525 S. 4th St.
Columbus, OH 43206
German Village is hope to some of the best restaurants in the Columbus dining scene, many of which lack some of the hype and publicity of the places in the other parts of town. But that allows them that much more latitude to really experiment and do something great. El Lugar isn’t something you’d expect in this neighborhood, the tiny little tapas bar is so charming and friendly you don’t even know what to do. Everything here, in short, is spectacular.
Tapas! It’s always a great mix of little finger foods that add up to a wonderful, satisfying meal. Some of my favorite offerings here:
- Sour Kruat Balls: Giant handfuls of sauerkraut and corned beef fried crispy and served with mustard. Easy start.
- Safron Shrimp: Garlic butter and a white wine reduction form the basis of this awesome sautéed seafood, served with crostini for good measure.
- Jamon Puff: This puff pastry is stuffed with serrano ham and topped with a sweet marinara sauce.
- Pimienta & Anchoa: A roasted pepper, anchovy, cornichon and onion stacked on a skewer for this wonderful bite, all of it has to be eaten together.
- Wine and steak flight: Filet, ribeye and flank steaks prepared slightly differently and served with three different kinds of wine, usually what’s on the menu.
- Patatas Bravas: These fried potatoes are a favorite snack in Tapas bars. Tomato sauce, aioli and manchego top it all of for a very crunchy dish.
- Cocoa Cake: This thick cake is topped with huge helpings of a chocolate cocoa frosting that sweetens the devil’s food cake. Just so decadent.
The cocktails matter too. Some of my favorites:
- 4th St. Spritz: This is a relatively light cocktail Cava champagne, Sweet Vermouth and orange bitters come together nicely for a sweet and sturdy drink. The bubbles help.
- The Bourdain: A signature cocktail, a dance of gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, blood orange syrup and orange juice. Delicately complex.
The restaurant has this wonderful casual kind of friendliness to it. Like the accompanying German-themed restaurant next door, this one is a bit more on the low-key end of things but it loses nothing in the feel of a lively tapas themed restaurant. The best way to experience it is up at the bar and bantering with a friendly bartender who will share some stories.
This spot is unique and very attractive for couples and dates, and it’s befitting the very romantic idea of tapas would be added into this cultured neighborhood. Consider this a good spot to discover.
- The German Village has limited parking in some areas and this restaurant is kind of on the edge of where paid parking options are available but far enough away to find some streets for free.
- Best when there’s a couple or a small group sharing food. Big groups probably not recommended.
- When the restaurant isn’t open, part of its menu is still offered next door.