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Calle Ocho & Upper West Side

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The Friday NY Times made a fairly good case for the
upper west side not being an execrable restaurant
region anymore. I'm inclined to agree.

Just had another wonderful meal at Calle Ocho last
night, with a memorable spiced salmon above clam
paella with small chunks of chorizo, along with the
wonderful octupus/calamari salad, and the terrific
bread and bean dip. Calle Ocho has become my favorite
upscale restaurant on the upper west side. The bar
area is a madhouse (and often quite smokey) but
despite "the scene," the staff has always been
unfailingly polite at worst and usually warm and
caring.

The only restaurant mentioned in Asimov's roundup that
I have not been to is Gabriel's. Any Chowhounds eaten
there?

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  1. j
    John Knoesel

    I ate there a couple of times about 7 years ago.
    At that time I remember the food was above average. The
    tables are spaced nicely apart and the staff was very
    professional.
    Picholine then became my spot in the Lincoln Center
    area. Expense report material though.
    Regards, JK

    1. Regarding Gabriel's, I've eaten there a few times,
      although the last was about 4 or 5 years ago.

      The food was very good, and it was reasonably quiet,
      despite being full. I remember the fish as
      particularly good. If I recall correctly, I had sea
      bass in some kind of casserole.

      1. I'm from Florida - coming to NYC - how much is a meal like you've described at Calle Ocho? I used to live in Spain, will this restaurant do justice? How about dress? There will be two couples. Should we get reservations soon for a mid - August Visit? Thanks

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cheryl

          Calle Ocho is one of my favorite restaurants. If you
          are planning to go on a Sat night, they get booked up
          pretty quickly. It doesn't hurt to call and see if
          they will take reservations this far ahead; it is a
          little far,but better to make reservations than be
          disappointed. I would say it costs about $35 per
          person but I could be wrong because I never see the
          bill. That would include a drink but no tip. Maybe
          other chowhounders can be more specific on that.
          Having studied in Spain and traveled there as well I
          would not compare it to Spanish food at all. The two
          are completely different but I would try it. On a
          different note, I would also recommend Churrascaria
          Plataforma, a Brazilian barbecue placein the theatre
          district which is a lot of fun but also gets booked
          up. They have a fantastic salad bar and waiters
          carrying skewers of all the meat you can eat.

          1. re: Cheryl

            Entrees at Calle Ocho are in the mid- to high-teens to
            low twenties. Appetizers tend to be in the high
            single-figures, with some of the shellfish specialties
            more pricey.

            Although Calle Ocho is about as trendy as the upper
            west side gets (i.e., not very), the staff is
            extremely friendly and the dress is all over the map.
            One friend, unfamiliar with the restaurant, and used
            to going to cheaper Latin places with me, came in
            shorts and a T-shirt to a Saturday dinner and no one
            cared.