Photos and Words by Amanda DeJesus
Have you ever thought about going somewhere other than the North End for your next Italian meal? If you have, then consider going to Babbo Pizzeria and Enoteca. Mario Batali’s restaurant, opened last April on the Waterfront, is a truly wonderful and authentic Italian experience. Bonus: the general manager is Caroline Conrad, a graduate of BU’s School of Hospitality Administration.
I had the pleasure of visiting Babbo with SHA’s Diners Club. We were seated in a private dining room and immediately served crusty bread and grissini (thin breadsticks) with olive oil for dipping. Not long after that, a stunning display of charcuterie and antipasto was delivered. The charcuterie platter included prosciutto di Parma, pancetta, speck, coppa, and salami, while the antipasto was an assortment of marinated vegetables, olives, and grains (the “funghi mista” was my favorite). The flavors were all bright and distinctive, yet complemented each other beautifully. We were also served a plate of fried Northern Cross oysters with garlic aioli. They disappeared almost instantly.
For the main course, we were treated to a few different kinds of wood-oven pizzas, which were thin crust and delicately crisp and light. Everyone especially enjoyed the meatball pizza, which comes with pickled chili, tomato, and fontina. We also tried the pasta alla Norma (tomato, eggplant, basil, chili, and ricotta) and the fusilli with sausage and broccoli rabe. Both were outstanding.
The highlight of the meal, however, was dessert, when a sampler of gelato and sorbet was brought to the table. Everyone’s eyes lit up and we passed the metal bowls around and tried every one. I couldn’t tell you which flavor was my favorite, but some of the best were pistachio, hazelnut stracciatella, and olive oil (trust me on this one).
After dinner, we got to engage in a Q and A session with Caroline and a few of the other employees, including the sous chef. When asked what their favorite dish on the menu was, the general agreement was the cacio e pepe, a pasta dish with cheese and black pepper. I returned to Babbo last week and I can confirm that it is worth your while.
Babbo’s prices are incredibly reasonable and the service is quick and friendly. Caroline can be seen on the floor serving drinks and engaging in conversation with customers, making a memorable experience for anyone who goes. Just don’t forget to order some gelato: it will make your entire trip.
11 Fan Pier Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210