I haven’t dined on tapas in Madrid, relished lamb shanks in red-wine sauce in Athens or sipped from a pilsner-filled beer stein in Germany.
But I have indulged in food and drink from Spain, Greece and Germany without flight delays, lost luggage or jet lag at Battle Ground Village, a pedestrian-friendly development filled with restaurants and cafes about 17 miles northeast of downtown Vancouver.
1113 S.E. Rasmussen Blvd., Battle Ground; 360-513-2448
For nearly nine years, Richard and Mar Meyerhoefer have served tapas and Spanish wines from their brightly tiled wine bar, Emanar Cellars. Food, drink and decor are inspired by Mar Meyerhoefer’s hometown of Madrid.
Some restaurants and bars use the term tapas to describe small plates or appetizers. At Emanar Cellars the term is used in the proper way — to describe Spanish-focused small plates and snacks like Spanish olives and manchego cheese ($7), small sandwiches called montaditos ($9-$10), and Mar Meyerhoefer’s mother’s recipe for meatballs in tomato sauce ($10).
Spanish wine sold by bottle, glass or flight ($12 for five 1-ounce pours) fill the food-friendly wine list.
“Spain is one of the three countries in Europe with Old World wine that everybody in the world tries to emulate,” Richard Meyerhoefer said. “It’s known for intensity, longevity and aging. This wine has a lot of history.”
The Meyerhoefers also host a yearly trip to Spain. After a break due to the pandemic, they led a group in July on a walk along part of the El Camino de Santiago, a network of ancient pilgrimage routes to the shrine of St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern Spanish city of Galicia.
1401 S.E. Rasmussen Blvd., Battle Ground; 360-723-0937
Eric and Paula Starr’s Northwood Public House & Brewery offers gemutlichkeit (German for the joy of good company) as well as hearty fare and an excellent lineup of craft beer and whiskey. The Starrs took over the large space in 2014, giving it a Bavaria-meets-Battle Ground feel by adding photos of family as well as dreamy images of mythological deities like Kochab, the Guardian of the North.
Despite the otherworldly artwork, the food and drink are decidedly down to earth. Northwoods offers a mix of German classics like kasespatzle (a mini casserole made of spaetzle and Swiss cheese topped with crispy onions ($7.95), pierogies ($10.95) and chicken schnitzel ($15.95), as well as Pacific Northwest brewpub staples like nachos ($10.75), wings ($11.95) and burgers ($13.95-$17.25).
Craft brews from local spots like Brothers Cascadia, Fortside and Loowit are on tap here as well as Locust Cider and Ethereal Meads. Northwood also has a stellar whiskey list with 120 varieties served by the glass ($8-$69) or in four pour flights ($18-$85).
1417 S.E. Rasmussen Blvd., Battle Ground; 360-687-7770
George Vlachos’ love letter to Greece, George’s Molon Lave, celebrates traditional Greek cuisine passed on from his great-grandmother. Molon Lave translates as “come and take them,” a reference to a statement made by King Leonidas when the Persian army demanded that his army surrender their weapons in the Battle of Thermopylae. Similarly, Vlachos won’t relinquish the recipes of his great-grandmother but will serve them to customers at his cozy Battle Ground Village restaurant.
Blue and white accents and Greek flags fill the comfortable dining room animated by the natural graciousness of the owner who greets customers as if they were long-lost relatives. Greek classics like spanakopita (spinach and feta encased in phyllo dough, $14.95), moussaka (layers of meat, eggplant, zucchini, potato and herbs coated in a bechamel sauce, $15.95), and braised lamb shank in red wine sauce served over orzo ($21.95) fill the menu. A small Greek salad topped with feta and drizzled with the restaurant’s house Greek dressing can be added to entrees for $3.95. Greece boasts one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and one of the first in Europe. Bottles ($21-$50) and glasses ($8-$10) of this ancient elixir complement the dishes on the menu here.