Star chef Mario Batali and sommelier partner Joseph Bastianich’s Babbo is a relaxed, New York City temple to regional Italian food and wine. Opened in Greenwich Village in 1998, it has been attracting rave reviews ever since, thanks to an affordable menu that includes a regular regional ingredient focus to keep things fresh.
As you would expect from a self-styled Enoteca, the wine list is at least as much a draw as the food. Babbo was one of the first NYC restaurants to offer wines by the quartino—quarter-liter, or one-third of a bottle, decanters—to enhance its by-the-glass offer. Many of the wines on the 2,000-plus-bin list are offered in this format, including, on request, some of the smartest and most expensive. The quartino innovation aside, what really gets the juices flowing here is the breadth of choice—what the judges at the World’s Best Wine Lists 2015 called “an amazing Italian list with wonderful northern and southern detail.”