The first time I ever went to Arepazo, this little Central American restaurant, it was last year with my husband’s family. They were so excited to take me there because they know I love those Latin American flavors! Justin was deployed almost all of last year (2014), but I had the privilege of getting to visit with his family a lot even though he wasn’t home. Though we missed him dearly, I’m glad I was able to spend so much time connecting with his parents and sister while he was away.
The more memorable visit that I’m going to talk about was just last month when we went to the Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna with a bunch of friends and family! One of the band stages is right outside Arepazo, so eating dinner here was perfect because we could set up our chairs and get ready to enjoy some tunes.
So Arepazo has become one of the restaurants that I look forward to visiting when we travel back to Ohio because I am IN LOVE with Central/Latin American flavors. I worked at an orphanage in Costa Rica about 5 years ago and I just fell in love with the food. The beans and rice, lots of cilantro and flavorful meats make a perfect combination on my palette.
One thing I will say about Arepazo is that the menu is a little difficult to read. The titles of the food are in Spanish, which is fine, but then the descriptions are just hugely long and by the time you’re done reading it, you’re left confused about what you’re actually going to get. Most meals allow you to choose which meat you want to have with your meal, so all of those meats are listed on each entrée. Just too many words. Let’s simplify please. Another thing about the menu. Because it’s a bit wordy and somewhat in Spanish, almost every time we go back, we’re all asking each other “Hold on, what did I get last time? I know it was delicious. Did I get this or this?” It’s just a little more confusing than it needs to be. Maybe this isn’t a bad thing though. It’s almost like a surprise each time your food comes out. Maybe you guessed right and ordered what you got last time or maybe you ended up with something new. Regardless, it’s going to be really good.
That being said, the food IS in fact delicious and very interesting. Everything is so fresh and crunchy and makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a Costa Rican home. The meal that I always get is called the Patacon (I only remember this because I “speak” Spanish) and it is just like a smorgasbord of everything you could ever want. I like the quality of their beef, so I always get the juicy, well-seasoned beef with beans and rice, fresh lettuce, tomatoes and avocado. It also comes with these little cornmeal cakes, which are really good. They’re like the Latin American version of a hush puppy or something. Very good with some of their magical, unicorn riding on a rainbow, cilantro sauce. What to say about this sauce? How to even begin? They always bring a whole plate full of cilantro sauce for the table because they know that people love it. I like to ask for extra sauce because I plan on rubbing one container of it all over my face instead of eating it, it’s that good. It is seriously good on everything. I tend to just dump it all over my plate and move on to the next one. It’s especially delicious on the rice and beans! Yum, I’m making myself hungry!
Justin isn’t as big of a fan of these Central American flavors as I am, but he does enjoy the food. He actually ends up eating part of my meal because the Patacon is a LOT of food! And like I said in my last post, he can eat a lot of food. And I mean a lot. One thing that he really enjoys about his meal is the fried plaintains that it comes with. If you don’t know, plaintains are those big giant green banana-looking things that you sometimes see at the grocery store. They can be cooked green or when they turn yellow and, like a banana, they are sweeter as they get yellower.
The décor at Arepazo is pretty cute. There’s a big map of Central America on a chalkboard on the wall and an entire wall filled with wine (which I love, of course). We have yet to sit outside, but on a beautiful day, the patio looks like a great place to catch a casual dinner. A bar with about 6-10 seats greets you when you first walk in. This may be another thing that isn’t so great about Arepazo. The bar has some great mojitos and a few other typical cold cocktails, but they’re not the strongest of drinks, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re not going to find it here. The beer selection, according to Justin our resident beer connoisseur, is atrocious. His exact words. So he ended up drinking a Budweiser, which is not his first choice, or even his 40th choice.
Aside from the mediocre bar, I hope you were able to tell how good this restaurant was. And don’t forget about the cilantro sauce. We’ve recently discovered that they sell this sauce in a jar… Why did I not know this before! Next time we go back, I’ll be getting some of that and maybe even trying something new on the menu!
Have you ever had Central American food? What is your favorite type of cuisine? Are you a fan of cilantro or do you hate it? I feel it’s a love or hate for most people!
93 N. High St.
11:00AM – 2:30PM
5:00PM – 10:00PM
11:00AM – 2:30PM
5:00PM – 11:00PM
11:00AM – 11:00PM