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La Fonda del Sol

200 Park Ave.
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This is the place to go if you want to discover the elegance of Spanish wines, such as the dry white Albarinos of Rias Baixas, chardonnays of Cataluna, and the rich aged tempranillos.  You can enjoy them in three areas: the outdoor café with red umbrellas, the interior bar and casual tapas area, and then higher up, a glass-enclosed formal dining room from which you can watch the action in the other areas, like a TV on mute. Soft Spanish music completes the ambiance.

A favorite tapas is “albondiguillas,” pork meatballs served on skewers with a sauce of tomato and pimento. Complement this with a dish of blistered baby green peppers, simply tossed with olive oil, roasted, and sprinkled with salt. Addictive! The meatballs are paired perfectly with a Valdirez temperanillo. Another delicious tapas is chistorra, Basque chorizo cooked in cider, and there is always a ceviche of the day. Octopus is either grilled, a la plancha, with chorizo picante, potatoes and piquillo peppers, or marinated and served on coins of potato with pickled vegetables. Several dishes include Serrano ham and there is a wide selection of Spanish cheese. Entrées include the traditional paella as well as meat and fish choices. Try the cochinillo, extremely tender suckling pig served with sun chokes, pickled onions, and a yummy bacon marmalade.  

The bunuelos (cinnamon fritters), a favorite traditional dessert, arrive with three dipping sauces: salty caramel, maracuya peppercorn, and orange chocolate. It’s hard not to ask for seconds, but by now you are well sated. Perhaps a small sherry por favor. Lunch and dinner Monday to Friday; closed weekends. -- Marian Betancourt

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