“The only thing that unsettles me about dying is if it were not for love”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
That’s the quote on the glass door in the back of this new Carlos E. Restrepo restaurant.
That’s no coincidence. This place has been family built with love. You can feel it from the moment you walk in. El Aula, or “the classroom,” makes you wish you had felt this at home during school.
This isn’t the first time Medellín is home to a business from this family: a couple of decades ago, you could find a similar place in the city.
Pablo’s family eventually gave it up and his wife and he started a life during the last 15 years in Spain.
Feeling nostalgic, they returned and very recently (March 2015) reopened a place that is not only a tribute to Pablo’s family but to their past in the Mediterranean nation they called home. The culinary influence is easily observed in the menu.
What to Expect
The place is new, no doubt about it. But they have prepared themselves with local coffee and beer (from Amor Perfecto and Hellriegel, respectively) and been able to attract a lunch and dinner crowd as well as the students known to hang around the university neighborhood.
The place has great outdoor areas in the front and back and a large but cozy indoor space. Its owners, like many in Medellín businesses, tend to hang around and could end up being your server, though with the great and friendly service, you might not know the difference.
As we know, Carlos E. Restrepo is an area in which you can find young students, their teachers, children, pets elderly, tiendas, bars, restaurants and so much more: a heterotopia that is drastically different from the Poblado environment.
However, with its live music, artisans and lively feel, I have yet to meet a person, foreign or native who doesn’t love to hangout here.
Of Course, the Food
When I first visited La Aula I was sold on the idea of their Lasagne de la mia mamma. I am a sucker for pasta and a mixed chicken and beef lasagna was exactly what I was planning on…and it did not disappoint.
Much like the name suggests, the lasagna took me back to my mother’s kitchen when she would make my birthday favorite. Keep in mind, my portion was complimentary and a smaller version of their main dish.
Next, we tried their grilled veggies which included zucchini, red pepper, cucumber, onion and eggplant, all tasty as expected, and the back-to-basics Chicken Caesar Salad which is hardly a dish that can let you down.
Finally, the chef surprised us with one of their favorites, a dish made usually with bull meat but, adapted in Medellín with beef from a calf slow cooked perfectly with potatoes. I was so eager to try this dish that I had no time to take a photo of it!
What I love the most about El Aula is the space it adds to the Carlos E. scene. There is nothing like it. Whether you want a coffee, a beer, a place to study or work, or a lunch or dinner date, it serves as the backdrop for any casual outing.