While a restaurant can rarely be all things to all people, it should certainly adapt to the various needs and moods of its customers. Come for lunch at Babbo, for example, and there’ll be Stan Getz playing gently in the background to accompany the quiet clinking of cutlery and the soft murmur of conversation. Turn up for dinner with friends and Led Zeppelin or Tom Petty will be the soundtrack to the far more excitable vibe. This stalwart has been a Village favorite for over two decades. The reason for its longevity is pretty apparent as soon as you walk in: the place just feels right, everything they do they have practiced and every need you have and every request you make will be accommodated. It’s also a decidedly handsome space, with the first-floor room adorned with fresh flowers and a staircase leading to a bright, raised second level. The menu offers a comprehensive selection of regional Italian dishes with some contemporary liberties (think fennel-dusted sweetbreads with sweet and sour onions and duck bacon). The homemade pasta dishes are a strength and the kitchen can show a remarkably light touch when required, especially with certain classic desserts like panna cotta.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors