Babbo

39 Albemarle Street , London, W1S 4JQ

Babbo

SquareMeal Review of Babbo

Secluded and “almost unnoticeable” in the throbbing heart of Mayfair, big-hitting Babbo is currently delivering some of “best Italian food and service in central London” according to one admiring fan. Melding French precision and labour-intensive technique, the kitchen lifts the classics to new heights: fried squid with flakes of battered artichoke is an imaginative take on fritto misto; a plate of tortelli is richly dressed with silky lemongrass velouté; and the signature lasagne with a ragù of Chianina beef is a crusty-topped, umami-loaded revelation. Although it’s owned by a football lawyer, Babbo a world away from brash, blingy razzmatazz and “exudes the quite confidence of old wealth” with its sage-green walls, family photos and rustic staircase. Animated staff confidently navigate the serene room, and their advice is invaluable when navigating the comprehensively costly – but eminently desirable – Italian wine list.

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Green Park Tube Station 273m

Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 549m

Address

Address: 39 Albemarle Street , London W1S 4JQ

Area: Hanover Square Savile Row

Opening times

Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 6-11pm Sun 6-10.30pm

Nearby Landmarks

Royal Academy of Arts (Burlington House) 173m

Faraday Museum 175m

Details

Telephone: 020 3205 1099

Website:

Cuisine: Italian

Private Dining: 12

7.4

Food & Drink: 7.7

Service: 7.4

Atmosphere: 7.4

Value: 6.4

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

laurie z. 24 June 2016

Cannot review Babbo because when we arrived @ the appointed hour there was a note on the window letting us know the restaurant was closed due to a gas leak! No phone call, email, nothing to let us know our reservation would not be honored! Bad form Babbo!!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 24 June 2014

Think Mayfair and think high-end Italian and the likes of C-London (in my opinion, terrible) or Cecconi (excellent) come to mind. Despite Babbo being owned by a football lawyer, the restaurant is about as far from bling and razzmatazz as one could find. On the contrary, if anything, Babbo feels somewhat out of place, being operated more like a traditional family-run Italian restaurant, yet located just one block away from the jewellers of New Bond Street. Our welcome on a recent weekday lunchtime was enthusiastic on the part of all the staff and it was also refreshing to see that my online request for a quiet table had been heeded. Seated right towards the back of the restaurant, I was able to see the place quickly filling up, being populated by a mixed crowd, suited workers, shoppers, tourists and seemingly some regulars too – typically a good sign. Despite being busy, we were not made to feel at all rushed, having time to peruse the menu and enjoy the decor, the latter being under-stated chic, namely plain walls and photos of presumably famous people who had dined here. The food is traditional Italian, the emphasis being on home-made recipes from across the country. Diners may choose from around ten potential starters, pasta dishes and mains, and a slightly smaller number of desserts. I was highly impressed with my house salad of crab and avocado, accompanied by a robust tasting collection of varied lettuce leaves, the whole dish brought to life by a wonderfully light yet scented dressing. My comrade also praised his starter of tomato gazpacho and prawns. Our next dishes continued where the starters left off: for me, a richly flavoured risotto with prawn and tarragon; for my comrade, tortelli, inventively served with a lemongrass velouté – which he described as excellent. These were accompanied by a refreshing glass of Gavi, one of around a dozen wines available by the glass. The only catch: as the title of the review implies, Babbo ain’t cheap. Gone is the intimate family-feel and back is the Mayfair location when the bill arrived. All in, with bread, water, coffee and service included, we were pushing £120. The experience may have justified the price, but at this level, Babbo should be considered more as a special occasion rather than a weekday lunchtime location.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 1.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 11 April 2014

i see Babbo is owned by a football lawyer so forgive my no doubt poor gaming analogies. The food showed flashes of excellence but was completely inconsistent (like [insert name of your chosen striker here]). My starter of fried squid with little battered flakes of artichokes was an imaginative take on the traditional fritto misto and worked reasonably well flavour wise but Becks would have to shun so much fat. My overriding memory of the mains is extreme food jealousy, as the beef fillet was bought out, mixed with disappointment: a meat/veg dish shouldn't be the trump card in an Italian but the pastas were more Man Who? than Man U. Atmosphere and decor were near spot on: it exudes the quiet confidence of old wealth rather than the brashness of a nouveau footie celeb. But service, which started so well, let it down. The lady who handled our booking (a table for 6 with a young baby) was extremely accommodating, reserving for us a perfect spacious table tucked away at the back of the restaurant. Service during the meal, however, was well short of Mayfair expectations. We were given fizzy water as soon as we sat down and we asked for some tap water. When the second bottle of fizzy water came I pointed out we hadn't ordered it and whilst we'd drink it we only wanted tap next. When the third bottle of fizzy water was delivered to the table I was riled like an angry manager on the sidelines watching his players demolish the game plan. Eventually a waiter responded to my come hither looks and I had to say “Not only have we not asked for this bottle but I have SPECIFICALLY told you NOT to bring it. Take it away!”. Long delays in taking dessert orders, bringing them and settling the bill made me think the team had given up altogether. This place just doesn't have the wow factor or understated polish you'd expect for the level at which Babbo is trying to play. If I knew I would be spending £70 a head on a meal again I would go somewhere guaranteed to put it in the back of the net.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Paul C. 29 September 2012

