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Calle Ocho

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

45 W. 81st St., New York, NY 10024 40.782849 -73.973619
nr. Columbus Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-873-5025 Send to Phone

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  • Cuisine: Latin American, Spanish/Tapas
  • Price Range: $$$

    Key to Prices and ratings

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  • Reader Rating:

    7 out of 10

      |  

    31 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by Robert K. Chin

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Official Website

calleochonyc.com

Hours

Mon-Thu, 6pm-10:30pm; Fri, 6pm-11:30pm; Sat, noon-3pm and 5pm-11:30pm; Sun, noon-3pm and 5pm-10pm

Nearby Subway Stops

B, C at 81st St.-Museum of Natural History

Prices

$19-$32

Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Brunch - Weekend
  • Good for Groups
  • Kid-Friendly
  • Kids' Menu
  • Private Dining/Party Space
  • Singles Scene
  • Take-Out
  • Teen Appeal
  • Catering

Alcohol

  • Full Bar

Reservations

Recommended

Profile

More than two decades after David Rodriguez upended New Yorkers’ ideas about Latin cooking at Patria, Nuevo Latino cuisine is no longer so new. But the appeal endures, and Rodriguez’s protégés are still cooking around town. One can be found at Calle Ocho, which opened in the Excelsior Hotel back in 1998 to significant buzz. The main dining is windowless, but the owners have brightened what would otherwise be a dour space with a slew of vibrant paintings and a sunny orange-and-yellow color scheme. The food is festive too, a raucous mingling of Latin cuisines, and that party mood prevails in particular at brunch. Meals start with pao de quejo, Brazil’s sensationally gooey and stretchy bread of cheese baked into yuca flour. The menu draws from various Latin cuisines. There are six types of ceviche and appetizers like airy sweet-corn empanadas with goat cheese and arepas with the Cuban pulled-beef dish ropa vieja. Entrées tend to be oversize (two to three are more than enough for four diners), and while the vaca frita tastes a shade too sweet, the juicy-juicy “Cuban style” steak frites, dressed with a little bit of chimichurri, has aged very well. Cocktails are easy drinking, evidenced by the Brazilian classic caipirinha and the eight styles of sangria served. And if mojitos have gone out of fashion elsewhere, the ones here will remind you why it was such a hip drink back in the days of the Cosmo. And no one will judge you for drinking them.

Brunch

Sat.-Sun., noon–3 p.m.

Recommended Dishes

Cuban style steak frites, $28; paella, $32

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