Beyond Breakfast: Arepazo Tapas Bar & Grille

November 5, 2014

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We’ve long been fans of El Arepazo downtown, and we loved it when they parked the Yerba Buena Latin Grill truck in our neighborhood. Sadly, Carolina and Carlos – the owners of Arepazo – sold off the truck (it’s in its old spot on Indianola, and it’s now a Mexican food truck). But it’s understandable why they’d be tightening the reins: in addition to their original downtown spot on Pearl Alley they added Arepazo Tapas & Wine in Gahanna and now Arepazo Tapas Bar & Grille in the Brewery District.

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I haven’t been to the Gahanna location, but compared to the downtown spot, the Bar & Grill is HUGE. It’s a wide open floor plan, with a significant bar area, at least two solid dining rooms, a front patio, and even a private room in the back.

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We visited on a nice October evening, so most of the patrons gathered outside on the patio.

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I’m so used to El Arepazo’s smaller digs on Pearl Alley. Seeing a bar for casual sitting and sipping took some getting used to.

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But all the same we took advantage of some sangria and a Columbus Brew Co. IPA on tap.

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The dinner menu differs from the lunch menu, which took a few minutes’ adjustment. The lunch menu is much more reminiscent of the original spot: arepas, patacon, empanadas. The dinner menu (links to both menus here) is a little more expensive and features more plated entrees.

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We first tried a couple orders of the ahi tuna tartare tacos. We always have a soft spot for tuna. These tacos were crisp and fresh. The tuna was a little on the soft side, and I would have loved more of Arepazo’s signature cilantro sauce mixed throughout, but we still enjoyed them.

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Likewise with the guava pork belly.

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The three big pieces of pork belly were covered with a sweet guava glaze, which paired nicely with the bed of tangy pickled corn salad.

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We finished with the mojo chicken, a tender chicken breast with a sweet glaze similar to the pork belly, and served with Peruvian beans (although I didn’t see the rice listed on the menu), and fried plantains. It was a hit at our table; the kiddos especially loved the beans, chicken, and plantains.

I think I may still love Arepazo’s lunch menu more – I first fell in love with the arepas, arepitas, and cilantro sauce over lunch – but there’s a lot to recommend the new spot on High Street. The evening hours and the addition of the bar are a big help, and both the tapas and entree menus warrant a lot of exploration. I also can’t argue against the hard work Carlos and Carolina have put in over the years, starting as a small back-alley shop and now growing to three locations around the city.

Want to visit?

Arepazo Tapas Bar & Grill
515 S. High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 914-8878
Open Mon-Thurs, 11a-2p & 4:30-10p; Fri, 11a-2p & 4:30-11p; Sat, 11a-11p
Also on Facebook and @ArepazoGrill

Arepazo Tapas Bar Grille on Urbanspoon

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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