Several years ago my husband and I had dinner at Babbo a few weeks before Christmas with some friends. After that meal, we decided to make it an annual event. It has become my favorite Christmas tradition. I look forward to it more than a Christmas Eve viewing of “Christmas in Connecticut” with popcorn and a bottle of champagne, the trimming of the tree, or that long cold Christmas Day walk in the park. If you get the chance to eat there, you’ll understand why Babbo has replaced St. Nick in my heart. I don’t love Babbo simply because the food is always good: I love it because the food is inventive. It was here that I first began to understand that Italian cooking is so much more than eggplant parmesan or meatballs and sauce. You won’t find those things on Babbo’s menu. Rather, you’ll find grilled octopus, charred beef tongue, and lamb belly. There are some more mainstream options as well (I don’t want to scare you off!), but you will be rewarded for going out of your comfort zone.
I was too embarrassed to take photos of Babbo’s interior, but it is truly beautiful. When you enter there is a long mahogany bar with a few tables in the front (These are set aside for people without reservations – get there when doors open and you might have a shot at one). There are more tables in the back and then an upstairs level with more seating. In the center of the bottom floor there is always a beautifully decorated Christmas tree propped on a table or a huge vase of flowers. The effect is so elegant and breathtaking. What makes it awesome is that it contrasts with the menu and music, which are totally rock and roll.
If you arrive early for your reservation, do what my husband I do: head across the street to the North Square Restaurant and Lounge.
This quaint little restaurant is owned by the hotel next door. Tell them you would like a drink at the back bar and they will lead you to this cozy little room with a tiny bar where you can have any fancy cocktail you desire. We are always the only two at the bar and it is great to have time to talk about that amazing meal to come.