Locals sardine themselves into this vibrant joint with Cuban-themed collages to enjoy inventive Pan-Latin food, as well as excellent homemade sangrias. The harried waitstaff delivers a starter round of velvety goat-cheese empanadas and rum-glazed shrimp without much more than a stressed smile, but the mouthwatering appetizers soon make up for the coldness. A pumpkin-seed–encrusted mahi-mahi has the sultriness of a Havana summer night, while thin sheets of rosy, tender tuna tiradito are dressed with roasted pineapple, avocado and jalapeños. Coconut sorbet in a luscious chocolate shell, and peanut butter–drenched cheesecake are the best part of an already buena noche; don’t worry—you won’t hear your conscience over the peppy salsa music anyway.
|Venue name:||Calle Ocho|
45 W 81st St
|Cross street:||between Central Park West and Columbus Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 6–11pm; Fri 6pm–midnight; Sun 11:30am–3pm, 5–10pm|
|Transport:||Subway: B, C to 81st St–Museum of Natural History|
|Price:||Average main course: $25. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V|