Mario Battali's Italy-inspired empire has grown considerably since he opened Babbo with partner Joe Bastianich in 1998, but his guiding philosophy remains the same: Offer hospitality and quality by shortening the time and distance from an ingredient's origins to its iteration on the plate. This means that you shouldn't expect Battali's kitchen crew to recreate your favorite Italian regional dish, but, in Battali's words, "to cook as an Italian might in the mid-Atlantic/Hudson Valley regions." The restaurant is small-ish, seating just 90 diners, but always busy, so reservations are strongly recommended.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
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A New York City hotspot since its doors opened in 1998. Executive chef Mario Batali innovative Italian menu is ever-changing, and ever-delighting. Come here for a decadent, 7-course pasta tasting.
By Alina Polishuk, AFAR Contributor