Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ole Tapas Bar, Newark, DE

There is a dearth of good restaurants in Newark, DE where I grew up. So when my parents told me about a new tapas place in Newark, I was skeptical. Plus, it's location was in the spot of a childhood favorite that had been torn down - Lum's Family Restaurant where we used to go after church on Sundays and I would get Ollie Burgers with Thousand Island dressing and mozzarella cheese.

But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Ole Tapas Lounge. Best dishes were the pulpo a la gallega (grilled octopus), the wild mushrooms with chorizo, and the bacon wrapped figs with chorizo and cabrales. The patatas bravas were piping hot and crispy.

Grilled baby lamb chops were well cooked. Boquerones were nicely done with piquillo peppers and a pesto-like sauce. There was a little over-reliance on a paprika mayonnaise sauce - not a real complaint as the sauce was tasty, but it was on a lot of the dishes.

The only disappointments were the complimentary starter of tomato-rubbed bread should have been crusty (though my dad said on their earlier visit it was), and the empanada, which was huge, but mediocre in both the crust and the filling.

For Newark, Delaware, though, it's a great find. Reasonably priced satisfying tapas and friendly service.

Ole Tapas Lounge
1126 Capital Trail
(Kirkwood Highway)
Newark, DE 19711


Anonymous said...

Lums had gone far downhill by the time it closed, but it was better in some ways than this replacement.

My wife and I have had tapas in Madrid and very good Paella in Philly. This restaurant offers nothing of note. The flavours are bland and uninspired and the prices are shocking (for Newark).

I hate to disagree with your assessment, but skip Ole Tapas.

fougoo said...

Thanks for your comments! Well, I have never been to Madrid, so I'm sure you're absolutely right that they're better there.

But I have to say, I went to Jose Garces' restaurant Amada in Philly this weekend, and I actually liked the pulpo better at Ole. And prices definitely higher for tapas in Philly - maybe even double for smaller portions!

Anonymous said...

I lived in spain for many years and as far as classics are concerned Ole has it down. The paella in Spain is far more bland than that of Ole Tapas lounge. Garces? That guy couldn't cook his way out of a box. They razzle you with the atmosphere distracting you away from the small tastless portions they give you and want close to double the price. I love Ole and I hope delaware can handle such a creative restaurant... I don't know about you but if i see one more crabcake on a menu with let me guess Oh yeah that's right STEAK. That's all Delaware has to offer... Good luck Ole. By the way they have great specials almost all week...

Anonymous said...

The initial poster loved Lum's and this says it all, an astonishingly bad starting point for a restaurant reviewer.
Ole is a very mixed bag. The classic tapas were correct but not much better than average. The wine list was eye popping for its astronomic overpricing (typically more than 3X retail) and mediocrity of selections. We ended up drinking beer though we are normally and preferentially wine drinkers. Any suggestion that this place is better than Amada is not to be believed. Amada may be in center city Philadelphia, but its wine list has more bargains and the Tapas are clearly better. An improvement for Newark, perhaps, but that is all. Try Orillas in Wilmington, instead.

Unknown said...

Lum's was a family staple back in the day however I believe Sofritto's took over the "Lum's" locations.

I've been wanting to try tapas as it seems to be the new hype these days. My mom and I were pondering a place to eat for the evening and stopped by to look at the menu. Nothing seemed intriguing so we ate elsewhere. Eventually I hope to try tapas however the meals seemed ...simplistic? small? Like the main entrees don't come with a starch/vegetable. I'm confused? Your pictures look delicious so it definitely intense me to go back!