249 Columbus Ave (71st St & 72nd St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 579-9929
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: Tapas/Small Plates
2nd Cuisine: Spanish
Area: West 70s
Tapas have finally made their way to the Upper West Side. Cafe Ronda is a long, candlelit restaurant. It is casual but nice enough for a dinner with a loved one or a glass of sherry at the small bar. The menu features dishes like paella and skirt steak, but the main reason to come here is the extensive tapas menu.
Usually ham croquetas are the way to go, but here the ham is stiff and too salty – go for the mushroom croquetas. They are thickly breaded on the outside and the inside is a buttery mash of potatoes , meaty mushrooms, and a hint of garlic. Also get the empanadas, with thick, flaky dough and chicken braised with peppers, garlic, and spices. Be sure to use the chimichurri (a fragrant cilantro and parsley pesto)when you eat them. Patatas bravas are the perfect drunk food, even when sober. Chunks of fried potatoes, crispy and salty with creamy insides, are drizzled in that garlicky aioli and served piping hot. Filet mignon skewers aren’t cheap but the quality is outstanding. The steak is incredibly tender, served a juicy medium are with a nicely charred exterior.
End the meal with milk caramel crepes with ice cream for a dessert that is sweet, creamy, and rich. The dulce de leche is Kate Middleton to compared to the Lindsay Lohan of regular caramel.
Cafe Ronda is a great neighborhood spot. Though the staff can be a bit pushy with the drink menu, it’s nothing that takes away from the meal. The prices are very fair, the food is quite good, and they have all the Spanish staples to fulfill your tapas cravings.
Review By: Sarah Spigelman