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Ciudad - don't get it

Went to Ciudad for dinner last night for the first time (I've been there a few times for happy hour) and I just don't get why this place is popular. The place is so loud that we had to ask our waitress to repeat herself constantly, and the food...well, it's mediocre at best.

The red sangria is terribly overpriced at $12 a glass, and their wine glasses (they have one size for all varieties) are quite small. For appetizers, we shared the ceviche, the scallops (which we did not know was also a ceviche because the menu description gave no idea of that fact) and the potato fritters. The "fritters" were basically like mashed potato empanadas, and they were overfried and terribly greasy and bland in flavor. The scallops were okay, but again we were so surprised that it was in ceviche form as the menu description made it sound like it would be a cooked dish with a sauce. The regular ceviche was actually quite good, so we were hopeful for the entrees.

We ordered the drunken turkey leg, and the Pollo CiUDAD. The drunken turkey leg consisted of shredded pieces of dark meat, some sort of broth, pieces of bread and whole, fresh cranberries and some greens. It was kind of like Thanksgiving on a plate - not what we expected from a Latin restaurant. The meat was fine, but the pieces of bread were completely soggy from the broth, and there were way too many cranberries on the plate. It was a matter of poor execution and thought (or lack thereof) put into the dish. It was unattractive to look at and the flavors were just all right. The Pollo CiUDAD was tasty - essentially it was arroz con pollo, though totally overpriced for a basic chicken and rice dish.

The service was so-so; the waitress was friendly enough but the drinks were slow in coming and even slower with the refills.

Seems like a good place for a few happy hour drinks and apps, but definitely not a place I'll try for dinner again.

Clare K.
http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...

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  1. ciudad for me is a late night spot. good food, good service, good booze. their promotions (20 percent off and more) make the place attractive.

    1. I went there for before a NYE celebration two years back and we had a set dinner. I didn't think much of the food then either.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mstinawu

        yeah, not a destination. still, it's a decent late-night spot in my book. the ubiquitous 20 percent off coupons make the place attractive.
        deb and i were last there two/three months ago. we'd go back.

        1. re: steve h.

          The bottom line is the food isn't very good. I would have been happier had I received 20% off what I thought was an overpriced meal, but it still wouldn't make me go back.

          1. re: Clare K

            no worries. deb and i enjoyed the chicken.

      2. Been there for Happy Hour and Paella on the Patio.. Regardless of Discount or not. The food looks nice but is lacking depth.. I prefer a more rustic palate ..

        3 Replies
        1. re: Foodandwine

          always looking for a more rustic palate within walking distance from the financial district. any advice?

          1. re: steve h.

            Do you reside downtown or work there.. Walking day or night? access to a car? or interested in Public Transportation? That will help with my reply..

            1. re: Foodandwine

              howdy foodandwine,

              i'm a visitor from the east coast. i used to be part of the times-mirror family thus a frequent traveller to your city. deb and i were in town not too long ago: we ate at osteria mozza shortly after it opened (yes, the nancy bar); restaurant at the getty center; cafe pinot; ciudad; many others.
              yes, we walk and take mass transit. i've posted about this strange proclivity of mine on your board.
              here's a link:
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/420630

              we generally stay at the omni.

        2. I agree. I had such high hopes for Ciudad but had to admit defeat after several attempts. Bland food with so little care put into most of the dishes we tried. Even the special Paella On The Patio was mushy and lacking the essential flavors of paella the time we tried it.

          1. I've been there probably five times. I think my colleagues overrate the food and drinks because they enjoy the atmosphere. It's not bad, but it's not one of my favorites downtown. I did have a nice ceviche there--the best thing I've ordered.