Just a block away from Central Park is New York’s hautest pan-latin brunch spot, Calle Ocho. This local hot spot inside the Excelsior hotel is a true cultural experience in every way. From the minute you walk in the door, the vibrant sound of Puerto Rican and Mexican reggaeton greets you, lifting your spirits and getting you in that latino dance mood we all secretly love.
As you salsa your way to your spacious leather booth, waiters arrive with an extensive menu of innovative sangrias and fine food – because you trust us – you choose to start off with a slightly sweet Spanish sangria Calle Ocho calls “Blanca”, made with white wine, brandy, fresh fruit and a splash of spirits. With that, you order some Cuban Yuca Fries and a side of Mexican avocado, because of course. As you sip on your white sangria/cocktail you begin to admire the interesting artwork on the lively orange walls; a mix of traditional Latin American paintings and modern pop-art, lit by Upper West Side chandeliers, the decor is one of the most diverting qualities of this restaurant.
For the next course you opt for the iconic Vaca Frita, made with Cuban skirt steak, Latin pork fried rice, avocado and fried eggs. Possibly not the best place to be if you’re a hard-core vegetarian, Calle Ocho offers a variety of seafood, steak, pork and chicken platters, prepared by the restaurant’s Peruvian Chef, using the influence of all Latin cuisines. With your entrée you choose to taste the “Roja” a red wine sangria made with brandy, fresh fruit and a splash of spirits. Fun fact: the sangrias are complimentary and will keep on coming until your meal ends! Don’t get too excited though; keep it classy.
For dessert, we recommend the Domino, a dark chocolate cake with dulce de leche and ice cream. If you’re still standing after this, be sure to try the Samba sangria, made with Veev Açaí liqueur, brandy and fresh blueberries. With a full belly and a newfound love for sangria, you will leave Calle Ocho with a happy spanish-speaking soul and an unexpected taste of fine culture.