidl and served by our expert wine and service teams. Babbo seats up to 90 diners in its split-level dining room, and has a lively bar area where patrons may enjoy a quartino (quarter-liter) of wine, or choose to have a full meal. We are located steps from Washington Square Park, in the center of romantic and colorful Greenwich Village.
We opened Babbo in the summer of 1998 in an effort to emulate the best of the great Italian tradition of hospitality and quality at the table and in the glass. The philosophy is easy as it is straight forward – use the best local ingredients as simply as possible and serve them with flourish and joy. As a Tuscan cooks in Chianti, as a Neapolitan cooks on the Amalfi coast, as a Sicilian cooks in Pantelleria, at Babbo we cook as an Italian might in the Mid-Atlantic/Hudson Valley region.
At Babbo you will rarely find your favorite regional classics as you have eaten them in osterie, trattorie and ristoranti throughout Italy. What you will find is delicious simple food that hopefully tastes as good as you remember from your last visit to Italy because we strive in the Italian fashion to shorten the time and distance any ingredient spends from the soil, or the water, or the air, to the plate. We import pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and Prosciutto San Daniele because they are so distinct and virtually indispensable to the creation of a great Italian meal. We fervently believe in the inherent quality, freshness and greatness of our regions ingredients purchased from local, predominantly organic, farmers and friends, many of them from forgotten or heirloom varietals. We are proud to make most of our salumi, including guanciale, pancetta, lardo, coppa and soppressata. Our cheeses come from all over Italy, with one great exception from the Hudson Valley. Our desserts are like none you have ever eaten in Italy, yet they feel and taste totally Italian. Our wine list is one hundred percent Italian in celebration of the quality and diversity of Italian grape varietals and vinification.
Like most Italian restaurateurs, we love where we live and live to celebrate both our location and our ingredients, from the land, air and sea. Babbo is our interpretation of the best we have come to know in the Italian culture of family where it is best and most often celebrated, at the dinner table.
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich