All Reader Reviews of...
45 W. 81st St., New York, NY, 10024
nr. Columbus Ave.
Overpriced food that's mediocre!
By Adambrag on 1/10/2011
At first glance this place seems to be a hot spot with people coming to this venue frequently. Once you sit down and receive your entree that seems they tried to put a little creativity into it, the food just has to be the worst tasting Cuban food I've tasted for the price they are charging. I have a problem with the previous reviews it seemed as if they wrote themselves because for one sure thing the food really sux!!! With the exception of the free bread that's given to you. Not to mention the service is lame.
Great Fish Dishes
By chocolatemousse on 11/1/2010
Every time I go here I get a fish entree, and they're always very well prepared. Drinks are expensive and the sangria is two sweet. Service is hit or miss. Bread and black bean spread is delicious.
By bornandraisednyc13 on 9/19/2010
i needed to pick the place on the upper west for me and my two girlfriends, so i did the usual nymag critics picks. i chose calle ocho because one of the reviews raved about the decor being transportive. nothing better than feeling like you've left ny over dinner. we had an 8pm res and my friends were seated when i arrived. we apparently all had the same reaction when walking into the cavernous dining room -- WOW. where am i? the energy in the resturant (lighting, music, space, decor, seating configuration) is immediately infectious in its festivity. a large portion of the diners really dressed up for the occasion, the staff was attentive and upbeat and no one rushed us as we pondered the menu for a long time over delicious sangria. we ordered the yuca fries, tamale and paella. generous portions (not to mention these INSANE cheesy rolls the minute you sit down) and tasty recipes complete the experience (and at $40 a head, not a wallet buster). GO!
Something Different on the UWS
By brittanycarcova on 8/17/2010
Calle Ocho is a far more festive atmosphere in comparison to many of the other restaurant choices in this area. The space is so large, open and bright, one might think they were in Tribeca. Though the air temperature was way too low, it is understood that the body heats up after a few rounds at the complimentary Sangria bar. They have so many different varieties of Sangria, you don't know where to begin. Though I found the Mojito Sangria to be my favorite. The food was authentic and fun for the palette. From the beet salad with it's bright cleansing taste to black bean butter with its rich creaminess, this is something a little unique. The crowded is a variety and it is a great place for two people or large parties. Both the food and space can accommodate and meet many needs and tastes.
Romantic Dinner for Two
By brownlaw413 on 3/2/2010
My boyfriend took me to Calle Ocho to celebrate our one year anniversary. On Monday night the bar area was lively, but the dining area was quiet with couples and small parties spread out for intimacy and privacy. The decor was amazing with soft Latin music. Our wait staff was very knowledgeable about the menu and answered all of our questions thoroughly. Our water glasses stayed full throughout the courses as did our glasses of the delicious Harlem Sangria (we vowed to come back and try the other choices in the Sangria bar). We started with a crab meat and spinach dip and a salmon ceviche dish. Both were filled with succulent pieces and seasoned well. For my entree I had the Chupe which is a soup of lobster, shrimp, and potatoes with a mild peppery kick. Delicious.
Good food, iffy service
By ha2207 on 10/24/2009
I had my birthday party here, and had a reservation for 15 people. We got there late and still ended up waiting a full 45 minutes until we could be seated. 15 people loitering in the full lounge? ugh. My spirits lifted, however, when we were led to our gorgeous ROUND table with a gigantic lazy susan in the middle for easy access, and 4 pitchers of sangria on the house because we had waited for so long. The service was great in person, but they blatantly forgot one of the dishes, which happened to be MINE. I basically got it after everyone was done, but was not offered any discount or real apology. Food was good though, didn't blow my mind.
WORST SERVICE AND STAFF IN THE CITY!!!!
By KATEKATE on 10/16/2009
DO NOT GO!!! I just had my bday party there, bringing in a lot of friends to the lounge. It was a big mistake because the staff at Calle Ocho is the worst ever. Both the waiters and the manager Luke were extremely rude. The information provided on the phone and by the hostess upon arrival was inaccurate. Overall, the service was a disaster: the waiter would not come to our table, the food took forever to arrive, etc. The prices are OK and so is the decor but THE SERVICE RUINS IT ALL, SO GO ANYPLACE ELSE AND YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF.
Not authentic cuban. Food taste like the waiters are cooking it.
By monasmadali on 8/21/2009
Pros: Place is huge inside and nice. Cons: Nothing about this place is authentic cuban. The bread was like frozen pillsbury sweet rolls. My husband ordered steak & fries & I ordered paella. My husband said his fries were hard & weird & the steak lacked flavor. My paella lacked flavor. I had alot of paella before at many places & I never seen paella w massive amounts of onions and raw tomatos thrown on top and what tasted and looked like french dressing. Weird and bland. Also they don't open till 5:30p but still take their time seating you because they are so unorganized. Go somewhere else. I know I will never come back again. Worst experience ever. Food was awful and.....side note:.....my husband is cuban.
By realnewyorker on 7/3/2009
The place is beautiful. you would never know from the outside...but it opens up into a grand room. Great sangria and special cocktail options. Brunch is good just very limited menu. dinner menu is great!
Too big for its own good
By cvanac78 on 3/22/2009
Food was good, but a bit over priced and the poor service detracted from the enjoyment of the meal which for the most part was well presented and tasteful. Service was awful- had to track down waitress for drink order, extra place setting and entrees came out way too quick- bad timing, and the bus service tried to clean my plate away while I was in mid bite!. I think the problem is the place is too big for its own good and tough to manage. It felt like we could have been in Las Vegas eating at some over-the-top tourist trap. Not worth the trip uptown for an average pricey restaurant.
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