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Jun 13, 2001 09:36 AM

Gitana - UWS Tapas Bar - Nice Surprise

  • l

Trudging up from the Lincoln Center craft show at lunchtime, we passed "Gitana" (249 Columbus Ave. (Bet. 70th and 71st St, I think--across the street from China Fun.)Phone No. 212 579-9929.

It looked small and dark (only one other diner,) but the menu was short--usually a good sign when a restaurant doesn't serve aardvarks to zebras. Not expecting too much, we ordered simply. Well, what a nice surprise for the Upper West Side. The food was fresh, tasty and very attractively served. Enthusiastic waiters appeared immediately.

We chose a plate of pinwheel-shaped serrano ham wrapped around creamy, tangy fillings of goat cheese. And a huge bowl of spinach salad with great tasting mushrooms, tomatos and what I believe was Cabrales Blue cheese (very smooth and creamy. The menu said "Manchego"--but I think they substituted.) Every salad item was fresh and crunchy. The light vinagrette just the right accent. In fact, I could see the chef working from scratch in the kitchen. The only other diner was finishing up a green pepper stuffed with some Spanish cheese and flaked Hake. Looked delicious! Portions were ample and prices between $6 to $9 per plate.

The dinner menu is larger--and Ill have to go back to try it. ('Tho I do wish the trend was not towards such hard, minimal chairs that make you wish you'd bought a cushion!! Those of us with lower back problems notice that sort of stuff!)

Has anyone else tried Gitana?? Any reports on more food items? We Upper West Siders have to keep one another alert to anything decent that opens in the nabe.

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  1. I wrote something on this place a while back.

    I also really like it.

    Some things I've tried:

    Pulpo a la gallega: excellent, the octopus was almost tender, potatoes had nice consistency, fully cooked but not mushy, and the garlic intensity was excellent

    boquerones (I think) - the anchovies. I like anchovies a lot, and these were very good. Not as salty as some.

    The french fries with garlic and parsley were also good.

    I forget what else I've had, but I've never been disappointed.

    I also had a seating problem, not with the chairs, but with the booths, where the tables are not properly placed relative to the seats, which are fixed. (The table is too low and too far away).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Peter

      Your selections sound like what I would have ordered if I'd been there at dinnertime. (I'm a great fan of anchovies--had them recently at Sabor on Amsterdam ave.) I do wish more restaurants served their full menu all day.

      I'll look for your past post on Gitana. Has it ever been mentioned in any review? I haven't seen it written-up. I will never understand why decent restaurants in our area are sucked into black holes--and replaced by clones of the same old mediocrities. (Witness the demise of Jin Dae Lau --our only Korean--at 84th st and Amsterdam.) I get quite jealous of our downtown diners with their many varied choices. (Yes, I know--get on the subway.) But WHY doesn't our population generate better stuff?

      1. re: Lynn

        My post on Gitana was in a thread about garlic not being available on the UWS. Whatever else it's got, Gitana has garlic.

        I may have spelled it Gitara; I'm still not sure what the official name of the place is.

        1. re: Peter

          thanks, Peter. I live by the credo that one can never have enough garlic. (It's the person whose company you're in who may have had enough!)

          It's Gitana by the way--I took their card.