Michelin Stars: 1
Address: 110 Waverly Place
There are many signs of a great restaurant. Outstanding food is an obvious one. Pleasant decor is another. A cynic may suggest that an expensive menu is the third. We agree to a greater or lesser degree with all those statements, but there is another consideration: How long is the waiting list?
If we accept that popularity is also a signifier of quality, then the Italian restaurant Babbo may be one of New York’s very best. It books up very quickly. If you want to go and experience executive chef Robert Zwirz’s finest cuisine, make plans at least a month in advance.
What’s especially pleasing about Babbo is that it doesn’t charge exorbitant prices for the food it offers. Unless you decide to plump for the best steak in the house, you won’t find a single item on the food menu that costs more than $100. If you want to sample the experience that won the venue its Michelin star, though, your best option is to part with $115 and ask for the ‘Lazio’ tasting menu with its optional $80 wine flight. It’s here that you’ll get the best of the chef’s food, with the stracci di antrodoco served with veal ragu and pecorino fondant being a particular highlight.
Our only word of caution is that Babbo may not be the best choice if you want to have a quiet, intimate dinner. It’s a loud and lively townhouse, seating up to 90 diners and often hosting live music. Come for the food, stay for the party.