I was looking for somewhere in the West End that i hadn't been to before and came across Babbo and it's positive reviews on this site. I won't go into a full review of each dish we had but rather in broad terms. Was quite quiet when we arrived for our 7pm booking but was full and the atmosphere was far more vibrant when we left at and 10pm. Clearly, many of the diners were regulars. The food was excellent and there were enough staff to ensure a quality service throughout our meal. I had the meat balls to start and the Sea Bass for mains. Both lovely. As were the side dishes. The only disappointing aspect however was when, having asked for help with the extensive Italian wine list, i wasn't asked what i was looking to pay and subsequently pointed toward a near £90 bottle. But that would be my only gripe. A lovely restaurant that can equally serve as a venue for a business dinner, or something with your partner. I have re-booked for December.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Jamie S. 26 September 2012

Wow. I am still dreaming of the homemade pasta and fish courses I ate at Babbo last week. The gnocchi were the most delicate I have ever sampled, with shavings of fresh truffle and a light butter and sage sauce. Italian food at its most simple and delicious. If you love Italian restaurants that serve overflowing plates of stodgy pastas and greasy meats don't come to Babbo. The ingredients here take center stage, like the homemade buffalo mozzarella that's so light it looks more like whipped cream than those heavy pools of tasteless cheese. Portions are on the smaller side, but you don't leave hungry. A great place to take slimmer women because it manages to do what so few restaurants do: offer satisfying, delicious, fresh food that won't leave you grabbing for the antacid bottle later on.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

chiara l. 21 July 2012

my name is chiara I ben to babbo last week whit my boy friend and we found a very bad hospitality on the door they look as in a bad way was very rude but the food was good and the waiter was very gentle but the first impression wen we pop in to the restaurant very bad,my boy friend made a reservation and on the phone they was not nice.we not gonna come any more is not the right way to welcome people sorry.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 04 March 2012

Babbo is very nice and acutally surprisingly “authentic” italian outpost in this part of Mayfair. The word Mayfair indicates that prices are not going to be exactly cheap, but at least the quality partially justifies the bill. What is most notable is that the team at Babbo take seasonality serious. This is so often not the case even with high-end itlain kitchens in London. Further, they are used to special requests and this makes the restaurant very versatile and a good destination for business lunches with discerning clients. However, and this keeps Babbo from receiving top marks form me, there is a wow factor which is missing. It's not a lot, but they need to find a little extra, otherwise Locanda Locatelli is too close price-wise…

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

WSN silver reviewer 10 November 2011

Meeting for lunch at Babbo is as decorous an affair as doing so at any other restaurant on Albemarle Street. With a modern facade, the dining room is pleasant and well designed though typically on the narrow side, as are most of the venues in the neighbourhood. We had fizzy water and a salad and roast baby chicken as part of the fixed menu, and all were done well and were sufficiently tasty. We finished with fresh mint tea, conscious that lunch should be light enough to allow us to get back to work with a clear head. Though I was not sure when Babbo was conceived, it seems a convenient alternative to the many others that I have frequented over the years in the Albemarle neighbourhood.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

steve c. 25 July 2011

We had read a number of good reviews about Babbo and looked forward to our dinner this weekend. Sorry to report that is was average at best. The Suckling Pig main course was a surprisingly small portion. The rest of the courses were also a disapointment. Dinner for 4 (3 starters, 4 mains, no puddings, 1 expresso, 2 glasses of wine and 1 presecco, 1 coke) £240.00. Disapointing. Perhaps the head chef was on holiday.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

R.R.Gill gold reviewer 25 November 2010

Babbo is without doubt one of the best Italian restaurants in London at the moment. The entire team always seem to go well above and beyond to ensure that you have a fantastic experience whether it's a quick lunch or a long lazy dinner. The restaurant has a nice chic but relaxed feel to it and the rustic inspired menu is fantastic with plenty of traditional dishes given the special treatment by chef Doug Santi. I've dined there several times over the past few months and still find it difficult to choose as the menu has so many highlights. As many of the previous reviews point out on top of the great food and wine you are made to feel so welcome – something that often seems to slip in restaurants nowadays. Babbo is definitely one for a special occasion and ideal to treat yourself. Prices are on the higher side but to be honest everything is so perfect it's impossible to fault the bill. If Babbo doesn't have a star come January then there is something deeply wrong with the Michelin Guide! If I could find a bookie I'd stake my house on it!

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